Meet the 2014-15 Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames finalized and announced their 2014-15 opening roster this afternoon. But with 23 bodies on the team, it can be a bit hard to keep them all straight. In an effort to provide clarity on who’s who on the 2014-15 Flames, here’s a handy primer put together by FlamesNation’s crack team of researchers, reporters and hired goons.

#1 JONAS HILLER (GOALTENDER)

  • 32 years old; from Felben Wellhausen, Switzerland (population 2,600)
  • $4.5 million cap hit through 2015-16
  • Acquired as a free agent signing this past off-season.
  • 326 NHL games played (all with Anaheim)
  • Might be the only active NHLer wearing Koho goalie equipment.
  • Has represented Switzerland in two Olympic games.

#4 KRIS RUSSELL (DEFENSE)

  • 27 years old; from Caroline, Alberta
  • Alternate captain
  • $2.6 million cap hit through 2015-16
  • Acquired in a sign-and-trade deal with the St. Louis Blues last off-season.
  • 432 NHL games played (Calgary, St. Louis and Columbus)
  • Good offensive player, but under-sized. Third-best defender on the team behind Mark Giordano and T.J. Brodie.

#5 MARK GIORDANO (DEFENSE)

  • 31 years old; from Toronto, Ontario
  • Team captain
  • $4.02 million cap hit through 2015-16
  • Acquired as a free agent to help Calgary fill out their shared AHL team prior to the 2004-05 season
  • 449 NHL games played (all Calgary)
  • Unsigned, undrafted player has somehow worked his way into an NHL captaincy and Norris contention

#6 DENNIS WIDEMAN (DEFENSE)

  • 31 years old; from Kitchener, Ontario
  • $5.25 million cap hit through 2016-17
  • Acquired via trade with Washington (Feaster sent a pick and a player for his rights)
  • 627 NHL games played (Calgary, Washington, Florida, Boston and St. Louis)
  • Power-play specialist, primarily.

#7 T.J. BRODIE (DEFENSE)

  • 24 years old; from Chatham, Ontario
  • $2.125 million cap hit through 2014-15 (pending RFA)
  • Calgary’s fourth round selection in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft
  • 185 NHL games played (all Calgary)
  • Has progressed from a green tentative player a few seasons ago to being Calgary’s best non-Giordano defender. He’s still only 24, so there’s no telling how good he’ll get with a bit more experience.

#8 JOE COLBORNE (CENTER/RIGHT WING)

  • 24 years old; from Calgary, Alberta
  • $1.275 million cap hit through 2015-16
  • Acquired from Toronto last season on the day before rosters needed to be finalized with the league
  • 96 NHL games (Calgary and Toronto)
  • Has filled out and added some weight in the off-season so he can be better in the corners. Now he’s thick in addition to being crazy-tall.

#11 MIKAEL BACKLUND (CENTER)

  • 25 years old; from Vasteras, Sweden
  • $1.5 million cap hit through 2014-15 (pending RFA)
  • Calgary’s first round selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft
  • 246 NHL games (all Calgary)
  • Calgary’s best center, or would be considered it if he could stay healthy. Good at everything, strong two-way player, and offensive game chugs along really well when he’s feeling confident.

#13 JOHNNY GAUDREAU (LEFT WING)

  • 21 years old; from Carney’s Point, New Jersey
  • Bonus-aided $1.85 million cap hit through 2015-16
  • Calgary’s fourth round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft
  • 1 NHL game (Calgary)
  • A scary-good NCAA player (175 points in 119 games) despite being smaller and younger than his opposition.

#15 LADISLAV SMID (DEFENSE)

  • 28 years old; from Frydlant, Czech Republic (population 7,600)
  • $3.5 million cap hit through 2016-17
  • Acquired from Edmonton in the second trade ever between the two bitter Alberta rivals
  • 530 NHL games (Calgary and Edmonton)
  • Perfectly acceptable stay-at-home defender. Doesn’t have a lot to offer beyond that, but he’s good in his own zone when on his game.

#16 BRIAN McGRATTAN (RIGHT WING)

  • 33 years old; from Hamilton, Ontario
  • $750,000 cap hit through 2014-15 (pending UFA)
  • Acquired from Nashville a few seasons back for minor-league defender Joe Piskula (Brodie’s AHL partner)
  • 309 NHL games (Calgary, Nashville, Phoenix and Ottawa)
  • Resident plugger is renowned for being good in the room but doesn’t offer a heck of a lot on the offensively or defensively.

#17 LANCE BOUMA (CENTER/LEFT WING)

  • 24 years old; from Provost, Alberta
  • $775,000 cap hit through 2014-15
  • Calgary’s third round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft
  • 121 NHL games (all Calgary)
  • All heart and hustle, Bouma’s developed a niche as a shot-blocker and penalty-killer. Hopefully he can develop his (to this point) non-existent offensive side.

#18 MATT STAJAN (CENTER)

  • 30 years old; from Mississauga, Ontario
  • $3.125 million cap hit through 2017-18
  • Acquired from Toronto in the infamous Dion Phaneuf trade
  • 715 NHL games (Calgary and Toronto)
  • Arguably the team’s best all-around center, but Backlund likely supplants him if he stays healthy.

#19 DAVID JONES (RIGHT WING)

  • 30 years old; from Guelph, Ontario
  • $4 million cap hit through 2015-16
  • Acquired form Colorado in an off-season trade last year
  • 320 NHL games (Calgary and Colorado)
  • Completely fine third line guy who got a big contract from Colorado because he scored 20 goals. Hard to tell what he is right now because he was hurt most of last season.

