Handicapping The Remaining Cuts

We’re still less than 24 hours removed from the Johnny Gaudreau Show, but the business of training camp will soon need to be formally addressed amidst all the swooning. I enclosed a video of his three assists last night above, because wowzers, that’s why.

But the Flames NHL roster sits at 33 bodies and the club is required to get it down to 23 by 3pm MT on Tuesday.

Here’s how they could (or should) do it.

THE EASY CUTS

  • G Joni Ortio assigned to Adirondack
  • D Patrick Sieloff assigned to Adirondack

Both players had fairly good camps but are entirely victims of the numbers game. Calgary has two pretty damn good NHL goaltenders in Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo, and seven reasonably good NHL defenders. Both guys could use seasoning, especially Sieloff (with his two AHL games ever).

  • D Tyler Wotherspoon assigned to Adirondack (either directly or after short IR stint)
  • D Corey Potter assigned to Adirondack after waivers (either directly or after short IR stint)
  • F Marcus Granlund assigned to Adirondack (either directly or after short IR stint)
  • F Morgan Klimchuk assigned to Regina (either directly or after short IR stint)

I’m disappointed we didn’t really get to see any of these guys really fight for spots because of their injuries. Of them, Granlund and Wotherspoon probably had the inside track. Either way, they didn’t get a chance to win spots and return to the AHL. Considering Potter was hurt until now, I cannot see him getting claimed on waivers.

  • Sign D Raphael Diaz to a contract

No-brainer.
My guess is they try to get him on a two-way OR on a one-way that pays
$925,000 or less (so he can be sent to the AHL without his deal costing them cap space). The team probably wants to get a look-see at either
Wotherspoon or Potter (or both) by the end of the season, and they’re
not going to sign Diaz to a deal that eliminates any of their internal
flexibility.

That’s six cuts and a signing down, four to go. Things get tougher now.

THE HARDER CUTS

  • Keep F Brandon Bollig ($1.25 million AAV), F Michael Ferland ($0.797 million AAV) assigned to Adirondack

Here is my logic: Bollig cannot play north of the third line on this team, and is probably a fourth line guy (because of the talent above him), killing penalties and playing small minutes while buried in the defensive zone in terms of starts. In short: he’s gonna be stapled to Lance Bouma’s hip all season, which is what he was acquired to do.

Is Michael Ferland good enough yet to supplant Bollig, ignoring pre-season performances? I doubt it. Ferland is a tough customer with a good offensive streak right now, but he wouldn’t likely be used in that manner in the regular season, nor is he good enough defensively yet to really be effective in the NHL right now. In a few months of AHL work, that may change.

  • Keep F Johnny Gaudreau ($1.85 million AAV), F Sven Baertschi ($1.425 million AAV) assigned to Adirondack

Both guys have had pretty good camps, but Gaudreau has consistently been a difference-maker for the Flames at key times in pre-season games. Quite simply, Sven Baertschi has not.

Upside: Baertschi gets to be the top winger on the farm and will be given every chance to light it up for Adirondack.

  • Send F Sam Bennett ($3.225 million AAV) back to Kingston, unless F Mikael Backlund is still hurt, at which point Bennett plays until Backlund is back

I advocated this approach over at The Hockey Writers. I think Bennett has been good, one of the better players in camp, and I’d love for the organization to be able to reward him with a game or two of NHL action without having the “Oh no, are they keeping him all year?” circus following him around. Merely announce that Bennett gets Backlund’s spot for 2-3 games and when #11 returns, Bennett goes back to junior with some momentum.

  • Keep F Josh Jooris ($0.925 million AAV), F Devin Setoguchi ($0.750 million AAV) put on waivers and assigned to Adirondack

Outside of maybe Johnny Gaudreau, Jooris has had the best camp out of anybody on the roster. Yes, including the veterans. As mentioned by the Sun’s Wes Gilbertson on Twitter last night, you can’t argue “meritocracy” or whatever phrase they’re using this year and not keep Jooris, even for the short-term. Meanwhile, Setoguchi has not been particularly good this pre-season and nobody will be upset if he gets sent to the AHL.

  • Keep F David Jones ($4 million AAV)

Part of me feels bad for David Jones, as he’s become the new organizational whipping boy among the fan-base because of his cap hit. He was hurt all last season, so I don’t think he’s shown how good he can be. Despite being a walking bruise last year, he was still an average possession player (CorsiRel of +0.6) which is pretty in keeping with his career numbers, and I think he can be an effective tough minutes forward this year.

For the curious, though, if you bury his deal in the minors roughly $3.075 million of it counts against the cap, so it’s still possible to hit the cap floor without him (see below).

MY OPENING ROSTER

My moves and cuts result in this roster. Cap hits in brackets.

