The axe fell this morning at the Scotiabank Saddledome, with the Calgary Flames assigning a slew of bodies to the American Hockey League – or to purgatory, depending on if one had a contract. Headed to Adirondack are Sena Acolatse (pending waivers), Brett Kulak, Corban Knight, Max Reinhart and Bill Arnold. Headed to an abyss of contractual uncertainty are try-out players Sheldon Brookbank and Nolan Yonkman.
The Adirondack Flames play pre-season games on Friday and Saturday against Utica, so the guys who got sent down will get into game action almost right away.
Now that the Flames are down to a lean 33-man camp roster, the big question remains: who is left?
Three remain: Joni Ortio, Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo.
There is zero controversy here. Ortio will go down shortly, and Hiller and Ramo will tandem things to kick off the regular season. They’ll probably flip a coin or leg wrestle or something to decide who plays here on October 8 and in Edmonton on October 9.
Ten blueliners remain: Kris Russell, Mark Giordano, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Ladislav Smid, Tyler Wotherspoon, Corey Potter, Deryk Engelland, Raphael Diaz and Patrick Sieloff.
Smid, Wotherspoon, Potter and Engelland are all nursing injuries, though none of them are thought to be catastrophic. I think it’s rather obvious which seven guys stick around. I think they’re keeping Sieloff for extra evaluation and to have enough healthy bodies for pre-season games on the back end. Diaz is on the team, presuming he can agree to a contract.
Not skating with the main group on Wednesday morning were Wotherspoon and Potter while Smid and Engelland did take part in full practice, so my theory appears to be supported so far.
The 20 remaining forwards in camp are: Joe Colborne, Mikael Backlund, Brian McGrattan, Lance Bouma, Matt Stajan, David Jones, Curtis Glencross, Mason Raymond, Devin Setoguchi, Sean Monahan, Jiri Hudler, Brandon Bollig, Sven Baertschi, Paul Byron, Morgan Klimchuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Markus Granlund, Sam Bennett, Michael Ferland and Josh Jooris.
Nursing injuries and not skating with the main group on Wednesday: Backlund, Klimchuk, Jones, Granlund and Raymond. Presuming that Jones, Backlund and Raymond are good to go for October 8, that leaves three spots left-over for guys. And let’s presume Granlund and Klimchuk are cut due to inactivity, so that gets the group down to 18 bodies – or seven guys fighting for three spots.
So pick three of Baertschi, Byron, Setoguchi, Gaudreau, Bennett, Ferland and Jooris for your opening night roster. I would lean towards Byron, Baertschi and Gaudreau right now based on game action, but it depends what you want. If you want guys you want to play a lot and grow, I’d probably go with Baertschi, Bennett and Gaudreau. If you’re looking to fill your last actual playing spot and your extra bodies, I’d go with Gaudreau, Byron and Setoguchi, as they give you flexibility and nobody’s going to be too upset if Setoguchi or Byron sits for a game once in awhile.
This is the last actual battle left for this camp, and if any of the injured trio cannot go for October 8 and goes on the injured reserve when the season begins, then things will get slightly more delayed and slightly more complicated.