On March 28, 2013, the Calgary Flames traded away Jarome Iginla, the best player in franchise history. The transaction was basically a white flag, a sign from the team’s hockey operations department that the old direction was the wrong one and that the organization needed a full-scale rebuild.
Here we are, just two and a half years later, and suddenly the Flames are opening their 36th training camp in Calgary with a sense of expectation. Last season, the Flames returned to the post-season for the first time since 2009. Starting tomorrow, 64 players are vying to form the roster that not only takes the Flames back to the Stanley Cup playoffs, but maybe even go further than they did last season.
The Flames also have tons of potential wrinkles in camp:
- Three goalies!
- A bunch of veteran try-out defensemen!
- More forward depth (of depth forwards) that you can shake a stick at!
Here’s what you need to know about one of the most interesting (and arguably most important) training camps in recent franchise history.
The Flames underwent medicals today, with on-ice work starting on Friday.
There will be scrimmages on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 10am at Arena B (the Joan Snyder Arena) in Winsport. For the weekend, if you show up at 9am, 11am or noon, there are also on-ice sessions (practices) at those times with various groups. The groups then get tossed around, as pre-season games start and travel comes into play a bit.
The Flames will play eight pre-season games:
- Monday, September 21: split squad games both in Calgary and Edmonton against the Oilers
- Thursday, September 24: at Colorado
- Friday, September 25: vs. Vancouver (on Sportsnet One)
- Saturday, September 26: at Vancouver (on Sportsnet West)
- Tuesday, September 29: vs. Colorado
- Thursday, October 1: at Winnipeg (on TSN3)
- Saturday, October 3: vs. Winnipeg (on TSN3)
For the curious, the Flames have to dress a minimum of eight “veterans” for each pre-season game, with veterans being (a) a skater that played 30+ NHL games last season, (b) a goalie that dressed for 50+ NHL games last season (or played in 30+), (c) a first round pick from the 2015 Draft, or (d) anybody with 100+ NHL career games.
ROSTER UPDATED AS OF SEPTEMBER 20TH.
There are a lot of bodies in camp, at least to start. We’ll break it down for you in terms of contractual status.
Goalies: 7 (for 2 NHL jobs)
- Signed to NHL deals (4): Jon Gillies, Jonas Hiller, Joni Ortio, Karri Ramo
- Signed to NHL deal (junior-aged) (1): Mason McDonald
- Signed to AHL deal (1): Kent Simpson
- Amateur Try-Out: Nick Schneider
Defensemen: 20 (for 7 NHL jobs)
- Signed to NHL deals (13): T.J. Brodie, Ryan Culkin, Deryk Engelland, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Kulak, Kenney Morrison, Jakub Nakladal, Kris Russell, Patrick Sieloff, Ladislav Smid, Dennis Wideman, Tyler Wotherspoon
- Signed to NHL deal (junior-aged) (1): Rasmus Andersson
- Signed to NHL deal (can play anywhere due to CBA loophole) (1): Oliver Kylington
- Signed to NHL deal (can play anywhere due to being 20) (1): Keegan Kanzig
- Signed to AHL deal (1): Dustin Stevenson
Unsigned draft pick (0):
- Professional Try-Outs (3): Aaron Johnson, Douglas Murray, Ryan Wilson
(The CBA loophole is that Kylington’s a European player who came to North America after being drafted, so he’s not subject to the NHL/CHL agreement or the AHL’s usual age limits.)
Forwards: 32 (for 14 NHL jobs)
- Signed to NHL deals (25): Kenny Agostino, Bill Arnold, Mikael Backlund, Brandon Bollig, Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, Austin Carroll, Joe Colborne, Turner Elson, Micheal Ferland, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Markus Granlund, Derek Grant, Garnet Hathaway, Jiri Hudler, David Jones, Josh Jooris, Sean Monahan, Emile Poirier, Mason Raymond, Drew Shore, Matt Stajan, Bryce van Brabant
- Signed to NHL deal (but junior-aged) (1): Sam Bennett
- Signed to NHL deal (can play anywhere due to being 20) (2): Morgan Klimchuk, Hunter Smith
- Signed to AHL deals (4): Mitchell Heard, Ryan Lomberg, Louick Marcotte, Blair Riley
Unsigned draft picks (1):
Pavel Karnaukhov, Andrew Mangiapane
Amateur Try-Outs (0):
Tyson Baillie, Taylor, Burke, Mason Marchment
INJURIES AND WHATNOT
Per the Flames, D Ladislav Smid (neck, not yet cleared), D Ryan Culkin (shoulder) and F Paul Byron (wrist) are not scrimmaging, as of September 17.
It should be noted both Dougie Hamilton and Jonas Hiller were suffering with the flu on fitness testing day #Flames
— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) September 17, 2015
- Who is Calgary’s starting goalie? Who is Calgary’s back-up? And depending on what happens there, who is Stockton’s starter? (Is Jon Gillies ready for an AHL starting gig? Is Joni Ortio ready for an NHL full-time job?)
- Calgary has seven defenders who require waivers and are established NHLers. Are all of their jobs safe? Or could one (or more) of Tyler Wotherspoon, Kenney Morrison, Jakub Nakadal or even try-out Ryan Wilson steal a spot?
- How do the left wingers in the organization stack up behind Johnny Gaudreau? (Are we in store for Top Six Forward Lance Bouma, Year Two?) (Can Mason Raymond revamp his career?)
- Who plays where in the gigantic mix of bottom-six wingers? And given that there are 14 forwards that require waivers (or are Sam Bennett and Gaudreau and are locks), which two guys don’t make the team? And can one (or more) of Bill Arnold, Emile Poirier or Markus Granlund make things interesting by forcing their way into that forward mix?