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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?

  • MDG1600

    I am surprised there have been no cuts to the roster yet today – Flames still have a lot of players in camp. Guess they won’t make cuts until they get one last look at Rychel, Lazar, Phillips up front and Kylington and Andersson on D.

  • Sea of Redd

    I’m guessing the cuts will be tomorrow morning. Probably won’t be any surprises. The last cuts will be after the last preseason game. My money is on Mangiapane making the team. Its betwern him and dube. But Mang has made less mistakes. No stupid penalties.

  • cjc

    Hopefully Phillips gets a look with better players than Lazar and Rychel at some point tonight. Would like to see how he keeps pace with the big names.

    Also, does the San Jose lineup actually meet pre-season roster rules? Yikes!

  • everton fc

    No way Rychel makes the team. Nor Kylington. Nor Phillips. But I’m glad the latter two are getting a final game – and I, too, can’t wait to see Phillips in this game.

    Not sayign I agree, but I bet the organization sees Lazar as a “safe” extra forward. Of course, he could be waived.

    Any interest here in Zack Smith?

  • buts

    I’m cheering for Phillips tonight and I’m thinking the goalie that plays the best will have the best shot at #2. IF both goalies struggle I say pickup whomever Toronto waives. The backup goalie situation has to go to someone who you can rely on, not hope that they play well. Smith can not play more than 55-60 games.

  • Dougiefred

    Was very high on the Flames outlook a couple of weeks ago, as I find out more about the opposition some doubt is beginning to creep in. Can’t get past disappointments out of my mind. Let the games begin.

  • Squishin

    Here is my Pacific Division preview. Prove me wrong, boys.
    1. San Jose 108pts
    2. Los Angeles 103 pts
    3. Las Vegas 100 pts
    4. Calgary 98 pts
    5. Anaheim 97 pts
    6. Edmonton 88 pts
    7. Arizona 84 pts
    8. Vancouver 82 pts

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    There seems to be a lot of bodies and moving parts for what equates to 2 roster spots. The 4 th line wing will be between Mangi and Dube and it appears to be going right down to the wire. I would like to see Mangi get his shot but Dube has been dynamic. He is more explosive, can drive his own line and has that X-factor like Tkachuk. Th 3 rd pairing on D is between Kulak and Ras and I think Ras is better in all regards. This leaves Kulak, Hathaway, and Lazar as extra forwards.

    I don’t see a lot of mystery in the back up goalie role. It continues to be Rittich’s to lose. Th only questions I see is does Lazar get waived for a bigger bodied Player like Peluso and does Kulak clear waivers in favour of Prout. I can’t see any reason why they would send Ras back.

  • freethe flames

    No TV; perfect I got a free ticket to the game. On the Monday morning mail bag I commented on what I wanted as a line up for tonight. Here was my wish list:
    Line A: Johnny/Monny/Neal lots of ozone starts and quite frankly I don’t see them as the fore checking type of line. They are going to be more of gain possession type of line and hold on to the puck.
    Line B: Tkachuk/Backs/Czar: if it is not broken then don’t change. This line needs to be productive in all three zones.
    Line C: Dube(or Mangiapane)/Ryan/Lindholm no need to hide this line.
    Line D: Bennett/Janko/Frolik no need to hide this line.
    D 1 pairing: Gio/Brodie
    D 2 pairing: Kulak/Andersson
    D 3 pairing: Valimaki/PTO
    Upfront I got most of my wish list. I will do a report after the game on what I see. What i hope to see is a little more chemistry on the first line as well as little more energy from them. But more importantly I want see how effectively they use the various systems. I also want to see the goalies positioning.

    • MDG1600

      Gotta make room for Maple Leafs players ya know. Haven’t you heard that they won the cup already? No much has changed since Doug Gilmour miraculously become the most valuable player in the league as soon as he put a leafs jersey on. Apparently he was just another hockey player when he was winning a Stanley Cup in Calgary.

    • Derzie

      Toronto Sports Network blows. Funny how Sportsnet pays the NHL for coverage and somehow TSN still has regional Leafs, Jets & Sens (i.e. teams the play where most of Canada’s hockey fans live). The rest of Canada is not on their radar.