#20 CURTIS GLENCROSS (LEFT WING)

  • 31 years old; from Kindersley, Saskatchewan
  • Alternate captain
  • $2.55 million cap hit through 2014-15
  • Signed as a free agent years ago when the Edmonton Oilers decided they didn’t want him
  • 436 NHL games (Calgary, Edmonton and Columbus)
  • Rugged winger with good hands around the net. He had awful injury luck last season and desperately wants/needs a full season without any missed time.

#21 MASON RAYMOND (LEFT/RIGHT WING)

  • 29 years old; from Cochrane, Alberta
  • $3.17 million cap hit through 2016-17
  • Signed a free agent this off-season
  • 456 NHL games (Toronto and Vancouver)
  • Speedy winger with good scoring touch. Injuries may be a minor concern, but if he’s healthy he’s a huge boost for the Flames and can be used anywhere on the top three lines.

#22 DEVIN SETOGUCHI (RIGHT WING)

  • 27 years old; from Taber, Alberta
  • $750,000 cap hit through 2014-15 (pending UFA)
  • Signed a free agent this off-season
  • 459 NHL games (Winnipeg, Minnesota and San Jose)
  • Two-way player with an offensive touch. He’s scored 20+ goals in the past, but in recent years has been used as a complementary asset.

#23 SEAN MONAHAN (CENTER)

  • 20 years old; from Brampton, Ontario
  • Bonus-aided $1.775 million cap hit through 2015-16
  • Calgary’s first round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft
  • 75 NHL games (all Calgary)
  • Big, strong 19-year old, 20+ goal-scoring rookie added muscle over the off-season, presumably so he can be bigger, stronger and score more goals. It’s not an awful plan.

#24 JIRI HUDLER (LEFT/RIGHT WING)

  • 30 years old; from Olomouc, Czech Republic
  • $4 million cap hit through 2015-16
  • Signed as a free agent a few summers ago
  • 526 NHL games (Calgary and Detroit)
  • Not overly physical, but this skilled Czech just figures out ways to get to the net. Led the Flames in points last season.

#25 BRANDON BOLLIG (LEFT WING)

  • 27 years old; from St. Charles, Missouri
  • $1.25 million cap hit through 2015-16
  • Acquired in a draft-day trade with the Chicago Blackhawks
  • 125 NHL games (all Chicago)
  • Physical bottom-six fixture for Blackhawks. Has a beard and a Stanley Cup ring. A key component in Calgary’s “tougher to play against” stance, but he’s also a situationally useful player (PK, defensive zone starts).

#29 DERYK ENGELLAND (DEFENSE/RIGHT WING)

  • 32 years old; from Edmonton, Alberta
  • $2.917 million cap hit through 2016-17
  • Signed as a free agent this off-season
  • 243 NHL games (all Pittsburgh)
  • Big, physical, right-shooting defenseman. Basically similar to Ladislav Smid, except he plays physical all the time.

#31 KARRI RAMO (GOALIE)

  • 28 years old; from Asikkala, Finland (population 8,400)
  • $2.75 million cap hit through 2014-15 (pending UFA)
  • Acquired by trade with Montreal (in the six-asset Rene Bourque/Mike Cammalleri deal).
  • 88 NHL games (Calgary and Tampa Bay)
  • Positionally-sound, calm goaltender. Doesn’t rattle, doesn’t get caught out of position much. He had some injury issues last year, and recurring hip issue this off-season may lead to some injury concerns in the future.

#32 PAUL BYRON (LEFT/RIGHT WING)

  • 25 years old; from Ottawa, Ontario
  • $600,000 cap hit through 2014-15 (pending RFA)
  • Acquired from Buffalo Sabres in Robyn Regehr trade.
  • 81 NHL games (Calgary and Buffalo)
  • Small and agile, Byron’s a good forechecker and a strong penalty-killer. Might not be able to progress above third line status due to his size, though.

#33 RAPHAEL (RAFFA) DIAZ (DEFENSE)

  • 28 years old; from Baar, Switzerland
  • $700,000 cap hit through 2014-15 (pending UFA)
  • Signed as a free agent after attending camp as a try-out player
  • 145 NHL games (NY Rangers, Montreal and Vancouver)
  • Power-play specialist.
  • Lober

    Was really surprised Russell has been given the 2nd A but can’t really complain about it. He has put in his fair amount of time in the minors and worked his way up to an everyday NHL dman and has been surpassed all expectations of him since arriving in CGY. Congrats Kris!

  • SavardianSpinorama

    The Bennett injury has me thinking back. Maybe I’m wrong but I recall something from the OHL playoffs or the end of the season that he played with an upper body injury, does anyone else recall this? If so it could be one of the explanations for no chinups, and the current injury. If he has had a shoulder injury lets send him to the surgeon and determine the best course of action and get it done.Better he spend time off this season dealing with it properly than wasting time doing the wrong thing. If he misses until February the rest of his body will mature and then he can be ready for the OHL playoffs and he can be ready for next year. Early treated earlier back.

  • McRib

    My final thought on Sven Baertschi for awhile… Does the fact that he is an RFA at the end of this year have any impact on him being sent down to the AHL?

    Lets face it if he had a great season this year maybe the Flames are worried he pulls a Ryan Johansen and cashes in on lucrative bridge deal…

    It’s become obvious to me that Sven is going to be a player (how many other 22 year-olds had 2.0 PPG in the CHL +1 seasons and 0.47 PPG in the NHL at that age, the answer is not many). He would have finished Top. 8 in NHL Rookie Scoring if he played all year with the Flames.

