What should the Flames do with Brandon Bollig?

The Flames have a problem: they have way, way too many waiver-eligible forwards.

Let’s talk specifically about Brandon Bollig.

From 18 to 14

The Flames still have 18 forwards at camp, 15 of whom require waivers. The three that don’t are Garnet Hathaway, Markus Granlund, and Sam Bennett. Only the latter seems especially likely to make the final roster.

Operating on the assumption that Bennett is on the team and Hathaway and Granlund are in Stockton, there are still 16 forwards at camp. Presuming a roster of two goalies, seven defencemen, and 14 forwards, two waiver-eligible forwards still have to go, whether by trade or being sent down and subject to waivers.

Bennett’s already off the table for risk of being cut; let’s take Mikael Backlund, Lance Bouma, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Jiri Hudler, David Jones, Sean Monahan, and Matt Stajan off as well, based on both contractual status, recent history, and overall career production.

That still leaves seven forwards fighting for the remaining five spots: Paul Byron, Joe Colborne, Micheal Ferland, Josh Jooris, Mason Raymond, Drew Shore, and Bollig.

Based on both their performances last season and their preseason performances to date, let’s take Ferland and Jooris out of that group as well.

Fighting for the last spots

Byron, after over half a year of not playing hockey on a regular basis, is only just now starting to impress at camp. He isn’t a lock to make the roster just yet, but of the five forwards left, he seems the most likely. When you look at his past performances and with them, the idea that he’s basically the perfect depth player, it’s clear it would be a mistake to cut him. Byron is still getting his legs under him, but it’s only been two games. He’ll get there.

On the other hand, neither Raymond, Colborne nor Shore have impressed at camp so far. While Raymond and Colborne were regular players for the Flames in 2014-15, Shore came in late and never could hold on to a spot. Between the three, he looks the least likely to actually make the team.

However, all four of the aforementioned players have exhibited, at minimum, more potential than Bollig has, if not better careers to date. But Bollig has actually had a more inspiring preseason: not only wearing a letter in preseason games, but scoring two goals.

The two preseason goals are more funny than anything else, and shouldn’t be an indication of predicted future success. After all, do you take Bollig over Byron, even though Byron has a significantly greater history of professional ability to draw upon?

But we all know Bollig isn’t here to score goals. The very fact that the coaching staff saw fit to give him an alternate’s ‘A’ in preseason matches attests to a different perceived value.

What’s best for the Flames?

There are all sorts of arguments you can make to cut the other forwards. Their play isn’t up to the standards the rest of the players have set, they aren’t worthy of their contracts, they wouldn’t be missed. And all of these do basically apply to Bollig.

If Bollig is an asset to the locker room, though – not on the ice, but simply as a member of the team – then, honestly, you keep him. If he’s earned a spot through preseason performances where others haven’t, you keep him, and cut those who failed to meet expectations.

Here’s the thing: keeping Bollig does not mean playing him. We’re talking about keeping 14 forwards for an on-ice group that’s only going to see 12. Two of them will be scratches at any given time.

And if Bollig does earn a spot through his preseason work ethic, leadership, and whatever other values the coaching staff feels he provides, he should keep his spot – but be confined to the pressbox, because there is absolutely no case in which he is one of the top 12 forwards on this team.

Bollig is a professional. He’s no longer a kid trying to earn a spot like Shore is; he’s a veteran player who knows his role, and his role has never been to play big or meaningful minutes. Making him a perpetual healthy scratch should not be an issue.

And by doing this, he doesn’t take an on-ice spot from a kid who needs the playing time. Assuming the Flames can get Shore through waivers, what’s best for him: sitting in an NHL pressbox, or playing in the AHL?

The Flames were at a similar crossroads last season when they had to send somebody down, and the choice really came down to Brian McGrattan or Markus Granlund. They chose McGrattan, leaving Granlund, a young player still developing, to sit as a healthy scratch not playing.

That isn’t something that needs to happen again. Sending Bollig down to the AHL ensures he can’t dress for the Flames, but also takes a spot from a kid who needs the development and playing time in the minors.

However, a Bollig taking part in team activities while not actually playing games hurts absolutely nobody.

Unless the Flames can find a taker for Bollig in a trade without having to give up any assets, if he’s impressed enough in training camp, keep him in the NHL. Just don’t play him.

    • Derzie

      I can’t figure out Raymond, he knows that he is on the bubble and despite getting top 6 playing time, he has done nothing with the ice time. He is giving the organization no choice but to move him. It is as if he has already checked out. You would think, all he needs to do is look at someone like Glencross to know that all he has worked for can disappear overnight. I say that you have to overplay him in the last 2 games and see if there is any fire.

