96Rasmus Andersson
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Handicapping the Flames roster, six weeks out

The Calgary Flames have made a lot of changes to their player personnel over the last several months. The comings and goings have created a few logjams on the roster, and potentially have set up a few races to keep an eye on when training camp opens up.

There’s roughly six weeks before the Flames reconvene in town and then jump on a plane to start their preseason in China. Here’s a quick, early glance at the potential roster races.

(e) = waiver exempt

Forwards

The locks (11): Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, James Neal, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, Derek Ryan, Sam Bennett, Austin Czarnik, Matthew Tkachuk (e), Elias Lindholm and Mark Jankowski

No real surprises here. Everyone here is either on a one-way deal or is named Tkachuk and is in the blissful inexpensive years of a productive NHL career. These 11 locked down roster spots leave three spots for the players on the bubble.

The bubble (8): Troy Brouwer, Curtis Lazar, Spencer Foo (e), Dillon Dube (e), Andrew Mangiapane (e), Garnet Hathaway, Alan Quine and Buddy Robinson

Which players make the Flames completely depends what style you want your bottom six to play, and what the Flames want out of their 13th and 14th forwards. If they’re bouncing in and out, maybe Mangiapane, Foo and Dube could provide some energy? If they’re sitting a lot, potentially there’s some combination of Lazar, Brouwer and Hathaway returning to the big league roster. Robinson or Quine are also solid NHL hands that could sit and not be harmed by it.

There are a lot of different ways things could go in September.

Stockton-bound (8): Ryan Lomberg, Morgan Klimchuk, Glenn Gawdin (e), Matthew Phillips (e), Yasin Ehliz (e), Brett Pollock (e), Hunter Shinkaruk and Tyler Graovac

The numbers game pushes these guys to the fringes, as they’d all probably get more of a chance if not for how many bubble bodies the club has with them. Klimchuk could push to join the bubble group with a good start to camp, though, as he’s arguably the best two-way guy in the organization that’s not an NHLer already. He’s likely competing with Dube for a spot in either case.

Defensemen

The locks (5): Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Noah Hanifin, Travis Hamonic and Michael Stone

No shockers here. Five spots locked down, leaving a pair for the next group.

The bubble (4): Brett Kulak, Dalton Prout, Juuso Valimaki (e) and Rasmus Andersson (e)

Kulak and Prout are on one-way deals, while Valimaki and Andersson are on two-ways. The X-factor here is how amenable Bill Peters is to playing defensemen on their “off side.” Brodie’s returning to the right side, but if Peters is okay with having two “off side” defenders then Andersson has a good shot to play alongside Michael Stone on the third pairing. Kulak and Prout probably have the inside track on the last two spots right now, but Valimaki could turn some heads. At the very least, one of Kulak or Prout will be the seventh defender, but nothing else is likely set in stone right now.

Stockton-bound (3): Josh Healey (e), Oliver Kylington (e) and Marcus Hogstrom

The numbers game pushes Kylington into this group, for now. But if he has a good start to camp, he could creep into the mix in the bubble group.

Goaltenders

The locks (1): Mike Smith

Duh. He’s the only goaltender under contract that has played a full season in the NHL.

The bubble (2): David Rittich and Jon Gillies (e)

Rittich needs waivers and is on a one-way, while Gillies doesn’t require waivers and is on a two-way. Rittich has the inside track on the backup job, but it’s not a lock.

Stockton-bound (3): Tyler Parsons (e), Mason McDonald (e) and Nick Schneider (e)

No shockers here.

  • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

    I’m not sure about this. I can go with the forwards although I wonder if Czarnik is as big a lock as you say. I think he could be part of the revolving bench depending on who forces their way on. Brouwer is still a low odds buyout depending on the Hanifin contract. On D if arias gets sent down that is a crime. Prout goes down before him – end of story. Stone sits more than plays.

    • Sterls

      Czarnik will get a regular season audition. He is on a one way and was highly sought after in free agency. He would have to go through waivers to go down to the AHL, something I doubt he would clear with all the interest in him from other teams. He has to suck for a while before we can send him down or we will lose him (at which point we will no longer care).

