Who else might the Flames recall?

Between Garnet Hathaway and Joni Ortio, the Flames have used two of their four available recalls to close out the season. That leaves just two players left the Flames will be able to bring up from the Stockton Heat over the course of their final 16 games.

Keep in mind, this doesn’t count guys like Mark Jankowski or Brandon Hickey. They’re college players not under contract; the Flames hold their rights, but they aren’t actually playing within the Flames organization, so there’s nowhere to recall them from. They aren’t even signed, yet. They can be added to the roster, should they decide they’re done with their college careers (and with Jankowski in his senior year, his transition to professional leagues is a no-brainer), with no limitations.

The Flames don’t even need to use their final two recalls, but it would be prudent for them to do so. The season is lost, and with it, do we really need to watch guys like Brandon Bollig, Matt Stajan, or Deryk Engelland in action? They’re three of the older players on the team with, presumably, less of a future than anyone else in Calgary. Wouldn’t it be better to see those spots go to players who may very well be competing for an NHL job over the next couple of seasons?

Close, but no cigar

Derek Grant probably should have been brought back up far earlier, but alas, a broken jaw suffered in the middle of a practice put a stop to all dreams of seeing him again. It’s a shame, too, because he was in the midst of his best season, absolutely dominating the AHL landscape and providing the bulk of the Heat’s offence. The good news is, at least, we should probably expect to see him back with the Flames organization next season, and he should be able to fight for an NHL job out of camp then.

Drew Shore was in the NHL to finish out last season, but he wasn’t a big presence in the lineup. Though he’s one of Stockton’s top scorers this season, he only has 27 points through 44 games and, at 25 years old, the clock is ticking. He may be able to play at the NHL level – but there are others who deserve a spot in this final stretch of games more than him.

Emile Poirier was regarded as one of the Flames’ best prospects coming into this season, but his offence drying up – not through lack of effort; if he had last season’s shooting percentage this season, he’d have 20 goals, nine more than he has now – has knocked him down a rung or two. Fortunately, there are still two years left on his entry level deal, so the Flames can afford to wait on him. Because ultimately, he only has 24 points through 47 games this season: and as much as he may be a part of the franchise’s plans for the future, we’re not at that stage just yet.

Possibilities, but not certainties

Freddie Hamilton was kind of a gimme. Acquired for a conditional seventh rounder whose conditions will not be met, the Flames got Dougie’s brother for absolutely nothing, but he’s been among the Heat’s top scorers throughout this season. He currently sits at 35 points through 50 games, third on team scoring, and he’s only 23 years old. Freddie’s had his shots at the NHL level in the past, but he’s young enough he could still get one more.

Turner Elson is having one of his best seasons to date. He’s up to 26 points through 48 games this year, a .54 point per game pace – beating out the .51 pace he completed last season. He’s fifth in Stockton scoring, so he’s definitely risen up through the ranks. The only question: what’s his NHL upside? Can he offer something Hathaway, already recalled over him, can’t?

Oliver Kylington would be a particularly intriguing name to see up so early. Of course, everything about him is interesting; he was a projected top pick who fell all the way down to 60th overall, but has gone on to play in the AHL as an 18-year-old. Though he’s injured at the moment, seeing him get a cup of coffee in the NHL would be intriguing, if a touch premature. Brett Kulak, on the other hand, would be a really interesting possibility, as he looked, at worst, serviceable during his initial six-game stint as he started his season in the NHL – but he’s still signed for another season after this one, whereas Tyler Wotherspoon, the apparent de facto recall on defence nowadays, will be an RFA. It feels as though the only cup of coffee to be garnered on the blueline is Wotherspoon’s, as we’ve seen through his emergency recalls. There’ll still be time for Kulak yet.

Potential recalls

Kenny Agostino almost has to be one of the guys brought up. With 42 points through 49 games, he’s now Stockton’s leading scorer. His career high came last season, with 43 points in 67 games; he’s already primed to pass it. He’s getting way more shots on net, too, and while others seem to have taken a step back this season, he’s steadily progressed through his sophomore year. He has very real potential at the NHL level, and deserves to be one of the final recalls. He’s also set to become an RFA after this season, and it’s really difficult to imagine the Flames not keeping him on board, so they might as well see what they’ve got at the next level.

Bill Arnold is lauded as a potential defensive centre specialist. He isn’t putting up major points in the AHL, but that’s hardly the role we’re expecting of him. He’ll be an RFA after this season, and will require a new contract; it would be a great time to assess how far he’s come – though he has been injured this season, which may put a bit of a damper on things. Still, it couldn’t hurt to see him in a sheltered role at the highest level as the season closes out.

