Taking a look at Calgary’s camp tryouts

The Calgary Flames announced their training camp roster last night, including dozens of players from previous seasons of the team… and six names we probably didn’t expect to see.

Those six? They’re the few. They proud. The professional tryouts.

Let’s get to know them, shall we?

LUKE ADAM

Drafted in 2008 out of the QMJHL, Adam (a product of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador) was highly touted due to his size and scoring prowess. A second round pick by Buffalo, he’s played 90 games in the NHL but has never quite figured out how to stick full-time. Now 26, he’s trying to get back on the NHL radar. He seems more likely to be an AHL player this year and try to use a strong season to get back to the NHL, though. Best-case scenario for him is perhaps becoming something like Derek Grant.

MIKHAIL GRIGORIEV

Here’s an interesting one.

Just 25 years old, Grigoriev is an effective defensive blueliner with limited offensive upside (according to KHL followers on the Twitter machine). He’s not huge at 5’9″ and 176 pounds, but he was good enough to play nearly five full seasons (and 255 games) in the Kontinental Hockey League with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, Barys Astana, Torpedo Nizhny Novogord and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. My guess is the Flames went to see if Rushan Rafikov was playing in Lokomotiv last year, saw Grigoriev and fell in love.

He’s a right shot defenseman and the Flames have (a) just eight of them in camp and (b) two of them on their NHL roster with contracts that will expire after this season. If I’m Grigoriev, I see some opportunity down the line if I can get an AHL job and impress this year.

NICKLAS GROSSMANN

A 2004 pick, Grossmann is a big, physical defenseman. He’s not known for his scoring. He’s played nearly 600 games in the NHL between Dallas, Philadelphia and Arizona, and he’s won a couple of medals in international competition (and he’s a guy that many within the organization have seen play and know a bit about). At this juncture, him being invited to camp basically makes him this year’s version of Corey Potter; if he’s on the team, it’s because the perception among management is none of the kids are ready yet.

CHRIS HIGGINS

Calgary’s penalty kill was God-awful last season, and new coach Glen Gulutzan undoubtedly had that in mind when Higgins was lured into the fold. But he ticks a lot of Calgary’s boxes: he’s a college man, he’s a veteran that can help mould the young forwards, and he’s been to a Stanley Cup Final (with Vancouver in 2011). If he can provide some bottom six depth and he hasn’t lost a step, there’s probably some value there.


LAURI KORPIKOSKI

Admittedly I don’t quite see the fit here, as Korpikoski would add another body to the muddle that is the Flames’ bottom six group. But that said, he’s got an Olympic medal and he’s another veteran body that can help guide the kids. At least through training camp, that is. Beyond that, I’m not sure if he has a future with this group.

COLBY ROBAK

The Flames don’t have a ton of veteran defensive depth on the farm, and Robak is a big body (6’3″, 195). He’s another person in the organization from the prairies, and he’s played a smattering of NHL games. Like Adam, he’s a 2008 second rounder (taken two spots after Adam) and he’s a guy that circled the NHL but never quite landed. He could be good depth for Stockton.

    • everton fc

      Agreed. Grigoriev should get some consideration if he plays well in camp. He’s awful small, though.

      Amazing how big a bust Luke Adam appears to be. Korpikoski, Grossman and Higgins will end up overseas, or with some organization’s minor league team, though Raymond latched on cheap w/the Ducks….

      • cberg

        Although I would agree, I expect any of the vets might be signed if they show well. There is history with two of them and Korpikoski is supposed to be good but didn’t work out with Edmonton with injuries, etc last year. If Grigoriov is actually good, they may be looking beyond this year what with 3 D leaving, presumably after this season.

  • Howie Meeker

    Off topic but just heard a interesting comment….if Gaudfather isn’t interested in signing 7-7.5 deal why would we not look at a swap with NJ for Hall and a first? Just throwing that one out there…

      • BurningSensation

        Hell no.

        A package could be built by Philly, but it would start with Simmonds, include one of their young defenders (Provorov, or Sanheim, or maybe even Gostisbehere), and a pick or prospect.

        • Baalzamon

          Forget the young defenders. They really wouldn’t serve any purpose for the Flames at this time. Make it Simmonds and Konecny. Maximize the value where it’s needed.

          can Gaudreau just sign already so we can stop talking about this nonsense?