      Right now of the 7 forward players fighting for 5 spots, I have him slightly ahead of Hathaway at number 6….pretty sad.

      • piscera.infada

        When Raymond scored a hat trick against the Oilers I remember thinking “wow” this I a great signing!!!!! But the wheels fell off the cart soon thereafter!!! Maybe he can rise from the ashes! I Hope!!!!!

  • everton fc

    Shocking, Ari once again dogging and taking shots at Bollig in an article.

    We all realize he’s not gonna put up points like Monahan and Gaudreau, the thing is he’s being paid $1.25M a year to bring a specific skill set to the team that management feels is important.

    Whether you like it or not he’s going to be on the team…please for the love of god stop with the constant bashing of him and Engelleland, it was a broken record last year and painfully hard to read over and over in every single one of your articles.

    Let it go, move on and focus on something more productive as the constant back handed comments and targeting of this player won’t change the fact that at the end of the day management makes the decisions and wants him on the team.

  • RedMan

    I would be shocked if Bollig was anywhere but Calgary opening nite – playing or not. This team is high on Bollig and his toughness and intangibles.

    Not that I am agreeing or disagreeing, just that the team seems to have a spot for him and his skills.

  • Burnward

    Interesting he’s gone back to 52. Maybe it’ll be a good omen this year.

    I got time for Bollig. Plays hard and physical and keeps teams honest when needed. No issue with him on the roster at all.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I’d be perfectly fine dumping him. The Flames have, at minimum, Bouma and Ferland who can perform those tasks while being more effective players in general.

  • FlamesRule

    Bollig will be on the 4th line alongside Stajan and Colbourne on opening night. Byron and Shore in the box and everyone else headed to Stockton through waivers or not.

    BTW Ortio will be on the plane too!

  • ArtificialSweets

    @Killer Carlson

    I feel like you didn’t actually read the article fully…

    From what I read, it seems Ari understands that he his a role player. He isn’t used as a point getter, but as a leader and character guy that stands up for the team.

    She’s just trying to point out that he shouldn’t be one of the 12 forwards playing everynight because it just doesn’t make sense having one of our young up and coming forwards wasting time in the press box. They should be either be playing regular games up in the NHL or have a roster spot in the AHL playing more minutes!

    It’s crazy to suggest this isn’t a important or unproductive topic because we will be losing assets!

    Bols shouldn’t be an 82 game player… Especially if we’re sitting out either Colbourne, Byron, Shore or Granlund

    • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

      What you need to understand is that Bollig isn’t going anywhere and will play 50 or so games. If he is one of the better fighters in the league, then he is also one of the better players in the league for what he does.

  • piscera.infada

    As I said on the earlier thread (didn’t realize this article was posted until after–my bad):

    I doubt Bollig’s going anywhere any time soon. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he only plays somewhere around 40 games this season (perhaps less). That leaves 40 or so, for someone else–which is progress in an organization that just over a year ago consistently dressed McGratton and Westgarth at the same time.

    As a couple others have echoed, I think Bollig does have a role with this team. I also think he can be extremely useful when used the right way. The “right way” though, is sparingly–I don’t think the answer to the Bollig usage question is simply “Bollig vs. skill”.

  • Captain Ron

    Like him or not Bollig will be here on opening day. Maybe not the best thing overall but as long as he is matched up properly in the games he plays it is not that big of a deal.

  • Captain Ron

    The only unfair thing about this article I find is saying that Colborne and Shore have not impressed. I think they’ve both looked very good but our depth may mean they have not been good enough. Raymond has just not impressed.

  • everton fc

    Simple answer here;

    Play him. Let us see what he can do. He earned a spot out of camp. Hope he continues to provide a more effective, progressive two-way game, if that is at all possible for him to accomplish.

    All that said – Hartley likes him and his teammates seem to like him. So he’s not going anywhere, and provides more “hockey” than Big Ern and guys like Big Ern.

  • piscera.infada

    Sometimes Ari writes an amazing article and other times a stinker! Since we are about to start a new hockey season, the coaching staff feels that Ari needs to bring more consistancy to his game!

    • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

      I am one of the people who would like to the Flames be able to play 4 effective lines. For me each line would have a Bouma/Ferland type someone who can play and not put up with crap. Bollig as much as I hate to admit it has earned a chance in the preseason. But I still firmly believe by the end of the season he will be surpassed by someone in the organization and likely face the same situation as McG did last year.

  • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

    Lest we not forget Bollig’s playoff goal! A beut! And how he took on two Canuck Nuckleheads! This guy Rocks! P.S. Not to much love for Byron here! Not sure why!

  • Johnny Goooooooaldreau

    I find it strange that people are agreeing with what you say arii (keep Bollig on the roster), but simultaneously trash the article. It’s like they didn’t even read it.