It’s September on Tuesday and the Calgary Flames rookies are preparing to head to town for camp. With the rookie camp likely opening on September 10 in preparation for the Penticton tournament, expect things to get pretty busy in a short while.
But right now, here’s a quick rundown of what’s making minor waves in the Flames world.
-Young Rushan Rafikov finally made his KHL debut this past week for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the team that drafted him in that league. He proved to be too good for the VHL last year, playing really well and putting up good numbers for HK Ryazan in the secondary pro league. His first couple KHL games have been a little uneven.
- He was +1 with a minor penalty in 11:28 in their 2-0 win over Lada Togliatti on August 27
- He was -1 in 5:27 in their 3-1 win over Ak Bars Kazan on August 29
Lokomotiv is carrying nine defensemen right now and they typically dress eight, so there’s a chance that the younger players on the team won’t get very much ice time – like Rafikov did in the second game. Rafikov has a two-year deal with the KHL club through the 2016-17 season.
–Devin Setoguchi’s try-out with the Toronto Maple Leafs has been formalized, and now he’s doing the media rounds a bit in Toronto, discussing where it all went wrong for him. The good news is that he’s several months clean and sober, which is great for him and a tremendous accomplishment.
He admitted that his tenure in Calgary was less than stellar because of off-ice issues – and what he seemed to categorize as his own bad attitude about his play and ice-time. He had zero points in a dozen games in Calgary, where he was a healthy scratch as often as he played over the first two months of the season. He was demoted to the AHL in late November and had 10 points in 19 games for the Adirondack Flames. He missed all of January and the majority of February with injury, and reportedly went to rehab in April.
In short: it was a rough year for Setoguchi. He didn’t seem to be a fit on this team, but hopefully things work out well for him in Toronto.
–While Setoguchi has seemingly found a landing spot, Curtis Glencross is without a deal. Glencross departed the Flames at the trade deadline – helpfully waiving his no-trade clause – as he headed to Washington in exchange for a pair of draft picks. The Sun’s Eric Francis chatted with Glencross recently, and among other things, it seems like he regrets his decision to re-sign with the Flames for $2.55 million per season rather than push for more money.
Glencross played a really hard, physical style of game, and unfortunately it took its toll on him. He was definitely not in the team’s plans as last season wore on and it’s disappointing that he can’t find an NHL gig anywhere, but you’ve got to give him credit for waiving his no-trade, as the picks they acquired helped them get Dougie Hamilton. Say what you will about Glencross as a player, but he keeps on giving.
–The 2015-16 NHL season preview magazines are beginning to hit newsstands. The Sports Forecaster has the Flames finishing 2nd in the Pacific (behind Los Angeles but ahead of Anaheim). The Hockey News has the Flames finishing 3rd (behind Anaheim and Los Angeles). Both magazines mention Sam Bennett as a Calder contender and note that the Flames will be a deeper team than in 2014-15.
-Finally, Adam Ollas Mattsson and Oliver Kylington are representing Sweden in the Four Nations Cup over in Russia. The statistics for the tournament are virtually non-existent, but for now, here’s a full video of the first game against Russia. Ollas Mattsson is #7, Kylington is #4.