Preseason FGD: howling with the Coyotes (7pm MT)

The Calgary Flames have played five preseason contests thus far and have amassed a 2-3-0 record in the exhibition calendar. They finish off the home side of their friendlies tonight at the Scotiabank Saddledome when they host the Arizona Coyotes. The prime attraction of tonight’s contest? A potential on-ice battle between 2016 first round pick Matthew Tkachuk (of the Flames) and 2016 first round pick Jacob Chychrun (of the Coyotes).

The puck drops at 7pm MT and you can catch all of the action on Sportsnet 960 The Fan! There is no television option, sadly.

THE FLAMES

Projected lines from our pal Pat Steinberg:

Tkachuk – Bennett – Brouwer
Higgins – Backlund – Frolik
Shinkaruk – Vey – Ferland
Bouma – Stajan – Chiasson

Giordano – D.Hamilton
Jokipakka – Brodie
Grossmann – Engelland

Brian Elliott and his sweet, sweet pads start tonight, and are expected to go the full 60 minutes barring war or insurrection.

Not playing tonight: Gaudreau (contract), Monahan (back), Pribyl (knee), Smid (neck), Korpikoski, F. Hamilton, Hathaway, Bollig, Kulak, Wotherspoon and Wideman (all healthy)

The big questions tonight: Does Higgins have the speed to keep up with Calgary’s best two-way players? (If so, that COULD be a fun trio.) Who among the bottom two lines will stand out, if anybody? Can Jokipakka find chemistry with Brodie? Will the Grossmann/Engelland pairing be as rough in their own end as they can be? Given Calgary’s system of challenging zone entries at the blueline, the emphasis will be put on foot-speed: do Grossmann & Engelland have enough of it?

THE COYOTES

Tobias Reider just re-signed with Arizona and will join team in Calgary, but he likely won’t play.

Per the club, the players playing tonight:

  • G: Peters & Smith
  • D: Chychrun, Dahlbeck, DeAngelo, McBain, Mermis and Schenn
  • F: Crouse, Dauphin, Domi, Dvorak, Duclair, Fischer, Fournier, Martinook, McGinn, Richardson, Strome and Vrbata

This is a pretty young, fast group. They’re raw, but they have some NHL-level talent and should be a nice test for the Flames along the same lines of that fast, talented Jets team that beat them 4-0 on the weekend.

WHEN LAST WE MET

This is the first meeting between these two clubs during this preseason. Historically the Flames have played quite well against the desert dogs, and their trip to the 2015 post-season was largely based on trouncing the Pacific Division’s lesser lights (Arizona and Edmonton).

SUM IT UP

We’re onto the final audition phase of the 2016-17 exhibition calendar. Can any of the guys in the bottom-six muck find a way to make themselves stand out as Real NHLers? Can we get some clarity on the blueline? And can Matthew Tkachuk keep on playing well against almost-NHL players?

Find out tonight!

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    That 3rd pairing is disturbing. Battle of the slowest or a preview of the 7th defender. Are we that keen on Higgins that he gets to play with Backlund/Frolik? Ferland is playing with Vey and Shinkaruk, which sounds good, but has no real place in the lineup. Unless you consider the Stajan line to be used to figure out who is waived and who is 13th or 14th forward.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      The Flames have 3 regulars not in tonights lineup. Gaudreau, Monahan and Wideman. Sub-out Higgins, Vey and Grossman and you basically have your starting lineup.

      Looking forward to the day Bollig is no longer a Calgary Flame.

    • FireScorpion

      I don’t think it’s that they’re that keen on him. They’re giving him a chance to show/prove he can..
      If anyone could get him a contract it’d be those 2 though.

      First night out of camp and no TV game!!!??? Ugh

  • The Sultan

    I’m looking forward to a strong performance from Hunter Shinkaruk tonight. He’s been my lock to make the big club since the summer, and now that he’s fully healthy, has had a full summer to prepare, and has taken full part in the Flames main training camp to this point suggests he’ll at least get a nine-game audition.

  • everton fc

    Seems the 4th line of Bouma-Stajan-Chiasson will be the same, opening night.

    I like Ferland w/Shinkaruk. Was hoping to see them paired together. Huge opportunity for Vey. All three had high scoring ability in junior. here’s hoping for some immediate chemistry (how would Monahan look in the middle of those two?)

    Higgins w/Backlund and Frolik will be interesting. Could be Grossman’s last game in a Flames jersey, but his jersey # scares me. Top 4 defenders will be the same on opening night. I bet the next cuts are Bollig, Korpikoski, Grossman…

    I see Higgins here until the very last cut.

  • freethe flames

    Interesting to see Ferland playing on the RW again. To me it suggests that he will given the RW spot on the first line. Hopefully if it happens he has some puck luck. So starting night could look like this:

    Johnny/Monny/Ferland
    Tkachuk/Bennett/Brouwer
    Shinkaruk/Backs/Frolik
    Bouma/Stajan/Chiasson

    Hamilton or Hathaway as 13

    Seems like GG is experimenting with Gio/Hamilton JJ/TJ which could be the top two pairings. Then I expect to see Wides/Kulak as the third pairing with the possibility of keeping 8 defenders so Tspoon and Engs.

  • The Sultan

    Just heard on the Fan broadcast that Brad Treliving has flown to the New York area to meet with Gaudreau and his agent. Bet you he signs and in the next 48 hours and he plays in the last preseason game alongside Monahan.

  • jakethesnail

    Lets hope that the Flames dress close to their regular season lineup against the Nucks on Thursday!

    Only worrisome thing about the Flames is lack of scoring, nine goals in 6 games (excl 1 shootout goal).

    Seems the goalies will need to bear down and shoot for a shutout every night.

    Johnny come marching home ASAP!