Flames assign Derek Grant to Stockton

Since being recalled from the AHL in lieu of Micheal Ferland’s injury, Derek Grant has played nine games for the Calgary Flames. As of late, he’d found himself a home in the lineup as a steady fourth line centre who tended to get a scoring chance or so every game.

Ten is the magic number, though. Should Grant have played his 10th game, he would have been subject to waivers. And as he’d been in the midst of establishing himself as perhaps a good fourth line option, maybe a team would have claimed him.

Furthermore, as the Flames get healthier, they may need a roster spot ready for a player coming off the injured reserve. Grant is the easiest to send down, and so, down he goes – not an indictment of his play, but of his waivers status.

Since Grant was recalled, he was a healthy scratch for just three games, the most recent being a 6-3 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. He has played the past six games in a row for the Flames, and while he failed to get on the scoreboard, it wasn’t ever for lack of trying.

While he did play extremely limited minutes – he only eclipsed the 10-minute mark in ice time three times over his nine-game call up – he was never a detriment to his team during them, instead being a good faceoff man who, well, played with a lot of heart and energy.

Basically: he was exactly what you want out of your fourth line players. As of late, he’s been a more consistent presence down there than some, including Brandon Bollig, Mason Raymond, and Josh Jooris, all of whom have been healthy scratches since Grant’s recall and Ferland’s return (Raymond hasn’t played since Nov. 7, where he got just over five minutes).

It’s a shame Grant wasn’t able to score his first NHL goal over his call up, as he was certainly buzzing, and you felt it would be inevitable. 

Alas, he, like Joni Ortio, is a victim of the NHL’s waivers systems, one of the biggest impediments of “always earned, never given”. It’s tough to follow through on laws about intangibles when elements of real-life consequence – contracts, salaries, waivers – are there to check you. Even if you have outplayed some of your teammates, you’re the easiest to get rid of, so that’s how it goes. And after giving Paul Byron away for nothing in an earlier misguided move, why make that risk again?

The Flames now have 13 healthy forwards, with Lance Bouma the only one still on the injured reserve. That still leaves one extra forward, so they aren’t hurting at that position.

And with Jonas Hiller returning to main practice, it appears as though the Flames may be getting their third goalie back, so they’ll need Grant’s roster spot to make room for him when he’s activated off the injured reserve. After all, gotta carry 13 forwards, seven defencemen, and three goalies, right?

(While talking goalies, one final note: Jon Gillies may require surgery. This has been a fun season! And by “fun” I mean, well, not really.)

  • Ari Yanover

    How about they may want to bring another player up from Stockton for 9 games? Could his name be Kenny (not Kenney) or Markus? I know the 3 goalie issue has gone on ad nauseum but if Bob aint going to play Ortio then waive him. Ramo is playing better and it looks like Bob will play him till his leg falls off. Who knows what Hiller will do but he can sit on the pine instead of Ortio.

  • Christian Roatis

    The logic of sending down Grant to give space for Hiller escapes me. They had waived Raymond previously, but chose to keep him to sit in the stands. They might as well have him in Stockton helping the kids and have a better option than Bollig as the 12th forward.

    Hiller needs to go to Stockton on a conditioning stint. He wasn’t good before, and now is rusty. Just what the Flames need, another rusty goalie.

    • Derzie

      I think they’ve taken those signs down this year. Instead of cap-hell we are in waiver-lock. Good options go down and stay down (or up in the case of Ortio) for fear of waivers. Waiver-lock has already claimed a useful role player in Byron. Feels like this team is stuck in quicksand.

  • Cfan in Vic

    Waiver-wire logic aside, I can confidently say that next game, the Flames will be incrementally worse that than they were the last few games.

    I was hoping he’d stick all year. Waive a goalie and a Raymond, if necessary. If you earn it, you should play.

  • Scoring_guru

    Why is this even news? We are talking about a 4th liner who barely receives 10 minutes a night. There is another 47 – 50 minutes that are being eaten up with guys who are not performing.

