Tyler Wotherspoon played four games in four nights last week

The Calgary Flames had a busy schedule over the past week, but one player had an even busier week than the rest: defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon.

The 23-year-old native of British Columbia one-upped the common experience of many junior and minor-league hockey players; they often play three games in three nights, but Wotherspoon pulled off the very rare four-in-four.

FRIDAY, MARCH 18 – STOCKTON, CA

The Stockton Heat beat the Iowa Wild by a 5-1 score at Stockton Arena. Wotherspoon played second-pairing minutes alongside Ryan Culkin, behind the top pair of Dustin Stevenson and Brett Kulak. He had a primary assist on the eventual game-winning goal.

SATURDAY, MARCH 19 – BAKERSFIELD, CA

The Heat won a crazy one, besting the Bakersfield Condors by a 6-5 score in overtime. The Heat lost three players to game misconducts (including Dustin Stevenson) and one to injury, and so Wotherspoon was leaned on quite a bit more than he was on Friday night. He was minus-3 in a crazy game.

The Flames recalled Wotherspoon from Stockton early on Sunday.

SUNDAY, MARCH 20 – MONTREAL, QC

After being whisked from the AHL to the NHL to take Deryk Engelland’s spot in the line-up (as he left the team to attend to personal matters back home), Wotherspoon played 14:37 in a Flames 4-1 victory over Montreal. He was minus-1.

MONDAY, MARCH 21 – TORONTO, ON

Finally, the four-in-four stretch for Wotherspoon ended in Toronto, as the Flames lost 5-2 to the Maple Leafs. Wotherspoon played 18:43 – the second-most he’s played in his short NHL career – and was minus-1 on the night.

SUM IT UP

What’s more impressive? That Wotherspoon did a four-in-four, or that his teams won three out of four games during that stretch? 

The most telling thing that this week probably reflects is the level of trust that the organization has in Wotherspoon. Once Engelland left the team, somebody from the AHL was going to pull off a four-in-four by virtue of being short-notice emergency recalls. They chose Wotherspoon for the unique burden, which probably indicates that they felt his play was steady enough that he could handle it without falling to pieces during the final game.

He’ll be up for one more game before Engelland returns; fortunately, this time, with two days of rest:


Kudos, Mr. Wotherspoon. Congratulations on the unique accomplishment, and hopefully you never have to do it again.

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    Well if Flames finally show trust in this guy for one more year anyway (he’s an RFA to re-sign), then keeping him and Nakladal and moving Smid, Raymond, and Wideman may allow Flames to address those nagging reliable G and top-line RW issues. Flames do have enough cap room to do all that AND re-sign all RFAs including Johnny, Mony and all others with the 3 above veterans gone.

  • freethe flames

    Remember how last year many people had written him off, now it looks like he might have a future. He may never be more than a 5/6 but the Flames will take that. Again it goes back to being patient. Most players outside of the top 5/6 picks take 2-4 years to develop in the AHL and defenders unless they are elite may take longer. The Flames are in year 3 of a rebuild in which prior to that little was done to build up the farm, now it will take time.

    BT has his work cut out for him and I wonder how much rope ownership will give him. Next to signing Johnny and Monny he needs the freedom to deal with some bad contracts that he inherited. Hopefully for everyones sake Smid retires. He needs to be given permission to buy out at least one contract, or at least trade and keep half a salary and also to bury some other contracts in the AHL. Then and only then can he really start to fill the gaping holes in this line up.

    • The Fall

      of all the bad contracts, Deryk appears to be the one most capable of still contributing (albeit, below his salary). He’s had a very commendable season.

      Smid is the most obvious and his health takes priority. I hope he retires for that sake alone.

      Widemand and Raymond have both proven to be redundant and fully expendable this year. However, they still have value on the right team. If BT can get anything for them: take it.

      But one player that has been overlooked is Stajan. I love what he has brought to the team and, oh yeah, he ended the Canucks series last year. But he is quickly playing himself into a buyout situation.

      Wotherspoon’s play as of late, is simply proving BT and BH right. They have continually repeated that defencemen take longer to develop and need time in the minors to gain experience. I hope is ready to make the jump next year. the flames need and affordable and effective 5/6 pair..

      • freethe flames

        I brought up the Stajan contract awhile ago and everytime I present a future line up he ends up off my team or as the 13/14th forward. I have always liked him but I just see the game passing him by, he has two years left at over $3m a year and that makes him hard to move or buyout.

        I agree with what you have to say about thee rest. I would have no problem if the Flames buried Raymond and Bollig in Stockton saving $1.8m providing NHL leadership and if they played well maybe create a viable trading partner. I wonder if anyone is interested in Wideman at 1/2 price; as a 5-7 PP specialist for less than $3m he might be attractive to someone.

      • Kevin R

        Well not all the contracts BT inherited, Raymond is on him. But Stajan is on Burke & Wideman & Smid trade were on Feasty. That’s over 15 mill of wasted cap space. Doubt Stajan gets picked up from the expansion draft, not sure he is trade-able either. Raymond might fit in Arizona to help get them to the cap floor. I would say the play of Wotherspoon & Nakladal & Ive liked Keven, Engellend having a decent year is probably moveable as well to a team like Arizona. Would be prudent to move him & make space for these cheaper serviceable options.

        Just not sure how we move Wideman, Smid & Stajan without taking something back. One thing is for sure, Management will be expecting BT to improve the team this draft & summer.

        • freethe flames

          Will they give him the power to buy guys out. (which also has impact on the salary cap the following year. I personally think it is better to bite the bullet this year than spread it out over two years.

    • FireScorpion

      he might have a future because of 2 reasons
      , Wideman suspension and injury, and Treliving trading out Russell. Otherwise Hartley was never going to give him a sniff.

      Also quite happy my initial prognosis on Jokipakka has been correct. He looks like he can develop into a 4-5 Defenseman.

  • KiLLKiND

    I’m happy to see T-spoon getting the opportunity we didn’t think he would get after last year. It just goes to show us (the fans) are the ones who get impatient with a prospect not the organization. The AHL is a great league for developing prospects and not too many 23 year olds are able to crack the NHL full-time let alone 23 year old defencemen. If he is capable of taking an NHL job full time next year that’s great, but I doubt we would lose him on waivers if he didn’t.

  • Petzl

    I’ve really liked Tspoon, has a solid head on him. Seems to never really get too low or too high, during games he’s got great poise and seems to make smart decisions. Playing a bit risk averse right now but that’s to be expected from a stay at home guy getting a shot at the NHL.