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
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
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.
- G Jonas HIller [$4.5 million]
- G Karri Ramo [$2.75 million]
- D Mark Giordano [$4.02 million]
- D T.J. Brodie [$2.125 million]
- D Kris Russell [$2.6 million]
- D Deryk Engelland [$2.9 million]
- D Dennis Wideman [$5.25 million]
- D Ladislav Smid [$3.5 million]
- D Raphael Diaz [estimated $0.925 million]
- F Joe Colborne [$1.275 million]
- F Mikael Backlund [$1.5 million] (unless hurt, then Sam Bennett gets his spot for a few games)
- F Brian McGrattan [$0.75 million]
- F Lance Bouma [$0.775 million]
- F Matt Stajan [$3.125 million]
- F David Jones [$4 million]
- F Curtis Glencross [$2.55 million]
- F Mason Raymond [$3.15 million]
- F Sean Monahan [$1.775 million]
- F Jiri Hudler [$4 million]
- F Brandon Bollig [$1.25 million]
- F Paul Byron [$0.6 million]
- F Johnny Gaudreau [$1.85 million]
- 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.