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The China trip will have a few impacts on the preseason

The Calgary Flames are headed to China! The Flames announced yesterday that they’ll be playing a pair of preseason games with the Boston Bruins: Sept. 15 in Shenzhen and Sept. 19 in Beijing. But based on what happened with the Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings with their Chinese excursion last season, we can project a few impacts on the Flames’ preseason routine.

The Shenzhen game will open the Flames’ preseason schedule

Under the CBA, nobody can play preseason games before the fourth day of training camp. Since the game in Shenzhen is on Sept. 15, that means the latest that training camp will begin for the players going would be Sept. 12 – and it’s unclear in the CBA if “training camp” means on-ice sessions or if the medicals count as a day.

Last season the Flames had three days of on-ice sessions prior to their first preseason game, so if the CBA means that training camp means on-ice sessions then medicals would be on Sept. 11, which may also be the day of the team’s golf tournament.

For comparison’s sake, the Canucks had three preseason games in the books before they hit the ice in China last year.

There will probably be multiple training camp groups

As of right now, all we know about the preseason for sure is that there’s a Penticton tournament happening Sept. 6-10. It’s unclear right now what the format is or if the Flames will be involved. But if they are involved, the timelines for that tournament and the likelihood that the veterans headed to China will have to do medicals earlier than usual and be involved in the golf tournament probably requires things to get staggered a bit.

Consider this hypothetical scenario:

  • The Penticton group does medicals and heads to Kelowna Sept. 5, then plays Sept. 6-10 and heads back to Calgary the evening of the Sept. 10.
  • The China group does medicals Sept. 11 (or earlier) and heads to China prior to Sept. 14. These guys likely also lose a day to the golf tournament and a day to travel – it’s a 14-hour flight to Shenzhen – so their first week of camp will be a bit chaotic.
  • The players that don’t play in Penticton and don’t go to China – the AHL guys, mostly – likely do medicals on Sept. 13 and can play their first preseason game on Sept. 17. Presumably the Penticton graduates join this group until the China group returns on Sept. 20.

The timelines are based on the presumption that the Flames will be involved in the Penticton tournament, but you can see how complex the logistics are with 50 players in Flames camp playing on two freakin’ continents.

The Flames probably keep a lot of players around until mid-September

The Canucks took 24 players to China last year and that group was very veteran-heavy. They were also playing games in North America, so until the NHL regulars returned from overseas they had to carry around 50 players. Given that the Flames will probably be playing preseason games here, too, they’ll have to have enough bodies to have two complete rosters and account for freak injuries. If you’re coming to any preseason games in North America early on, you’re going to see a very prospect-heavy group.

The Canucks and Kings did their big culls close to the end of September last year, but because the Flames are playing their China games a week earlier they’ll probably be able to trim things down by Sept. 24 or 25. Until then? Make sure you keep a roster sheet handy.

The Flames probably only play three preseason games at the Saddledome

The Flames played seven preseason games last season: four at home and three on the road. The China games last season effectively replaced a home preseason game for both Vancouver and Los Angeles. Presuming that the Flames got the same deal as the other teams did, they’ll play seven preseason games this season and aside from the pair of games in China, they’ll play three games at the Saddledome and two elsewhere.



  • rj

    For what it’s worth – I contacted my Flames rep and she says they will still have 4 home exhibition games (in the context of the conversation that means at the Dome).

    Given the 5.6% average price increase for season ticket holders after last season, cutting a game would effectively make it an 8.0% price increase per game, which would be a little, shall we politely say, excessive.

  • DJ_44

    Judging by what happened last year with the Canucks, the Flames will also be exempt from the “veteran” rule (dressing a minimum number of veterans for each preseason game) for the North American exhibition games while the main team is in China.

  • Flaming Glory

    Unrelated: Here’s my ideal line up with Tavares (I can dream ok!)
    Johnny-Tavares-Mony The ultimate top line
    Bennett-Janko-Chucky No one wants to face the line of pest
    Ferland-Backs-Frolik A slight downgrade on the current 3M but still effective
    Mangy-Shore-Lazar/Hathaway Ideally Lazar because he’s fast and that line would be for blitzing the opposing team.
    Thoughts?

  • Korcan

    I realize I may be in the minority, but I’m still campaigning for R. O’Rielly and T. Wilson (though he needs to stop crossing the line with the questionable/dirty hits). My line-up would be:

    GAUDREAU  / MONAHAN  /  WILSON
       BENNETT  / O’RIELLY / TKACHUK
       FERLAND / BACKLUND / FROLIK
    MANGIAPANE  / SHORE /  FOO
    13/14.  Lazar / Hathaway

  • Flaming Glory

    Without Tavares:
    Johnny-Mony- trade for top line via brodie
    Ferland-Backs-Frolik
    Bennet-Janko-Chucky
    Mangy-Shore-Lazar/Hathaway
    Pretty similar except for the hole on D (although the hole might be for the best?).

  • freethe flames

    I am also of the opinion that if the majority of the big club’s players are in China that the remaining players should have some of their camp in Stockton to promote the game there. That would depend on the quality of the ice in Sept in Stockton. Some of the non China guys are likely going to be playing most of the season there and it would be good PR and create a face or two for the organization.

