Slack Sundays: farewell to the preseason

The preseason is over! Our long national nightmare is over and hockey games that count in the standings are just around the corner. Join us as we wave a hearty goodbye to the exhibition calendar and look forward to final cuts and the beginning of the 2017-18 regular season!

Ryan Pike: By the time this is published on Sunday [editor’s note: we did the chat on Saturday afternoon], the last preseason game will be done. Who has really impressed or disappointed you guys through the first six games?

karimkurji (Karim Kurji): Sean Monahan has scored a lot of goals so I’m happy about that.

Vintage Flame (he’s back!!): I’ve really liked Jankowski and his play. I like his poise with the puck. On the flip side… Mike Smith has me… worried.

Ryan Pike: I agree with the Jankowski element, too. I’ve been impressed by him over the last three or four years, in that he keeps upping his game as expectations for him also rise. I also really liked Dube and Poirier when they were up.

karimkurji: I’m honestly not worried that Smith has been shaky on the ice. What really concerns me is how he’s responded to his poor play. With casual joking remarks, I don’t like to see these guys not take their job seriously. I have faith he’ll be good in the reg

Ryan Pike: I wouldn’t read too much into his comments.

karimkurji: Even Lazar has said, okay yeah, I know I’ve been pretty awful.

Vintage Flame: I honestly want ONE thing for this team in the regular season. To see them start and realize the potential they are supposed to have “on paper”. We saw Elliott struggle to start and that continued far too long. We’ve seen it with goaltender after goaltender really… I just want to see Smith begin with the start he is supposed to have.

karimkurji: I completely agree. But the team we’ve seen play through the preseason is going to get blasted by the Oilers

Ryan Pike: Let’s be honest: it’s a playoff team, easily, if they get average goaltending. Isn’t this like the third or fourth preseason that’s seemed rather sleepy?

Vintage Flame: Agreed Karim, and yes Ryan… It is. that’s the problem. We’re not supposed to make much of the preseason, but I guarantee, Oil fan is pretty stoked over a 6-1 preseason record. Regardless of what it means.

Ryan Pike: Do you think it’s the product of having a team heavy on veterans?

karimkurji: Absolutely. But I still hate it.

Vintage Flame: It used to be the problem for sure. It should be less and less of an issue as this new generation develops. Does that make sense?

Ryan Pike: But in theory the kids could ease off the gas a bit in the preseason as they feel more established and secure in their spots.

karimkurji: Sure! But at a certain point, don’t you just get sick of losing? Even in the preseason?

Vintage Flame: They shouldn’t be easing off the gas though. As the Flames continue to stock the cupboards with viable prospects, positions are less and less secure. No one’s job was ever at risk under the Iggy regime. That’s not the case now.

karimkurji: True. Dillon Dube was the only one who seemed to get what you’re saying, Vintage.

Vintage Flame: And he played like he wanted someone’s job.

karimkurji: Dube is the best. But it’s pretty sad that he’s the only one that is really coming to mind right now.

Ryan Pike: Dube played the exact same style he did at the World Juniors. It was encouraging to see.

Vintage Flame: That’s sort of the difference between Dube and Janko. Dube played like he wanted someone’s job, Janko played like he deserved the job already.

karimkurji: What’s the deal with Bart?? Why is he playing in hockey games when Andersson is still around? Rasmus has been decent.

ctibs (Christian Tiberi): Once again, welcome to the Dube bandwagon. (Dubewagon?)

Vintage Flame: Rasmus is already passed Bart… By a country mile. My only thinking is that they don’t want Rasmus to be comfortable as a #7 D-man, whereas Bart is lucky to be there.

Ryan Pike: Waivers and handedness is probably factoring in, too.

karimkurji: I’m all for keeping Bart around to be the 7th man where he doesn’t ever play games. But shouldn’t Rasmus be playing tonight?

Vintage Flame: Is it better to play Rasmus as a #6 or #7 now? Or, develop him top 4 in the AHL and bring him up later?

karimkurji: How important is handedness really? I’ve never truly understood the insistence on having both hands on each pairing

Vintage Flame: With the split second reactions of D pairings nowadays, I can see the importance of handedness on the point. It’s a factor now.