      • Brian McGrattan's Salute

        I just hope we get that Marchetseau or Karlsson (LV) (sorry, I buchered that spelling) people keep hoping for in these young gems in the rough, as it were

  • ALowry

    What I would give for the 3 bubble forward spits to be Mangiapane, Dube, and Foo…. fast+energy right there, while being talented. A man can dream. I get that Brouwer will likely be a mainstay in the lineup because of that albatross of a contract and the ‘A’, but I really do hope 2/3 of Mange, Dube, or Foo can be regular parts of the lineup. At this point, all of them have more upside than Lazar and Hathaway. Cut your losses on Lazar and put him in Stockton, and although I personally like Hathaway, I feel like there isn’t that much more to his game, even though he did look good at times with Jankowski.

    As for the D, really hope at least one of Ras or JV get that third pairing spot and Prout gets kicked to waivers.

    Either way, shaping up to be a good training camp!

  • buts

    To many bodies and not enough positions available for them. There’s some player movement coming and I’m crossing my fingers that Brouwer is going. A veteran D man will also be going. Toronto needs defensemen.

    • Intercourse the Penguins

      Gio to T.O. I would like to see him win a cup and he is long in the tooth and reasonably priced. I know about his no moov claws but he could put the Make Believes over the top.

      • Brian McGrattan's Salute

        Would hate to see him go. He is a fantastic captain and leader, and I would rather have him here to help with the transition to a post-gio t
        eam. That being said, it would be great to see him win a cup.

        Ideally, since he is a first pairing D, we could get a Marner comparable, but likely a long shot cause he’s old.

        Anyways, I would be super okay if he retired here.

  • freethe flames

    There is lots of competition and a lot of flexibility here and that is a good thing for a coach to have. The last I read Mangiapane’s recovery was going to plan, have we heard anything about Monahan’s recovery form the 4 surgeries?

    I wonder who BT and BP will take to China and who stays home. That could be telling in it’s self.

    I just hope BP is more flexible and imaginative than the previous bench boss was.

    • Sobueno

      Saw an interview with Monahan not too long ago where he said he’s feeling the best he has for quite a while. Sounds like at least one of those injuries he had was pretty chronic, and he’s finally working back to 100% with everything being addressed this offseason. Add some extra skill on his wing opposite Johnny and this could be his best year yet.

  • Honkydonk

    We have no need for Hathaway and he shouldn’t be on an NHL team at all yet here we are talking about signing him. We have far better options and he needs to go.

    He’s worse than Bouma

    • Cfan in Van

      We’re not “talking about signing him”. He will be signed, because he was given a qualifying offer. There’s no point in discussing a scenario where he isn’t signed this season.

    • Scarface

      As a pure 4th liner, hath has some value. Playing in a 4th line role I think max production you could ever hope for out of him is 10 goals in a full season (knowing he’s not come close come now to date). THERE IS VALue in guys who will go out and hit everything who else will do go out for us evertything. who else will do that for us?

  • Joeyhere

    It would be a shame if we don’t see Kulak AND Anderson playing on D. we need to continue to give younger promising players a chance to learn and progress vs keeping Stone around

    • Honkydonk

      Kulak is a 6 D and will stay a 6 D for at least 3 more seasons before he projects to be more and that Ian just pure fact based on his play on both sides of the puck.

      He isn’t the answer and by the time he is guys like Valimaki, Kylington will all need spots thus he’s a possible 6d this year but I don’t see him on the roster long term thus it changed the flames approach with him

    • Kevin R

      No not sure I agree Walt. Tre is really huge on Czarnik, he thinks he will be the next Marchessault to break out. We dont need that much cap to fit Hanifin into that long term contract. To me, 2 guys are not fitting into the long term here & they are very costly depth. Brouwer just doesnt seem to be a moveable without having to give up an asset we all would be whining about. I would be ecstatic if we could convince a rebuilding team like Montreal to take Brouwer & if we can get away with offering Kyllington to do so. Why I say Kyllington is that I think Andersson & Valamaki are ahead of them & I even see Kulak ahead of him. He just may be enough to entice a team like Montreal to help us with TB’s contract. Realistically, we wont need Brouwers contract off until next summer, so need be, he sits, maybe we get lucky & find a home for him at the TDL.
      Stone is the one I think is more likely to much this summer yet. We have 3 solid vets on our backend & no one is questioning Hanifin being on that 2nd pairing. I really do think Stone will be really easy to move at the TDL & actually get something for him. It’s a catch 22 though, if we keep him into the new year & we are in the playoff mix, which is expected, why trade him unless you have young guys stepping up in a big way. But the young guys wont get that chance if Stone is still here. Kinda torn here but sure would love to see 3 young guys with talent get that 4th line.

