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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

FGD: Swimming with the Sharks’ secondary players (7pm MT, Flames.com)

After an overtime preseason setback last night, the Calgary Flames are back at it against the San Jose Sharks. The home game is their fourth (and final) exhibition tilt at the Scotiabank Saddledome this season, as well as their eighth of 10 scheduled tune-ups prior to the season’s start on Oct. 3. We’re getting down to the nitty gritty in terms of roster battles, gang.

The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. There are no TV options this evening, but the Flames site is streaming the game (within “their region”).

The Flames

We’re starting to get into the final stages of preseason (where the Flames are 2-2-3). The results don’t matter all that much, but the focus should be on some players attempting to force their ways onto the NHL roster.

Projected lines from Pat Steinberg:

Gaudreau-Monahan-Neal
Tkachuk-Backlund-Czarnik
Bennett-Jankowski-Frolik
Phillips-Gawdin-Lazar

Kulak-Stone
Hanifin-Andersson
Kylington-Prout

Jon Gillies and David Rittich will split the net tonight, with Rittich starting the game.

Notable players not dressed tonight include the majority of the NHL defense and hot-shot prospects Juuso Valimaki, Dillon Dube and Andrew Mangiapane. They’ve had a chance to show their stuff, now it’s time to see if the likes to Rychel and Lazar can answer back.

The Sharks

San Jose, not surprisingly, has left most of their big guns at home. Here’s the projected lineup for tonight:

  • Goaltenders Aaron Dell (from Airdrie!) and Antoine Bibeau
  • Defensemen Ryan Merkley, Joakim Ryan, Radim Simek, Jacob Middleton, Tim Heed, Cavan Fitzgerald and Jeremy Roy
  • Forwards Dylan Gambrell, Marcus Sorensen, Barclay Goodrow, Timo Meier, Vincent Praplan, Lukas Radil, Sasha Chmelevski, Rourke Chartier, Kevin Labanc, Melker Karlsson, Alexander True, Maxim Letunov and Jayden Halbgewachs.

The bad news: no Erik Karlsson. The good news: Melker Karlsson made the trip, along with Timo Meier, the reigning WHL scoring leader Jayden Halbgewachs and Barclay Goodrow.

Fun fact: nine of the Sharks players on the trip were recalled from the AHL camp specifically to go on this trip. Presumably they’ll be sent back to the AHL once they return to California. The preseason is weird.

Things to Watch

How does Kerby Rychel look? How does Matthew Phillips look? Can one of the Flames prospective backup goaltenders stand out? Can the Flames’ offensive players look better than they did against Vancouver, where many of them looked a bit jet-lagged?