    Its really just a matter of is Sven going to be a first liner or a second liner in his prime (age 24-27), so do the Flames bury him in the AHL so that they can pay half price for the next couple years to find that out….

  • McRib

    Honestly besides the obvious players that Sven should have made this team over (Bollig, McGrattan, Setoguch & Jones). I don’t understand why Paul Bryon was such a lock to make it over him….

    Paul Bryon has a Career NHL PPG of 0.36, Sven Baertschi has a Career NHL PPG of 0.47.

    Sven Baertschi has homerun upside (worse case Top. 6 upside) and was once a star prospect of this organziation who we hope is around for years…

    Whereas Bryon’s upside is likely somewhere between being a third liner on a below average club that gets kicked around organizations or a European forward. Not to mention that he is always on the verge of injury… I just don’t understand what value there is in keeping him over Sven.

    • RexLibris

      Absolutely agree.

      The top “vets” that should have been sat in favour of giving NHL development time are Seto (worst camp performance), Jones (poor camp), and Byron (has speed and is a pest but low ceiling).

      Would rather see Baertschi, Granlund and Ferland getting NHL experience, mistakes and all, during this “year of development”.

      • McRib

        Seto was sooo bad in preseason I would rather have Sven using a Right Handed Stick playing RW than Seto at that position…

        What a double standard the Flames have shown… Seto parties his way out of being an NHLer after numerous “chances”, he still gets a “last chance” with Calgary and looks terrible in preseason…. Baertschi, Granlund and Ferland work their asses off in the offseason look great in preseason and are cut… Talk about earning your chances…

        • MonsterPod

          No, no. You obviously haven’t been listening to that team mouthpiece Steinberg on the Fan. “Always earned……” extends beyond training camp! Ignoring, of course, that this is supposed to be a rebuild.

          Well, Johnny made it at least. Now lets see how much and with who and what situations he plays.

          Posted this elsewhere, but in regards to SB, 6 weeks is the norm for shoulder surgery plus physio. Given the Flames’ access to private clinics and the best care, SB should be able to get under the knife and begin rehab soon enough to make the WJC.

          • SavardianSpinorama

            This whole “always earned” business still frosts my cookies.

            If you are saying that the test is not “what have you done for me lately”, i.e., in training camp but that you do include what a vet has done over a period of time, then what is the period of time? How far back do you go?

            If the vet has been trending down, where is the threshold at which a rookie exceeds the vet? And what is the weight of a specific role in this equation? Is there an objective test or do you have to go “by eye”?

            The Flames would never answer these questions and I wouldn’t expect them to because it is a business.

            Keeping Seto can be justified by the “hope” he does well and becomes a useful asset that can be kept, if he is super, or traded if someone needs to pick up the piece. Sending Jooris or Baertschi down can be justified by giving them top minutes in Addy. Okay, I get it. But that’s got squat to do with Always Earned.

            Let’s get a little intellectual honesty going here and if we can’t do that, let’s just back off the catchy slogan some spin doctor in the communications group came up with because its currency isn’t going to, and didn’t, outlast the final cuts..

          • SavardianSpinorama

            1) Sven did not EARN top six minutes.

            2) Sven will not live up to his potential playing third line minutes.

            3) Sven is not a 4th line banger or crasher, and I am having a difficult time envisioning him playing on a line with Bollig and McGratton.

            Relax, you guys. Cripes, the way some of you complain, one would think he’s the second coming of Wayne Gretzky.

            If he had played as well as JG, the team would have made room for him.

          • SavardianSpinorama

            I didn’t single out Sven exclusively. Granlund played well enough. Jooris played well enough. Even Ferland played well enough.

            By well enough, I mean better than, say, Seto, if you are Granlund. Better than Boliig or McGratton if you are, say, Jooris or Ferland.

            I agree that Sven’s time will come and I know that time is likely this year as a result of injuries.

            My complaint is with a BS slogan that is not justified.

          • SavardianSpinorama

            The slogan is justified (to an extent).

            Everyone here uses Sven as an example. Well, Seto is bigger than Sven and more capable of filling a third line role.

            If Setoguchi doesn’t produce, he’ll be gone soon enough. He cost the Flames nothing other than management will have to admit they gambled and lost.

            Jones is easy enough to send down if he doesn’t produce, because there really aren’t any teams that can afford to pick up his contract given that it doesn’t expire until the end of next year. Who is going to pick up Jones? Whoever it is, power to them.

            Neither Jones nor Sven are capable of a fourth line role, and at this stage, Sven isn’t capable of a third line situation.

            Sven needs top six minutes. Period.

            Is a team full of the Sedin twins going to take a team to the next level? I don’t think so.

            Teams need a balance between elite scoring prowess, grit and as Kent likes to say, “functional toughness.”

            Sven is not yet elite, his grit comes into question, and he can’t be mistaken for functional toughness.

            So, it’s up to Sven to show the team he can provide two of the three, without being a drain on the team while he is at it.

            I want Sven on this team. He has improved, I will give him that. But he needs to show the Flames management he is versatile enough to fill a lesser role if he isn’t providing offense. He hasn’t really shown that yet, as far as I’m concerned.

    • SavardianSpinorama

      Byron is a pretty good penalty killer. He was also pigeon-holed by previous Flames’ regimes. He got better as last season wore on and I believe he has become a favourite of the coaching staff.

