Flames Recall Tyler Wotherspoon from Stockton

Dennis Wideman’s suspended. Kris Russell is interminably “day to day” with a lower-body injury. Ladislav Smid has an upper-body injury. With all those defenders down and likely unavailable for the short-term, the Calgary Flames had to make a move.

And they did, reportedly recalling blueliner Tyler Wotherspoon from the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat.

Wotherspoon, 22 (23 in March), is in the third year of his entry-level contract. He’s played 15 games over his pro career with the Flames, but struggled last season a bit after missing most of training camp with recovering from shoulder surgery. Much like fellow Stockton call-up Markus Granlund, he’s a guy that has some value but that the organization likely wants to gauge against the rest of the young talent they have on their hands. He has 4 assists in 40 games with Stockton this season, but projects much more as a Smid-esque shutdown defender at the NHL level than a puck-moving, point-producer.

To make room on the 23-man roster, the club has placed Smid on the injured reserve.

  • SickFloBro

    This may be Wotherspoon’s last shot to make an impression. His future with the Flames will likely depend on how well he plays while he’s here.

    I’d imagine that if the Flames had fully decided on not keeping him in their plans, they would have called up someone like Kulak or Culkin. This is his chance.

    • everton fc


      Culkin’s still in the ECHL. No idea how he’s doing, but he hasn’t been recalled to Stockton, to my knowledge. Wotherspoon will have to really impress. I’d put him w/Nakladal, as the two already know one another, and had chemistry on the farm. But that means pairing Engelland w/Hamilton. I could live with this, though.

      As for the Habs, seems they’re shopping Subban.

      • piscera.infada

        Culkin actually was recalled from Adirondack on Feb. 2 (he’s played in three games since). Remember, that was a nasty, nasty injury he’s recovering from.

        The Habs aren’t shopping Subban. Everyone needs to relax on that. The coach will be gone before they trade their second best player, because “reasons”.

  • Trevy

    This is a blessing in disguise. We haven’t heard much about Wotherspoon in a long time and now he’s been given another opportunity to show us and hopefully some other GM’s, that he is ready for the NHL or cut bait. The ball is in your court Wotherspoon…good luck!

  • SickFloBro

    I was hoping to see Kulak back up. Mostly because I was falling for him hard when he was up with the flames to start the season. Oh well it will be nice to see Wotherspoon and how he plays.

      • fretsey

        No doubt…I wonder what his press box stats are..is he regressing/progressing?? When tossing popcorn in the air,what’s his catch “corsi”…or whatever the devil you kids are using these days…lol.How many times has he blocked Conny from reaching his junior mints??

        These are the things I need to know.

  • RKD

    I thought it would be Kulak but from all accounts Ryan Huska says that Wotherspoon has been playing great. Earlier in the season Kulak looked like he belonged here but I’m all for getting some other kids like Wotherspoon some playing time. Get those overpaid underachieving vets outta here!

    • piscera.infada

      Wow, I had no idea how many Engelland supporters we have now. If you replace Engelland with Kulak our 3-4 line is set. Kulak and Hamilton is significantly better than a Russel-Wideman line. Then Naklada-Wotherspoon bringing up the rear is far better than Smid and Engelland, who are a risky bottom pairing. This also removes a ton of money to use for our rookies and lure a top RW to play for Calgary.

      We will get to see how this turns out tonight, but I can’t see anything but good things from the new bottom pairing. We have some amazing rookies in our system that should be playing instead.

      • Cfan in Vic

        If he shows well enough to warrant interest from other GMs at the trade deadline then it is good for him and the Flames.

        However, we need someone capable of playing defence too. Our Goals Against has been horrible this year, not all of it is poor goaltending.

  • hulkingloooooob

    it’ll be good to see him play!

    . . . in other news, i think with the Canadiens selling at the TD, it’s time for us to be buyers…..of Paul Byron! please! we need that guy on our PK. yeah yeah, missed breakaways blah blah…i’d rather that on the PK then allowed goals. pauly come home…..