    • spx03

      WW, the roster spot has to be filled regardless of Czarnik signing for 1.25 or not.
      The ~500k difference between him and another replacement level player will not be the difference between long-term or bridge for Hanifin

  • Boring Flames Fan

    Darren Haynes did a projection on his latest blog.

    14 Forwards- $48.55M

    Gaudreau (L) $6.75M – Monahan (L) $6.375M – Lindholm (R) $4.85M
    Tkachuk (L) $925K – Backlund (L) $5.35M – Neal (L) $5.75M

    Frolik (L) $4.3M – Jankowski (L) $1.675M – Ryan (R) $3.125M

    Mangiapane (L) $705K – Bennett (L) $1.95M – Czarnik (R) $1.25M

    Extras

    C/RW Lazar (R) $950K
    RW Brouwer (R) $4.5M

    Defence
    $24.458 million
    (7 players)

    Giordano (L) $6.75M – Brodie (L) $4.65M
    Hanifin (L) $4M? – Hamonic (R) $3.858M
    Kulak (L) $900K – Stone (R) $3.5M

    Extra

    Prout (R) $800K

    With Smith and Rittich as goaltending we would be close to the cap, with just over $600,000 left

    Thoughts? I really like it myself.

    • Kevin R

      In all honesty BFP, I just dont see how Andersson is left off the opening roster. He would have to really crap the bed to start in Stockton come October. Also, no way Bennett starts on the 4th line. Tre is really high on this kid yet & I just dont see Janko & Benny being separated. Just my humble opinion.

      • idbr

        Agreed. I read that he’s been training hard this off-season. I bet he comes into camp in top shape and makes the club out of camp. I think you have to graduate at least one this year maybe two or three if they are ready.

        • Kevin R

          Rebar has such a vote of confidence from Tre that he wont be afraid to go with youth despite the need for playoffs next year. GG was so desperate for wins he want the safe vet route when constructing his lineup. Hence the Brouwerplay. We all know that Stone & Brouwer will not be on this team this time next year & this upcoming season I see player useage reflecting that.
          Great write up by the way Pike! It does help put things in perspective.

        • Brian McGrattan's Salute

          I’m assuming you meant Ras, but it would be nice to hear Bennett is working hard this off season.

          Guys like John Tavares I like. Guys like Giordano to an extent. Guys who just train so hard every gosh dang off season. JT has spent entire off seasons working on his shot, or his skating, or his physical play. Yes, he’s an amazing talent, And a lot of it comes naturally, but he works even harder for his skill than most guys I think.

          I just love hearing about guys that go into the off season (or during the regular season) and just become experts at their crafts.

          Like our dawg Chucky, who continually practised puck deflections and tip ins, even though he’s already an elite player. Lindholm, saying he wants to work on his offense this season (hopefully he will).

          Guys like that are Guys I love to have on my team.

          Anyways, let’s hope we can have some drive this next couple seasons from some people.

      • Boring Flames Fan

        Good points Kevin.
        If you remember last season, Jankowski only had Bennett and Hathaway as his wingers.
        Imagine Jankowski playing with more seasoned veterans, I think it would do him a world of good.

        Also, forget Bennett’s draft position and just let him loose with speedy guys on his wings.
        They might have a heyday with other 4th liners.
        I could also be way out to lunch..

        I agree about Andersson, but I also don’t know if Peter’s intends on using Andersson on the left side.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      BFF, that was an exercise in capology as much what the lines could look like. Yes, Neal and Lindholm will be on the top 2 lines in some fashion. You could also play Bennett (LW) with Ryan (C) and Frolik (RW) to give Bennett the skill and experience he needs to play with. That makes the 4th line Yeast-Janko-Czar. Speed and defensive smarts.

      Stone is only on Haynes’ list because it shows we don;t have to buy out Brouwer or trade Stone. One or both are preferable, but not essential to make the cap. Andersson has already passed Stone as a worthwhile RD option. He makes less mistakes and actually can hit the net with his lethal slapper. Trade Stone to the Laffs for Sparks or Pickard. Or to the LOLoilers for Poolparty.

    • Jagrrrrr, baby. Yeah.

