Flames release Lauri Korpikoski from his tryout

The Calgary Flames roster is getting a little bit closer to its opening night form.

The club announced today that they’ve released Lauri Korpikoski from his professional tryout.

The move drops the Flames to 27 players: two goalies, nine defensemen and 16 forwards (including Ladislav Smid, Daniel Pribyl and the contract-less Johnny Gaudreau).

Korpikoski joined the Flames this preseason after being the worst possession player on the Edmonton Oilers last year. Consider the gravity of that statement, and then ask yourselves if there was likely to be a fit here on a team that’s really emphasizing puck possession this season.

I didn’t think so.

Korpikoski has good speed but not a lot else, and he seemed out-matched throughout the exhibition calendar. Fellow PTO players Chris Higgins and Nicklas Grossmann were similarly unimpressive in the preseason but remain… for now.

In other news, the dream of Jakub Nakladal returning to Calgary – a dream we referenced throughout the summer and held near and dear to our hearts – is dead.

  • MontanaMan

    I honestly thought Tre had Nak tied up but the longer that camp went on, the less likely that this scenario was going to occur. $600k on a one year deal? Seems like a good contract for a 5/6 d-man, but why weren’t there more teams all over this? Maybe we overvalue Nak, because the rest of the league certainly wasn’t in a hurry to sign him.

    • Neddd

      Nakladal was obviously overrated by this site. This opinion was not shared by anyone else including Flames management. At $600k he could have easily been signed by Brad Treliving if they were interested. Any discussion of a “back room” deal was pure nonsense.

      The reason he wasn’t signed earlier is that he simply wasn’t good enough to warrant any interest. Brings into question the collective judgement of many posters on this site towards other players as well……

      • The Sultan

        Must be an Oilers fan. Devaluing every other player in the league that isn’t playing for Edmonton.

        Gaudreau’s contract is priority. Who knows what the $$$ is going to amount to be, but it seems like the Flames don’t have a lot of wiggle room.

        For Nakladal to come over and put up decent numbers in the AHL (14 points in 35 games) and keep his head held above water while in the NHL (2 goals, 3 assists, 25 games) without looking out of place behind a strong top 3, all as a first year pro speaks volumes about his potential and usefulness.

        While I’m not saying he’s irreplaceable or this is going to be a terrible loss, for you to come out and say he “wasn’t good enough” and then go on to berate the posters of this site by exhibiting an opinion such as that pretty much negates any point you were trying to make.

        • Neddd

          Ok, so you’re basically saying that you’re better at player evaluation than all 30 GM’s in the league….. Somehow I doubt this. The fact that 30 GM’s took a pass on him until now, and even then he signed for the league minimum proves my point.

          Again, if Brad Treliving wanted to sign him he would have done it a long time ago. Considering that he signed for the league min., Gaudreau’s contract had nothing to do with it. Also, I’m pretty sure that he’s competent enough to handle a small contract like signing Nakladal while continuing to negotiate the Gaudreau contract, you’re not giving him enough credit.

      • Stu Cazz

        Your absolutely correct…FN posters overrated Nak just like they ripped Feaster for drafting Jankowski…other than Jankowski that 2012 draft is looking awful…with regards to Nak younger players like Kulak, Wotherspoon, Culkin, are better and good on the organization for recognizing this…they obviously had a good read on him…

        • Baalzamon

          Do you mean the 2012 Flames draft class is looking bad? You literally just mentioned two of the players from that draft in a list of players you say are better than Nakladal. Considering them (though I completely 100% disagree with you on Culkin; he isn’t and never will be anywhere near as good as Nakladal) and Jon Gillies, 2012 is actually looking fairly good for Calgary. The Flames may get as many as three full-time players out of that class (Jankowski, Gillies, Kulak).

          • Stu Cazz

            Agree. I was referring to some of the players in that draft that the Flames could have drafted instead of Jankowski…Matta comes to mind but he is often injured…others as well but I can’t recall the names and am lazy to look back…my point is I am glad the Flames have shown patience with Janko…he has nice size/skill and it appears he will be a nice player going forward….

          • Baalzamon

            Ah, I follow you. Yes, I’m more or less happy with Jankowski as well. 2012 was not a good draft class (for forwards, anyway), though oddly it produced a large number of impressive goalies.

        • I don’t think anyone overrated him. Everyone’s context has been he’s a potential serviceable option for the third pairing who had some strong results in his limited sample.

          There is no actual certainty that Kulak, Wotherspoon, and/or Culkin are definitively better. You have the hope that prospects/pieces in the system can provide a similar or increased on-ice impact that Nakladal for example; but it doesn’t mean they will or won’t.

          The whole point of folks who liked Nakladal was on the basis that a one-year deal with an extremely adorable cap hit would give the organization another layer of stability at the NHL level and insulate prospect development.

  • Baalzamon

    You may now sigh in relief.

    Too bad about Nakladal, but he deserved an NHL job somewhere and I’m glad he got one since the Flames didn’t give it to him. Weird that the signing didn’t happen until after all the preseason games were played, though.

    • cberg

      To my thinking, BT DID have a spoken deal with him but the delay in Gaudreau’s signing screwed everything up and he eventually went elsewhere. Things we will never know.

  • The GREAT WW

    I actually thought Nakladal was a better D than Yokipakka last year…and better than Russell as well.

    Maybe he got tired of waiting for the Gaudreau contract and signed elsewhere?