  • Baalzamon

    I find some of the reactions curious… this is Wotherspoon’s “last chance,” but Kulak “still has lots of time.”

    Wotherspoon is ONE YEAR OLDER. Not six.

    • piscera.infada

      I’d argue it has to do with circumstance within the organization. I get what you’re saying, but it just feels like Wotherspoon has been around longer (might be that injury/ECHL time for Kulak last season), and has been given more chances.

      Seems–at least prima facie–like Kulak is ascending within the organization and Wotherspoon has stagnated a bit. That may or may not be accurate, but all the same, I hope he shows well. At some point, you’re going to have to make decisions on some of these guys, because you’ll want ample development space for Andersen, Kylington, Hickey (eventually).

      • PrairieStew

        A decision needs to be made soon, for the reasons you suggest. He still has some value and could be included in a deal with a veteran to sweeten the return. Eg – added to a Hudler rental deal might increase the return from a low 2nd and low 3rd, to a low first round pick.

        As far as development time – no love for Kanzig and Bruce ?

        • piscera.infada

          As far as development time – no love for Kanzig and Bruce?

          Honestly, I don’t know a ton about Bruce, but I get a very Kanzig-ie vibe from him–for no reason other than “big defenseman”.

          My views on Kanzig are that I’d like to be surprised by him, but I don’t see his skating as anywhere near NHL calibre. Now, it’s entirely reasonable that he could improve, but I remain skeptical on that front. I personally believe that skating is the number one skill to evaluate with prospects. The way the game is evolving is making that even more important.

          I have the same problem with Hunter Smith. You watch that guy play, and when he gets the puck on his stick in the right situations he looks great, but when he isn’t able to get to those situations in a timely manner, it’s basically all moot.

          None of that is to say “give up on Kanzig”, but I honestly believe that if it’s him or another prospect, the ECHL won’t be a big detriment to his development.

          • Baalzamon

            I prefer Bruce over Kanzig for a couple reasons.

            1. He isn’t as physically developed relative to his peers (he’s tall, but rail thin)
            2. He’s already produced double digits in points (Kanzig took an extra year)

            None of that is to say that either of them will reach the NHL, but I think Bruce is the better prospect, personally.

          • KiLLKiND

            In 153 games he has 1 goal….. If he is the “better” prospect then neither will ever get a even whiff of press box duty. I’m guessing Bruce tops out at AHL 6-7th D man, especialy when you look at our other D prospects he isn’t even close.

  • beloch

    Kulak has been more impressive than Wotherspoon this season, but he also has another year left on his contract. Wotherspoon is a pending RFA. I suspect that is the main reason Wotherspoon has been called up first. This is his chance to earn a new contract. If he doesn’t impress now, he’ll probably be allowed to walk away in the summer to make room in Stockton for younger prospects.

    Wotherspoon might also have been called up because Treliving and Hartley may feel they owe Wotherspoon some NHL ice-time after derailing his season last year without giving him a single shift. Make no mistake, the sheer amount of time Wotherspoon spent in the press box last season instead of playing in the AHL did his career some harm.

    While I doubt Hartley will admit it until the Flames are mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Flames are now out of the race. Even if they weren’t, losing their only decent goalie and three defenders would pretty much seal the team’s fate. Kulak might have given the Flames the best chance to win, but bringing up Wotherspoon gives the club a chance to evaluate a prospect they may soon be walking away from or, alternatively, pump up his value before trading him.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    That Stockton Blueline must be looking a little thin with all the injuries and recalls.

    No Nakladal, Wotherspoon, Kylington, Stevenson.

    It will be Johnson, Kulak, Culkin, Morrison & Sieloff holding down the fort. Who is the 6th defender that draws in now?

    As far as T-Spoon is concerned. I figured he would get called up before Kulak, for similar reasons to what others have stated. Hope he does well. By all accounts, Huska has been pretty happy with him lately.