the prestigious first call-up title. Sometimes it’s earned, sometimes it’s not.
Sometimes it’s about the coach’s trust, sometimes it’s about one’s position on
the organizational depth chart. Sometimes it’s about needs rather than wants.
of these are taken into consideration when injuries take place in the NHL. The
coaching staff and management have to sit down and often make quick decisions
based on a numbers of factors. This season, well, there are a lot of options.
There seems to be a Stockton player available for almost every scenario that
could take place.
let’s explore some of the scenarios and options at Brad Treliving and Bob
NO! A SCORER’S INJURED!
forbid one of Gaudreau, Monahan or Hudler gets banged up. I don’t need to tell
you that’d be bad news. But what if it did? Who can be flown up from Stockton
to replace a scorer on the big club?
not convinced there is someone.
I’m sure there will be a bit of a shuffle. Perhaps Ferland could join the top
line, or maybe Bennett and then call-up a player with a bit of skill to fill in
the middle of the rotation. Two names come to mind: Markus Granlund and Emile
Poirier. Granlund was the last cut and more than likely the first call-up
to fill a top-9 role. He’s got the hands and speed, he just needs the
experience to keep developing. Poirier, on the other hand, had an underwhelming
camp, but will probably be called up on his name alone. I have little doubt he’ll
tear up the AHL again this season, but he’s going to have to start showing
something to be the go-to forward call-up this season.
NO! NOT A BOTTOM-SIXER!
where things could get a little tricky for management and the coaches.
say one of the bottom-6 forwards is out for a while. Who can come up and slide
into the lineup seamlessly? The first name that comes to mind is Garnet Hathaway. He was one of the final
cuts for a reason. He’d fit in seamlessly alongside the likes of Stajan, Jooris
and Jones. He brings a combination of raw energy, feistiness and a touch of
skill that can’t be found anywhere else in Stockton.
there’s Bill Arnold and Kenny Agostino. If you need a center,
Arnold’s your man. He’s a stud in the faceoff dot – maybe the organization’s
best, and doesn’t hurt you defensively. Plus, he didn’t have half a point per
game in the AHL last season for no reason. He’s a well-rounded offensive threat
at times as well.
on the other hand, was one of the more impressive prospects at camp this year.
He seemed to be able to create chances and grind it out in the corners with
ease. That bodes well for his chances at an early call-up if he’s needed. If a
winger goes down, he’s got to be your go-to bottom-6 replacement.
NO! A DEFENCEMAN! SAY IT AIN’T SO!
of one of the Flames’ top line forwards going down to injury, the team can
least afford to lose a blueliner for an extended period of time. Yes, Brett Kulak has been holding his own
and has looked good in a limited role, there’s no denying that. But what is
there outside of Kulak, right now?
think Ryan Culkin would have been an
early candidate for first call-up on defense, but with his injury, he’s going
to need a lot of time to catch back up. We know how Hartley love his two-way
defenseman. Heck, it’s probably why Kulak made the team in the first place. So
it’s too bad Culkin will need a bit of time before he makes the jump.
there’s the much talked about Tyler
Wotherspoon (who I will be dedicating an article to in the coming week). It
seems the trust has been diminished a bit between ‘Spoon and Hartley,
especially after comments last weeks by the Flames bench boss criticizing the
22-year-old’s ability to be “tougher on [himself]” and “more demanding.”
Wotherspoon won’t be the first call-up. I can guarantee that, but with a strong
month of October, he can earn a vouch from Ryan Huska.
Jakub Nakladal and Kenney Morrison are other options.
Morrison and Sieloff were recalled temporarily during training camp to get in more practice time. For the first
time since the Flames drafted Sieloff, things are looking up for the kid. He’s
being given a long leash from management to get back into his development curve
and it’s only fair given his injury
history to this point. Morrison is another guy who started camp in
underwhelming fashion, but seemed to look better as September wore on. He’s not
likely ready for an NHL regular season game just yet, however.
however, may win the first call-up title because there are very few other
options at this point. Wotherspoon’s trust levels are low, Morrison’s not
ready, Sieloff’s getting there, and Culkin’s going to take a while to rehab. That
leaves the 27-year-old Czech, and let’s faces it, he probably wouldn’t do so
bad with under 10 minutes of ice time a night as a temporary placeholder.
Verdict: Jakub Nakladal