      Baertschi and Byron are not the same kind of player, and teams have to fill roles based on needs.

      Sven will get his chance, in the meantime . . .

      • McRib

        Just FYI the goalie Bryon is scoring on in that video is Nathan Lieuwen someone who has 1 Win in 7 GP. Hahah, Just stirring the pot was a nice goal regardless.

        I don’t mind Byron, but I just don’t understand what value he brings to the organization outside of this season.

        Also I would rather have someone who once showed Top.3 potential and is still tracking nicely for Top 6 potential (see 0.47 NHL PPG before hitting 22 years-old) make the club who worked his ass off to be there than Byron who has missed a combined 50+ games due to injury the past three seasons and who is 25 years-old (which means he likely has peaked as a player, NHL Peak is age 24-27).

        I promise I will eat crow if Paul Byron becomes more than a third line energy guy, Hahah. At the end of the day I am sure Sven Baertschi will get in plenty of NHL games this season, once injuries/fatigue hit.

        • SavardianSpinorama

          That’s the problem, McRib. Baertschi didn’t out-perform the top six, and it’s a waste of talent placing him on the bottom six. He did not do nearly enough to replace Hudler, Gaudreau, Monahan, Stajan, Colborne, Glencross and the Flames are certainly not going to sit Backlund for Baertschi, injury-riddled pre-season or not. That’s seven guys there, add in Mason Raymond and that’s eight. Baerstschi isn’t going to improve playing third line minutes, let’s face it. If a McGratton or a Bollig goes down, the Flames are not going to call up Sven, they’ll call up Ferland or Jooris (this is the “fill needs by role” I mentioned). You can’t compare Sven and Byron, they provide different roles and needs to the organization. Is Sven better than Bollig and McGratton? Of course he is, but what good is he on the fourth line? And for what it’s worth, I’d rather Sven on the roster than either Jones or Setoguchi, but you can’t compare Sven to a fourth liner and even a third liner is a stretch right now.

          • piscera.infada

            Exactly! The second there’s a top-6 spot open, Sven’s up. Of course that’s assuming he goes to the AHL and is a professional about it – works his ass off and produces. People love to point out that assigning Sven to Addy sends him the wrong message. However, no one seems to point out that Sven, while down there, pouting and not producing sends the wrong message to management. Look, it’s simple; he’s the one that has to prove himself.

            Sure, he’s done good things in his time with the big-club. I will also grant the fact that last season he didn’t get a very fair shake towards the end. That all said, if players are going to have the right attitude about developing themselves as professionals, they’ll be given professional opportunity.

            I won’t go as far as to say he has an “attitude problem” because I don’t think he does. There is most definitely a need for him to prove he has a professional attitude towards everything (training, consistency, practicing, producing, et cetera, ad nauseum).

            The point is yes, Sven has a much higher ceiling (as is likely a better player at this point) than Setoguchi, et al., but he needs to show management he is willing to do his job no matter what level he’s at; no complaints, just play.

  • RKD

    Other Flames players who wore #13: Cammy, Jokinen and the classic German Titov. From Carney’s Point NJ #13 Johnny Gaudreau! Hope Setouguchi wakes up now that the real season is about to start. I thought under Gio’s profile you might have: is known to engage in beast mode!

  • beloch

    Reading the current roster and the first thing that struck me is “this is not a young team.” I think most of us assumed the current Flames edition would have youth throughout the lineup but the reality is the club is fairly old. Which is kind of depressing. I don’t mind losing with a young squad learning the pro game but I object to losing with a team of veterans with an average age of high 20’s.

    • SickFloBro

      1. Edmonton – Avg Age: 26.049 (Youngest)
      2. Ottawa – Avg Age: 26.573
      3. Columbus – Avg Age: 26.678
      4. Toronto – Avg Age: 26.695
      5. Winnipeg – Avg Age: 26.952
      6. Minnesota – Avg Age: 27.066
      7. Carolina – Avg Age: 27.343
      8. Calgary – Avg Age: 27.350

      30: New Jersey – Avg Age: 31.248 (Oldest)

      Pretty young…top 1/3 in the league in terms of youth. I see your point though – the team could be younger.

      The more I think about it, the more I’m in favour of sending kids like Ferland, Granlund, and Baertschi back to Addy. Way more playing time. How much more ice time is Sven going to get in Addy versus here? Way more. That’s what you want…players playing. They don’t develop sitting on the bench or in the press box.

    • SickFloBro

      Flames have the 8th youngest team in the league. Thats perfectly fine IMO, especially if you take into consideration that there will be a couple young players on the roster by the end of the season. No doubt in my mind that one, two, or even three of Granlund, Baerstchi, Ferland and Jooris come up and stick at some point this season. Also important not to have an excessively young roster as then you cannot shield your rookies and you end up with the WORST possible scenario – the one you see up north.

  • Grant

    Re Bennett Injury

    Sucks. Really sucks. Only bright side i see is that if he played through his shoulder injury last season and still managed to put up 36 goals and 55 assists for 91 points in 57 games, then what would he have put up if he wasn’t injured?

    Also evident that this had an impact on the whole 0 pull ups fiasco.

    Brutal that he will likely miss the WJC now. That was likely the best development opportunity for him this season. As far as the injury goes, does anyone know if he will stay in Calgary and rehab it with the team? Or will he return to Kingston? I am unfamiliar with what “non-roster IR” means…

  • Grant

    Did he hurt his shoulder doing pull-ups? Joking aside too bad for a young guy like him. I’m sure glad though the Oilers drafted Draisaitl instead of Sam.
    I’m sure he will be back and a good player for years for Calgary ?

