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
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.
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.
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.