Calgary Flames cut 11, 49 players remain at camp

From once there were 60, now, there are just 49.

With two days in between preseason games, the Calgary Flames have made their second round of training camp cuts (five were the first to be cut). There were no surprises in this list, with eight being assigned to the Stockton Heat, and three other players being returned to their respective junior teams, whose seasons have already gotten underway.

Five goalies, 17 defencemen, and 27 forwards remain at camp – for now.

Those assigned to the Heat are:

  • C Mikkel Aagaard
  • C Mike Angelidis
  • C Matt Bailey
  • LW Jamie Devane
  • D Stepan Falkovsky
  • D Keegan Kanzig
  • G Mason McDonald
  • RW Brett Pollock

Meanwhile, those returned to their junior teams:

  • D Riley Bruce (North Bay Battalion, OHL)
  • C Dillon Dube (Kelowna Rockets, WHL)
  • RW Eetu Tuulola (Everett Silvertips, WHL)

Not everything is possible in this life – not quite yet – but none of these players were expected to be playing in the NHL this season. (Although we appear to have a better idea of just where Falkovsky might be spending his year: likely within the Flames’ pro ranks.)

The Flames still have to reduce their roster by another 26 players (27, if you count Johnny Gaudreau, who is not at camp at present time).

This includes cutting three goalies. Tyler Parsons, David Rittich, and Jon Gillies won’t be on the Flames’ opening night roster, but there are still four more preseason games to be played, so there’s no reason to put everything on Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson just yet. (Also, it’s great to see these three in particular sticking around a little longer, considering how two of them are brand new to the organization and Gillies is probably the greatest hope for the future.)

The Flames will also need to drop a handful more defencemen. While measuring the progress of Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington is no doubt going to be something at the forefront for much of the season, the two big prospective names to keep an eye on for the Flames right now are Tyler Wotherspoon and Brett Kulak, both of whom could potentially see extended NHL time this season.

The forward group also still has to be reduced drastically, but that’s the area where the most questions remain. Pollock was perhaps the most exciting pro forward to get the axe so far, but there will undoubtedly be more to follow. Names to definitely continue keeping an eye on at this point include Morgan Klimchuk, Emile Poirier, Mark Jankowski, Hunter Shinkaruk, and, of course, Matthew Tkachuk.

Tkachuk and Parsons are the only Flames picks from the 2016 NHL Draft to remain at camp.

    • Christian Roatis

      Brian Burke telling season ticket holders “Bollig will see an expanded role next season” probably doesn’t look good for that.

      But GG having no loyalty to Bollig should help and he’ll be able to see his ineffectiveness as a hockey player.

  • T&A4Flames

    Re: the remaining D, I know some are putting Kulak above Wotherspoon and expect or at least hope for him to remain. I, however, hope that if all remains equal, CGY keeps Wotherspoon up and Kulak goes back to Stockton. Why? Wotherspoon is no longer waiver exempt and Kulak is.

    Obviously if Kulak badly outplays Wotherspoon he should stay but if they play about equal, keeping Kulak in the minors for 1 more year won’t hurt his development, we don’t risk losing TSpoon to waivers and we keep our D depth intact. That could go a long way in a long season and especially, hopefully, a long playoff run. JMO.

    • McRib

      Brett Kulak was twice the defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon was in the WHL. Kulak was a late bloomer who came out of no where his draft year and actually grew two inches after being drafted so he didn’t the have hype Wotherspoon did, but if you compare their 18-19 year old seasons Kulak has been far superior for a while now, especially in terms of a two-way possession game.

      One only has to look closer at their 19 year old seasons to see how far apart they have been for years now. Kulak had 0.87 PPG NHL Draft +2, Wotherspoon had 0.61 PPG. Those numbers look even more lopsided when you consider Wotherspoon was partnered with Seth Jones and Kulak was playing on the worst team in the CHL with no help at all. Wotherspoon is really just a basic stay-at-home defender who perfers to pass rather than skate with it (a game more suited for the 1970-80s era). It’s funny I like Parker Wotherspoon more than Tyler who has far less hype, but I never would have taken Tyler as high as we did back in 2011 (can’t believe we were considering Kucherov with that pick and passed after the U18s he had that spring for Russia). I don’t see us having much use for Wotherspoon going forward with Kylington, Kulak, Andersson, Hickey, Fox, Morrison, etc waiting in the wings the next couple years.

      • everton fc

        Even though his past numbers don’t show it, I think Kulak may have more offence than Wotherspoon. Another plus.

