The Flames are practicing today after a win last night against the
Phoenix Arizona Coyotes. With 10 wins under their belts, the team probably feels pretty good. And it’s Friday, so let’s do a quick round-up of what’s happening Flames-wise, and then we can all just clock out early, okay?
GIORDANO IS REALLY GOOD
Only defenseman in Top 10 in league scoring through nearly a quarter of the schedule.
THE SUPER SERIES
Team Russia, captained by Rushan Rafikov (Calgary’s 2013 7th round pick) beat Team WHL twice and Team OHL once so far in the annual Subway Super Series, designed to help Hockey Canada figure out their roster. So far, all they know is the probable Russian team is better.
Rafikov has played in all three games and has three points and a plus-1 rating. He registered zero points in five Super Series appearances last year, so he’s improving. The Super Series concludes next week with another game with the OHL and two more with the QMJHL. I’d expect Rafikov to play in all of them.
Morgan Klimchuk (Calgary’s 2013 1st round pick) had an assist and a minus-2 rating for Team WHL. He’s projected to be on Team Canada’s World Junior entry by many, including recently Craig Button. The injuries to high-end players like Connor McDavid as well as the likelihood that several players may be unavailable can only further help his cause.
JOHNNY, FIND A PLACE
Per Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun/Sportsnet/Jack FM/Other Stuff, Johnny Gaudreau has been told to find a place to live. He’ll reportedly be rooming with Kris Russell.
Good for him.
WHO GETS SENT DOWN?
Here’s what we know: Michael Ferland is medically cleared and will be activated from the IR when his conditioning is up to snuff. I expect that to happen during the home stand. So somebody is going to get sent down to the American Hockey League. (I figure Ferland gets a game or two in, regardless.)
Here’s some stats on these gentlemen!
Jooris and Granlund are probably the least likely guys to sent down, as they’re both centers. And Jooris is right-handed and was leaned upon heavily by Bob Hartley in the third period last night (and praised by his coach afterwards for his performance).
I also figure Baertschi has earned a reprieve, for now, as he’s arguably the team’s most offensively talented player whose name isn’t Johnny Gaudreau. He hasn’t cemented himself on the club the way #13 has, but last night’s game definitely showed that he’s got something in the tank.
So it’s basically a coin-toss between Setoguchi and Reinhart. I’d probably put Reinhart back down in the minors so he can play.
18 games down, 64 to go. Going .500 with a 32-32-0 record generates a 42-38-2 record and 86 points, and would fall short of a playoff spot, albeit just that short. In other words, they’ll need to build up more of a cushion – a lot more – before anybody starts talking playoffs.
But we do reserve the right to revisit this topic in a few weeks when Calgary has played some California teams. My guess? If the Flames win a game in Anaheim this season, they probably make the playoffs.
Not a guarantee, and that also presumes that the team doesn’t suffer any injuries to key players – Gaudreau, Monahan, Hiller, Giordano or Brodie. But they’re well out of McDavid Country, and are probably out of the running for good.