Ryan Pike: Players are pretty split on the impacts, but coaches see it as important (particularly Gulutzan).

croatis (Christian Roatis): Gulutzan sees it as very important.

ctibs: Remember those day one pairings last year? Good grief.

croatis: Treliving mentioned it a lot when talking about the Hamonic trade. That he’s a right hand partner for TJ.

Vintage Flame: I prefer NOT to Christian.

Ryan Pike: And the way they’re drafting too really shows they want a balance.

croatis: Grossmann-Hamilton. 5 minutes in, Grossmann fires a pass up the middle like a kid in atom and the Oilers score. Nice.

karimkurji: What a joke.

Vintage Flame: I was hoping we could get through this without discussing Grossmann.

ctibs: TJ seemed to succeed on his offside, Dougie did not.

karimkurji: Hopes were too high.

croatis: Talking leads to healing.

ctibs: I don’t know where it matters and where it doesn’t.

Ryan Pike: I’m told it matters a lot defensively.

croatis: Gulutzan believes you take away half the ice if you’re playing on your off side. That’s from the Hat article on Hamilton on the Athletic I believe.

Ryan Pike: Basically, you have to cross your body after accepting the pass to handle it, which creates complications. Brodie was good at it, a lot of guys aren’t.

ctibs: To get back on track, do y’all think Andersson has a shot at the third pairing?

croatis: I do not, no;

Ryan Pike: This year? No. As soon as next year? Sure.

Vintage Flame: I don’t see Andersson on the 3rd pairing yet… Maybe another year, like Ryan just said.

karimkurji: I have Brodie – Andersson as my second pair for next year. Hamonic on the 3rd.

Vintage Flame: Really? Interesting.

ctibs: Jumping the gun, but next year’s defensive pairings are going to be an interesting thing to look at.

karimkurji: Or Brodie – Fox depending on how ridiculously amazing Fox becomes.

Vintage Flame: If Hamonic, with the Flames gets back to his form of 2 years ago… I don’t see that happening… Unlless Hamonic replaces Gio.

Ryan Pike: Honestly, I think Stone and Andersson’s futures depend on how soon Fox signs.

karimkurjiL I think it also depends on when the Gio decline happens.

Vintage Flame: No fault of Gio… It happens to all.

Ryan Pike: But Gio’s a lefty.

ctibs: Well that impacts kylington and valimaki.

karimkurji: So the top 3 righties we’ll have in the future will be Dougie, Fox, Andersson.

croatis: For what it’s worth, Pronman ranked the Flames’ D prospects as: Valimaki, Fox, Kylington, Andersson. And noted Valimaki has created separation.

Ryan Pike: Let’s presume the Flames have locked in Brouwer and Lazar on this team. Where do you put them? You have to use them.

ctibs: The trash can.

karimkurji: Lazar can be an extra.

Vintage Flame: Getting popcorn.

karimkurji: Brouwer will likely be the designated pocket dog eater of the team. Our Phil.

ctibs: I agree with other christian. Can’t see why they’re bothering with Bennett-Brouwer again.

Vintage Flame: Brouwer is just useless.

ctibs: Especially when Bennett did great work this preseason (for what it’s worth) with no Brouwer.

Ryan Pike: My theory is they see Bennett now as able to carry the mail, so here’s Brouwer.

Vintage Flame: Honestly, I was thinking about this and I’d like to see Bennett play with Johnny and Sean and give the Centre spot to Janko. But I also see just how high they are on Sam and what big expectations they have for him this season.

ctibs: I think they push Bennett at centre until it’s clear he can’t play it at an NHL level.

karimkurji: It’s clearly more important for them to see Bennett at center than to see him succeed.

Ryan Pike: If Bennett can be a decent center, suddenly next year they have four really good centers and the ability to transition somebody like Dube into the lineup on the wings.

Vintage Flame: They were also quite certain Wideman was going to be great on the PP…. Not so much.

ctibs: That was Hartley hockey and thank God we aren’t trying that anymore.

Vintage Flame: Brouwer is like Wideman.. Same problem, different position.

karimkurji: Going off what you said earlier, Vintage, if we’re saying it might be better to see Rasmus on the top-4 in Stockton, is it really a good thing for Janko to be the 4th line center?

ctibs: I did this on the mailbag a while ago. I don’t see what else he could do in Stockton.

