The Axe Falls: Flames Cut 15 Players

Brad Treliving and Bob Hartley swung the axe on Sunday following a stretch of three games in three nights, assigning 15 players to various affiliates.

Heading to the AHL’s Stockton Heat are goalie Jon Gillies, defensemen Ryan Culkin, Keegan Kanzig, Oliver Kylington, Kenney Morrison and Pat Sieloff, and forwards Kenny Agostino, Bill Arnold, Morgan Klimchuk, Emile Poirier, Blair Riley, Bryce van Brabant, Derek Grant and Turner Elson (the last two pending waivers). Rasmus Andersson has also been sent back to the OHL’s Barrie Colts.

The moves leave the Flames with the following 32 players remaining in camp.

Goaltenders (3)
Jonas Hiller Karri Ramo Joni Ortio
Defensemen (11)
Mark Giordano T.J. Brodie (Injured) Dougie Hamilton
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman Deryk Engelland
Ladislav Smid (Injured) Jakub Nakladal Ryan Wilson
Tyler Wotherspoon Brett Kulak
Forwards (18)
Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Jiri Hudler
Lance Bouma Sam Bennett Michael Frolik
Micheal Ferland Mikael Backlund David Jones
Joe Colborne Matt Stajan Josh Jooris
Brandon Bollig Markus Granlund Paul Byron
Mason Raymond Drew Shore Garnet Hathaway

(Format gleefully stolen from Jonathan Willis at Cult of Hockey)

  • RedMan

    Surprised they decided on Rasmus already as he was playing well. Clearly Kulak excelled and Wotherspoon hung in.
    Granlund is now the next Swedish meatball that has to prove he’s improved enough to stay. Byron’s lack of finish and size are going to put hum back to Stockton.

    • Tomas Oppolzer

      I don’t think there’s anything keeping him from the CHL, but that wouldn’t be the best course of action since the Flames would then have to wait for Kylington to turn 20 for him to go back to the AHL. If he’s in over his head though, I believe the ECHL would be an option.

      • Tomas Oppolzer

        Well, I can certainly see why this was down-voted. Providing information and some opinion with no attitude, sarcasm, or belittling. That’s definitely the rudest thing a person could do. I can’t believe I would do that. That’s a paddlin’

        • SmellOfVictory

          I think your original comment actually provided inaccurate information. I don’t think the CHL/AHL transfer agreement applies to players who were drafted to an NHL team from another league.

  • RedMan

    The Flames have made made a spot for Kanzig in the AHL, interesting.

    I have to say it’s hard not to be excited about the future of guys like Rasmuss and Kylington. They weren’t quite ready but you can see why the team was so high o them. These two won’t need 5 years to make it, not based on what we saw over camp. 2 years down the road… I wouldn’t be surprised to see them both on the team.

    • Tomas Oppolzer

      I feel weird talking smack about the ‘Hawks because of their cups, but wow is Bowman bad at contracts. He has the cap management skills of a drunk baby. Imagine if he didn’t drastically overpay every star player. Maybe they could have held onto Byfuglien or Ladd or Frolik or Saad.

      • Tomas Oppolzer

        To be fair, Duncan Keith is on a pretty sweet deal, and I think Kekalainen and the Jackets tripped up a little when they signed Saad for six per long term. Especially since they’ve been so hesitant to commit to Johansen for no apparent reason.

  • Tomas Oppolzer

    Hathaway and Granlund are the obvious forwards to get moved down next given they do not require waivers.

    Raymond is washed up and doesn’t deserve a roster spot, he’s played his way off the team and won’t be on the opening night roster.

    The final forward cut is really tough as it will be someone that actually deserves to be on the team and plays their role well…I’m leaning towards Shore, but it could be Byron, to a lesser extent Bollig, they like his physicality so he isn’t going anywhere, sorry corsi lovers. Can’t see them keeping Colborne off the opening night roster either…really it comes down to either Byron or Shore when approaching it logically/realistically. Its gonna be real interesting and make for some very meaningful final pre-season games.

    Injuries can obviously change things and open up opportunities up front the way they have on the back-end. Its a good problem to have though, one of the first times in years I can recall having this much depth, kudos to the organization for the great work.

