Training Camp Rundown: The Battles

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.

GOALIES

  • #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.

DEFENSE

  • #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.

FORWARDS

  • #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.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    David Jones used to score some goals as well. I am just making a point. Teams are not giving goal scorers away.

    I don’t have a problem with the Flames giving Setoguchi a rip.

    Just wondering why 29 other teams decided he wasn’t worth the 750 K when goal scoring is at a premium.

    • The Last Big Bear

      Probably for similar reasons to why Mason Raymond had to show up as a tryout for the Leafs to get a contract last year.

      Or why Brendan Morrison wasn’t given a 1-way contract at the end of the Canucks’ pre-season, and had to sign a $750k deal with the Flames… on which he ended up as our 1st line center and scored 43 points in 66 games.

      ———

      An economist is walking down the street, and sees a $20 bill on the sidewalk.

      He does not stop.

      “If it was really a $20 bill,” he says to himself, “someone would have picked it up by now.”

      ———

      With the market for star players being set at $8m-$10m, salaries for support players are plummeting. Lee Stempniak was only one of a number of NHL vets who signed for under $1m this season. So Just because he signed for $750k, it doesnt mean Calgary was the only team to offer Setoguchi a contract. He may have chosen Calgary because it was the safest option, or closest to home, etc.

      In the end, it doesn’t matter to me why the Flames got Setoguchi on a cheap contract. I don’t think it’s a good idea to give him the hook based on a couple pre-season games, when there’s nobody clearly better than him at that position.

  • everton fc

    RW does look weak. I bet Ferland makes it to the last cut. He simply has more to offer than guys like Elson, and perhaps even Reinhart, but Reinhart may get lucky with the injuries.

    In fact, Ferland’s had a better camp than Setoguchi. And may have more value. This quote from above says something to me:

    “Just wondering why 29 other teams decided he wasn’t worth the 750 K when goal scoring is at a premium.”

    Indeed.

    I get a feeling Ferland may make this team. His confidence is high, not arrogant, under control. And he’s played RW in most of the games, has he not? He may also be the only guy in camp with skill enough to play with and protect Gaureau, but I doubt they’ll play together up here.

    Interesting decisions for the Flames. But we still look a bit like an expansion team, with youth mixed in w/guys like D. Jones, Setoguchi, McGrattan, Bollig, and so on. And I didn’t realize until recently Engelland hasn’t been an NHL regular that long. In fact, he’s only got one full season as a regular. The other seasons he played 60-odd and 40-odd games. And he’s 32.

    Injuries may also open up a spot for Byron. And I am pretty convinced, w/the Swiss connection to Hartley, Diaz is close to a lock as #7 d-man.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    If I was Flames ownership, I would have a hard time paying David Jones.
    The guy is always hurt and is not worth 4 mil cap hit.
    Our RW really sucks.

  • icedawg_42

    I think they will ride Seto until it’s plainly obvious that A.) he’s back in form and contributing, or B.) he’s never gonna be any value here. I don’t see any AHL in his future with the Flames. I am hoping that they do the same with Sven, give them both enough ice to either work out the bugs, or burn their future with this franchise (for the record, I’m rooting hard for them both to succeed.) I could see Diaz moving himself up the depth chart. As far as Johnny and Bennet? Start them both -no AHL for Gaugreau….ever. As for Sam? I think he’ll paint the Flames into the same corner Monahan did last year. Judging from his play thus far (albeit against lesser talent) how do you tell the kid ‘no’? (and yes, I get it – WJC etc)

    • T&A4Flames

      I will never get the attitude towards Sven that is currently being given towards him. He has so much skill and is still so young. If he requires more time in the AHL then so be it.

      Some people it seems are just wanting to dump a young kid because he brought you up so high at one point and now he is in the midsts of the real work to become a bonafide NHL’r. Don’t be so quick to dismiss the kid. I sure hope that BT is rewarding and celebrating the small steps in progress he makes. Not everyone becomes an instant star. Some need a pat on the back for the small positive things. Like compound interest, it starts small but can grow exponentially.

  • icedawg_42

    I’ll put it this way…my personal thought is that Burke is trying to beat sven up because it “worked” for Kadri…sven and kadri are not the same player. kadri has a huge ego, and I think sven is significantly more fragile in that department. confidence is everything to that kid. Just my take.