After seven preseason games and just over three weeks of training camp, the Calgary Flames have whittled their camp roster of roughly 60 players way down. And while they weren’t able to cut everybody, they certainly have cut a lot of them.
Headed to the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat are Tyler Wotherspoon (who cleared waivers), David Rittich, Garnet Hathaway and Hunter Shinkaruk. Sticking around, for now, are Linden Vey (who also cleared waivers), and Nicklas Grossmann, Chris Higgins and Lauri Korpikoski, the last three on professional try-outs.
The moves place the Flames roster at 28: two goalies, nine defensemen and 17 forwards, though that number includes injured players Ladislav Smid and Daniel Pribyl who will likely be declared non-roster on Tuesday when teams file their opening rosters with the league.
We discussed Wotherspoon, 23, yesterday. He’s both sort of wobbled between the NHL and AHL over the past few years, but is likely a prime candidate for the first call-up on the blueline.
Rittich, 24, is most likely headed to Stockton to mentor and/or challenge Jon Gillies, the organization’s star goalie prospect. Rittich had good numbers in the Czech league and no doubt fancies himself a contender for an NHL call-up with a strong start to his season, as well.
Hathaway, 24, split last year between the Flames and Stockton. He was pretty good when he was up with the Flames, but just couldn’t quite play his agitating style consistently at the NHL level. He’ll be a restricted free agent when this season is over, so there’s still a bit of time to establish himself.
Shinkaruk, 21, came over last season from Vancouver and was good in short bursts but couldn’t bring it every day. He’s got some nice offensive skills but occasionally struggles with the 200-foot game. He had nice moments in preseason but like so many, he didn’t consistently stand out. He’ll arguably be the first “skill” guy called up if there are top six injuries in Calgary. (At worst? He’s a really good AHLer.)