Vintage Flame: 4th? I was thinking 3rd.

ctibs: But i also don’t see what he could do on the fourth line.

karimkurji: We know that the top 3 at least to start will be Monahan, Backlund, and Bennett though.

Vintage Flame: That’s what i mean… I’d have Bennett on the wing and my centres would be Monahan, Backlund, Janko. Janko, Ferland and Versteeg.

Ryan Pike: If the Flames hit the skids a bit this year, I wouldn’t be shocked if Gulutzan tried a few different things out.

karimkurji: I’m so excited to see what Ferland can do this year. He’s looked real good on that top line.

ctibs: Ferland is the breakout player this year.

Vintage Flame: It better be Sam to be honest.

ctibs: Also true.

Vintage Flame: Can I point something out? How long has it been since we have been so blessed with so many possible combinations and pairings… especiallly on DEFENSE???

Ryan Pike: The drop-off across the roster seems a lot less than it has been in previous years.

ctibs: Agreed. Three good lines almost wow.

Vintage Flame: To be in a place where we don’t have to pray for Gio to play til he’s 50. I’ll close off by just saying, I hope Mike Smith figures things out before the All Star game.

  • MontanaMan

    Wow that was painful to read. I would still like to see one more young forward added to the mix, with the young D sent down but called up for any extended requirement. And for all the naysayers, Smith will be fine.

    • Newbietwo

      Agreed I almost wanted to stop reading halfway thru and you wonder why the flames fans have built a reputation of being bandwagon fans? Look at what’s being written during pre season! It’s almost fake news like

      1. The benefit of Stockton for younger players are two fold. First because they basically get a whole week between games to focus on training and strength! That is extremely vital and the second it affords true prospects more minutes in game although less games played so it is a wash.. Anderson for example would be able to really keep training and be as ready as anyone next year.

      2. Give it ten games before you start trashing players like Lazar and Brouwer before you get to see what they bring this year and that includes Smith.. I hope you writers ate some soap after last nights game based on your comments before the game you should!

      3. We are poised for 2018 to be a terrific year with likes of Anderson and Kylington and Dube Poirier and Klimchuck and Lomberg..

        • Hemi

          Well now, you are indeed a hypocrit! You have been spewing your garbage over on ON for everso long now. How can anyone on any of the Nation sites ever take you for anything but a fool. Or should I just call you a Flamer Troll.

          To all decent fans of both teams, let the BOA begin!

  • freethe flames

    After last nights game I suspect this will be the 23 man squad:
    3m line
    Glass/Stajan/The Burden
    On an earlier thread I Have Lazar and Hathaway ahead of Stajan and “The Burden” but after thinking about it GG will play the vest because they can kill penalties. I could also see FHamilton instead of Hathaway because he is also a center.
    On D we will seethe pairings from last night with Kulak as #7 even though Andersson has been better he will be sent down because he does not need to clear waivers.
    Goalies: Smith and Lack.
    Is there any update on Hrvik’s injury?

  • freethe flames

    There should be significant action on the waiver wire today; I wonder if there will be anyone of interest that the Flames would prefer over their bottom 5 forwards or over Bart.

    • LAKID

      Pretty much anyone on waivers, the flames look like they are in trouble I hope they can claim a goalie or two, some offensivelly skilled fowards that can skate would be good. Do they put coaches and GM’s on waivers? Better get a couple of those while your at it.

      • BringtheFire 2.0


        Honestly, there’s a part of me that wants to see the Oil do well. You guys have suffered in darkness and pain and tragedy and anguish for such a terribly long, arduous, interminable time that actually seeing you guys smile after finally fluking into a good team sort of makes me feel okay.

        • deferoiler

          What are you on? Talbutt? You mean 42 win 4th place in Veznia voting Talbot? You can talk smack when a flames goalie has a Save Percentage above .900 cause that sure as hell isnt gonna be Mike Smith

  • I am Batman

    Good morning! All this blabbering to come off the gates with a 2-7-1 record….
    cheers for putting the blame on the NHL schedule makers (and how the Fans are going to say this schedule is the most difficult one ever)
    Trash for overrating the team on paper. Take your vote! See you Wednesday night!

    • MontanaMan

      Speaking of blabbering, I see you’re back. Interesting, you weren’t blabbering on ON after that loss to the Canucks. Why do you comment on FN and not on ON?

