Photo Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

FGD: A preseason jaunt to the coast (8pm MT, SN West)

The Calgary Flames have a few decisions to make before the regular season begins in six short days. After taking a machete to the training camp roster, the Flames fundamentally need to make a handful of depth decisions and cement their roster. They can get a step closer to roster clarity tonight when they trek to Vancouver to face the Canucks. You may recall the Flames laid an egg against the Canucks B-Team last week when most of the good Vancouver players were in China.

The puck drops at 8 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan and Sportsnet West. It’s a Canucks broadcast, so brace yourselves.

The Flames

The roster is down to just 27 healthy bodies – plus the injured Marek Hrivik and Daniel Pribyl – so the Flames have just four cuts left to get down to the roster limit for Tuesday afternoon.

Projected lines (via Pat):

Gaudreau – Monahan – Ferland
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Versteeg – Bennett – Brouwer
F.Hamilton – Stajan – Glass

Giordano – D.Hamilton
Brodie – Hamonic
Bartkowski – Stone

Mike Smith is starting, but it’s unclear if he’s going the distance. He’s reportedly got a road set of pads he’s going to use this season – he’ll wear a primarily black set at home and a primarily white set on the road – so that might debut here. Eddie Lack will dress as the backup.

Glen Gulutzan’s purported goal was to get the veterans into four games each during the preseason. This will be the second game for Tkachuk (due to his earlier injury), the fourth for Stone and Glass, and the third for everybody else. Keep a close eye on Bartkowski, who’s on the bubble and can cement himself with a good performance.

The Canucks

Vancouver trimmed their camp roster yesterday, but still have three goalies, 11 defensemen and 22 forwards left in camp so they have a lot of decisions to be made.

Projected lines for this evening (via Brendan Batchelor):

Baertschi – Granlund – Boeser
Gagner – Burmistrov – Virtanen
Upshall – Sutter – Dorsett
Archibald – Chaput – Megna

Del Zotto – Stecher
Pedan – Tanev
Wiercoch – Biega

Anders Nilsson likely starts between the pipes for Vancouver.

Needless to say, it’s a much more star-studded roster than the Flames saw last week in Calgary and should give them more of a fight. (And the B-team gave the Flames a pretty good fight considering they beat them.)

History Lesson

The Flames lost to Vancouver by a 5-3 score last week. It was not a particularly entertaining game and the Flames lost. The locals likely aren’t out for revenge, but they probably want to look like an actual NHL team instead of whatever they were last time out.

Sum It Up

Wins and losses are meaningless and now that the Flames are icing a mostly NHL-ready roster, it’s time to get things in gear and get loose before the puck drops on Wednesday. Hopefully they put in a good 60 minutes in Vancouver and look sharp.