          • Greatsave

            I suspect the people trashing this comment have forgotten about the upcoming expansion draft and how you can only protect 8 skaters total if you want to protect 4 d-men.

          • Greatsave

            Provorov and Sanheim are, but not Gostisbehere… and who wants to wait another few years for Provorov and Sanheim to come along?

            I’m turning a blind eye to all Gaudreau trade suggestions around here.

          • McRib

            Five years for Provorov?!?!?!? Pump the breaks for a moment, Provorov will step in next year and be a very serviceable Top. 4 defender from day one. He will be staring in 2 years max, though he could star immediately. Provorov would have been on Philadelphia last year if Kelly McCrimmon didn’t beg and plead with them to return him for a potential Mem Cup run that happened.

            All that said Philadelphia loves Provorov and I doubt they would trade him straight up for Gaudreau, so this is all for not. But just wanted to outline fact that Provorov is the best defensive prospect since Ekblad by a mile. If we were trading Gaudreau it would be for Sanheim, Konecny, etc not Provorov (I think he will remain a Flame regardless).

          • Greatsave

            … never said “five”. I said “a few”.

            Is he that good? I confess I don’t know much about him. If he is, great, Russia hasn’t produced a good defenceman in a while. Best since Markov, perhaps?

            Again, haven’t followed Provorov, so I apologize if I’m ignorant regarding his NHL-readiness.

      • jakethesnail

        No love from Mike Babcock and the Team Canada management. The only reason he was at the Worlds was his oilers coach. Plays a 120 foot game which doesn’t endear him to Babcock.

    • al rain

      Admittedly we don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes and before anyone crucifies me I’ll say that I love the kid too, but IF Gaudreau’s ask is too pricey and IF he’s not keen on long term in the west, then you’re on to something with this. Hall is elite, he’s signed at a very reasonable $6m and he’s from Calgary…

      Think Gaudreau and some extra bits (a Wotherspoon here, a Bouma there, maybe even an Andersson) for Hall and Pavel Zacha. If I’m Treliving, you’ve got my attention. Heck, if I’m Treliving I’m jumping up and down making silly noises.

  • Backburner

    I have to admit I’m rooting for Higgins.

    He kind of reminds me of Stajan.. I think his role in the locker room would be more important than the forth line minutes he would be playing if he actually makes the team.

    But I have a bit of a soft spot for the Vets who play with a lot of heart.

  • mattyc

    I’m also rooting for Higgins. I was disappointed when he didn’t resign here a couple years back. Likely Adams/Grigorev/Grossman are 14th/15th forwards/AHL callups. Still need/want to field a competitive AHL team.

  • jakethesnail

    Agreed…Somehow hoping Team North America gets knocked off so Johnny will be back in Calgary, uninjured and ready to put pen to paper! @ 7 – 7.5 million per season for 7 years.

  • jakethesnail

    Quote from GG in the Sun:

    “In the NHL, the differences between most teams is very minimal,” Gulutzan said. “But I would say honestly, there is going to be a definitive style change because Bob’s style and my style are different. And they’re considerably different, in the NHL spectrum. Are there a lot of similarities? You bet. But as far as the NHL differences go, there’s a pretty big difference.

    Well, I just hope that he doesn’t turn Johnny Hockey into a Defensive specialist! And I hope that the players can adjust quickly to his style or the Flames could get off to a slow start.

    If Backs’ injury is serious who will replace him to start the season? Move Stajan up the lineup and put Janko on the fourth? (assuming he plays decent in exhibition)

  • Just.Visiting

    Thanks for coming out, but no thanks.

    I’d much prefer to see how some of the younger guys perform at a higher level, so that we are much better positioned to understand and address our needs for the 2017-2018 season for which we are trying to be a more serious contender.

    Becoming (possibly) an incrementally stronger team for one year with veteran depth players is inconsistent with the longer term objective of positioning the team to contend on a sustained basis.

  • jakethesnail

    Taylor Hall is still P O ed about the Oilers trade. He would want to really make the oilers pay….

    But Johnny Hockey wants to play in Calgary forever with friend and bar-mate Monahan so he says…. I prefer the wizardry of Johnny to the pouty Hall.