The Calgary Flames completed their 2017-18 season last night with a 7-1 triumph over the Vegas Golden Knights. With no hockey left to play at this level, the Flames have made a trio of roster moves to return waiver-exempt youngsters to the American Hockey League. The club announced they’ve reassigned goaltender Jon Gillies, defenseman Rasmus Andersson and forward Spencer Foo to the Stockton Heat.
Gillies, 24, was the Flames’ third round selection in the 2012 NHL Draft. He spent a decent amount of time on the NHL roster this season; first he was recalled to tandem with David Rittich when Mike Smith was injured, then he came back up in place to Rittich for a late-season audition. He went 3-5-1 with 2.88 goals against average and a .896 save percentage in 11 games. There’s obviously some work to do, but he’s waiver exempt next year and so the Flames have the ability to be patient with his development.
Foo, 23, was a free agent signing by the Flames last summer. He came up a couple weeks ago for a trial run and has looked pretty effective. Granted, he’s played primarily with a mixture of Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett, but he hasn’t looked out of place. In four games he had two goals – one that went in off his skate – and his attention to detail away from the puck seems NHL-level already.
Andersson, 21, was the Flames’ second round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft. He played 10 games with the Flames, failing to register a point, following a very strong second season in the AHL with Stockton. He’s arguably at the point where he’s ready for third pairing NHL duty, though his acceleration may not be where it needs to be right now for him to be an offensive driver at the NHL level. Earlier this week Glen Gulutzan noted that Andersson has to rely on saucer passes due to his skating not creating lanes, while the NHL is a “flat pass league.” Regardless, he’s probably outgrown the AHL.
Since all three players were on Stockton’s roster at the NHL’s trade deadline, all three would be eligible to play in the Calder Cup playoffs should the Heat manage to qualify.