          • Grant

            People want to harp on Draisaitl staying in the league! Maybe he is ready maybe he is not. Time will tell. If you are gonna slam Draisaitl ., you used your own stats as proof about Backlunds non success in the Nhl.
            He did have a better year last season but yes I would rather have Draisaitl as the Oilers second line centre..
            This is not being derogatory about Backlund but 7 years is a long time and people bitch about Yakupov being a bust and it’s only his third year in!

          • SavardianSpinorama

            The only stats I gave you was how many games he’s played. Backlund has played 5 seasons, and he has either been injured or it was the lockout.

            I’m not saying Draisaitl sucks… but he’s only played two years in North America in the WHL. He’s only 18. The problem with the Oilers has always been rushing there prospects.

            If you still feel the same way six weeks from now, then I’ll take back that comment.

          • Grant

            Backlund has been with Calgary now for 7 years regardless of the amount of games played. He is getting better. I am saying that let Draisaitl play if he’s ready if not send him back . However, just cuz he is 18 does not mean he can’t make it this year. Just give him a shot to see what he can do

          • piscera.infada

            I agree with you on Draisaitl. If he’s ready, then good for him, let him play. The argument about “rushing” kids often gets misconstrued though. People from Calgary will bring up Edmonton and say “you can’t do that”, people in Edmonton will say “look at Monahan”. The issue with what Edmonton did, is that they gave RNH the keys to first-line duty immediately. Monahan, on the other hand, was the third line centre (for all intents and purposes) last year. That means, on balance, easier matchups, and more control over zone-starts.

            The problem with what Edmonton has done with Draisaitl, is that they have forced him to play second-line minutes, whether he’s ready or not. It is out of necessity. If Driasaitl proves through nine games that he’s not ready, who else is going to play that role? Gordon? Arcobello? Doubtful. It forces Draisaitl to put-up or shut-up (so to speak), and that’s tough for any 19 year-old, no matter who you are. So, it’s not so much about “rushing” a player into the league, but moreso about “rushing” a player into a position over their head.

            We can all agree Draisaitl has NHL-ready size and vision, but from what I’ve seen (and I really like the player) he doesn’t have NHL-ready skating ability. It’s going to be a tough grind for him for that reason alone. As such, the immediacy with which the Oilers need a second-line centre, makes it so that this is no longer a “see what he can do proposition”. It’s a “must do to be successful” proposition.

          • piscera.infada

            I don’t think Draisaitl will play 2 line minutes.

            he will be a 3 line Guy, Along with Pouliot (always been a 3 liner) and Yak, so that they can be sheltered.

            Second line will be Perron (you dont put a 29 Goal Scorer in your 3rd line). with Arco (Good playmaker/Faceoff/Defensive Guy) who did Play second line centre last year and did well, and Purcell, who has proven he can play with Stamkos/St Loius.

            If Daisaitl Success in the 3rd line, then anything can happen as the season goes along.

            Let’s hope Bennett can recover and be ready for next year. He could have made the flames also.

          • piscera.infada

            While I’m not entirely sure where Draisaitl will settle when all is said and done, I don’t see the centre situation being much better with Arcobello as the number 2. Thus, I went with what appears to be the commonly projected depth chart. I was more speaking to the fact that the retort to “you rushed Nuge, et al.” is “you rushed Monahan”. I’m saying they were different. That’s all.

            Like I said, I hope Draisaitl works out, I do (he’s a good hockey player). Comparing him and Bennett at this point (either way), is short-sighted and based on nothing but pure speculation.

            Anyways, nice to see an Oiler fan adding something more than “I like my team more than yours”.

          • piscera.infada

            Depends what you want from a player I guess. Backlund’s value is his 200 foot game which is something that the Oils need to learn. You can’t win if you score 4 and let in 5. He was thought to be a scoring C, but he was turned into a 2-way C by playing on the farm. Much less exciting than watching RNH set up 30+ goals (many of which were on the PP), while being on the ice for so much more.

            Draisaitl will learn the game over time, but this year he is being thrown to the wolves. The only think NHL ready about him is his size.
            Good or great prospect; not an NHL player yet.

        • SavardianSpinorama

          If Backs had been drafted by the Oilers, he’d have been handed a spot on the first day of his first training camp. If the Oilers had any jam, they’d send Draisaitl back to junior where he belongs. Which unbelievably good centers on the Oilers did he have to out-perform? Oh wait, the Oilers don’t have any centers that fit that description. Go back to Oilers Nation and gush all you want about him. Draisaitl’s sorry ass would be back in junior if the Oilers had made the logical choice of drafting Bennett and the Flames got stuck with Leo. In fact, the Flames probably would have opted for Dal Colle if the Oilers had done the smart thing.

          • Grant

            Yea I’m sure Edmonton really wishs they could have drafted Bennet, how long is he out for? Why would a team send someone who’s ready back to junior. It didn’t seem to hurt hall or Hopkins not to mention countless others. You realize Edmonton has enough small centers right? Not to mention Leon is a lot more NHL ready.

          • Grant

            Yeah Draisaitl towers over Sam Bennett by a whole inch!! Edmonton didn’t send him back to Junior because they have no one to play Center.

            From what we’ve seen with Bennett playing with an injury, I wouldn’t say he’s any less NHL ready. Besides, he’s a year younger than Draisaitl, no need to rush him.

