Over the past month or so, I’ve dug into the numbers for the Calgary Flames regulars throughout the 2014-15 season. Of course, several other players donned the Flaming C this season who didn’t play enough minutes (or games) to really generate numbers worth poking at. But, in the interest of getting to everything and everyone, here’s a glance at the players that didn’t merit their own articles in the By The Numbers series.
We’re ignoring the players that got traded away, so don’t expect to read anything about Curtis Glencross, Sven Baertschi or Corban Knight.
#16 – BRIAN McGRATTAN
“Big Ern” only played 8 games (and 51 even-strength minutes) for the big club, almost entirely in a fourth line role. The renowned pugilist had zero fights and didn’t really seem to fit his niche for the Flames anymore, and eventually he was waived and sent down to the AHL. By all accounts, he played some actual hockey when he was down there rather than relying on his fists for employment. He’s a pending unrestricted free agent, and I’d be shocked if he was re-upped. Unless they want to bring him on as a coach of some kind, because by all accounts he was good in the room and a strong mentor for the young players in the organization. On the ice? Not so much.
#22 – DEVIN SETOGUCHI
Nicknamed “The Gooch,” probably the best nickname in the NHL, Setoguchi was so-so during his tenure with Calgary. He was signed for his past scoring ability. He didn’t score. He was scratched a few times and didn’t really seem to respond the same way guys like Gaudreau, Jooris or Wideman did. Eventually, Flames management seemed to shrug and go, “Well, that didn’t work…” and sent him down to the AHL after a dozen games. Then they gave his sweater number to Drew Shore, so let’s just say they probably aren’t going to sign him again.
#22 – DREW SHORE
Shore was acquired from the Florida Panthers in a deal for Corban Knight. He’s a right-handed center/winger, and seemed to fit in quite well with Bob Hartley’s system. Between playoffs and the regular season he played a dozen games primarily in a depth role, so his possession stats (40.6% Corsi For) aren’t great. But he did generate a few decent chances, and he seemed to create some chemistry playing with Mason Raymond at times. He’s subject to waivers next season and is a restricted free agent, but I figure he’ll be signed and compete for a spot next season. At worse, he’s a solid bottom-six option and a guy that can take draws on the right side when needed. They don’t have many right-handers, after all.
#26 – TYLER WOTHERSPOON
Wotherspoon was recalled on four separate occasions this season, only getting a game in the regular season in Game 82 when everybody of worth was rested in Winnipeg. That said, he got pressed into service in the playoffs and was pretty good – as many observers expected him to be – playing with David Schlemko. He’s young and will need some fine-tuning, as both Brad Treliving and Bob Hartley alluded to in their year-end press conference, but he remains the team’s most NHL-ready defensive prospect. He’s definitely an upgrade on Ladislav Smid at this point, and probably a lateral move from both Raphael Diaz and Schlemko. He’s got a year of his entry-level deal and his waiver exemption left.
#28 – COREY POTTER
Potter was heavily sheltered and got very minimal ice-time when he ended up in the line-up. He spent most of the year in the press box as the seventh defender. His utilization made it seem like the team didn’t have much confidence in him. In the playoffs, he was replaced after a couple games by Tyler Wotherspoon. I doubt this pending free agent is brought back.
#37 – JONI ORTIO
Ortio had a .876 even-strength save percentage in six games. Now, before everyone goes crazy, he won four of his six starts on a crucial road-trip, and his ability to step in cold from the AHL and steal a couple games was one of several reasons the Flames made the playoffs. I don’t think we’ll know what exactly he is at the NHL level until he plays a dozen games in the NHL in a season and gets a rhythm going, but he’s been strong in spurts. He’ll likely be in the NHL next season full-time because he is waiver eligible and on a one-way contract next season.
#45 – DAVID WOLF
Wolf played three regular season games and one playoff game, and outside of Game 82 against Winnipeg he never played more than 10 minutes. The human embodiment of the Tasmanian Devil, Wolf runs around a lot and hits guys. His skating isn’t quite at the level it needs to be at the NHL level, and at age 25 (26 in September), it might not get much better. He’s got size and physicality on his side, but unlike somebody like Brandon Bollig (for instance), he hasn’t yet learned to use his other attributes to effectively hide his weaknesses. He’s a restricted free agent this summer. I imagine he’ll be brought back, but probably just to fill out Stockton’s roster.
#55 – JOHN RAMAGE
Ramage played one game (Game 82 versus Winnipeg). He was decent in a game Calgary lost. He apparently showed enough to the brass that he was invited (along with Turner Elson) to join the “game group” to practice during the playoffs, as opposed to the “Black Aces” group. As one of the rare right-handed defenders in the organization, I think his late-season performances may have earned him a stay of execution (so to speak). He’s a pending restricted free agent. I figure they retain him, but I don’t know what his ceiling is. He played a lot with Tyler Wotherspoon in Adirondack and apparently they were quite good together.
#57 – EMILE POIRIER
Poirier came up twice and ended up playing six games for the big club. He had a bunch of chances in his first game but didn’t score. Ultimately, he had an assist to show for his first season. He was used occasionally as a healthy scratch, but primarily spent the year as a top-line player in the AHL. It’s his first pro season, so let’s stem expectations a bit, but he was good in the AHL but looked a bit overwhelmed at times (when he played) in the big league. He’s got two seasons of his entry-level deal left and I’d imagine he sees some NHL time next season. If he gets games in, it’ll probably be as a third-line winger, at least to start.
#59 – MAX REINHART
Reinhart played four games this season, on the fourth line. He barely saw the ice. Many other forwards were called up later in the season instead of him, both in terms of centers and wingers – both positions that Reinhart can play. When he did play in the NHL, he wasn’t noticeable one way or another. I’m not sure what Reinhart’s future is in the Flames organization. He’s a pending restricted free agent. I imagine he gets re-upped, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he was traded this summer. He’s been overtaken by a bunch of prospects both on the wing and up the middle, and I don’t see a path to the NHL for him here.
#61 – BRETT KULAK
Kulak played a game in the NHL. He seemed decent, but it was Game 82 against Winnipeg in a game both teams just seemed to want to get over with. I believe he was the only player in the organization to spend time with the Flames, the Adirondack Flames and the Colorado Eagles. By all accounts, he was the victim of the numbers game on the farm early on, and his ECHL demotion was aimed at getting him ice-time. He has two years left on his entry-level deal.
#63 – SAM BENNETT
Bennett burned off the first year of his entry-level deal, playing Game 82 against Winnipeg and all 11 playoff games. His 47% Corsi For rating was among the best on the team, which is a good sign for a talented player who had to basically learn the NHL game (a) on the fly, (b) on the wing, and (c) in the playoffs. Barring the wheels coming off, he’ll be in the NHL next season. It’ll be interesting how much they balance his time between the left wing and center, particularly since he did show some aptitude on the wing during the playoffs. At worse, Bennett provides the Flames with some line-up options. I’m curious which regular player gets displaced to open up a spot for him, though.