    • KiLLKiND

      I can’t see Byron being the odd man out. He was doing well last year before he got injured, I know the coaches like him because he is tenacious. With his speed and skill (no finish) he can be slotted on any line. Shore is bigger and has all the skills yet he does not do anything that stands out. Byron creates scoring chances and is blazing fast…it is an easy decision. We may lose Shore off waivers.

  • everton fc

    I see the next moves this way:

    Defence:
    Carrying 9, if you include the injuries. So one goes, for now. Smid’s out for a while, and could probably use a re-conditioning stint on the farm. Brodie will be back within 10 games of the season’s commencement. This is when the scone one goes, as I don’t see Smid playing here anytime foon. This leaves Engelland, Wilson, Kulak, Nakladal and Wotherspoon fighting for a final spots.

    I see Wilson getting one spot. Engelland and Nakladal fighting for the final spot. Perhaps they waive Engelland and go with Wilson and Nakladal, depending how injured the latter is. I personally think Kulak’s earned a shot, but it won’t be this year. Wotherspoon will get cut before Kulak. As it should be, based on camp thus far.

    Forwards:

    Bollig stays as either a 4th line LW and/or the forwards who sits in the press box. He won’t be cut, nor waived. He’s earned it. More so than the likes of Raymond… Colborne… eve Shore.

    5 forwards have to go somewhere. On the bubble: Shore, Granlund, Raymond, Colborne, Byron, Hathaway. Hathaway will go down the next round of cuts, but he’s earned a longer look. I hope he makes the big team someday, and thing he will once Jones and others who are aging move on. Granlund should have a job up here, but the fact we have too many centres, and that he can go down w/o clearing waivers makes him likely to start the season in Stockton. Again, I think he’s earned a join here. He’s an NHL player, in many ways. But there’s no room for him.

    Shore is a challenge. He’s big, fast, but where does he play? And has he earned a spot?? Could he be a 3rd/4th RW at the expense of Colborne? I doubt it. But wouldn’t be against it. There’s no way Jones gets moved. Nor should he be moved, but again, you never know. A right side of Hudler/Frolik/Jooris/Jones is pretty darn good. Again, where do Shore and Colborne fit? Would Shore clear waivers?? I don’t think he would. It’d be nice to get something for him. I think the 4th line may be Ferland/Stajan/Jones. Or Byron/Stajan/Jones, if they think Ferland can play 2nd line minutes. I think he and Byron can. But there’s no room for Shore in either scenario.

    Colborne won’t be sent to the AHL. He’ll either be waived, or traded in a package deal, or retained at the expense of someone more deserving. I still think they send Ortio down until they can move Hiller or Ramo, but moving one of them now, with a guy like Colborne… That might free up some space. I hope Shore can compete w/Poirier for a spot on RW next season. But we have others on the right-side coming up the ranks. Shore has not stood out. He hasn’t disappointed, either. A tough call for Treliving and Burke.

    I see Raymond being put on waivers soon. Very soon. And I think he’ll get picked up, though Glencross was let go, so you never know. We are thin on the left side, which may bode well for Byron. He can also play centre, and the organization has made it pretty clear they like forwards who can play pivot, and down the wing. This has been Colborne’s salvation. Byron should get the opportunity Raymond hasn’t been able to take advantage of. I don’t think any of the others mentioned have been tried on the left-side in training camp. Have they??

  • KiLLKiND

    I don’t understand why everyone is saying Byron will be cut. I don’t think I remember him being scratched at all last year. He looks better and his stats are better than Colborne or Bollig’s. I keep seeing Bollig has “earned it” how can anyone have “earned it” more than Byron? Colborne can’t keep up with him and Bollig can’t fathom touching him skill or effort wise. I have no doubt Hartley will want to ice the best team he can and he knows what Byron is capable of and how he makes the players around him better.

    If Calgary sends Byron down I think that will be detrimental to the team long term as it completely defeats the always earned never given motto. Byron has earned his chance at the NHL and proved he is far better than replacement level. I am open to reasonable logic for why Byron should go to the minors but not one person has mentioned his play, effort, skill or whether he has “earned it”.

