The Flames make four more cuts

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.)

  • Parallex

    Booo.

    To Shinkaruk leaving I mean. This means that Ferland is more likely to get the top six spot (Meh) and Bouuma more likely to slot in on the 3rd line (Boo).

    • KACaribou

      I’d like to know what you saw in Shinker that makes you think he is more worthy of a top line RW role than Ferly? (Not being sarcastic).

      I agree with the move. I think he’s not quite ready for the NHL and another year in the A will do him wonders. Poirier looked better this camp. Maybe another year for both and who knows…

      • piscera.infada

        I agree with you on Ferland over Shinkaruk on the top line, at least to start.

        I don’t agree with Shinkaruk not making the opening night roster though. If you need a left-wing with Backlund and Frolik, I’d rather that be Shinkaruk over Bouma or (*shudder) Higgins/Korpikoski.

        • KACaribou

          I have said all along that Bouma will be slotted in with Frolik and Backs. I stick with that. I see it as a move where a line needs a player to fill a role rather than just going with the skill guy. No question you are right about that.

          • piscera.infada

            I don’t necessarily disagree–although if the “role” argument is what they’re going with, then I disagree with that (but I digress). Simply stated, cutting Shinkaruk signals that they’re likely going to sign one of Higgins or Korpikoski and/or play Bollig as more than just a rotational player. That, is a problem.

          • KACaribou

            You know if Higgins or Korp or Vey or Bollig are so terrible judging by the pre-season and camp, I’d have to throw Chaisson into that mix as well. He’s shown me no more than the above to be honest.

          • Flamethrower

            I have to agree. All these players would be better off gone for the teams sake. If you want to run a losing season keeping them around is the way to do it.
            My understanding of team direction was speed and puck possession and none the above provide these skills.
            Youth needs to be a factor this season to stay in line with the rebuild.

          • deantheraven

            Ezackly right. All the “more aggressive puck possession” Yakety-yak from GG after the hire and at the beginning of camp is really starting to smell like a tuna sandwich that wasn’t wrapped properly and left next to the sink for a couple days. Ok, personal story…

            But it does sound fishy. we used to question Hartley’s playing some of the slugs (Bollig, Russel, Engelland) instead of what we can obviously see as more talented options (Jooris, Dougie) Well, nobody listened then either.
            And it doesn’t matter how you wrap it: two days outta the fridge and she’s gonna get toxic. Not looking forward to October (again)!

          • cberg

            BT’s inability or unwillingness to move out several marginal players was a clear sign of things to come. The end result is already losing a couple of very promising, hungry players in Grant, Colborne and Agostino, and continuing to do so is going to cost a few more over the next year, i.e. Wotherspoon, Poirier, Klimchuk and others.

            At this rate they’ll be signing two of Korpikoski, Higgins and Grossman, and re-signing Engelland and Bouma next summer. To say beyond disappointing is an understatement. I hate to be a downer but not liking this team at the moment nor the direction they are going, with the exception of the Bennett line.

            We should know soon enough. In the next three days or so the line-ups will be complete, Gaudreau will be in or not and then we’ll see how they can do against their most bitter rivals. I hope to be proven wrong.

          • jakethesnail

            Shinkaruk has a two-way contract and can be moved up and down the AHL. He has played a limited number of NHL games and could use a full year in the Flames system…if he is playing well, first forward callup in case of injury.

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            I’m not sure why you would be saying that all along, since he has been one of the least effective players in pre-season. I guess the 2014/15 season playing with Backlund and Jones for top minutes guarantees he is able to reproduce it this year?

            He belongs on the roster much more than Bollig, but that is based on his skill set.

            How about playing Freddie on the line and moving Frolik to LW? Freddie has moved the puck in the right direction, had as many hits as Bouma, and actually did something with his ice time. Then you can play Bouma on the 4th line with Stajan and Chiasson. Leaves Vey and Bollig as the subs, or just waive Bollig already.

            Just say no to the PTO’s. If any of the forward PTO’s stay, then immediately waive Bollig.

      • Parallex

        Not a question of deserve. I think Ferland would play better with Backlund-Frolik and I think that Bouma shouldn’t play higher then the fourth and I think Bollig shouldn’t play period. It’s about the chain reaction on the rest of the line-up.