      • freethe flames

        Ignore him and all the other trolls. You complained this morning on the other thread about wanting to read about hockey and were upset with how the thread was littered with trolls; trolls stay because people bait them and interact with them.

    • Carl the tooth

      zzzzzzzzzz Yaaaaaaaawn !!!
      Slept like a baby . How bout you Connor fart ? Lol Nightmares I bet lol . Nurse?Benning your Rw
      Your Defence? Looks like your teams got a lot of glaring holes,questions heading into weds do you really want my Vote?

      • Tender is the night

        Guys, I think Batman is right. The Oilers are so much better, despite their holes.
        I say you blame it on the schedule, that’s the classy way out. ?

        • WillyWonka

          I enjoy reading on Oilers Nation all the talk about Nurse, who looks now like he’s likely to be nothing more than a face puncher at the NHL level.
          Oiler Trolls will never admit it but there is definite concerns a toiler Nation about the defense in Edmonton.

        • FlamesFanOtherCity

          Why not just blame Kesler for gloving the puck into the net or the lack of calls McDavid gets for not winning the cup. What’s the excuse going to be this year?

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Oh Batman…why am I not surprised that you are back on FN Sunday when it was the highlight of your Saturday night. Why is it that I have a feeling there is a little Batman or Robin sitting by the door with his baseball glove waiting for dad to finish his important computer business.

  • Alberta Ice

    Really liked Smith’s game last night and the much increased level of team play. And I especially liked GG getting Bennett on lines without Brouwer towards the end of the game. Please, GG, free the Swami Sammy to succeed this year.

  • Tender is the night

    Trolling aside….
    You guys really think this edition of the Calgary Flames can go into playoffs and contend for a cup with Gulutzan at the helm and Smith as starting goalie?
    The other holes can be survived, and I do think the Flames have a good team but coach and goalie… yikes

    • Rockmorton65

      I think the Flames are poised to be a very good team, in the thick of it for the playoffs. IMO, there are two things they require to take the next step to achieving contender status.

      First, is a bonafide RHS, pure sniper. Someone in the mould of Ovi, Kessel, Stamkos, etc. The name that pops into mind right now is Laine. Someone who is a consistent threat to score 50 every year. This team has an excess of character, two way, gritty players. What it’s missing is someone who just scores goals.

      Next, is a goalie who has an elite aura around him. Ever since Kipper retired, the Flames have gone after the “once showed promise, but in need of a bounce back season” or the “in the right situation, could be upper level”. A goalie that makes you think you can win any night.

      Lastly, the organization needs to purge its dependence on veterans. The team always seems to have an anchor somewhere in the lineup, under he argument of veteran presence. When Iggy was traded, they got rid of a few, but since then there’s been a parade of the Wideman’s, Engelland’s Stajan’s and now Brouwer. If the team wants to step into contender territory, these would be the issues I’d try to address.

      • Atomic Clown

        Bonafide wingers like Stamkos/Ovi/Laine are ridiculously expensive. Someone like toffoli, Arvidsson would do the job as well. And it’s next to impossible to find an elite goalie that teams want to trade. Goalies are almost always a homegrown product. You guys lucked out on Talbot, seeing as he hit his prime after being traded, like we did with Kipper. But that’s getting rarer and rarer

        • Rockmorton65

          Oh yeah, I wasn’t suggesting how we get those, just what was needed. You can’t realistically trade for either of those pieces. At least not when they’re in their prime.

  • Puckhead

    The key to having a successful season looks like it will come down to figuring out the bottom forward lines and 3rd D pairing. If this gets sorted out things will be fine.

    It’s a long season and hopefully the coach has got enough tinkering out of his system to ice solid lines for the season opener.

  • OKG

    He might score goals but Monahan is the biggest hole on roster as a center. No neutral zone or defensive zone back pressure, not much of a puck carrier (no, last resort button hooks after your drive has been cut off are not encouragong) and while he scores on the power play it just seems like he is too ststionary which kills our PP1 too often. That Laine goal yesterday was the perfect example, no way Patrick should have sliced into the slot so easily but lo and behold Monahan just gave him the red carpet.

