Derek Grant out; Jakub Nakladal, Deryk Engelland questionable

Last season, the Flames played a meaningless regular season finale. In it, they rested a bunch of their starters, and a bunch of kids from the farm team got to play in an NHL game. A couple – Sam Bennett, Brett Kulak, John Ramage – even made NHL debuts.

This season, the Flames are playing a meaningless regular season finale. A couple of their starters are too hurt to play in it, though, so some more kids from the farm team will get a crack at an NHL game.

Grant and Nakladal are both unrestricted free agents, but hopefully ones the Flames can re-sign. Grant may not be producing at the NHL level, but at worst he looks like he could be a solid fourth line centre, or a fantastic veteran to have in the AHL. Not only was he a 1.25 points per game player – easily a career season for him – but he also racked up 4.6 shots per game with Stockton.

Nakladal, meanwhile, has proved himself to be a good bottom pairing option. Not just that, but a cost-effective one – and better than his more expensive peers in Ladislav Smid or Deryk Engelland. It would be great to see him back in the organization, too.

Who gets called up?

At least one player is getting called up from Stockton, but because it’s the last game of the season, you have to think it’ll end up being three, regardless. After all, what’s the point? (Unless Nakaldal really wants to go – he only has 27 NHL games, after all, and seems to be really enjoying himself.)

Hunter Shinkaruk and Drew Shore are already up with the Flames. To fill Grant’s spot, they could do a retread recall – one of Kenny Agostino, Freddie Hamilton, Emile Poirier, or Garnet Hathaway – or they could bring up somebody new. Turner Elson could make his NHL debut or, because we’re talking about a fourth line centre role, this could be a good test for Bill Arnold.

That just leaves two players on defence. The first two names to come to mind are Tyler Wotherspoon and Brett Kulak, both of whom have been up throughout the season, and gotten some pretty decent minutes in. 

Here’s an out of left field suggestion, though: Oliver Kylington. Under normal circumstances, he probably wouldn’t be a recall. There’s just one game to go, though. Kylington has been playing in the AHL as an 18-year-old – a rare feat in and of itself – and has 43 professional North American games to his name. His 44th could be one to give him a taste of the NHL and see what he might have to work on for next year. He should very much be in the Flames’ future plans, so why not? It’s not like one meaningless game will kill him.

One regular recall remaining

Keep in mind that the Flames can bring up a fourth player as well. They’ve used three of their allotted four regular recalls on Hathaway, Ortio, and Grant. The Flames could choose to sit somebody else for the final game of the season, and give another player from the minors a go.

So that leaves four potential recall spots: one forward, two defencemen, and one miscellaneous. Who would you bring up?