        • Newbietwo

          I somewhat agree wth you on Ferland being with Backlund.. Until Ferland can actually score 20 goals in this league putting him on a first line with your two best players is laughable.. It’s bad for the team.. It’s bad for his development and it will hurt his numbers which will hurt the fans view.. Again this is something oilers leadership does never thought it would be us

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            That may all be true, but…..

            Who is the top line RW? We don’t have anyone that measures up. We have exactly 2 RW capable of playing with Monahan, and both of them already have their spots locked up on other lines. Chiasson is worse an option than Ferland. Vey is only slightly better so far.

          • FlamesFanOtherCity

            The way I phrased that was wrong. I was referring to Vey being slightly better than Chiasson as a RW. I see Ferland as being the best player of the 3. He’s not a natural RW, so he is the 3rd best RW we have right now, behind Brouwer and Frolik.

          • KACaribou

            New coach, new system. Maybe what Coach Bob saw in him, Coach Gully can actually get out of him.

            Ferly seemed a lot more confident in pre-season to me. He had a bit of that new Sam Bennett glow to him.

          • Baalzamon

            From an underlying perspective, Ferland is currently the best choice for RW on Monahan and Gaudreau’s line. That line was legitimately dominant possession-wise. They just got shafted by Ferland’s abhorrent shooting luck.

    • Newbietwo

      I agree with you.. It’s obvious they have a game plan and remaining spots have specific roles they want filled such as penalty kill or fourth line minutes.. But what the hell Grossman?? Seriously? and Korpi who’s a oil tankers boat anchor.. I get that we do t want the development of some of our good prospects to stall and thus giving them higher minutes in Stockton but surely we had more options via try outs and signings.. Nak is a better chance than Grossman any given day and he’s not a prospect.. Our Ahl centre that’s doing well in Buffallo that we let walk.. He’s not a prospect and could have slotted and filled back up roles albeit the roles they want filled it’s clear they want a larger element of gritt.. I sigh because we fixed the goalie issue but what’s the point if we half a quality forward and defence line up.. With our freed up cap space end of season we better address the matter of a real top six right wing ideally with a sniper mentality because our top six with exception of Johnny are all two way forwards and some power forwards which with the centres we have causes offensive imbalance.. We also better address our top four D so that we can use our bottom pairing D as development lower minutes and can roll our power play lines evenly.. If your top two Ds on the first line power play are on different lines you are obviously gonna have one go going from a shift to the power play..

  • FL@med

    IF Gaudreau is signed….

    Gaudreau/Monahan/Ferland Frolik/Backlund/Brouwer Tkachuk/Bennett/Vey Bouma/Stajan/Chaisson
    Mark Giordano/TJ Brodie Jyrki Jokkipakka/Dougie Hamilton Brett Kulak/Dennis Wideman Derek Engllend(Probably not as he has connections)
    Chaisson and Vey could be swapped around depending on ppg and their stats. If Tkachuk doesn’t impress in his NHL showing, then switch him out with Shinkaruk, and send him to London.
    Now what if Johnny Hockey doesn’t sign? What if we are forced to trade him…..(Hopefully not) Well heres some trade options. Well, if we send him to New Jersey (His hometown) we can get something out of it as well… Something that will definitely soften the blow of losing Mr. Gaudreau: Johnny Gaudreau, and Dennis Wideman for Taylor Hall, Ben Lovejoy, and a 7th rounder in 2017… Gaudreau for Hall seems obvious, Top LW for top LW.. Dennis Wideman for Ben Love Joy is where you really have to think… Ben LoveJoy has the possession stats of one who should be a top4 dman, whereas Wideman doesn’t even have valid rating… However, Wideman produces more points per 60 minutes, this shouldn’t be a problem for Calgary as LoveJoy will just be a third pairing defenseman. LoveJoy comes at a much lower cap hit and is also a year younger. Overall LoveJoy is better than Wideman. Who is better between Hall and Gaudreau is where it’s hard to judge. Gaudreau scores more, however Hall Assists more. Gaudreau has better possession stats, whereas Hall generates more shots. Hall is older, stronger, whereas Johnny is smaller, but faster. Both of them would be very much appreciated to their new teams. I think most would agree that Gaudreau is a little better so that’s where the 7th rounder comes in play… You can never have to many prospects.
    Lines after the trade: Hall/Monahan/Ferland Frolik/Backlund/Brouwer Tkachuk/Bennett/Vey Bouma/Stajan/Chaisson
    Mark Giordano/TJ Brodie Jyrki Jokkipakka/Dougie Hamilton Brett Kulak/Ben Lovejoy