      Bennett at C is not going to happen. I’d guess Bennett-Janko-Fro then Mangi-Ryan-Czar.
      I think Phat Ras will be in the lineup so that means Prout or Kulak will be out.
      Based on Tre’s past performances, I can’t see Hanifin getting $4M.

    • MontanaMan

      That Frolik contract is ugly. I can’t imagine the Flames are paying him $4.3 million. Coupled with Brouwer’s contract, that’s a whack of money the club could be spending on capable forwards.

  • Pizzaman

    The “tells” on how much rope Peters has, will be: who the Captains are, Brouwer wont be A; that Lazar and Hathaway go to Stockton; and whether Juuso makes the team. Peters demonstrated betting on a rookie D in Carolina – named Hannifin. Against the long leash theory on Peters is that he never made the playoffs with the Canes in 4 years and Treliving will only survive the owners axe this year if Flames make the playoffs. “there will be blood”

      • Baalzamon

        Well yes, Andersson is better than Stone, so technically he doesn’t have to take anyone’s spot. I’m just confused as to why anyone thinks Kulak is the one whose job is in danger from Andersson. He’s better than Stone. Last season proved that pretty conclusively.

  • MDG1600

    Well, reading the comments there is one thing you can take to the bank on a fan site: All untested minor league players will be over-rated by the fans and all bottom of the roster major league players will be under-rated. Familiarity really does breed contempt.

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    No matter how the line-ups get crunched, Frolik looks to be the odd man out. Frolik, Brouwer, and Stone are 3 guys getting paid too much for where they figure to slot into the line-up. Frolik and Stone still have worth to other teams, Brouwer not so much.

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    There were a lot of injuries to the forwards last year, at least this year the team figures to have some decent depth and to be able to pull someone from the farm as necessary.

    Treliving intentionally left a spot open for Jankowski last year, this year a youngster will really need to knock it out of the park to make the squad out of camp. BT has already set the narrative and expectations for the youngsters this year, by saying it should be “difficult to make the team.”

    Mike Babcock had a very good outlook about rookies playing in the minors. Something like: There is nothing wrong with a rookie lighting it up in the minors, and maybe going on a long playoff run. If you make the NHL team immediately and don’t put up big numbers right away, in 3 years you’re going to be a checker.

      • MDG1600

        same applies to Lazar… I like Mickeys Babcock quote …. it is worth remembering. It has been a long time since a Flames rookie lit it up in the minors though. With better depth maybe this is the year.

    • Baalzamon

      Treliving intentionally left a spot open for Jankowski last year

      Except he didn’t. Jankowski absolutely 100% made the team out of camp.. and then was sent down to the AHL anyway because waivers.

      The Flames were saved from that moronic error in judgement by some early injuries, but they can’t make that mistake again. We can’t have an injury forcing the Flames to make the decision they always should have in the first place.

      If Mangiapane, Klimchuk, Foo or whoever plays well enough to make the team he should make the team. Period. End of story. I don’t care if they have to waive Hathaway and Lazar, or send Prout’s 1-way deal to the AHL and sit Stone in the press box. And they shouldn’t care either.

      Dress the best possible roster. Obviously there are some other considerations (it’s better to have Hathaway in the pressbox than Dube, for example) but for the most part the roster should be made up of the 23 best players, not the 23 most convenient players.

      • Mickey O'Reaves

        Good discussion, but I’m going to respectfully disagree all over the board. Treliving in the summer explicitly said there was a spot open for a rookie, and he was intent on that spot going to Jankowski without say his name point blank. GG wanted an undersized tough guy in the line-up for some reason, so he went with Glass. Then there was the Bennett problem.

        Way before last season even started, I said Jankowski needed to be the 3C as soon as possible, but that was Bennett’s job. (The trash/cheers ratio was about 15/2 if I remember rightly, people were still high on Bennett as a centre). Anyway, Janko got sent down partly because they wanted to see how Bennett could do as the 3C to start the year.

        Janko continued to light it up in the AHL, Bennett floundered and Janko became the 3C. If Jankowski would have stuck out of camp, he would have been the 4C, and that wasn’t going to do him any good with Brouwer on his wing. Bennett always figured to be a better winger anyway in my mind. He’s a digger, crash-the-boards type, not a passer.

        Another counter-point. It seems easy to say dress the best 23 players, but there are development issues, waivers, contracts, and other situational factors at play – such as the next expansion draft, and team toughness.

