We’re just over half-way through training camp! The Flames have 57 bodies in camp as of this writing and have to get down to 23 bodies by the October 7 at 3pm MT.
With 10 days and 4 pre-season games to go, along with a bunch of injuries, how are things looking right now? Here’s a quick look as we wait for cuts, in order of how likely a player is to make the team right now.
- #1 Jonas Hiller – A lock for the team; has played four periods.
- #31 Karri Ramo – A lock for the team, as long as his hip is 100%. He played a period.
- #37 Joni Ortio – Destined for the AHL, unless Ramo’s not 100% yet. He’s played four periods.
- #35 Brad Thiessen – Destined for the AHL. He’s played two periods.
- #40 Doug Carr – Destined for the AHL. He’s played three periods.
I’m sure you’re not shocked to learn about the lack of a goaltending battle, in terms of spots. I am anticipating them riding Hiller and Ramo over the last four games as the coaching staff figures out who their #1 will be to start the season.
- #4 Kris Russell – A lock. Has played three games.
- #5 Mark Giordano – A lock. Has played two games.
- #6 Dennis Wideman – A lock. Has played two games.
- #7 T.J. Brodie – A lock. Has played two games.
- #15 Ladislav Smid – A lock. Has played one game.
- #29 Deryk Engelland – A lock. Has played two games.
- #36 Raphael Diaz – He’s got the inside track for the #7 spot, unless for some reason they hit a snag talking contract. And let’s be brutally honest here: Diaz is trying out for the 27th-place team because most likely 26 (or even 29) other teams didn’t have a spot for him. He’s played three games.
- #33 Sheldon Brookbank – Brookbank becomes #7 if it’s decided that having Deryk Engelland as the only physically-minded defender is a poor idea, or if Diaz’s camp plays hard-ball with contracts, or if for some reason they decide to carry 8 defenders and they sign both of them.
- #26 Tyler Wotherspoon – He’s been injured for whole time but has been skating with the main group. My guess is they’ll want him in the AHL for a bit, though.
- #28 Corey Potter – Also recovering from an injury, Potter’s probably also destined for the AHL.
- #61 Brett Kulak – A lock for the AHL, but he’s been arguably the best of the AHL bunch. He’s played twice.
- #50 Patrick Sieloff – A lock for the AHL. He’s played two games. His mobility isn’t amazing but he’s got good physicality, and he’s been noticeable for good and bad reasons thus far.
- #55 John Ramage – A lock for the AHL. He played one game. He was okay.
- #54 Sena Acolatse – A lock for the AHL. He played one game. He was okay.
- #42 Mark Cundari – A lock for the AHL. He played two games. He was fine.
- #38 Nolan Yonkman – He’s on a try-out, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave him an AHL deal and he was this year’s Dean Arsene; a veteran who can anchor the back end but has no shot at the bigs. He’s played once.
- #67 Ryan Culkin – A lock for the AHL. He’s played three games and is a ways behind Kulak.
- #73 Keegan Kanzig – Junior-aged player. He wasn’t good in his single game. They’re probably keeping him for awhile just to get him more practice time, but he’s destined for Victoria (WHL).
- #43 Dustin Stevenson – Try-out guy. He’s traveled with the team but hasn’t played yet. I’d be shocked if he got into a game.
- #80 Curtis Gedig – Try-out guy who was skating with the injured group. He’s now with the main group. I’d be shocked if he got a game in at this point.
No real battles, as Diaz has emerged as the likely #7 guy and the top six is a virtual lock. Everyone’s jockeying for AHL time now.
- #8 Joe Colborne – A lock. He’s played twice. He seems noticeably stronger in the corners.
- #11 Mikael Backlund – A lock, if healthy. We’re still waiting word on the length and severity of his injury. I wouldn’t expect him to be ready for the start of the season, if only because he’s not skating.
- #18 Matt Stajan – A lock. He’s played twice.
- #20 Curtis Glencross – A lock. He’s played twice.
- #21 Mason Raymond – A lock, if healthy. He’s played once and has a lower body injury. No word yet on severity.
- #23 Sean Monahan – A lock. He’s played twice. Like Colborne, has been noticeably stronger.
- #24 Jiri Hudler – A lock. He’s played twice.
