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Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

WWYDW: The Flames lineup, now featuring Chris Stewart and Nick Shore

The Flames’ trade deadline saw them pick up two extra bodies without shipping any out, which is, of course, always going to raise questions about the lineup.

Chris Stewart and Nick Shore both fill needs in that they’re right shots; Shore, doubly so, because he’s a centre of some defensive talent.

Common sense may have dictated both would play on the bottom six to start, but between Micheal Ferland’s injury and I guess Sam Bennett’s Sam-Bennett-ness, Glen Gulutzan found room to play Stewart on the first line and then, later, on the second, so that went right out the window. I wanted to assume that we could count on the 3M line to stay intact and some combination of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Ferland or Bennett on the top line but… maybe we can’t?

Who’s available

Alright, let’s start this over. There’s no longer a roster limit imposed on teams, so the Flames may carry as many players as they so wish, within limits of the four-player recall rule.

For healthy forwards, they have: Gaudreau, Monahan, Bennett, Tkachuk, Backlund, Frolik, Brouwer, Jankowski, Hathaway, Stajan, Lazar, Glass, Stewart, and Shore (presuming Shore is ready to play by tonight’s game).

Unhealthy forwards consist of Ferland, Versteeg, and Hrivik. Ferland could be back sooner rather than later, Kris Versteeg still has a couple of weeks to go in all likelihood, and Marek Hrivik’s status has not been particularly well-publicized, so there’s even less of a timetable for his return.

That puts the Flames at 14 forwards they may dress in a game at present time, meaning at least two forward healthy scratches. That number will go up as the injured bodies return to health, meaning, presuming full health, five forward healthy scratches.

That does leave some debate for as to who could be healthy scratched through the final games of the season. Matt Stajan and Curtis Lazar have been two of the most frequently healthy scratched forwards this season, and it seems unlikely Tanner Glass draws in for many games, so there are, perhaps, your most likely candidates.

Who slots in where?

Everything about Shore screams “fourth line centre” for this team, a role that has been Stajan’s for most of the season. With Stajan a candidate to healthy scratch – or to at least be moved over to the wing – it seems as though Shore’s place in the lineup is set.

For everyone else, though? Not so much. The bottom six is more cluttered than ever, and willing Stewart to play in a top six role won’t change that. You have to think that, once Ferland is back to health, at least two of him, Bennett, and Stewart will be in the bottom six, depending on both recovery times and player ability as the games draw out. You also have to think that there’s no way Stewart or Brouwer get scratched, and it seems unlikely Hathaway joins anyone in the press box, either: three right shots for two right wing spots.

To the best of my ability, here’s a guess at what could happen:

Gaudreau Monahan Ferland
Tkachuk Backlund Frolik
Bennett Jankowski Stewart
Versteeg Shore Brouwer

With everyone healthy, Hathaway got pushed out. There isn’t much place for Stajan or Lazar, either, and Glass is a non-starter. When it comes to Hrivik, there’s even less room.

In the meantime, with both Ferland and Versteeg unavailable, that does create room for Hathaway and one of Stajan or Lazar (probably Stajan, as he consistently gets more ice time).

This is all very confusing

I’m sorry. I didn’t expect Stewart to play a top six role last night. I don’t know why he was there. I don’t understand the logic behind it and therefore I can’t reasonably predict if he’ll be back there again. I am confused, hence this is a confused what would you do article set up. Send help, or at least, comment with your ideal lineups.


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  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    Bennett to the top line for now.

    Stajan-Janko-Stewart on the 3rd line
    Brouwer-Shore-Hathaway/Lazar for the 4th line.

    After Ferland comes back, go this way:
    Ferland-Janko-Shore
    Brouwer-Stajan-Stewart

  • Honkydonk

    Bennett needs to stay on the top line regardless. That is the only rational thing to do. We get blanked in a game when they are in the thick of a race that is un acceptable

  • GetOn'Em

    I find it hard for any of us armchair coaches to put forth lines because we are not at practice to see the chemistry but i will put forth what i feel i would try.

    Gaudreau Monahan Lazar
    Tkchuck Bennett Jankowski
    Frolik Backlund Ferland
    Brouwer Hrvik Hathaway

    Gio Hamilton
    Brodie Hamonic
    Anderssonn Stone

    Smith
    Gillies

  • flames2015

    Man, I can’t wait for Ferland to get back and to an extent Versteeg. Right now, we have 6 guys that should be 4th liners. Stajan, Hathaway, Lazar, Brouwer, Shore, and Stewart. Having Ferland/Versteeg should push some people who shouldn’t be in the line up on a nightly basis to the press box.

    For now, in a lineup without them, I’d like to see perhaps this:
    Gaudreau – Monahan – Bennett
    Tkachuk /Lazar- Backlund – Frolik
    Hathaway – Janko – Lazar/Tkachuk
    Stajan – Shore – Brouwer/Stewart

    I like the 3m line, so this is just an idea to spread the scoring around. And the 4th line really can be a blender, doesn’t make much of an impact whose where or out.

  • sathome

    The wingers in the top 6 should be Gaudreau, Tkachuk, Ferland and Frolik. Move them around the top two lines if you want, but nobody else deserves to be there. If one of them is hurt (like Ferland), put Bennett up. If two of them are hurt, it probably doesn’t really matter anymore.

    • GetOn'Em

      I dont like Frolik or Backlund on my 2nd line. I want them on my third as top shut fown gus and #1 PK. That is why i would bust up the 3M. Tkchuck is too talented to limit to a shut down role on a regular basis.