          • Grant

            Draisaitl is 8 months older 1 inch taller and 30 pounds heavier. That’s quite the size difference. Sure Bennett eill gaine some pounds but Draisaitl has a way bigger frame and will end up being 225lbs. If calgary drafted 3rd they would have taken Draisaitl

          • EugeneV

            Bennett is our future 1st line center, so forget about comparing him with the German. You need to think about him matching up with RNH. Monahan is our 2nd line center and Backlund 3rd.
            2 – 3 years from now that is.
            Unless we end up drafting McJesus, which would then put Bennett on the wing.

          • Grant

            Bennett will never reach RNH ‘a top end . Hopkins in two years will be the best two way forward in the league.his defensive game has been a plus from day one.

          • Grant

            Calgary would have picked Bennett at third. Here’s why:

            1. They drafted Monahan the year before, and he’s bigger then Draisaitl.

            2. Bennett is faster, more “truculent”, can play a 200 foot game, and can also play wing.

            3. He really wanted to play for Calgary. He more resembles a Calgary Flame then Draisaitl ever would. Not to mention his love for Dougy Gilmour!

          • 24% body fat

            Monohan is no where near the same size as Draisaitl. There is like 15 lb difference.

            Draisaitl, was listed as second for the Calder race, ahead of Geadreau and Bennett

            Pronman also rated Draisaitl ahead of Monohan and Equal with Bennett, so in regards to the depth it looks like the oilers are better and bigger.

            RNH > Bennett\Draisaitl > Monohan

            Size projections

            Bennet 190
            RNH 195
            Mono 215
            Dry 225
            Yakimov 240
            Backlund 195

          • McRib

            Once again Sam Bennett had an NHLE of 39.3 his draft year (1.60 PPG). Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had an NHLE of 37.8 his draft year (1.54 PPG).

            Sam Bennett was also two months younger and battled a shoulder injury all season and most people think the OHL is slightly better than WHL, therefore….

            Bennett > RNH

          • McRib

            Not when you are comparing them both at 18, which I did… I am not saying Sam Bennett is going to be a better player, but anyone (Trolling Oilers Fans) who thinks RNH is without a doubt a better player doesn’t know anything about hockey, IMO. Because at the same age concrete figures say Bennett was a better player. Who knows where they end up and I like RNH, but lets give Bennett some time before saying who is a better player.

          • 24% body fat

            Wow, you are sighting a Calder projection comparing prospects?

            TSN has Gaudreau projected to score 55 points this year, while they are projecting Draisaitl in the 30’s. Some Calder projection.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            Bahahahahahaha. Coil fans are so desperate for company!!! Looking for ANYTHING to talk about.

            So sad what’s happened to them. BUT at the same time…. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

          • 24% body fat

            You guys have coined Gudreau the next gretzky and he has played like three games. You have crowned Bennet the next gilmour and he hasnt played a game, you have crowned monohan the next Lecavalier and he had an unsustainable shooting percentage and only 32 points in a rookie year, (news flash this is not that good, especially with the gravy minutes he got)

            Everything I stated was fact.

            It was a fact that pronman ranked them that way. Fact draft pedigree has them ranked that way. Fact TSN ranked them that way. And fact their body sizes project that way. And fact E=MC2 not E=HC2. Fact Draisaitl is much heavier and thicker than monohan.

          • McRib

            Corey Pronman had Sam Bennett ranked 2nd this year in his final draft rankings…. He had Leon Draisaitl 5th (personally I would have had him 3 or 4)… Just because Pronman thinks Leon is more NHL ready and thus has a better chance to win the Calder this season does not mean he thinks that he is a better player than Bennett long run. By ranking Sam Bennett 2nd I think its clear who he thinks the better player is going to be.

          • Jeff Lebowski

            Ridic. No one reasonable anointed JG as the next Gretz. This is your point? coilers, coilers, coilers… grow up.

            Facts?!!?? Predictions about the future are fact?!!? Pronmans’s opinions are fact?!!?? Please remove the UHUU stick from your nostril.

            Go away dude. Your anxiety about CGY over taking EDM is so obvious you are embarrassing yourself. Why else are you talking non stop about CGY?

            Coil fans seem to be fixated on:
            CGY will be bad too!

            We’ll see about that…

            Oh gawd are you guys becoming unglued!

            Enjoy the season

          • piscera.infada

            First, no one has ever made those comparisons, at least not anyone I’ve seen on here. The closest to any of those being stated was Bennett-Gilmour, and that wasn’t Flames fans, it was the men you apparently have a hard-on for: the boys at TSN. It was all more a product of circumstance, seeing as how he plays for Gilmour, and has a similar style to Gilmour (different from “is Gilmour”)

            Secondly, Pronman had Bennett ranked ahead of Draisaitl. Bob McKenzie and Button (TSN guys) had Bennett ranked ahead of Draisaitl. ISS had Bennett ranked ahead of Draisaitl. McKeen’s had Bennett ranked ahead of Draisaitl. Dobber Prospects had Bennett ranked ahead of Draisaitl. Future COnsiderations had Bennett ranked ahead of Draisaitl. The Hockey News had Bennett ranked ahead of Draisaitl. But, I mean, don’t let the “facts” get in the way of your “facts”. Here you go

            .

          • EugeneV

            the gaap between 1 to 4 was so small, take what you need and you win. I think that’s what everyone did.

            2014 draft had no “generational” talent or a clear #1 IMO

          • McRib

            Agree, the draft definitely had a defined Top. 4 that were all very close.