  • RKD

    At ease Corporal, your time is up! Next up Grossman and Higgins. Can’t blame Naks and good for him he can’t wait around forever. The Canes are smart to sign him, they need all the help they can get.

    • MontanaMan

      What “situation” are you speaking of? Nak was free to negotiate with any team once the Flames didn’t sign him. Ever consider that there was limited interest in his services?

      • jupiter

        OK. You’re assuming there was no interest in Nakladal outside Calgary.

        I am assuming Calgary told him to hold on, and he got tired of it.

        But there are a few things that are clear.Calgary invested time and money to bring him over and get him acclimatized to NA hockey.

        Carolina thanks them ,i’am sure.

    • KACaribou

      Maybe we have to give real hockey people who are with NHL players ever day of the year, credit that they have more knowledge than people on FN?

      I have never figured out the Nak love here. He was decent but we kept the best d-man. Joki…

    • Neddd

      Well, Eric Francis is on record last week that the Flames were intending to sign Russell once the Gaudreau contract was addressed (which makes sense as the contract value was/is more substantial).

      So if you’re questioning the Oiler’s judgement you’ll have to do the same with the Flames. Actually when you look at it, $3.1mln for only one year for a UfA defenceman is quite good (especially when compared to say Jason Demers who signed this past July at $4.5mln x 5).

        • Neddd

          When Russell played for the Flames he was well regarded by the local fan base. Local media were talking about how he needs to be re-signed by the Flames in the off-season after being traded. Saying that Jason Demers is far superior to Russell is a bit ridiculous.

          • Nick24

            It really is not. Russel is a 3rd pairing defenseman that needs to be heavily sheltered to hardly be passable. Jason Demers is very good. Far and away better than Russel.
            Flames fans are happy that Russel got signed. We’re happy that our team gets to play against him now. I have little concern with what media and management thought about Russel. By every identifiable metric he is terrible.

            Enjoy your time with Russel! As long as you’re a fan of being eternally stuck in the defensive zone, getting consistently out chanced and out scored at 5v5, and believe that good defense is played by flopping around on the ice, you’ll love him!

          • Nick24

            Couldn’t tell you. Him playing a lot isn’t inductive of ability. There have been good players that aren’t played and bad players that are overplayed. Nothing new.

          • Baalzamon

            Replacing Russell with Jokipakka made the Flames better, not worse. And Jokipakka was barely an NHLer for Dallas (though I would venture to guess that playing with Jordie Benn made him look worse than he was).

      • FireScorpion

        That’s if you believe Francis. I don’t believe the Flames ever had interest. And so glad this removes all doubt. Good luck Kris being on the pounded side of the BOA

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      I was saying 2.5 for Russell. No one will admit it here but he is a character guy and a gritty guy for his size. It’s not his fault that Calgary had to play him 23 minutes a game last year when your “all World” defence fell apart last year.

      He also played really well In his opening game last night.

      • cberg

        About the game last night. I was specifically watching Russell for a while and for 6 consecutive breakout attempts the puck either was stolen, the pass poor or intercepted and the Canucks flew right back into the offensive zone. It was pretty dramatic, and not what I’d call “playing really well”. Well, not unless you are grading on a curve relative to the other Edmonton D.

  • Just.Visiting

    So, if we release LK from his tryout without commenting on Grossman and Higgins, this presumably means that they’re still being considered for signing….Hmmm.

    I’d much sooner have Vey, Hathaway and Kulak around and to offer hope to the other AHL players who could be good depth options.

    And we may have been able to get Nak for a year for $600K? Wow-I wasn’t expecting to see that.

    And what was Edmonton thinking for not being all over him!!

    • FireScorpion

      If Grossman absorbs one season ending check this preseason that otherwise might have been for Gio or Brodie it will have been worth it..kidding..kind of

      Happy Thanksgiving all

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    neddd is right about one thing, Next to the rest of the Oil’s D, Russell is a Good signing, He is an Upgrade in Deadmontonand. Obviously I’m not a Russel basher, I thought he was a pretty good hard working guy but who has to have a very specific roll on a team for better or for worse. Is what it is. and Yeah I would have liked to seen Nakladal Back with the flames this year if nothing else as added Depth but I thought he did very well as a First year NHL guy! Equal if not better (or just more hockey experienced) than Jokipakka. But like I said… Is what it Is.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    That was a real one-finger salute Nakladal gave Calgary. Fitting because the Flames really screwed with him for most of last season until their threadbare defence made it necessary to make him a regular, and then they discovered he could actually play. Curious that he signed with Carolina as the Hurricanes are already stacked in the back end with fierce young talent. The Hurricanes could have the best defence corps in the league in 3 or 4 years if they decide to keep all their young studs.

    That being said, not sure how serious the Flames were in bringing him back. Common sense says if they had, he would have been inked a long time ago.

    It is time to have Kulak and Wortherspoon on the ice in Calgary taking regular shifts. Presumably Wideman and Englland will not be brought back next year and the Finn could be gone as well. I can see bargain bin players for spots 5,6 and 7, but who plays the coveted 4th spot on the pairing with Dougie next season?

    Signing a goalie, locking up Bennett and presumably signing a 4th defenceman who is not on an entry level deal and all the money coming off the books next season is already spent. Yeah that is a concern.

    • Baalzamon

      Curious that he signed with Carolina as the Hurricanes are already stacked in the back end with fierce young talent.

      I believe they just lost Ryan Murphy to a pretty serious injury. Nakladal is likely intended to be a stop-gap replacement.

      The thing is, Murphy isn’t actually all that good.