Matt Stajan returned to the Calgary Flames line-up last night after missing 16 games with a knee injury. His return meant that Corban Knight went to the American Hockey League – both guys were fourth line centers – and that Sven Baertschi was bounced from the line-up (Lance Bouma moved from center to the wing).
Mason Raymond is also nearing a return. What happens when he’s back?
The challenge with Raymond is that he’s a winger. With centers, it’s easy – a natural center leaves so that a natural center can play. On the flanks? Tougher decisions. Here’s my viewpoint.
- Demote Sven Baertschi: This will probably happen, given that he’s been sitting and is better off playing in Adirondack. He’s also been fine, albeit not overly impressive, in a depth role. Given that the club seemingly has “better” (more effective) top nine options, there’s no reason to keep Sven if he’s playing a depth role. Other options would be to demote Brandon Bollig and/or Brian McGrattan, but I don’t think anyone is too chafed if those guys sit in Calgary rather than play in the AHL.
- Sit Michael Ferland and/or Brandon Bollig: Let’s look at Calgary’s wingers: Curtis Glencross, David Jones, Johnny Gaudreau, Jiri Hudler, Ferland, Paul Byron, Bollig and Lance Bouma. The only real options to get parked in the press box seats are Ferland and Bollig, as the rest of these guys have (a) carved out strong niches for themselves and (b) are on lines you don’t want to break up. I’d personally lean towards benching Bollig and moving Ferland down to play with Stajan and Bouma. (And presumably, when Joe Colborne returns, then you potentially send Ferland down after trying him out in a few different roles).
What would you do? Sound off in the comments!