        I wouldn’t say Morrison is waiting in the wings, though. He, like Wotherspoon, may not have a place on the team here, or in the “A”, as things progress. Culkin is one you left off your list – he, too, may have more value than Wotherspoon, who I do like.

        But again….

      • T&A4Flames

        What’s your point? Yes they are different types of players, that doesn’t make Kulak better. Wotherspoon is a mobile shut down D man. Whether he is less a point getter than Kulak is irrelevant. All that matters is that he can play an effective game at this level. In fact, you actually just said the best reason why Wotherspoon should stick around. All the other guys you mentioned all think offense first. Whether you believe it or not or think it’s an out of date style, you still need guys that think D first. The fact that Spoon can still skate and move the puck makes him more valuable in my eyes.

        • DestroDertell

          McRib missed the point of your first post, but he’s right about pointing out points. Most actually good NHL defensive defensemen such as Tanev, Vlasic or Stralman were scoring a lot in minor leagues. Even a extreme version like Marincin put up more points in the AHL.

          That, and Wotherspoon isn’t really a shutdown dman. If you can ship him off to a team in need of LHD depth (Senators, Sabres) for a late pick, you do it. If you can’t do that he probably won’t be claimed anyway.

        • McRib

          Offense first is an out of date style? Huh, that’s a new one. Offense first defenders always have to prove themselves in an old fashioned old guard world of stay-at-home defenders (see Engelland). I watched both extensively in the WHL, Kulak is better in the offensive zone, he is better in the neutral zone and honestly he is better in the defensive zone (ignoring plus minus, like I said Kulak was on a terrible team Wotherspoon was on a Memorial Cup contender with Seth Jones). Wotherspoon is what he was always going to be an old fashioned stay-at-home 6-7 defender, would I rather him on the roster than Engelland or even a Russell… Yes probably, but let forget his hype from him being drafted too high in 2011. I get it Wotherspoon played on Team Canada at World Juniors so everyone thinks he is awesome (but just FYI

    • Koolmoedee

      If there is a time to put a player like Wotherspoon on waivers, it’s at the end of training camp.

      Teams are still sorting out their own rosters, salaries, and needs. Prospects like Wotherspoon rarely get picked up at this time of year.

      The guys that do get picked up are guys like Paul Byron: somewhat proven veterans who can fill a role, especially when a veteran’s injury opens a spot like with Montreal last year.

  • freethe flames

    I would like to see the Flames let Poirier, Shinkaruk and Janko play a little either together in a game or at least with some other guys with offensive potential. Burying them with Stajan or Bollig does not give them a chance to develop.

    The same with the defenders; play Andersson/Gio, Hamilton/Spoon, Morrison/TJ, Wides/JJ, Engs/Kyington or something like that and then give the last couple of games for you ideal pairings.

    For the most part it’s also time to say goodbye to the PTO’s.

  • OKG

    Glad to see McDonald cut promptly. He can get one-on-one time with Colin Zulianello to right his game at AHL preseason rather than keep looking over his shoulder at Rittich and Gillies and Parsons. He’s a talented player who is overthinking the game too much.

  • Cheeky

    Hello all, long time reader finally decided to sign up. My favorite part – the comments section! My view is I’d like to see a change from the norm and have more cuts sooner than later, especially the PTO’s who have no business on this team. Whittle it down closer to the roster so as to allow more time for GG to get his systems in place with those that will be part of this 2016/17 team. Bob tended to keep players to the bitter end and the team was still trying to mesh as the season started. Use the remaining exhibition games to try lines and pairings out rather than having Grossmann and Higgins take up valuable mins…

    • wot96

      I don’t think most of these PTOs have a good chance at making the team. But the rules around the number of NHL veterans required for pre-season games means that teams may have to pick up “pros” if they want their regulars to rest minor injuries, and/or want to develop their minor leaguers.

      No disagreement that this is the time to get the systems in place. But it is probably also useful for the prospects to get that information even if they are destined for the AHL especially if the Flames continue the practice of playing the same systems in the AHL as they do in the NHL.

      Welcome to the Nation.

    • Hunterthecat

      the PTOs stick around because there is a minimum # of vets you have to dress in the pre season games. they will not be on the roster opening day so no worries there.

  • Greatsave

    The thing I hate about “players cut from camp” articles (and this isn’t just limited to FN) is that they list the players cut, but the reader is left to do the crossing-off themselves to figure out who’s still at camp.

  • OKG

    playing defense in hockey is getting to loose pucks first and making plays once iprocured. Offensive defensemen are inherently better defensively even if they get burned on isolated cycle or rush plays. Players who can read plays offensively can read plays defensively. Please who can’t read plays offensively have the same struggles defensively.