    • Stockton's Finest

      The ice is fine in September. Stockton has brought in an NHL guy to help last season and it helped. Didn’t solve 100%, but was much better than the previous years.

  • Justthateasy

    Off current topic but very topical.
    Is anybody of relevance paying attention to the Penguin power play!
    A 6 ft pass into the slot and a one-timer to score.
    Have a look and weep.
    Come on Flames, wake up.

      • piscera.infada

        I’m fairness, they did run that a fair bit early in the season. Pretty easy to take away when your non-Gaudreau and Monahan personnel is Brouwer, Brodie, and Versteeg (and later Jankowski).

        I think it could work again with Tkachuk, Hamilton, and whomever else. They just weren’t threatening anyone once you take away Monahan in the high slot and cheat towards Gaudreau.

  • freethe flames

    With the WC starting today we may get a glimpse of what to expect to see from BP as a coach. It likely puts a 2 week break on anything earth shattering happening with the Flames. I suspect he would want to be here when assistant coaches are hired. For those hoping we trade for RoR this is also a good chance to see if RoR and BP have a good relationship. I see Derek Ryan is playing for the USA; a UFA with a history with BP and a good face off man; some one BP might ask BT to pursue.

  • Pizzaman

    Why on earth would Tavares leave a non playoff team to come to Calgary a non-playoff team? Because of the number of times we made the playoffs the last 10 years? Because of Bill Peters? He is a Toronto guy who is going to play With superstars. If not Leafs then other teams duking it out in the playoffs today.

    • Mickey O

      I would seriously look at bringing back Chris Stewart. He can take a regular shift on the 4th line RW and if things really crater with injuries he can play up the line-up for a bit. But the main usage would be for enforcer purposes. Stewart will go with anyone, and he’s good at fighting.

      Still say you need a guy in the line-up that will take care of business when things get out of hand. Tanner Glass simply wasn’t big enough to really intimidate anyone. Would Lucic have gone nuts at the end of the year if Stewart was in the line-up? Maybe, but Stewart will help settle things down, and make the rest of the players play a little braver if he’s still around.

          • Baalzamon

            So sorry to disturb your genteel sensibilities. Next time I’ll be sure to appeal to your obvious superiority and expound the virtues of face punching and useless fourth line plugs who can’t do anything else.

          • MontanaMan

            Ryan Reeves brings the same qualities and yes, they are necessary in an ever increasing limited role. Stewart will get picked up by someone if the Flames don’t sign him as it’s a long year and the Flames are a small club, needing someone to settle things down. Hathaway is not a fighter – pure and simple – and although he is willing, he is not able and is a punching bag on skates. Nobody is saying play Stewart 82 games next year but having him available is important for a team that will be younger and likely smaller next year.

          • freethe flames

            I have always thought Stewart had the tools but not the tool box. If he was the 13th forward ahead of Brouwer at the league minimum I could live with that.

        • Cfan in Van

          100% Agree. He was brought in because we had so many injuries by that point, the market sucked, and he was free. If he is part of the “plan” next season, we’re in deep trouble.

      • rusty_shakleforde

        Leadership capacity too from what I’ve heard. Again tho, the worry is that we just have like 8 4th liners on our roster. I would be totally in favour if we could get rid of a bunch (specifically Brower). So what about Hathaway vs. Stewart? Which is more suited for reg 4rw?

        • Mickey O

          It seemed like the team ended up with a bunch of 4th liners, but Treliving will cull the herd. Brouwer serves no purpose. Yeah, I’m always ragging on the guy, but he needs to be off the team. Hathaway is a 4th liner / 13th guy to me – who isn’t an intimidator.

          There were supposedly multiple claims in for Stewart when he got waived. San Jose for sure wanted him. As a 4th liner, for what he brings to the team, I would take Stewart over Hathaway. He sounded pretty pumped to be here when the Flames picked him up. He’s a UFA and he’ll cost about 1M at 30 yrs old.

          You need a guy like that, or blow the enforcer role on a d-man. Calgary is already busting at the seams on defence, so a 4th liner will have to play the role. (I looked up his fight card and talking of Lucic they did have a tilt in 2014.) You could do worse than Stewart when you’re building a team.

  • rusty_shakleforde

    I know it’s unrelated but…was daydreaming that we got Tavares, and then started to wonder about our jerseys. Can we talk about how they need an update?? Like, I’m mostly okay with them, but I think a change in jersey would be super dope

  • freethe flames

    First let me say I won’t get to concerned about the China trip until I hear the entire preseason is announced. Will there be PTO’s for sure; who they will be l have no idea but they should include a number of centers.

  • freethe flames

    Here’s an idea for an article for one of our great writers. Who are the Euro UFA’s worth watching at the worlds that might be of interest to Flames fans.

    • everton fc

      Agreed. Peters has mentioned Euro UFAs in once if his interviews. At least I think I heard this, on the FAN…

      I wouldn’t get hopes to high about Taveres coming here. One guy someone mentioned who I think we could get cheap, and who would be affective here, is Roussel. And Peters talking to O’Reilly… Ryan… I could certainly see the latter. Not saying Ryan would be better than Shore, but Shore’s 26 when the season starts, and has more NHL experience than Ryan (32, at year’s end), though Ryan played a long time, in Europe.