        I dare say the team is highest on Valimaki, Dube, and Andersson. But When they make the team is as big a consideration as opposed to If they make the team.

        There are loads of factors involved in making up a team to compete for it all. That’s what makes playing the GM Game a fun and challenging exercise.

  • Squishin

    I’m one of those people hoping for Hanifin to sign long-term as opposed to a bridge deal, since it’s always tough to go through the contract negotiation process again and again. However, unless there’s some kind of cap relief (come on, buyout!) I don’t see it happening. A bridge deal might be better.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      One would almost expect to see Hanifin signed before the buyout windows opens. BT can use it as an “excuse” for the buyout. The player only wants a short term bridge deal if the long term deal offered is less than $5m. A two year bridge deal bumps up against Brodie and Hamonic, so I don;t think that makes sense. Just sign the deal now and get it over with. If you can’t trade Stone or are unwilling to buyout Brouwer, then you can always waive one or both of them (replace with Andersson $755k and Yeast-mode $705k) and still have some room until you trade Stone.

    • Derzie

      It’s the Flames Nation way. The less they have played, the higher the expectations and praise. The coach and 1/3 of the lineup are complete unknowns as Flames. Starting point for expectations should be what they have done in their NHL career. This includes the coach. And it starts with not making the playoffs last year. Just like the Flames. Shuffling parts around from one beater to another does not make a sports car.

      • HAL MacInnis

        Sometimes, you just gotta bite the bullet. I don’t even care if he has a better year under Peters, Brouwer has to go. Chalk it up to an expensive mistake a move on.

        Would an expensive AHL mentor be better than an underachieving NHLer? That’s another way to get rid of Brouwer and a small portion of his cap hit.

        I know picking on Brouwer is mean, but he was hired to do a certain job for the team. We can all agree that he has failed to do this job and actually seems incapable of doing it. What else is there to say? In the real world, without a union to protect his ass, he’d be fired.

        • Brian McGrattan's Salute

          My thing is that a Bryout would just selfishly ease my mind when it comes to knowing that there will be NO possible way for him to play. Again, he is probably still technically capable to be playing in the NHL, but I just don’t see why we would want to play him with all the budding talent we have. A forth line of Ryan or (less preferably) Janko at C, with two young and hungry wingers (or Buddy Robinson if we need some toughness)? C’mon, what team wouldn’t want that in a post-vegas hockey world?

          Competition starts from the bottom most times, and we got a bunch of “bubble players” that would make our bottom six finally something to brag about (rather than be the cause for headaches and more beer consumption). We have the talent, and we need the (limited, and bottom 6) space for that talent to fight it out. What a Brouwer buyout does is ensure that he is not taking someone else’s spot, and that we can finally move forward from our “always given, never earned” mentality.

          I know this sounds dramatic (and it is), but if we want to be a contender, I would love to see a Bryout.

      • MDG1600

        Kind the opposite actually. With a buyout you get short term relief but have to carry longer term pain since a portion of his salary counts against the cap for a few years after his contract would have expired. If the Flames can wait till next year to buy Brouwer out they will carry less of his contract going forward which might be important for signing Tkachuk.

  • Korcan

    My 2 cents on Brouwer and Stone.

    Tre will likely buy Brouwer out only if necessary due to cap reasons. Otherwise, he will keep him but Peters will not have any expectations put on him to play Brouwer, so he could very well start the season as the 13th forward. He provides nice veteran (though expensive) depth.

    I’m guessing Tre is holding on to Stone in the (likely?) event something goes wrong in net and he needs to make a trade to fix it. Stone provides a decent trade chip for goaltending help should they need it.

  • everton fc

    Kulak and Andersson played together in Stockton. I know it’s a long shot they’ll be paired up here, but I hope they are. I think they’d be a good pairing.

    But I think they’ll hold, on Stone. Kulak is a better defenceman, than Stone. At least in my opinion. Stone needs to be moved. Kulak should not be a #7 defender, in this league.

    As for the forwards… If I were to go for a long shot to make the team, it’s Dube. I think Hathaway will be one of the two extra forwards. Czarnik will play 4th line minutes, unless they trade Frolik. I think our 3rd line will be Bennett-Ryan-Frolik. I can live w/that. I see the 4th line centred by Jankowski, with Czarnik on one wing, and one of Hathaway/Lazar/Mangiapane/Dube/Foo, on the other wing. Of the five aforementioned, Hathaway is the ideal extra forward. Since all of Mangiapane/Dube/Foo need to be playing regular shifts, Lazar might be the 2nd extra forward. Which may mean the 4th line is Brouwer-Jankowski-Czarnik.

