The Calgary Flames have finished development camp and likely have a few remaining minor tweaks to their organization’s reserve list before the beginning of training camp in September, but most likely the biggest moves have been completed and we have a general idea of how things look.
Who’s going to be on the 2016-17 Flames roster? Who has a shot? What jobs are available? Let’s find out!
- C Mikael Backlund
- C Sam Bennett
- LW Lance Bouma
- D T.J. Brodie
- RW Troy Brouwer
- RW Alex Chiasson
- G Brian Elliott
- D Deryk Engelland
- LW Micheal Ferland
- RW Michael Frolik
- LW Johnny Gaudreau
- D Mark Giordano
- D Dougie Hamilton
- D Jyrki Jokipakka
- G Chad Johnson
- C Sean Monahan
- D Ladislav Smid **
- C Matt Stajan
- D Dennis Wideman
The Breakdown: Of the names that may cause some debate: Chiasson is a right-handed shot and has a pretty low cap hit, so I can see management keeping him around as an extra body for the bottom-six (or fourth line) groupings. And Ladislav Smid is on the team, but I’d wager he begins the season on long-term injured reserve – meaning the Flames can replace him with somebody with equal or lower cap hit on the roster.
The Openings: Based on this rundown, there are four forward jobs and a defensive spot open.
ON THE BUBBLE
- LW Brandon Bollig
- RW Garnet Hathaway
- RW/C Freddie Hamilton
- D Brett Kulak
- D Oliver Kylington
- RW Emile Poirier
- RW Daniel Pribyl
- LW/C Hunter Shinkaruk
- LW Matthew Tkachuk
- RW/C Linden Vey
- D Tyler Wotherspoon
The Breakdown: Let’s split this up by the races…
- Third-Pairing Defense: Presuming there’s a rotation of Wideman, Engelland and somebody (and that Jokipakka starts off with Hamilton on the second pairing), the Flames probably bring up a lefty blueliner to balance out pairings. Kulak and Kylington don’t require waivers. Wotherspoon will. Kulak and Kylington probably could use regular playing time. Wotherspoon’s more of a finished product (e.g., he’s closer to whatever he’s going to be at the NHL level), and throwing him into that spot could be a nice “make or break” challenge for him. I’d lean towards Wotherspoon myself for those reasons, but Kylington will probably make a push (but is probably more of a late-season option if he keeps improving).
- Top-Six Left Winger: Presuming that the top unit is Gaudreau-Monahan-Brouwer and that Bennett needs a partner, probably the two guys vying for a job on the left side are Tkachuk and Shinkaruk. I’m willing to say that (at least) one of them will be on the Flames roster on October 12. Tkachuk’s more in-your-face playing style might be a better mesh with Bennett’s than Shinkaruk’s more speed-around-the-perimeter style, but you never know.
- Top-Nine Right Winger: If Shinkaruk doesn’t get the lefty job, I could see him staying in the mix for a top-nine role simply because of his offensive prowess – Brad Treliving has often said that the toughest thing to do in the NHL is score goals. He’d join a fairly crowded race alongside Emile Poirier, Daniel Pribyl and Linden Vey. Poirier had a rough 2015-16 season and needs a strong camp to merit much consideration, while Pribyl may be behind the eight ball after off-season knee surgery. It’s probably between Vey and Shinkaruk. I’m leaning Vey if only because (a) Shinkaruk doesn’t require waivers and (b) Vey is a right shot and can take draws, which would give some relief to Bennett at times.
- Bottom-Six Winger(s): And finally, we have potential groupings for a bottom-line cluster. Names in that mix likely include Bollig, Hathaway and Hamilton. All had spot duty in that position last season. All had their good and bad moments. Bollig at least has been there before, and seemingly has no issue with being parked in the press box as an extra forward from time to time.
Johnny Gaudreau – Sean Monahan – Troy Brouwer
Matthew Tkachuk – Sam Bennett – Linden Vey
Micheal Ferland – Mikael Backlund – Michael Frolik
Lance Bouma – Matt Stajan – Alex Chiasson
(Extras: Brandon Bollig, Freddie Hamilton)
Mark Giordano – T.J. Brodie
Jyrki Jokipakka – Dougie Hamilton
Dennis Wideman – Deryk Engelland
(Extra: Tyler Wotherspoon)
LTIR: Ladislav Smid
PP1: Gaudreau-Monahan-Brouwer-Giordano-Hamilton (two right shots)
PP2: Tkachuk-Bennett-Vey-Brodie-Wideman (two right shots)