    Please let me know what you think of this… I aspire to have a career in hockey statistics and analytics when i’m older (I’m only 15).. Would love to get some feedback!

  • The Sultan

    Please just cut remaining PTO’s. It’s amazing how badly we’re hampered by Bollig, Engelland, Wideman and Smid. There was zero reason to keep any of them save maybe Engelland as a 7th defenseman. Also the fact that Johnny Hockey missed out on every pre-season game. They have until Wednesday to make things right or I’ll fully believe this team has no intention of making the playoffs this season.

  • RedMan

    wow, when did Flames Nation become such a “Sky is falling” bunch of crybabies?

    so the PTO’s are still here, and you think that means they have been chosen over prospects? the fact they are still here means squat… they just don’t need to be assigned and report at the AHL, so they are still here.

  • Newbietwo

    It’s almost certain now our line up with end up being something of sorts

    Johnny/ Monohan/ Ferland
    Mathew/ Bennet/ Brouwer
    Bouma/Backlund/Frolik
    The rest of them

    Does this spell puck possession to you? Driving play? This again is gonna end up putting pressure on our D to be towards and defence men.. Hey Treliving, and that other guy who did such a great job with Team USA this isn’t 1990 anymore fix it

  • RKD

    The PTO guys are still there? Grossman looked completely lost on one of Vancouver’s goal standing in no-man’s land in front of the net. He was literally a deer in the headlights. Higgins been there done that, his best days are long gone. Higgins played 33 games last season put up 3 goals and was a -14. The Corporal? Dude was bought out by the Oilers, that should tell you all you need to know. I think Shinkaruk can still be a good player but he has to show more consistency, he looked good at times with Monny and Gaudreau.

  • jakethesnail

    FLAMES SIGN JOHNNY TO EIGHT YEAR CONTRACT AT 7.5 MIL PER SEASON!

    NO???

    That is what I was hoping to read this morning..not a discussion of Korpikoski, Grossman and Higgins still at training camp….

  • Hacker

    Drives me crazy the Flames are hanging on to marginal players like Vey, Korp, and Higgins. Bad enough we have to watch Bollig and Stagan another season. I’ll watch but I’m worried for this season. Tkachuk better make the team now. Give the young guys a chance! You can’t win without a decent fourth line.

  • Baalzamon

    This is weird. Why cut Shinkaruk? Does this mean they actually think he was outperformed by Higgins and Korpikoski? If so… doesn’t say much for their ability to evaluate talent.

    How is Korpikoski still there? It’s dumbfounding that he wasn’t the first player cut.

  • Cheeky

    Makes me think that GG wants the PTO’s and it all depends on the Gaudreau signing. Typical a new coach wants familiarity (even though a blind person can tell you they are useless) over youth. He wasn’t my first choice but figured to give him a chance, first hiring Cameron and now keeping useless players over youth….not holding my breath for playoffs. The entire league didn’t want any of these guys but damn it we’ll have them!

    Shink could use some time to polish off his game in the minors however I figured with JG still unsigned they would have kept him up in case we started the season without him. Hathaway is far and above better than all the PTO’s and Vey / Bollig – please bury him in Stockton – yet he gets sent down! Both BT and GG starting to lose their shine…

  • kid presentable

    why is this management so resistant to playing youth (who skate well) in the bottom 6? why do they have to fill it up w plug bs players like korpikoski (the worst 5 on 5 player on the oilers !!! last year) higgins, vey, and bollig?

    look at what the penguins did once they purged their bottom 6 of useless deadweight and let the youth play.

    this training camp is really dampening my enthusiasm for a new coach.

    and now wideman is skating on a pairing w. gio?