  1. G Jonas HIller [$4.5 million]
  2. G Karri Ramo [$2.75 million]
  3. D Mark Giordano [$4.02 million]
  4. D T.J. Brodie [$2.125 million]
  5. D Kris Russell [$2.6 million]
  6. D Deryk Engelland [$2.9 million]
  7. D Dennis Wideman [$5.25 million]
  8. D Ladislav Smid [$3.5 million]
  9. D Raphael Diaz [estimated $0.925 million]
  10. F Joe Colborne [$1.275 million]
  11. F Mikael Backlund [$1.5 million] (unless hurt, then Sam Bennett gets his spot for a few games)
  12. F Brian McGrattan [$0.75 million]
  13. F Lance Bouma [$0.775 million]
  14. F Matt Stajan [$3.125 million]
  15. F David Jones [$4 million]
  16. F Curtis Glencross [$2.55 million]
  17. F Mason Raymond [$3.15 million]
  18. F Sean Monahan [$1.775 million]
  19. F Jiri Hudler [$4 million]
  20. F Brandon Bollig [$1.25 million]
  21. F Paul Byron [$0.6 million]
  22. F Johnny Gaudreau [$1.85 million]
  23. F Josh Jooris [$0.925 million]

Estimated cap hit, based on NHL Numbers figures: $56.095 million, just a smidge over the $51 million cap floor. As stated before, while I advise against cutting David Jones, his absence wouldn’t stop the Flames from hitting the floor.

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    To those people saying that Sven is a bust/played himself out of contention/should go back to the AHL, what has he done this preseason that has you so negative? I think Baertschi has been one of the Flames better forwards at camp this year, maybe not as good as Gaudreau or Jooris, but still, he’s played quite well.

    • RKD

      You’re kidding right? One of the best forwards at camp this year? Like in the top 20? Not that points tell it all, but Sven has one point in the preseason and his game is getting points. As far as this camp goes, JG, Ferland, Bennett, Jooris and a pile of other youngsters have been much better. So one of the best forwards in camp? No. Sven will be on the next train to Adirondack.

      • RKD

        Sorry friend you are wrong about him not being one of the best forwards.

        He wouldn’t be with the flames still if he wasn’t. Sure He hasn’t showed up a lot on the score sheet but they told him to go work on the other aspects of his game (he was scoring at a .5 point per game clip in his nhl games) and that is what he did. He came back more defensive minded and with a more complete game.

        Ferland got sent back, and Sven is still in camp so say what you will but the way they see it is he is one of the best forwards.

        • piscera.infada

          So tell me who he’s going to beat out for a spot on the final roster, notably once the injured players return. Here’s an idea – conduct a poll as to who thinks Sven will be here during the regular season once the Flames are healthy. My vote will be AHL.

          • piscera.infada

            Are you saying he’s a bust? That’s the conversation. For me, he’s been better than he was last season in the exhibition games. He looks more engaged, he’s better defensively, and he’s had some great chances. So basically, Sven still has a lot of offensive upside, his play in coverage has improved, and he looks like he wants to be here. The best forward in camp? No. Good camp? Definitely.

            Will he make the team out of camp? Probably not, but should he be given up on? No way in hell.

          • piscera.infada

            So we agree. Sven won’t make the big club out of the gates. Did I say anywhere he was a bust? Did I say the Flames should give up on him? No. I said he wouldn’t make the big club and I stand by that. Time will tell.

          • piscera.infada

            If you compare Sven with Bollig or Byron, who do you think has had a better camp? Add in GlenX and Bouma. Bouma has been effective on the defensive side, but not really anywhere else. GlenX has been just OK. I would rate the group of 5 in this order – Baertschi, Bouma/GlenX, Byron, Bollig.

            Bollig may still get the nod over Sven due to his size. Byron may get the nod due to being able to play any position. But Byron is a roster fill-in, not a Flames prospect that needs to be groomed to be a top-6 player.

        • Kevin R

          I really do hope they opt to keep Sven up & let him play at least the next 20-30 games on the big club. This kid has skills, he is dedicated & now knows what he has to do. He needs to work to overcome some things & he needs a chance to get on a roll & rack up some points. Once he does that, the confidence swagger will come back. That’s what is missing with him now. With Money & Colbourne looking much better going into this year &, JG, Hudler, GlenX, Raymond, & Backs, he will have much better line mates to play with. I would be thrilled if we waived Gooch & kept that spot open for Sven.

          • piscera.infada

            Man, Gooch is horrible. Even if he’s on this team to start the season, I don’t think he’s long for a roster spot. He’d need to perform exceptionally well in the offensive zone to stay with the team for 82.

          • Kevin R

            Yeah & sadly, if he was waived, no one would pick him up. So what does that say? A flash in the pan that had phenomenal circumstances has had reality dumped upon him. How does that individual respond? I would have liked to hear how he added muscle, hired Gary Roberts to train him into the best shape of his career & treat these exhibition games as playoff games. Kinda shows the character of the player & how can we put him in our starting lineup over one of our home grown 21 year old 1st rounders with the same offensive prowess? I guess it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he starts in Addy but this is a very pivotal year for Sven. If we are having these same conversations next Fall, Bennett, Pourier & Klimchuk are going to pass him by. So then we need to give him a change of scenery as I think he is still a very good prospect, similar to what Kyle Turris needed. That trade to Ottawa gave his career a second chance.

            I see Isalnders scored Boychuk in a trade & word is that the Hawks are moving Leddy this weekend. Sven for Leddy straight up, would that be a deal worth doing from the Flames point of view? I don’t know………

  • SavardianSpinorama

    Marvel at the way Johnny sucked two guys out of their jock straps (Halischuk and Perreault) with a combined 431 games of NHL experience on the first Jooris goal.