    That last sentence “said”, I still see Brouwer’s residence “other than Calgary”, come opening night.

    They better hope Czarnik’s everything they think he is…

  • Styxx

    Quick summary of the post-season so far:
    – Treliving was under great pressure (and criticism) by the end of the season…no playoffs, underperforming players, poor culture…and essential NO draft picks to look forward to (dullest draft ever …completely turned off and tuned out!)
    – fan spirit was lower than at any time over the last 4-5 years …there was greater optimism in the depths of our rebuild than the great disappointment of the season that just was…

    To his great credit Treliving:
    – made a major trade (Lindholm, Hanifin) to address some culture and top-line issues and also to get younger, lengthening the potential window for winning by about 2 years.
    – added a trio of well-considered free agents (Neal, Ryan, Czarnik) …justified deals to good players that, at the face of it, should be great adds to address deficiencies while not representing a long-term burden (eg not Lucic or Brouwer type deals).
    – negotiated above average contracts with all players, shaving 5-10% off the lower end of expected contracts in order to afford greater depth with better players than what could normally be expected in the current contract environment.

    Per Steinberg …the Flames now finally have the depth to properly position players at their appropriate level, and not have 3-5 players 1-2 lines above their talent level eg. Ferland on the first line, Frolik on the second line (debatable perhaps but…), Hathaway on the third line, replacement/AHL players on the 4th line.

    In short, Treliving has done a masterful job to turn pessimism into optimism, anger into excitement, apathy into anticipation.

    I can only hope that Treliving and Peters actually follow through with their line-up choices, stay away from unearned veteranism, and engage the potential of this group. That said, per a few comments on FN, I do believe the Flames are still deficient in terms of grit and toughness; however perhaps a Reaves or facsimile can be acquired at the TDL if playoff-bound at that time.

    Four relatively balanced scoring lines, fast and highly skilled, and engaged to win through the long season. There is great potential in this group that has been gathered …I hope the coaching and locker-room leadership can drive this team to a top finish in the Pacific and beyond.

    GFG!

    • Derzie

      Your summary is well written and very good. In the 20 years that I’ve been following the Flames, now is the most disengaged I’ve felt about the team. When a team is terrible, the hope and excitement that comes with getting better is invigorating (e.g. 2-3 years right after Iggy was traded). When a team is strong, there is excitement and pride in watching and following the team as the compete (e.g. 04 playoff run). When a team is neither of these two things, it is less than inspiring (e.g. most of the rest of the last 20 years).

      This summer has been Treliving’s version of a bubble team shuffling the deck. Give up our best offensive D for a couple of promising, middle of the roaders. Pick up some free agents (when free agents are at their most overrated). Pinch some pennies on the bottom of the roster. Swap a friendly coach who has never one with a gruff coach who has never won. You get the idea. Sure it may improve the team. or it may not. The point is, it is not moving the ball forward with any force. Holding out for Barry Trotz? That would be forceful. Landing John Tavaras? Same. Sure the counter arguments are there as to why that didn’t happen but it doesn’t matter when making the team better is the prize. So why am I so disengaged? It’s all just so middle of the road. Boring and sober. Just like the GM. May win. May lose. More sober moves to come. Are we not entertained? My answer is no. Needs more lions.

    • FL?MES

      Anybody here think they’ll be lucky enough to score 100 times over the course of the season? And let’s not forget about overtime…

      This was a paid comment brought to you by Viagra.

  • Sobueno

    Just a couple thoughts on all the “extra” bodies we seem to have:

    One, like Treliving said – competition is a good thing. It’s great to graduate guys to the big team, but only if they earn it and not by default because your roster is so sparse you have no one else to play the position.

    Two, it’s a long season full of attrition and inevitably we’ll have injuries. Any roster with reasonable depth should look a little crowded to start the season because as much as we hope it doesn’t happen some of our top players will likely be out at some point this season. Depending on our luck, or lack thereof, more of these bubble players may see time than we think. Might just not be right out of the gate.

    Personally I think it’s great we have the “problem” of too much talent to fit in the roster at once.