Hunter Shinkaruk, one of the Flames’ shiny new toys, has just three points through five games with the organization thus far. He was cautioned as not yet ready for the NHL, but with just 16 meaningless games left, who’s counting? He’s only played one NHL game thus far, but he’s under contract for another two seasons after this one, so there’s plenty of time to wait and see with him. Still – it’d be neat to see him in action to close out the year, particularly with the AHL season he’s had (42 points through 50 games, and still, technically, Utica’s leading scorer). He’s new and exciting, after all.

  • SickFloBro

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Bill Arnold. I’ve only ever heard great things about him, and I’m sure it would be beneficial for his development for him to know how he stacks up against NHL players.

    The NHL is a more structured league than the AHL in a lot of ways. Sometimes you see players recalled who really flourish because of the structure of the NHL game, despite the added size and talent of the players and the speed of the game. Bill Arnold might be one of those.

    Time will tell, I suppose.

  • Parallex

    Won’t be Hamilton. If he plays in the NHL the Flames have to give up a draft pick per the conditions on the trade.

    If I had to wager on who get’s the call I’d wager on Agostino. I’m also sure we’ll have a late season flurry of “injuries” and do a bunch of “emergency” recalls to reward some of the guys on the farm and a bunch of guys will get a game or two.

    • supra steve

      The condition on the trade for F Hamilton stipulates that he has to play at least 18 games with the Flames this season for that 7th round draft pick to be in play (from generalfanager).

      • Parallex

        Oh, I didn’t know that… thank you. Then I guess he could be one of the recalls. I think it’s more likely he’s one of the “emergency” recalls thou.

  • MattyFranchise

    Depending on who goes down when Wideman comes back I expect Wotherspoon to take one of the actual recalls. He might not need one though, I’m not sure what the Smid situation is at the moment. Either way, Wideman could be the one that sends Engelland to the pressbox.

    As for the last one? Agostino is my best guess. Maybe Hamilton Sr? Bring up Arnold and put him with Gaudreau just for the heck of it?

    • piscera.infada

      Once Wideman comes back there is no longer an “emergency”, and Wotherspoon has to be returned to Stockton, so he would need to take one of the ‘actual’ recalls. It could very well be the case that the Flames have seen enough to re-sign him, and as such would rather use that recall on someone else.

      • MattyFranchise

        I was thinking if Smid was on injured reserve for the rest of the season it might create an ’emergency’.

        You’re right though. There’s no emergency once Wideman and Nakladal are back. Anyway, use the 3rd recall for Wotherspoon to keep him up the rest of the season.

        Jeez it’s difficult to articulate thoughts while typing on a phone with my mutant thumbs.

      • MattyFranchise

        Honestly, after that first hearing and all the crap that surrounded it/came out of it, anyone that thought he was going to sit for less than 20 games should be sharing their really good drugs with me.

        If the arbitrator rules less than 20 games Wideman will get some of his money back. The Flames will still have missed out on his services for those 20 games or, more importantly, the opportunity to trade him at the deadline.

        It’s seems as much a punishment for the Flames as it is for Wideman himself.

  • CofRed4Life

    My personal vote is for Agostino and Arnold. They’re both RFAs at the end of the season, and you need to know if they’re worth keeping. Everyone else still has time contract wise, so I’d keep them in the AHL unless there’s an emergency recall.

  • Nick24

    I don’t know how you don’t use a call up on Agostino. He’s been a productive winger his entire time in the AHL and I dont believe he’s played an NHL game since he was signed after he won the championship with Yale. He’s been one of the few bright spots on the Heat this year and he should definitely get a shot. He can’t be any worse than Bollig.

  • Flamethrower

    This club should have changed out a bunch of the dead wood ages ago. Full blame should sit squarely on the shoulders of management for the flames dismal performance this year…For a team in a rebuild they sure flogged the old dead horses and look where it got them. I guess a guy shouldn’t bitch we might just get a decent draft pick. I’m sure a lot of people are going to dis me for this but I feel this management team is not the one we need to go to the cup.

  • Flamethrower

    All I can say is I hope this team has a complete new make over for next season. New blood a new look, we have guys that deserve a shot to play for the big club that have paid their dues.

    Management of this club needed to take a page from the leafs. Keep our core eight players and dumped the rest for picks not just 2 or 3 players at trade deadline. If you’re going to rebuild take out all the garbage and do it right.