            However if you asked scouts who had the most upside of the group Sam Bennett would have been without question number one… Leon Draisitl would have been number two because of his size and hockey IQ (see Jagr Comparison).

            Aaron Ekblad is what he is a big safe 2/3 defender with a great shot, he doesn’t have homerun upside becuase his passing isn’t good enough to be an Elite 1.

            Sam Reinhart is exactly what Buffalo needed a future leader that can spread out the ice, but skating will hold him back from being an Elite Centre in the league, on a Stanley Cup Caliber team he will end up as a great second Centre.

          • MonsterPod

            Ekblad has not played a game yet. His passing can improve. Everything can improve.

            Was Chara projected as a #1? Was Keith or Lidstrom? Weber was a second round pick when Phaneuf went #9 overall in ’03.

            We can’t say that Ekblad will not be an elite #1. We have no idea.

          • Grant

            Bennett was mostly ranked 3rth wile Draisaitl was 4rth, there is no questions about that, however I’m happy Edm Got Draisaitl I just don’t think getting another smaller guy who although will be a great player, does not match the needs of the Oilers.

            The Oilers would have picked Monahan if they could, so having Draisaitl makes up for that.

          • piscera.infada

            Oh, without a doubt. Edmonton ended up with a player that better fits their needs. The two are remarkably close in terms of overall acumen/skill, but they both bring something different to table. That’s all. It will be very interesting to see what they both end up as.

          • SavardianSpinorama

            Bennett was going back to junior, regardless.

            Exactly the place Draisaitl belongs, except the Oilers suck so bad and listen to their dumb-assed fans, who think every first rounder HAS to make the team now.

            As someone once said:

            When management starts listening to its fans, it’s only a matter of time before you are sitting in the stands among them.

            How’s the Oilers’ re-build going, and how many coaches and managers have you losers in Edmonton gone through?

            Edmonton. A giant Swan Hills. What a fricking dump of a city. Do you have paved roads there yet and have you figured out how to cross a river without taking people on a wild goose chase?

          • piscera.infada

            I’m not sure we have to belittle an entire city/fanbase with ludicrous statements that amount to nothing more than baseless name-calling.

            On the other hand, the fact that any group of people would openly celebrate or take pleasure in the fact that an 18 year-old kid had an injury and may require surgery is despicable.

            I, for one, hope we’re not (and never will) be like that. I hope Draisaitl plays the whole season, and puts up decent rookie numbers (but nowhere near as good as Gaudreau… haha), and one day Bennett v. Draisaitl will be a match-up we can discuss on the basis of actual hockey skill, as opposed to assumptions about who’s ready and who’s not, who’s stronger or who’s the better skater. Time will tell. But, anyone who is openly laughing about this injury needs to wake the **** up and realize there’s more to their petty, insignificant lives than a sport (seriously, that TSN thread is disgusting, much like trolls using an injury to make assumptions about the calibre of a player).

          • SavardianSpinorama

            Well, I love Edmonton. I spent a week there one night.

            But yes, you are right.

            I don’t troll their site.

            It is beneficial to both teams that they once again become power houses.

            I don’t care so much when Flames’ fans troll their own team, but it bugs me when Oilers’ fans do.

            And it would bug me if people here troll the Oilers’ site.

            It will happen, anyway.

            All that said, I’d rather have Bennett than Draisaitl and the Flames than the Oilers.

            The Flames work.

            The Oilers do not.

            Bob Hartley doesn’t care about his hair nor his suit.

            He cares about turning a team with little talent into a team that tries.

            I don’t care if the Flames finish last as long as they show me that.

          • 24% body fat

            People hate trolling for sure. But lets remember that it is actually good for the entire site.

            It is however extremely childish and ignorant to go after full fan bases and a city because one does no have enough intelligence to have a proper hockey discussion.

            It is also extremely stupid to take solace in a kid getting injured. However there were probably oilers and flames fans who enjoyed seeing Bo Horvat take a big hit. Both sides of the fans bases do this, but it does not represent the whole fan base for both teams.

            Flames future center depth is

            Bennett, Monohan, Backlund, Arnold

            Oilers

            RNH, Draisaitl, Yakimov, Chase

          • SavardianSpinorama

            Flames current depth at C:

            Backlund, Monahan, Colborne, Stajan, Bouma, Byron
            Options baby.

            Future depth:

            Bennett, Monahan, Colborne, Knight, Arnold, Reinhart
            Solid 1st to 3rd C, options for 4th C. Every one of them has played an actual NHL game, except Sam.

      • Grant

        The second line center was Draisaitl’s to lose . He had a pretty good camp and got better as it went along. He earned the position. Who knows what will happen after 9 games. During the draft Bob Mckenzie said that the two guys that were NHL ready were Ekblad and Draisaitl. Guess we will have to wait and see how he does.

          • MonsterPod

            Blahahaha…

            Depth of the Oilers? They have no second line center so they’re playing the new guy. Just keep throwing the kids to the wolves year after year.

            Our centers have stunk for years, a laughingstock under Feaster when Cammy and Tanguay were rotating #1. Such a sad joke.

            But now Monny and Backs are on an upswing. Granlund looks good. Bennett is gonna be a stud. This Leon/Sam competition has just begun. Arnold and Knight vying for a future 4 spot.

            I’m loving our center depth going forward. The only time to envy the Oilers is on draft day because they’re always ahead of us.

      • icedawg_42

        Huh? How does this turn into 2 years? He will play the bulk of this season in the OHL, and could play in the OHL as an overager next season as well – but I can’t imagine he won’t be in Calgary or at least have a great shot next season.

