We got some awful news yesterday, Flames fans.
Lance Bouma broke his fibula, and so everyone’s dreams of Top Six Forward Lance Bouma are now but a memory, at least until January-ish. But that also means that Bob Hartley is being forced to shuffle the deck a bit.
And shuffle the deck he has, with the apparent return of Top Six Forward Mikael Backlund!
#Flames lines in practice
— Randy Sportak (@SUNRandySportak) October 14, 2015
Granted, these lines are preliminary, and exclude the recently-recalled Markus Granlund – who will probably play center. But if nothing else, they have some balance.
- The top line is their best line, and unless one of them gets eaten by a shark, I can’t see Bob Hartley breaking them up.
- Sam Bennett has been skating really well and hasn’t looked out of place as a center, but focusing on his defensive responsibilities have arguably negated his offensive talent at the NHL level thus far. Putting him with the defensively-responsible Backlund and Ferland, the bull in a china shop, has some nice possibilities.
- Jones and Frolik showed some nice chemistry in the third period against St. Louis, Stajan’s got good chemistry with Jones, and the trio should (at least) become a half-decent shut-down line.
- Finally, Raymond, Jooris and Bollig admittedly seems like a bit of a dog’s breakfast. However, Raymond’s got some wheels, Jooris is a good face-off man, and Bollig has an underrated shot (if/when he can get a chance in the offensive zone). This line is likely where Granlund slots in when he gets put into the line-up. I’d imagine Bollig rotates out to the press box, Jooris moves to the right wing and Granlund becomes the center. Raymond and Granlund played together quite a bit last season when Granlund was up and showed some chemistry – I think Drew Shore was on the right wing for a few of those games – and at this point, the Flames need to get some chemistry going. Oh, and if Granlund struggles with face-offs they can rotate Jooris in from the wing to help out. It gives them some flexibility.
Fun Fact: So far, the Flames have scored seven goals. The Gaudreau line has produced five of them, including the team’s two power-play markers. They really need more from the remainder of the line-up, and producing three support lines that can push the game into the offensive zone is a great first step.