- #25 Brandon Bollig – A lock. He’s played three times. He’s played fairly well for his role, but he’s also a guy that you can scratch from time-to-time to rotate other bodies in without losing a lot.
- #19 David Jones – A virtual lock. He’s played twice. His contract makes him hard to move, but he’s been decent.
- #17 Lance Bouma – A lock. He’s played twice. If you have a kid you like, you can park him in the press box, but I don’t think they’d do that often.
- #16 Brian McGrattan – A lock. He’s played three games. You can scratch him without making a fuss.
- #53 Johnny Gaudreau – On the bubble, but probably the best of that group. He’s been speedy and elusive without being too goofy in the offensive zone. He’s played twice.
- #63 Sam Bennett – On the bubble, but almost definitely getting his 9-game try-out now. He’s been Calgary’s best forward (or close to it) in both of his two games.
- #60 Markus Granlund – On the bubble. Offensively talented and defensively responsible, and I hope his injury isn’t bad.
- #59 Max Reinhart – On the bubble. Hard to place; he’s not as offensively talented as Gaudreau or Baertschi, but is arguably more versatile – you can put him on any line in any position and he’ll be decent. Has played three games so far.
- #27 Sven Baertschi – On the bubble. He’s played three times. He’s been pretty good, but he sometimes is out there forever and gets caught in his own zone. Offensively, he’s been a chance creator for the Flames.
- #32 Paul Byron – On the bubble. He’s played twice and has been pretty strong. I have him as a bubble guy because his deal is cheap enough that you can bury him in the AHL without cap penalty, and I think Gaudreau probably gives you more between the smaller guys.
- #79 Michael Ferland – On the bubble. Played twice. He’s surprisingly
good with puck protection against NHLers and he uses his size well. I
really liked him with Gaudreau and Granlund. He could be the best
example of a guy having what Kent terms “functional toughness” at this
camp. His lack of pro experience may work against him, as they’d probably want to put him in the minors just to get him more playing time.
- #22 Devin Setoguchi – On the bubble. He’s played three games. He hasn’t been great, and has been out-played by most of the kids.
- #64 Garnet Hathaway – Definitely AHL bound, but he’s made the most of his camp. He’s played twice and has been a buzz-saw out there.
- #46 Bill Arnold – Probably AHL bound, but he’s been a face-off ace in his two games. On a team that’s just awful at face-offs, that could be his ticket to a call-up.
- #10 Corban Knight – AHL bound, but he’s been solid but not amazing in his two games to date.
- #65 Turner Elson – AHL bound. Played once in Sylvan Lake and was pretty good, particularly in a defensive role.
- #51 Kenny Agostino – AHL bound. He played twice and was decent, if unspectacular.
- #45 David Wolf – AHL bound. He’s been decent in his two games, but there are guys who are playing better than him right now.
- #86 Josh Jooris – AHL bound. He’s played twice and has been solid if unspectacular.
- #58 Ben Hanowski – AHL bound. He played once and was okay.
- #52 Morgan Klimchuk – Injured, but likely headed back to junior once he recovers. He was decent in his two games before getting hurt.
- #57 Emile Poirier – Injured, but likely AHL bound once he recovers.
- #48 Bryce van Brabant – AHL bound. He played once and was okay.
- #56 Mathieu Tousignant – AHL bound. He played once and was fine.
- #41 Trevor Gillies – Destined for the AHL. He’s been injured and just started skating with the main group.
You have 11 locks, though two of them (Backlund and Raymond) are hurt and might not be able to start the season in 10 days. So there are between 3 and 5 spots available for the start of the regular season and roughly 8 guys in the mix for them.
I’d be shocked if Bennett and Gaudreau aren’t here on October 8. The remaining 1-3 spots are likely going to be determined over the next 4 games (and 10 days). And that’s presuming there’s no trades or waiver action going on, which there almost definitely will be. Either way, by far the most interesting battles will be amongst Calgary’s promising forward prospects.
SUM IT UP
Goalie spots are locked up. Defense spots are locked up unless Diaz contract talks fall off a cliff (unlikely). But due to attrition and injuries, you’re looking at 3 to 5 open spots for young forwards.
Now that I’ve tempted fate with this breakdown, expect the announcement of some cuts to come down later today from the Flames.