It’s no secret the Flames suddenly have a lot of kids knocking on the door. In addition to established guys like Max Reinhart, Markus Granlund, Sven Baertschi, Corban Knight, Ben Hanowski, Michael Ferland and Tyler Wotherspoon, the organization is going to add Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold, David Wolf, Emile Poirier, Brett Kulak, Ryan Culkin, Pat Sieloff and Kenny Agostino to the mix full time this year. Sam Bennett is a possibility as well, but for now we’ll assume the team is going to send him back to junior.
The competition is beneficial because it means whoever is able to poke his head above the fray is going to have to be pretty damn good. Nobody is making the Flames by default simply because there aren’t a lot of options.
The challenge for the org is potentially accommodating more than one or two stand-outs should that come to pass. Although Calgary has one of the cheapest rosters in the league, there is nevertheless only a couple of potential roster spots available for the hopefuls (absent trade or injury).
Pick your Prospects
Here’s who I think will make the cut to one degree or another next season:
- John Gaudreau (75 games)
- Sven Baertschi (60 games)
- Markus Granlund (30 games)
- Max Reinhart (15 games)
- Corban Knight (10 games)
- David Wolf (10 games)
- Tyler Wotherspoon (40 games)
- Sean Acolatse (15 games)
- Mark Cundari (10 games)
- Brett Kulak (5 games)
- Pat Sieloff (5 games)
Up front, Gaudreau more or less makes the team out of camp while Baertschi is a call-up who sticks. All the other guys get cups of coffee as veterans get injured or traded. Of course, part of these predictions are role dependent – for instance, if Brand Bollig or Brian McGrattan get hurt long-term, you can assume
David Wolf is going to get the call before Reinhart or Granlund.
On the back-end, Tyler Wotherspoon is the first call-up and in-and-out of the big club lineup all year. If he takes a step forward, he could start challenging one of the bottom rotation vets for full time work. Sena Acolatse and Mark Cundari get some time because they’re AHL vets and the org will be curious to see if they have any kind of ceiling above that. It wouldn’t surprise me if Brett Kulak and Pat Sieloff get spotted a game or two out of curiosity as well.
So…who do you think makes the team?