    Bad players can get cut and should get cut Byron is not a bad player. Bollig will simply have to accept he is not an NHL level player unless he drastically alters how he plays.

    So can anyone provide a reasonable argument for why Byron will get cut? I would love to hear one as far too many predictions have Byron not making the team with no explanation other than Hartley likes Bollig. This is the same Hartley that consistently put Byron on the 3rd line while Bollig never played on anything other than the 4th or healthy scratch.

      • KiLLKiND

        Hell yeah I do need way more and way better reasons than the ones you listed. Injury prone isn’t a reason to cut him call someone else up if gets hurt. Can’t score, are you trying to tell me you would rather rely on Bollig for offense than Byron? been passed on the depth chart by Bollig???? Small yes I’m sure small is a reason a player with NHL skills can’t play in the NHL right Johnny Gaudreau? 26 isn’t old as well most players prime year is 27 so if he had that good of possession last year he will probably be even better this year. Bollig is also 28 so….. while some of our prosepcts may have higher ceilings than him but none of those prospects other than Granlund are NHL ready. So unless the argument you are making is to keep up Granlund for 4th line minutes than I still fail to see your point.

        So yes I do need more reasons maybe include something to do with how he plays. Yes I do realize he doesn’t bury enough goals but at least he puts himself in those opportunities while Bollig and Colborne rely on the smart plays of others.

        • MontanaMan

          Not sure why you have your shorts in a knot. Byron is a small forward with limited skills and poor finish. He can skate like the wind and is considered a good fourth liner but he’s a bubble player at best. The team is made upof players with different skillsets so no sense comparing Byron to Bollig. At the end of the day, if they need more of what Bollig brings, he stays. If they need what Byron brings, he will stay. But don’t be surprised if Byron is sent down.

          • KiLLKiND

            I’m not mad I’m kinda disappointed a short list full of poor reasons is the best argument someone could make as to why Calgary should send down a proven NHL player. And then it was posed as if I was stupid for even bringing it up.

            The reason I am comparing him to Bollig is that’s who I would chose to end down instead. Also Colborne because I believe Byron is better than him.

            Let me put it this way say an injury occurs and you have to chose between Byron and whoever you think they should keep up as to who will play on the 3rd line with Backlund? logically you should just bump up whatever player on the 4th line plays that position. However say Calgary keeps up Bollig, Colborne and Shore up instead of Byron I want none of those players on Calgary’s 3rd line or any line instead of Byron.

            I am mainly surprised why so many people think it’s a good idea to send down a proven NHL player with good possession stats in favour of players who clearly aren’t as good as him. While I did come off hostile toward @Big Burt he wasn’t very polite either. I mainly wanted to hear maybe actual reasons to send him down. like maybe he regressed from last year but if you want to keep Bollig or Colborne over Byron I would like to hear more reasons than size as Colborne doesn’t use his size and all Bollig has is size.

          • Look, we can make a strong case for any of these final cuts. They are all NHL -proven players (exception Shore) and all deserve to get the final spot. The thing is they are all different and bring different skills to the table. How the Flames rate them is going to largely depend on how they want to construct an effective team and the other roster players.

            In addition they all have different ceilings and are different stages of development. I would suggest Bollig and Byron are both at or near their ceilings, Colborne still has a ways to go and Shore is just getting started.

            Who is “the best” depends on what the team needs most. If it’s scoring, Bollig is the odd man out and the other three are fairly even. If it’s scoring chances, Byron leads the pack. If it’s physicality, Bollig wins hands down. If it’s overall most well-rounded and highest potential, I’d give the nod to Shore with Colborne a close second. We can get fixated on one or two things and think they are the be all, end all of a great player, but it just ain’t so. The team needs a mix and that ultimately will be a primary reason why one player stays and one player goes.

            The last major consideration is what are the options for each, especially in this case can we trade them and what are they worth?

            Since its close I’m betting these last few games and potential trades will be the deciding factors. It really tough as they’ve all done well in certain ways. Whether they stay with the Flames or not they are all relatively young and cheap and it’s highly likely they will all land on their feet somewhere.