    • Maybe the youth players don’t have enough truculence & pugnacity? Don’t forget that Flames advisor Brian Burke recently “helped” put the World Cup of Hockey’s USA team together and just look at the result..

    • KACaribou

      I don’t know why people think Higgins, Vey, Korp and Bollig have found their way onto the team. I see the four line as:

      Hamilton Stajan Chaisson

      Bollig

    • McRib

      Best post all week. What kind of message does it send to all the young talent now in the minors that we have acquired the last few years that anchors like Bollig, Stajan (who has looked utterly awful this preseason) and these PTOs are more worthy of a roster spot over them? I mean if they don’t at least keep Brett Kulak than I am done claiming Hartley was responsible and will have realized that it was Burke all along stymying young talent (Agostino led farm in scoring for two seasons and gets a two game look? Poirier was an AHL All Star then was first cut next year which killed confidence), no matter how much young talent Treliving brings in it doesn’t matter. If they never give a shot to young players (outside of Top. 6 picks and generational Hobey Baker winners) then what is the good of drafting well? Player development is as big or bigger than drafting, Detroit and San Jose give chances to their young players and help development along that’s why they “draft so well”.

      Like I said earlier today this league is changing in front of our eyes and speed in the bottom six is everything (as you mentioned Pittsburgh killed teams in second half because of speed). It’s also why the USA got owned at the World Cup and the same reason why everyone loved Team NA (who would have made final if not for Russia’s netminder standing on his head). Size matters far less than it did a decade ago (last time Burke won anything) and all that aside if this attitude continues it will become damaging to our young talents optimizim. It’s likely not going to hurt Shinkaruk to spend more time in the minors this year and I am sure he will be back at some point, but you are crazy if you think Bouma, Stajan, Bollig deserves to be on this roster over Hunter. When does someone else young get a chance to stick on this team? Time will tell.

  • Trevy

    I truly believe management will make the right choice and dump the remaining PTO’s before the regular season begins. There’s still time. I believe that Vey is only holding a spot until Johnny resigns. Kulak will surely win a spot over Grossman. Higgins is too slow to keep up in today’s game. Korpy is the mischievous one as he tends to turn it on when he knows he’s on the verge of being cut. Then reaps the coaches praises before coasting again for another week. I just don’t understand how they didn’t see this type of behaviour/trend when he was with the Oil.

    Also agree that Chiasson did not do enough in camp and looks to me like another David Jones. Meanwhile, Derek Grant is drawing rave reviews in Buffalo and looks like he’ll start opening night!

  • JMK

    I don’t see why everyone is over reacting, they still need to cut 3 players and a fourth when JH returns. 3 PTO’s and Vey, simples. Anyone else bar Bennett & Tkachuk would need waivers and they are staying put for now at least in Tkachuk’s case.

    GG alluded that he wanted to be down to opening night roster this week, maybe he just wants extra bodies and hence the PTO’s.

    I like Shinkaruk too but much prefer Bollig in the press box.

  • JMK

    “Practice lines, courtesy our pal Pat Steinberg, looked like this:

    Matthew Tkachuk – Sam Bennett – Troy Brouwer

    Lance Bouma – Mikael Backlund – Michael Frolik

    Micheal Ferland – Sean Monahan – Linden Vey

    Brandon Bollig – Matt Stajan – Alex Chiasson

    Chris Higgins – Freddie Hamilton – Lauri Korpikoski

    Mark Giordano – Dennis Wideman

    T.J. Brodie – Deryk Engelland

    Jyrki Jokipakka – Dougie Hamilton

    Nicklas Grossmann – Brett Kulak”

    Perfect example for people to stop worrying, 5th line will be minus Higgins and Korpikoski, and fourth pairing will replace Smid with Grossmann for the sake of final roster on Tuesday. And hopefully JH will slip in instead of Vey. Leaving 13 forwards, 8 defensemen (Smid only as a formality) and 2 goalies.

  • kid presentable

    why are the flames brass so resistant to playing people who can skate and who don’t handle the puck like the grenade in the bottom 6? look at what the penguins did when they purged their old shitty players and let youth play. why does this management love bollig (and it looks now like higgins/korpikoski/grossman too)?