    Making Bennett a center is inportant because ideally Monahan is playing the wing where his all-around game is less of an issue and he can just focus on banging in wide open snap shots and scoring shootout goals. Ideally our lineup has three elite pairs:
    LW Gaudreau/ C Bennett
    LW Tkachuk / C Jankowski
    C Backlund / RW/C Monahan

    Finally Micheal Ferland, Kris Versteeg, and Michael Frolik to round it out for an elite top 9. That’s how close we are to an unstoppable forward group. Unfortunately we’re stuck on doomed to fail ideas like Monahan at center, Brouwer in the top 9, Tanner Glass, Matt Bartkowski.

    • Newbietwo

      Are you nuts? Honestly are you messaging from the house with the green roof in ponoka? It’s a serious question..

      Monny is a really good centre and he’s what 23? He’s going to be a superstar very soon and he actually plays a two way game so not sure which game you keep looking at

      • OKG

        Monahan is not a really good center or a good two way player. He’s a pretty good point producer who happens to play center. He is a rich man’s Tyler Bozak. I say that in the nicest way, Bozak is not a bad player. But the expectation for a center is higher if you have Stanley Cup aspirations and we have three players who fulfil that expectation – Mikael Backlund/Sam Bennett /Mark Jankowski plus a 4C who is good enough (Stajan). Monahan is very much the weak link until we move him off center. It is the best option for the TEAM.

        • Flames fan since 83

          To Clarify, you are saying that out of Backlund, Bennett, Jankowski and Monahan, Monahan is the weak link??
          If so, I couldn’t disagree with you more. Monahan is a bonifide number 1 Center in the NHL. Two way game included.

          • OKG

            I am saying that. Monahan is neither a strong two way player nor is he dynamic enough offensively to compensate for that. Unfortunately no one really notices him so hey don’t notice him screwing up covetrage all the time or limiting our PP effectiveness as we try to get set up. You’re not winning a Stanley Cup if Monahan is your most utilized center.

        • Off the wall

          @Newbie and OKG

          This is why we don’t coach.

          Bennett is definitely a becoming a good two way defensive centre, with trending offensive skills. No argument there.

          But Monahan is a gifted offensive centre as well. You don’t produce like he has without the abilities he possesses.
          You can’t always read metrics to determine a value of a player.
          Monahan is doing quite well as our 1st line centre. His defensive side is fine. He’ll get better as the season progresses.
          Monahan doesn’t need to carry the puck as much, Gaudreau is the play- maker.

          Bennett has become the focus now because he’s looking like the player we hoped he would be this season. He’s exciting to watch! This doesn’t mean he’s ready for 1st line centre yet.
          Give it time, these things will work themselves out.

          Be happy we can even have this conversation…

          • OKG

            Bennett was ready for 1st line center duties two years ago when he tossed up 6 points in 4 games centering Gaudreau. And then Monahan got moved back up to that line because he looked like a headless chicken in need of Gaudreau to stabilize him. I don’t need metrics to see Monahan’s overall game is insufficient. And yes Gaudreau needs a secondary puck handler. First lines have multipke options to control the puck. That is like saying McDavid doesn’t benefit from Draisaitl. Draisaitl makes McDavid better. Monahan does not make Gaudreau better.

          • The Sultan

            How can one person make so many wrong assumptions. OKG you clearly know nothing about hockey, are completely clueless about the Flames, and if you think it was Drai making McD better and not the other way around you should probably stop posting your borderline troll opinions on a once respected hockey blog.

          • Off the wall

            I can see you’re passionate about this, so I’ll just say I appreciate your input.
            Calling Monahan a headless chicken is a bit uncalled for though.

            I know what you’re saying and I really hope Bennett is the centre we know he’s capable of being. He does have chemistry with Gaudreau. Does this mean he’s the best option? I don’t know for sure, but Bennett hasn’t proven that he belongs just yet.
            Does that mean he won’t?

            It’s interesting, because cream always floats to the top.. always!

            Perhaps Bennett does become the best option, his play will dictate that. I’m more concerned with surrounding him with skill, so he does make those decisions hard. Playing him with Versteeg and Jankowski was a good start.

            Starting 3rd line centre is just the beginning for Bennett, he will advance to 1st line if he provides GG with no other options.

            Sammy has all the tools, if he’s consistent (as we expect him to be) he’ll be in the conversation soon.