          • KiLLKiND

            Thank you for a well thought out and great reply. I do agree Colborne and Shore have higher ceilings, although I don’t know enough about Shore or have seen him play enough to have much opinion of him. I am starting to think Colborne simply won’t put it all together. he couldn’t handle the puck well enough and turns it over too often last year (which is odd because his hands are silky smooth in shootouts). On a side topic what is the date for final cuts to be made?

  • FeyWest

    I really like the first 12 forwards already how you have them listed there Ryan, coincidence? I may swap Byron and Colborne and a couple around likewise but it’s shaping up well.

    • everton fc

      It’s a pretty good piece. He said basically what I said, though I got more thumbs down than “kudos”.

      What’s missing is this; what happens when Brodie returns? One of Wilson, Nakladal and Engelland will have to go. I don’t think it’ll be Wilson. Would Nakladal have to clear waivers?

    • KiLLKiND

      That was a good article and I didn’t know Hartley had said that about Bollig. I disagree with Ortio being a lock for making the team but we really are in a situation where we have 3 goalies that can play in the NHL. Hiller is the most consistent you know what you will get with him. Ramo has higher highs and lower low. Ortio is double Ramo with the higher highs highs and lower lows as his NHL save percentage isn’t impressive. I see Hiller and Ramo both making the team while Ortio plays in the minors until a trade or injury happens.

      • KiLLKiND

        As it pertains to the goalie situation, did you even read the article. It very well articulates why Ortio won’t get sent down (i.e. 29 teams in the league would claim him), whereas 29 teams likely wouldn’t claim either of the older goalies due to their contracts not being overly attractive, especially Hiller’s…it has nothing to do with who you or I think the better goalie is.

        Its the reality of the cap/waiver world in 2015 as we know it.

        And no, Nakladal is not waiver eligible, he is safe to be sent down and would be the obvious candidate when Brodie is back from the IR in the scenario you described.

    • KiLLKiND

      That was a good article and I didn’t know Hartley had said that about Bollig. I disagree with Ortio being a lock for making the team but we really are in a situation where we have 3 goalies that can play in the NHL. Hiller is the most consistent you know what you will get with him. Ramo has higher highs and lower low. Ortio is double Ramo with the higher highs highs and lower lows as his NHL save percentage isn’t impressive. I see Hiller and Ramo both making the team while Ortio plays in the minors until a trade or injury happens.

    • KiLLKiND

      All good. I simply disagree with most teams taking Ortio to play at the NHL level in place of who they have. I believe there was an article either on here or matchsticks and gasoline that outlined which teams would potentially pick up Ortio on waivers and that article made it seem like Ortio would most likely be able to pass through waivers as most teams are entering the year with a starter and a backup. While I do think Ortio is better than a lot of backups it would create a lot of unnecessary chaos for whichever team picked him up. Overall I don’t think any goalie we drop to the minors will be picked up.

      • KiLLKiND

        This ISN’T about which goalie is better now.

        Think logically, would you rather risk losing to waivers your 24 year old potential #1 future goalie that you drafted and have spent the last six years developing or a 34 year old who is part of the current 1A/1B tandem that is not in the organization’s plans beyond this season.

        It makes ZERO sense to even take that risk, regardless of whether you feel someone would actually claim him or not

  • Reidja

    Regarding the too common sentiment on Byron’s lack of finish, I’ll take a guy who didn’t convert a handful of break-always last season over a guy who can’t generate good scoring chances. If Byron finished all his chances, he would easily be a second line two-way winger. As it is, he’s a great bottom 6 winger and we are lucky to have him. Zero chanuce he doesn’t start on Oct 7 if he’s healthy.

    • everton fc

      Completely agree.

      Byron pushes play in the right direction and gets lots of chances off the rush. So he doesn’t convert them. That’s okay because the goalie may freeze the puck, which in turn provides the o-zone face off you want to give either of the two “scoring” lines a chance to convert.

      Colborne doesn’t do that; Bollig doesn’t do that; and, Shore might be able to do that, some day, but we haven’t seen it yet. On your third and fourth line you need players that push the puck in the right direction not put it in the net at an above average level. If they could do that, they would be on a scoring line.