    The discussion should be around the lack of offence from this team and how the first line with the exception of JG has fallen off a cliff. Watch the Hawks last night and they were buzzing around our zone all night with constant movement with our guys running around with their heads cut off trying to keep up. We can’t make passes or maintain possession when we enter the opposing teams zone.

    • Cfan in Vic

      It’s news because it’s new (that’s part of the criteria of “news”). This happened today.

      Whether you think Grant is an important part of the team or not, the under-performing core of the team is anything but new at this point.

  • KACaribou

    Johnny Hockey is driving the first line.
    Sam Bennett is driving the second line.
    Nobody else is earning their wage in beans.

    We have players out of place.

    Sean Monahan doesn’t seem to have the natural fortitude to lift his team when they need it, like a Johnathan Toews does. We need that kind of leader as our first line centre and until Bennett finally fits in at 1C, we are sadly missing this element. I know he’s young, but this is a young man’s game now. Mony has great hands but refuses to get them dirty.

    We need mean! We don’t have a guy on any of our top two lines who is spirited whatsoever. I can’t figure out why Ferly is never given this opportunity? Hartley is going to break his spirit playing him with Bollig and Jooris 9 minutes a night when he could be banging and crashing and making room for our stars. He has great hands but not when he has to do it himself all the time with pluggers and never gets to play minutes that count.

    Johnny H and Benny don’t have the linemates.

    Why?

    1) Jari Hudler vanished last year in playoffs and his only re-appearance was when he picked up the Lady Byng.

    2) Monahan (see above).

    3) On a good team Frolik and Backs are 3rd line players. They don’t have the natural instincts of a Benny or a Johnny H.

    Now on to our real problem:

    Besides Brodie our defense has been awful. Yes that means you too Gio. Other than Engelland we have the softest, easiest to play against D in the whole damned league. We have two guys making elite money, playing average at best minutes. Nobody fears going into our corners and they need to!

    I still enjoy watching the players develop but this team isn’t going to do any better than .500 from this time on because they just simply are not better than most teams in the league.

    Fortunately time is our friend. But not this year.

      • everton fc

        Ferland played the same game in juniors. Against kids. Which is why he scored so much.

        He’s one of my favourites, and with the right line mates, he’d get his goals. I’d like to see him with Stajan and Jones, as they had some serious chemistry in the post-season. I wouldn’t tough the first two lines right now. Or the defensive pairings, as the boys appear to be clearing the early season “fog”.

    • The Last Big Bear

      I agree with basically all of this, except the part about Frolik.

      Frolik has been freakin awesome.

      By my eyes, it’s been him carrying a lot of the baggage on the 2nd line. And short handed.

      He leads the team in shots on goal, and I’m fairly sure the advanced stats back him up as being one of the Flames’ most effective players.

      He’s been a much bigger addition so far than the much lauded Dougie Hamilton trade.

      • KACaribou

        Thanks for the great insight. Don’t get me wrong, Frolik compared to Hamilton… a steal for Calgary. The guy is fast and works like a hungry hunting dog.

        My issue with Frolik is he may keep all the possession guys happy, but he doesn’t finish and never has. He’s barely a 1/2 point a game on a line with Benny and his Jets. That’s why I am saying on a good team he’s third line. We don’t want second line guys scraping up stats like Backs has always had.

        Not saying he isn’t a good player to have. He’s a workhorse. He just doesn’t have that freak talent to finish like we want guys to have on our 1st or 2nd lines if we ever want to win the Stanley Cup.

        If Backs and Frolik are your second line, happy May golfing.

  • Bob's Hockey Stick

    The way the team has played as a whole. If Hartely were to be honest with the whole mantra of earned not given. then we’d be dressing at most two to three defensemen and six forwards each game. Since you have to actually ice a full squad he’s left with little options.

    Management needs to start waiving the lazy players and shed some dead weight. Shame the NHL doesn’t have an out clause with contracts like the NFL does. Where an underpreforming player can be out right released / cut from a time and given free agency to go float else where.