FGD: Pre-Season Finale (6pm MT, no TV)

After three and a half weeks, many scrimmages, four Young Stars games, a Dinos match-up and eight pre-season contests for the big boys, the 2014-15 Calgary Flames pre-season finally winds down tonight with a visit to MTS Centre and the Winnipeg Jets.

The game goes at 6pm MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. If you have a digital cable box, I believe the game is on the free Center Ice preview, but there’s also a chance it’s blacked out. It worked for me for Thursday’s game, but your mileage may vary.

With just 30 bodies left in camp, tonight’s the last chance for many Calgary Flames players to make a last-ditch effort to not get sent to Glens Falls, NY to begin play with the Adirondack Flames (who lost a pre-season game to the hated Utica Comets last night).

THE FLAMES

The Flames are getting healthy all of a sudden, with Mikael Backlund, David Jones and Mason Raymond all graduating to the main practice group earlier this week and now making the trip to play tonight. With Bennett out due to a reported upper-body injury, this probably means nothing but bad news for Sam Bennett’s NHL aspirations in the short-term, though.

Lines via Wes Gilbertson and Derek Wills with the team in Winnipeg.

Gaudreau – Colborne – Raymond
Jooris – Backlund – Jones
Hudler – Stajan – Setoguchi
Bollig – Bouma – McGrattan

Diaz – Brodie
Russell – Engelland
Smid – Wideman

Hiller
Ortio

This is basically the final roster, give or take a few tweaks. Hiller gets the start. No Monahan, Baertschi, Bennett, Byron, Glencross or Giordano.

THE JETS

The Jets are smarting off the 4-2 loss to Calgary on Thursday, particularly Zach Bogosian left the game with an injury and likely won’t play tonight.

Lines via the Winnipeg Sun’s Ken Wiebe:

Kane – Scheifele – Wheeler
Ladd – Little – Frolik
Lowry – Perreault – Halischuk
Galiardi – Slater – Peluso

Stuart – Trouba
Postma – Enstrom
Pardy – Clitsome

Hutchison
Pavelec/Taylor

No idea who starts in net. The Jets really, really, desperately need to stop taking penalties. They gave the Flames seven power-plays on Thursday. Against a team with a good power-play, that’s suicide.

Nikolaj Ehlers was superb against Calgary, so it’s a bit of a shame that it seems that he’ll be headed back to the Q. He’s reportedly been very good all camp.

SUM IT UP

Sixty minutes of ice hockey is all that separates some members of the Calgary Flames from honest-to-gosh NHL roster spots. Soon, the long pointless march of the NHL pre-season will be complete and the longer, more meaningful march through an 82-game NHL regular season will be upon us.

  • Victoria Flames Fan

    I’ve missed a couple of the games but from the ones I’ve seen Bollig, Setoguchi and Smid are nowhere near the conditioning they need to be at. Glencross not much better.

    • SavardianSpinorama

      Agree! Now you know why the conditioning results are never released to the media other than the rookie that has the best results.

      Glencross in particular has been sucking wind the entire preseason.

  • SavardianSpinorama

    A wholly uninspired affair. The Flames were listless and disorganized in their own zone. Worse, they were practically disinterested in the offensive zone.

    Setoguchi didn’t look like he wanted to stay; Jooris did.

      • SavardianSpinorama

        Wideman looked a bit slow but was generally alright.

        Russell was steady but didn’t shine as he did in previous games when he was one of the only vets.

        The fact is, practically all of the Flames forwards were unnoticeable except when they made a mistake, which was not uncommon. Without being too much of a cheerleader, Gaudreau was one of the few I thought was really dangerous and even then not as often as in earlier games.

        I don’t agree that Backlund looked terrible. He looked no worse than the others, IMO. Which is to say, he needs to shake off the rust. His hit on Enstrom was brutal and he was lucky not to have been kicked out right there.

        • SavardianSpinorama

          Good post.Thanks for responding and providing your insights on some of the other vets.

          Now if we can only get that Savardian guy to get off this sight. That would immediately upgrade the intelligence level of the FN comments!

          • SavardianSpinorama

            Why is it that every time someone gives an honest assessment of the current Flames we want to get rid of them???

            Send the kids down and let the “one year contract vets” play us into a top 3 draft pick already…….

            WW

          • SavardianSpinorama

            Your one sided view of things is very shallow…example…

            In the Jones transaction Feaster swapped players. Going the other way was Alex Tanquay. In the 2nd year of a 5 year contract that will pay him >$5M per year. Did you forget to mention Alex basically has a broken worn out body and the AVS will be lucky to get 10-20 games per year?

            Need more examples…Oiler fan??

  • SavardianSpinorama

    This is a really hard game to not be critical of literally everyone because we got outplayed for the entire 60 minutes of the game.

    That being said, I’ll try to temper most of my negative comments with a few positive ones

    Note (I was kind of half watching through the first, and the third. Because I was cooking and irrationally angry, respectively)

    1. Despite what everyone else has posted I thought Backlund did okay. He pushed the puck forward and protected it well in the offensive zone. He made a horrible hit from behind in the third which will be reviewed and he will likely not be playing in the first few games of the season. He also had some nice defensive plays.

    2. Lance Bouma is a one man wrecking crew. He flies around and hits anything that moves.

    3. Our defence was absolutely, unequivocally, horrible. Wideman and Diaz were disasters out there, always out of position, making poor decisions and giving up great chances because of it. Giordano even made a bonehead play by taking an interference penalty, and Brodie at times coughed up the puck. All in all, we really did not have a strong showing in this area.

