The axe fell yesterday, as the Calgary Flames cleared out a great deal of the training camp driftwood and got it down to the nitty gritty. Now there are 32 bodies in camp (and two of them are injured), so fundamentally speaking there are seven cuts left to go. (Eight, if you count Johnny Gaudreau, which we would like to.)
How are the roster spot races looking? Are we about to see a bunch of punk kids in the roster? Or are the Flames going to load up with PTO elders?
For the sake of argument, let’s proceed under the notion that Johnny Gaudreau will be unavailable for Oct. 12 (though many don’t really think that will actually be the case) and that the Flames carry 14 forwards.
Who’s definitely on the team?
- Sean Monahan
- Troy Brouwer
- Mikael Backlund
- Michael Frolik
- Sam Bennett
- Micheal Ferland
- Alex Chiasson
- Lance Bouma
- Matt Stajan
These guys are all really good, pretty good, or too expensive to bury in the minor leagues. Most are a combination of those things.
Who’s on the bubble? Here’s a breakdown, in order of preseason performance. Presumably four or five of these guys start in Calgary.
- Matthew Tkachuk: 3 games, 77.2% CF, 1 assist, 3.700 combined game score; he turns 19 in December but has been pretty effective in top line duty with Brouwer and Bennett.
- Hunter Shinkaruk: 2 games, 60.4% CF, 1.215 combined game score; he’s been used primarily in second and third line duty, but he’s been pretty effective.
- Freddie Hamilton: 4 games, 40.8% CF, 2 goals, 1.210 combined game score; Dougie’s brother has been good in an energy role. And he’s a right shot (and can play center), which gives the Flames some versatility.
- Linden Vey: 2 games, 50.0% CF, 0.395 combined game score; Vey has been not quite as good as Hamilton, and he has some similar traits (right shot, can play center). I’m not sure if the team takes two guys with the same skill sets, though.
- Chris Higgins: 2 games, 48.9% CF, 0.110 combined game score; lauded as a strong penalty-killer, Higgins has looked fine… just fine, but not particularly great. He’s got some skill, but it’s still unclear if he’s got the speed to keep up with the NHL pace.
- Garnet Hathaway: 4 games, 51.4% CF, 0.085 combined game score; Hathaway’s been decent, but he hasn’t really done much on the scoresheet in the four games he’s been in.
- Brandon Bollig: 2 games, 35.5% CF, -0.825 combined game score; Bollig hasn’t had a great preseason. He hasn’t been particularly noticeable (besides a fight) and he’s bled scoring chances.
- Lauri Korpikoski: 3 games, 35.0% CF, -0.995 combined game score; Korpikoski has good speed, but not much else. He’s had a rough preseason.
Who’s injured and only “technically” on the active roster?
- Daniel Pribyl
This is a lot simpler than the forwards.
Your locks are:
- Mark Giordano
- T.J. Brodie
- Dougie Hamilton
- Dennis Wideman
- Deryk Engelland
- Jyrki Jokipakka
One of the following is getting an NHL job:
- Brett Kulak: 3 games, 44.2% CF, 2 goals, 1 assist, 2.450 combined game score; Kulak’s numbers are propped up by a three-point game in Winnipeg, but he’s generally been good with smart pinches and hasn’t looked out of place.
- Kenney Morrison: 2 games, 38.7% CF, 1 goal, 0.675 combined game score; Morrison’s been quietly effective. He got a goal in Edmonton and has otherwise been merely solid, but coming off a rough AHL season it’s good to see him take a step forward.
- Tyler Wotherspoon: 2 games, 40.7% CF, -0.600 combined game score; Wotherspoon has had a so-so preseason. He’s bled scoring chances and shot attempts, and he seems hesitant at times to jump into the play.
- Nicklas Grossmann: 3 games, 38.9% CF, -0.850 combined game score; Grossmann has basically been what I would have expected Smid to be in this camp: a little slow, a bit off the pace, and hemmed into his own zone more often than not.
If the Flames want somebody to be on the roster to sit in the press box, it’ll be Grossmann or Wotherspoon. If they want the person to actually play, it’ll probably be Kulak.
Headed to LTIR for the year:
- Ladislav Smid
And this is even simpler than the defensemen!
- Brian Elliott
- Chad Johnson
Headed to Stockton on October 11:
- David Rittich