Breaking Down Calgary’s “Pre-Season Veterans”

Folks, the pre-season schedule kicks off tomorrow in the National Hockey League. The Calgary Flames play two simultaneous games with the Edmonton Oilers. One is at 7pm MT at the Scotiabank Saddledome in palatial Calgary. The other is also at 7pm MT, but it’s at Rexall Place in Dumpsville, er, Edmonton.

One challenge for the coaching staffs of both clubs: balancing the roster rules that are in place during the pre-season. Each team has to dress eight veterans for each game, and what constitutes a veteran is strictly and specifically defined by the CBA.

Here are the players that qualify as “veterans” on the Flames this pre-season based on the letter of the law.

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Here’s the breakdown:

“A FORWARD OR DEFENSEMAN WHO PLAYED IN 30 NHL GAMES DURING THE PREVIOUS SEASON”

  • Mikael Backlund
  • Brandon Bollig
  • Lance Bouma
  • Paul Byron (when he’s healthy)
  • Joe Colborne
  • Michael Frolik
  • Johnny Gaudreau
  • Markus Granlund
  • Jiri Hudler
  • David Jones
  • Josh Jooris
  • Sean Monahan
  • Mason Raymond
  • Matt Stajan
  • T.J. Brodie
  • Deryk Engelland
  • Mark Giordano
  • Dougie Hamilton
  • Kris Russell
  • Ladislav Smid (when he’s healthy)
  • Dennis Wideman

“A GOALTENDER WHO DRESSED IN 50 NHL GAMES OR PLAYED IN 30 NHL GAMES”

  • Jonas Hiller
  • Karri Ramo

“A FIRST ROUND SELECTION FROM THE MOST RECENT YEAR’S ENTRY DRAFT”

Nobody.

“ANY PLAYER WHO HAS PLAYED 100 OR MORE NHL GAMES”

  • Aaron Johnson
  • Douglas Murray
  • Ryan Wilson

The final rundown is 2 goaltenders, 10 defenseman and 14 forwards (26 players total) who are considered “veterans,” with each game requiring 8 veterans dressed. It’s a tiny bit of a challenge on Monday, with 16 veterans playing at one time (and Smid and Byron sidelined), but after that it becomes relatively easy.

And in this context, it’s easy to figure out why the Flames invited three depth defenders to camp. Best-case: they push your existing players. Worst-case: they merely help you meet CBA requirements for dressing veterans in the pre-season.