    4. Setoguchi is terrible. I really want to like him, I was jazzed about the signing, but my god. People say he needs to try more, but I honestly think he’s trying to hard and as a result he doesn’t think. He is also a master at passing pucks into peoples feet, a skill Wideman was also displaying tonight.

    5. Hiller is a pretty good goalie. He got shelled tonight and faced a lot of high quality chances. This game could have been much, much worse. It’s funny, I love the signing (he’s a really good goalie!) but I’m also sad because deep down I know he’s going to take that starting spot from Ramo, and I love Ramo (cue BookofLoob’s Rambo/Ramo pic).

    6. Hudler did some decent things, he made some stuff happen on the offensive side. Stajan was noticeably trying to get something going, very scrappy. Although I would say he played far (far) from a good game.

    7. McGrattan and Bollig displayed their case for why you should only dress one of them at a time.

    8. I also don’t think it is fair to say that all the vets had a bad game. Gaudreau certainly wasn’t standout tonight either. Although in his defense, guys were bobbling passes, not passing the puck to him (Colborne!) and the powerplay was a group effort of suck. That being said, shouldn’t excuse him from scrutiny.

    9. And one note about the Jets. Evander Kane is a beast. He does everything you’d want in a star player, aside from put up points (I think he may have had a point or two tonight, I just mean in general). He is noticeable every shift.

    10. Oh also, Jones scored. So there’s that. (Is it weird I’m always disappointed when he scores? For some reason I would always prefer it to be literally anyone else)

    To be honest this game reminded me of the old flames of a few years ago, albeit much, much worse. It just felt, for lack of a better word, lackluster. There wasn’t the hard-working Flames of last year, and in many ways this game could be a bit sobering for how this year is actually going to go. It also makes me realize how important the kids are to making the season watchable.

    Then again, its one game and everyone has bad games. Hell the Avalanche haven’t won a game in preseason, so I guess we can say at least we aren’t them.

    In Summary: Flames gave an uninspiring effort in an game that wasn’t very inspiring to being with.

    • SavardianSpinorama

      “To be honest this game reminded me of the old flames of a few years ago, albeit much, much worse. It just felt, for lack of a better word, lackluster. There wasn’t the hard-working Flames of last year, and in many ways this game could be a bit sobering for how this year is actually going to go.”

      I had a similar thought. It was like watching the Flames of a few years ago but without Jarome.

    • SavardianSpinorama

      Pretty much agree. I do believe there was a lot of “try” out there, but between the rust on the 3 new additions (Backlund, Jones & Smid), tremendous 1st vs. 4th line-matching by the Jets and screwed up lines with no chemistry we could get nothing going with any consistency.

      Hmm, interesting about Colorado. Are they gearing up for another epic fail of a season, just in time to snag another generational player like they’ve managed the past 4 years?

  • SavardianSpinorama

    The Flames have not had this much young talent in their franchise for as long as I can remember. For training camps in the last decade or two, there’s usually been one or two spots up for grabs. Most of the time the player who lost out would just become a reserve. Feel free to correct me, but it seems like it’s been a long time since the Flames had someone on a one way contract that after the pre-season they had to get rid off all together or try to send them down to the farm.

    Which meant I only usually looked at the $$ attached to a contract. I kept track of when a big name was becoming a UFA and things like that. The lack of competition really didn’t make me think about who had a guaranteed contract or longer term. Now in 2014, it’s playing a huge role in deciding who will be on this team and it shows me just how much these little mistakes can add up. All in cases where the Flames had leverage.

    Committing 3 years to Bollig is terrible on every level. The Flames somehow gave up a decent asset, for a team trying to make a salary cap dump and took on 3 years of this player. Taking on 3 years for a mediocre player and his contract, should have made the return almost next to nothing. Bollig was terrible alll pre-season and there’s zero chance of him getting cut. Next to none. Hartley can talk about the culture of this organization all he wants, the Flames aren’t stashing a player they traded for this year, in the minors for 3 seasons. The Flames could have easily found someone at the same level as Bollig for much less compensation, term and money.

    You can apply this same logic to Deryk Engelland. The term more then the price hurts the Flames.

    Setoguchi getting a 1 way contract. Almost the end of the off-season, really hardly any action on him from what was said. Flames give him a guaranteed contract making his situation a lot trickier then just cutting him. Flames had some leverage on the player, ended up not being able to use any of it.

    I don’t think David Jones will be that bad this year but I also think it was insane to take back a player with that contract. While that was under Feaster, it still showed an inability to measure the short term gain with the long term pain of having a player with little upside for multiple years.

    The Flames very well could have put together a strong 4th line for this season that would not be full of players that would be missing out on top line minutes in Abbotsford, that could give them flexibility in sending players up and down and one that would not only have a high upside, but be more exciting to watch. Byron-Bouma-Jooris is just one example. Instead the Flames are going to be icing a 4th line of McGrattan-Bouma-Bollig on most nights. And due to Bollig’s contract and McGrattan’s “value” this team believes he has, there’s almost zero chance either of these guys get sent down or cut at any point in this season. Honest question, do people think Bollig or McGrattan have any chance of getting cut from this team at any point during this season?

    While none of these moves cripple the Flames, it does scare me as to how the Flames will handle the bigger contracts and free agents.