          • OKG

            @Off the wall

            I am passionate not about this but rather seeing the Flames maximize their potential which can not happen with Monahan at 1C. You say cream always floats to the top yet that’s not really true. Did Martin St. Louis rise to the top for US? No. He never even got a chance on a top line.

            What’s worse is then players get labelled. Backlund gets labelled a 2C so he doesn’t get #1PP time or ice time with Gaudreau. But Backlund might be our best player bar none. He has been labelled and it has created an insurmountable wall in front of him. Even as he has more PP points last year than anybody on the team and played with Frolik and A ROOKIE.

            Elsewhere we see that teams don’t like to rock the boat to gove their highly talented young kids a shot.
            Seguin didn’t float to the top, he got traded as a 3C/2RW.
            Seth Jones got traded as a 3RD.
            Jordan Staal got traded as a 3C.
            Nick Leddy got traded as a 3LD.

            Advancement? A myth. Teams are terrified of taking a chance. It takes injuries for advancement to happen, and a guy like Monahan is not getting injured… he doesn’t play a remotely engaged game where he coild get hurt.

            Good players buried on teams that perceive themselves as deep get traded instead of an opportunity. This is especially an issue for Calgary because people believe Monahan is a two way player and number one center. This myth just continues to grow. Monahan is not even David Krejci. He is an incredibly solid, but limited scorig forward who is good at faceoffs. He is the Flames’ weakest link because he’s simultaneously good and not good enough.

        • Carl the tooth

          Name 10 centres to score over 100 goals there first 4 years ?monahan is about to hit another elite level . Pretty sure he was on team North America’s roster if not for injury,(Flames are not the only ones that think he’s good )
          . Monahan has only just begun his career and I think he’s going hit another level this year . He’s a pure a sniper as you can find and still a kid .

          • OKG

            Me: Monahan is a poor distributor, two way player, puck retriever, and not very dynamic as a creator. He is a great sniper but you can do that at wing too.
            You: He is a great sniper

        • Kevin R

          I dont agree. Monahan last year really improved winning face-offs & that is still an issue with us. I do agree with Bennett playing with Ferland & Gaudreau & I would like to see Monahan with Tkachuk & Versteeg.
          Janko has huge potential but maybe let him get a year of NHL under his belt before you start moving him up in the depth chart of our existing top 3 centres.

          • calgaryfan

            Monahan is not a very good skater and is probably best suited for wing or 2nd line center. He can not play against other teams top centers as he cannot keep up. He can score which is very valuable but it does not make him a top center in the NHL.

          • Kevin R

            What’s wrong with him getting 10-12 minutes per gammon the 4th line to start. Cmon, you know there will be injuries, you know he will not be 4th line by the end of the season but I just don’t see where you have him slotted so high up the depth chart with having played minimal NHL games. & don’t get me wrong, I am really excited about this player & how rapid he will be forcing himself into our top 9 core.
            The real elephant in this room if Janko exceeds all expectations is what to do with Backlunds extension.

          • Flames fan since 83

            Kevin, I like your suggestion of lines.
            IMO, Monahan is terrific except for two areas. His skating is not very explosive/quick, and he could be meaner/truculent.
            Monahan’s skating is similar to Tkachuk and Versteeg. And Bennett speed is more like Gaudreau and Ferland.
            I’d be interested to see how these lines work.

          • Off the wall

            @ all who are engaged in this discussion over Bennett and Monahan..

            It’s actually a good thing to consider options. I don’t think any of us could foresee this being an issue until now. Good on OKG for being vocal about it.
            I don’t agree with all the assumptions, however it’s brought this to a head.

            Bennett looks meaner, faster and really engaged in the preseason. I love how he stuck up for Gaudreau, that face wash was perfect. Someone made the comment ” Monahan wouldn’t have done that. ” I tend to agree.

            We all know GG has stated that Bennett is the guy to watch for this season. I can’t imagine he would say that and then disregard his own comments as to how he deploys Bennett to ensure his success.

            Monahan is a gifted player, a pure sniper. He’s not the fastest but always puts himself in position for releasing a quick shot.

            For the sake of “Serious Sunday”
            (which it quickly escalated to)
            do we believe we could have 3 solid lines, if Bennett was on the 1st line?

