We begin the next seven days with 40 players on the Calgary Flames active roster. By the end of, there will be just 23 and we’ll be ready for the season’s kick-off.
The beginning of the end of camp kicks off tonight with a return pre-season engagement between the Flames (3-2-0) and the Colorado Avalanche (0-4-1) at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The puck drops at 7pm MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
The Calgary Flames are coming off a really nice effort on Sunday in Denver, bolstered by some strong goaltending by Karri Ramo and Joni Ortio as well as some nice goal-scoring from a seemingly unlikely source, Michael Ferland. He’s back in the line-up, anchoring the fourth line for the locals.
Lines, via Pat Steinberg:
– Monahan – Baertschi
Glencross – Colborne – Hudler
– Arnold – Bollig
– Jooris – Ferland
Potentially three NHL lines and two NHL pairings, and the NHL goalies. The bottom six is entirely guys fighting for jobs. No Sam Bennett this evening – he’s nursing some soreness but he did practice with the non-game group. But hey, Baertschi and Gaudreau continue their auditions, and Bill Arnold joins them as “rookies playing on NHL ones.”
Likely AHLers Brett Kulak and Sena Acolatse get third pairing work, and Jonas Hiller will be given the full 60 minutes tonight (we’ll see Ramo do the same on Thursday).
Injured players include (deep breath): Backlund, Smid, Raymond, Setoguchi, Wotherspoon, Potter, Engelland, Klimchuk and Granlund.
Colorado’s lines, via the Avs website:
Tanguay – Winchester – Briere
Agozzino – Hishon – Rendulic
Talbot – Cliche – Everberg
Schumacher – Henley – Maggio
Hejda – Guenin
Wilson – Redmond
Siemins – Noreau
To paraphrase the sarcastic executive from Major League: “I haven’t heard of half of these guys.”
But hey, Alex Tanguay, Daniel Briere, Max Talbot, Jan Hejda and Reto Berra are all here. And future AHLer Michael Schumacher and Croatian sensation Borna Rendulic. Let’s presume that expectations for an Avalanche win are relatively low, and they’re giving their fringe guys one last kick at the can before sending them back to Cleveland to play with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters.
SUM IT UP
The Flames are icing an NHL-ready roster against Colorado’s B-team. The expectations for the established veterans are probably already set, but keep an eye on the fourth line, the third defense pairing and the trio of Arnold, Gaudreau and Baertschi. These are the guys trying to win jobs – or at least get on the radar for call-ups – and if they’re not playing with some desperation, they probably will be on a plane to Glens Falls before too long.