    • Kevin R

      Bennett is more of a top 6 forward than Frolik. The two games Bennett had on the top line were great, he fit, he has skill, speed to play & compliment these guys. He has a pretty decent grittier edge to his game. No brainer, top line & leave him their. By this time next year it will be obvious Backlund & Frolik are really good 3rd line players. Tkachuk should be the start of a scoring 2nd line, really hoping Janko can rise to that level, he’s got the tools but still has a lot on the learning curve to go through. Too many 4th line forwards are left & none of them are making a case for moving up right now. Treliving has his work cut out for him when the season ends this April. I’m still disgusted of the message sent bumping Bennett off the top line in favour of a waiver wire pick up. Horrible message sent

  • BendingCorners

    4th line Stajan-Shore-Brouwer assuming Shore looks good when he debuts.
    Stewart or Hathaway 3RW. Not sure Stewart will fit in at all; he looked like a waiver candidate last night but another tryout or two won’t hurt.
    Ferland, Bennett and Tkachuk in their usual spots, but swapping Ferland with Bennett or Ferland with Tkachuk might be good too. With Ferland out maybe Stewart to 3LW and Hathaway to 3RW.
    No room for Lazar unless somebody plays really badly.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    I felt for Bennett last night. He gets promoted to the first line, basically plays his a$$ off, the team picks up a guy on waivers and Bennett immediately gets bumped back down. Ridiculous coaching.

  • Derzie

    2 garbage pickups that need to be ignored. Distractions from the real problem (starts with G). He doesn’t deploy the players he has correctly, let alone the 2 new non-NHLers added this week.

  • Burnward

    OOOOH FUNSIES!!!

    Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland
    Tkachuk-Backlund-Bennett
    Mangiapane-Jankowski-Frolik
    Brouwer/Lazar-Shore/Stajan-Hathaway/Stewart

    Gio-Brodie
    Hamonic-Hamilton
    Kulak-Stone

  • Rexx

    Some of these line suggestions are incredible. It’s like some of you assigned players a number and rolled some dice…

    Put bennett back on top until we know Ferly is back to 100%. That’s it. Stewart experiment is done on the first line.

  • buts

    An objective observer could argue that the flames have 3 top 6 forwards and 11 bottom 6 forwards. With all due respect to Backlund and Frolik what the flames are missing and the lack of scoring points to is no real second line. Maybe some young guy like Bennett and Janko will become a top 6, but right now no one is seizing the opportunity…..maybe it’s because of systems and usage?

  • Just.Visiting

    GG never ceases to amaze. I thought that the Flames looked great in the previous two wins with Bennett on the first line and showing lots of jump. It appears that Stewart was moved to the first line based on handedness for what was widely predicted (correctly) to be a failed experiment.

    I agree with the comments that the Backlund Frolik combination is ultimately the foundation of a very good third line. Byng’s presence causes people to see it as a second line, when the team is actually better served seeing him be a cornerstone of a scoring second line that includes Janko with Ferland (presumably Stewart for the moment).

    From what I saw, Stewart moved better than I expected when he was engaged. He seemed a bit lazy to me in his own zone on occasion, though.

    A blender for the fourth line until next season, where that group has to be thinned over the summer.

  • Just.Visiting

    Forgot to ask, what’s with the Backlund-TB PK strategy when Frolik is available for use and he and Backlund read each other so well? I find Stajan and TB to be pretty slow out there relative to say Hathaway and Lazar.

  • Mitchell

    I’m not sure what most of you are seeing, but backlund deserves to be the second line center over jankowski. Jankowski shows glimpses of great skill once in a while, but can’t convert. That being said the lines in my opinion should be:
    Gaudreau-Monahan-Bennett
    Tkachuk-Backlund-frolik
    Stewart-Jankowski- Hathaway
    Brouwer-Shore-Lazar
    Or perhaps throw jankowski on the second line right wing.
    Gaudreau-monahan-bennett
    Tkachuk-backlund-jankowski
    Frolik-shore- stewart
    Brouwer-lazar-hathaway.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Can anyone explain why the Stajan line was out there with 5 mins to go and you’re down 2 goals? GG should have been rolling his top 3 lines with 10 mins left to go in the game. You need the win, why play defencively, who cares if they score 1 more goal, you need 2! So frustrating to watch the bonehead moves GG makes.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      Because as of the middle of the third period, Nobody knew who was on there line or what they were suppose to be doing anymore! But you get the tap on the shoulder and you go out, then hopefully something works out of the Chaos! Its Genius!

  • Korcan

    I see Bennett staying on top line until Ferland gets back, then he will likely go back to janko’s line with Hathaway/Stewart. Backlund’s line remains untouched until next season. Once (if) Versteeg gets back he will probably become the right wing on the third line and hopefully help jumpstart their offense, which will leave all the remaining players fighting over 4th line minutes.
    One option that might be worth a looksee is to try Shore on the right side with Bennett and Janks — he has good speed, adv. stats indicate he drives play, and he just might be Calgary’s most talented option (at least until Versteeg returns). What do they have to lose At this point?

  • Frank the Nose ?

    Johnny monny Bennett
    Tkachuk Backlund Frolik
    Stewart Jankowski Hathaway
    Lazar Shore Brouwer

    When Ferlund Versteeg return
    Johnny Monny Ferlund
    Tkachuk Backlund Frolik
    Bennett Jankowski Stewart
    Versteeg Shore Brouwer

  • Al Rain

    One of the continuing lines of reasoning with regards to Bennett (and I’ve used it) is that he hasn’t had enough time with good line mates for him to show his potential.

    I think it would be a great idea to leave Bennett with Gaudreau and Monahan for the remainder of the season. We may or may not make the playoffs, and this plan may or may not tank his trade value, but we’d be pretty sure of what we’ve got.