            What would it look like to you?
            How would you deploy 3 solid lines?

            Just curious…

          • Jumping Jack Flash

            My take on the debate of Bennett being a Center or a winger rests on the situation and the match up. Personally, I think Bennett is going to be the best option to shadow a player like McD. I would use him on the 2M line in place of Tkachuk because he has the best chance of keeping pace with McD.

            He can also be used effectively as a gritty Center to play against the big Centers in the west like Getzlaf, Kesler, and Thornton. He can also be a productive Center for Johnny and may turn out to be a dynamic winger for Janko.

          • Kevin R

            You know what OTW. I would have Bennett centring Gaudreau & Ferland. Then have Monahan between Tkachuk & Versteeg / See how Lazar does with Backlund & Frolik & get Janko acclimatized centring initially with Brouwer & Stajan/Hathaway. Thats what I would roll out for the first 3-4 games & see how they click. Putting Monahan with Tkachuk & Versteeg is not a demotion for him.

  • freethe flames

    Comparing Monahan and Bennett is like comparing apples to oranges. They bring significantly different things to the table. Bennett is an energy guy who relies on his speed, quickness and energy to get things done. Monahan is more about positioning and general understanding of the game. Johnny can play with either type of guy. Sometimes I think Monny and Tkachuk would make a better pairing than Tkachuk and Bennett. Janko and Backs both appear to somewhere in the middle.

    • Atomic Clown

      Monahan has the highest hockey IQ out of anyone on the team, and probably the best shot as well. He’s not explosive like Bennett or responsible like Backlund on both ends of the ice, but he brings a very decent measure of both things. Combine that with his chemistry with Gaudreau, and his aforementioned strengths, and he is our best center. Looks like being right about Jankowski has gotten to OKG’s head. Much as I like Jankowski, he’s gonna put up maybe half the career numbers that Monahan will

      • calgaryfan

        how good would Johnny be if he had a center who could skate better, pass better, and hold onto the puck longer instead of Monahan who does none of these things well?

      • OKG

        Monahan has the highest hockey IQ on the team? Why, because he has the best shot on the team and finds the soft spots to score goals? Please, hockey IQ is so much more than finding scoring soft spots – especially for a ::center::. Saying he has higher hockey IQ than Gaudreau, Giordano, Backlund, Tkachuk, shows that you aren’t really paying attention and are just regurgitating the popular sentiments. Monahan does have good hockey IQ, but that doesn’t mean it’s the highest out of anyone on the team. The five of Ferland / Monahan / Bennett / Jankowski / Brodie have almost identical and high hockey IQ with different skill sets.

        As for his chemistry with Gaudreau, that’s typical. Gaudreau has chemistry with everybody – Ferland/Stajan/Bennett/Backlund. The only guys Gaudreau lacks chemsitry with are Frolik and 4th line grinders.

        The reason I was right about Jankowski is the same reason I’m right about Monahan – I’m not blinding myself by counting stats. I watch the games and try to understand the CONTEXT behind what I see. Monahan’s a very good player. But he’s not a number one center, I know number one centers and we might even have three of them in Backlund / Bennett / Jankowski, but that doesn’t mean I am saying Monahan isn’t great. He’s a great forward who would still produce in a winger role without responsibilities he struggles with.

        • Atomic Clown

          Hockey IQ is about reading plays as they develop, and knowing where the puck will end up before it does. No one finds rebounds as well as Monahan because he can judge rebounds. The only reason we weren’t blown out by the frat preseason game against the Jets was because of Monahan’s defensive coverage. While he’s no bonafide 1C, he’s our best option, because he brings more complete game than Bennett. Backlund over the last two years has blossomed into an incredible 200 foot player, and is the only player worthy of being a true 1C. A poor man’s Bergeron/Kopitar. But he clicks best with From, who’s not a first line winger. By putting Monahan as the 1C with Gaudreau and taking more offensive than defense zones, you allow him to play to his strengths. Backlund is more than capable of taking the hard defensive draws and leading the play the other way. Not every team has bonafide center like Pittsburgh or Edmonton. Seguin is a superstar center with very little defensive upside. But because of his offensive prowess, and his chemistry with Bennett, you play him as a 1C.