        • RKD

          Based on the fact that he is already weak and injury prone which means he’s not ready. As well if he’s recovering from surgery he won’t be able to work out in fact he will be weaker when he’s done recovering. He’s not even close to playing in the NHL I would’ve rather we drafted nylander

  • Treliving was very good at today’s presser. Don’t expect the opening 23 to remain set in stone if players under-perform. There are too many good players in Adirondack for them to park anybody anywhere for too long.

    • beloch

      It’s a nice sentiment, but he’s somewhat hobbled by waivers. i.e. A player who needs to pass waivers is going to have to be outrageously bad to be sent down because it’s very possibly a one-way ticket to another team. In this sense, having players like Setoguchi and Diaz on such reasonable contracts actually works against the Flames a little bit. If I were running a bubble team, I’d pick either one of those guys up without a second thought and gamble that they’ll be in better form later in the season.

      It’s far more likely that injuries will open spots for rookies to move into the lineup. I wouldn’t be surprised if a poorly performing vet or two is politely told to go spend a few weeks in Maui and take care of that nagging hangnail (“lower body injury”) that’s been bothering him.

      • SavardianSpinorama

        Teams weren’t exactly beating a path to Setoguchi’s house and kicking down the door this summer. I suppose it’s possible a team would pick him up if they had a few too many injuries, but how much of a loss would it be, really?

        • beloch

          Setoguchi took a pay-cut from $3.25M to $0.75M. At his new salary he’s a good gamble for a team close to the cap, assuming he’s sent down relatively early this season. To put it another way, if the Flames had the opportunity to pluck a project player like Setoguchi off of waivers I’d expect them to do it. Low risk, high possible reward.

          • supra steve

            If Seto is not good enough to crack the Flames roster, and he is put on waivers, he is not going to be a really hot commodity for other teams. If he gets picked up in that situation, then the club should be glad to be rid of him.

          • piscera.infada

            In all honesty, I don’t see the issue with that. It means he failed, and all it cost the Flames was $750,000.00. It will be apparent sooner rather than later whether he’s going to play a significant role on the team this year.

          • supra steve

            I agree. It’s the thought that Seto would be some hot waiver score for some other club that I disagree with. If you can’t make it in Calgary this season…..

            If the Flames try and fail to trade the guy, then waive him, he is without value. And if they have to eat his entire $$ hit, no big deal.

          • piscera.infada

            Totally. The Setoguchi pick up was always going to be an either/or proposition. Either he fails hard and is waived tout suite, or becomes an outstanding pickup and is an asset for the team – there is no middle ground. I said as much at the time of the signing. However, when you finished 26th in a 30 team league (another mantra we heard straight from Flames management), it’s an entirely reasonable move to try – rebuild or not, prospects or not.

          • SavardianSpinorama

            That’s fair, Beloch. But teams could have taken that gamble earlier.

            Nevertheless, as hard as I have been on him, I’d be the first person to admit I made a mistake if he lives up to his potential. I’d like nothing more than to see him score a few goals to start the season.

  • Parallex

    They seem determined to have Colborne play center. That’s a mistake.

    The eye test says he doesn’t hack it well at C but does better on the wing and with a derth or organizational depth at RW I think it would have made far more sense to continue on with the conversion they started last year.

    • SavardianSpinorama

      I do not think you are taking into account he did get bigger over the summer and last year was his first real opportunity in the league. If he doesn’t succeed at center, the Flames will do something about it, but I have no problem with him at center to start the season.

      • Parallex

        I took it into account… I just don’t think it makes a difference. I just don’t think he’s got the right skillet to excel as a center and it’s a position that’s far more crowded then RW. I think keeping him at C hurts both his own career prospects and the teams future outlook since both would be better suited by him getting reps at the position he’s more suited for.

        Plus it seems to mean that they are putting Stajan on the fourth line… I don’t fancy paying the guy that babysits the goons 3.5M per nor do I like how that elevates Bouma up the line-up. I like Bouma but only when he used within his limits.

        Last year there was good Hartley and bad Hartley… to me it looks like bad Hartley is once again prominent at the onset of the season… just like last year.

        • SavardianSpinorama

          I look at it in a different way:

          Stajan is versatile and can be slotted in anywhere from 2nd to 4th line center. 1st? Not so much, but he can go there in a pinch.

          Bouma, if he doesn’t work out on the second line, he’ll be slotted lower. Let’s see what he can do with a couple more talented linemates. He’s a pretty good skater, I am not sure about his hands. He wasn’t given the chance last year, really.

          I was impressed with Colborne in the pre-season. I think he was 15 out of 22 in the face off department his last two games vs Winnipeg. Winning face offs is a pretty big part of the puck possession game. Not an absolute necessity, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

          Anyway, if the lineup the Flames have presented to start the season doesn’t work, changes will be made. It’s fluid.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Yesterday in practice Colborne played the wing. It makes sense now that backlund is back, that he would take the wing. From what I’ve seen I think Bouma will center the 4th line and colborne will play the wing on the 3rd.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    And now Johnny gets his number.

    I have very little hope for a winning season, but with #13 firmly on the team I’m hopeful that there will be some very entertaining hockey this season.

  • Lordmork

    The Flames really seem to have doubled down on locals. I count six Albertan players and another nine Canadians, mostly from Ontario. Otherwise, two Americans, two Swiss, two Czechs, a Swede and a Finn. I find it interesting, anyway.

    Anyway, great primer.