    • Cheeky

      I really don’t care if it’s Bennett with Gaudreau or Tkachuk, as long as it’s NOT Brouwer! We need another solid line and I think Janko needs to be included too (top 9)…

  • madjam

    Alberta hockey suffrage last 21 years . Oilers – 13 years out of playoffs , 1 year lost in finals , 4 years lost in round 1 , 3 years lost in round 2 . Flames -13 years out of playoffs , 1 year finals , 1 year out in second , 6 years out in first round . That’s a lot of suckage on both teams over that period .

  • freethe flames

    Still waiting to hear who the Flames will waive as well as other teams. Is our future RW out there? Will Jagr sign somewhere today? Are there any trades in the wind?

    • freethe flames

      Looks like that after last nights game. Still leaves a dogs breakfast on the 4th line. Likely Glass, Stajan, Brouwer with Lazar and either FHamilton or Hathaway unless something happens via the waiver wire.

      • MontanaMan

        I will take three strong lines and figure out the fourth as opposed to spreading the wealth amongst the third and fourth lines. With very limited minutes and good matches, the fourth line is less of a risk and an easier fix than distributing the wealth.

      • dontcryWOLF88

        Seems pretty clear form my perspective that they intend to try Brouwer out on the third line with benett and versteeg. He is the front of net guy on that line.

        Would people on here rather get some small personal satisfaction from having their prejudices confirmed seeing Brouwer suck again this year?…or, would you rather he turn it around and serve a valuable role on that line? Careful what you hope for, is all I say. I think you give this guy the opportunity to earn his salary. Not a ton of great second options on RW if it doesnt work out.

  • Raffydog

    If they plan on using Bennett as a winger, then why not put him on the first line. That moves Ferland to the third line, which is really where he belongs, and gives Bennett top 6 mins and a great opportunity to shine. I was fine with Bennett on the third line as a centre as he hasn’t done much to usurp Monahan or Backlund, but as winger, I think he is a better option than Ferland for the first line.

        • OKG

          Yeah, I’ve never seen Bennett look good on the wing. The thing people never realize is that wing is a stationary position, and a player like Bennett is at his worst being stationary. Bennett needs to be moving and that’s why he’s a great center.

          Monahan OTOH is a very stationary player. Literally nothing about his game is lost on the wing.

          • dontcryWOLF88

            I actually kind of agree with OKG. Thing is though, I think Gaudreau and Monahan share the center position quite well. Monahan is a big guy and can muscle into some good looks. Gaudreau has the mobility and vision to be all over the ice. Monahan does better than most at face-offs…which is a few extra goals a year I bet, and can be the difference between making it, and not making it. I dunno, Monahan has some issues, no doubt, but thats reflected in his salary. Then Gaudreau has a bunch too, which is also reflected in salary. …Ferland gives them the ‘not #ucking around toughness, and that line has the tools to do whatever it needs to. Been working pretty well so far. Numbers dont lie.

            Flames are going to have to be about winning by committee. They have a good shot.

  • oilcanboyd

    Parsons Stars in Heat’s Preseason Finale Loss of 3-2 OT. Parsons stopped 21 of 21 shots in 2 periods. Mason McDonald play the last perios/OT and stopped 11 of 13 shots.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Can’t send him to the ECHL but what do you do with Gillies. Please no 3 headed monster….again. We don’t have this situation if we don’t trade for Lack. I have to think that swapping Rittich and Gillies would have worked just fine.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        Not sure if this is the same in the AHL but can the Heat keep him for a 9 game stint while Gillies stays in the NHL. I am not sure how many games he would get. I am worried bringing in Lack is going to force us to trade either Rittich or Gillies…. Before we need to.

    • MontanaMan

      OKG actually thinks the game better than most on this site. He has opinions on players that not everyone agrees with but he is the only person on FN that has supported Janko since the draft – unwavering. So that might be luck or maybe he understands the game. I have been crucified on this site for stating that Monahan isn’t a number one centre, similar to OKG’s comments. Maybe we’re both wrong.

    • Hockeyfan6778

      I men he isn’t trolling. His thoughts do make sense to a point. I mean 51 percent faceoffs is good and he is improving so I like him st but okg still makes good points And is entitled to his opinion.

  • travld1

    I actually like the preseason. I look forward to seeing the prospects I’ve read about and how they perform against the best. Not sure I see it as a “nightmare”