      • oilcanboyd

        Funny how sports fans predicted the demise of TSN when SN paid those big bucks for Regional games of Flames, Oilers and Nucks along with CBC Saturday Night games and Sunday Hometown Hockey. Not worth the price they paid unless SN was guaranteed to take over broadcasts of Jets, Habs, Leafs and Sens games when the TSN contract runs out.

    • Flaming moe

      I seen that. TSN and Sportsnet never do stories on the flames. Even when they do they don’t stay up long before they are replaced with another article. Yet it’s story after story of every other Canadian team. I don’t get it. Are we that bad???

      • Zesty14

        I get the pleasure of listening to the radio on my drive into work. When sports news comes on. I know calgary played the night before. I know the score. Every time they skip calgary’s game. “11 NHL games last night.” Calls the scores of 10 games. Then goes into Australian cricket scores!!!!! Wtf is the calgary score!?! Who here follows cricket to need announcements? We have superstars. We are in the playoff race. TELL ME THE D@MN SCORE!!!

    • The Doctor

      The Toronto Sports Network has become even more insufferable than usual with the Tavares acquisition. It really is astounding how egocentric they are. Some Leaf has a cold and misses practice and it’s the lead story on TSN, being a matter of National importance.

    • DoooieStevens

      How is that malarkey? Take your rose colored glasses off. Neither has proven to be a top 50 player. Really, who would you know off that list with either or?

          • The GRAND BALLSUCKER

            Honestly…and I am a huge Tkchuck fan so I may be biased here but I would choose both players over John Carlson, Mikko Rantanen, Roman Josi, Aleksander Barkov, and even Anze Kopitar. If I had money I would bet Monahan and Tkachuk do better than these fellows this year, but I have no money so I can offer up a shoe lace and a pack of tic tacs.

          • HOCKEY83

            If you think Gaudreau is not at least a top 20 player in the league then you don’t know hockey. I agree Tkachuk and Monny are considerably lower on the list because they haven’t proven anything else yet but I do believe Tkachuk will pass Monny and Johnny at some point. I just completed an 8 man draft I’ve been doing for the past 27 years and only Johnny was selected between 8 guys in the first 3 rounds of the draft….he was selected around the 20th spot.

          • JoelOttosJock

            Potential maybe, but Rantannen is a stud. So are the other players you mentioned. Tkchuck is a 60 point player right now. If and when he takes the next step, well that’s a different story. Kopitar has proven it. So gas Carlson. So has Josi. So has Barkov. I believe you are biased. Gaudreau being so low on that list is a little interesting. I’d have him around 22 to 25.

          • The GRAND BALLSUCKER

            I picked those players because as I looked down the TSN list they were the ones I feel that Monahan and tkachuk will be better then this year. If you disagree put up a shoe lace and a pac of tic tacs and I will glady accept your bet.

  • Avalain

    What exactly is going on with the Flames broadcasting team? Nothing at all for today, and yesterday we had to watch the Winnipeg team even though the game was in Calgary. Is it really that hard? Hell, get some “broadcasting prospects” in there who would absolutely love to be able to cover these games for only the cost of a press box seat.

  • oilcanboyd

    Halbgewachs isa mouthful, almost as much as our Big Z of the Hitmen.

    Looking forward to watching the Austin Powers line with Byng and Backs! Great chemistry last game.

  • TKO

    I wonder if lomberg and Climchuck have the inside track for the first call up or the last spot available because of the roles that they play on the third and fourth lines?
    I sure hope Anderson makes the team

  • Puck Head

    Nice to see Stone finally earning a spot on the first line that is more fitting of his pay grade. Sorry but I had to say it when I saw him on the top D pairing.

  • somewhereoutthere

    Going to get ripped for this but should the flames make a push to trade for Duchene. He isnt signing there and the sens want to keep Stone so…..send his brother and Bennett for sure then deciding who to send with that if it isnt enough…don’t think we can send anymore picks. Cap room goes to virtually nothing but you get yourself a dominating top 6 and bottom 6. One can dream:
    Johnny Mony Lindholm
    Thachuk Duchene Neal
    Dube Backlund Ryan
    Frolik Jankowski Czarnik
    Now this deal hinges on the team being in the race and Dube being as good as hes looked. Also its a short term gain long term pain potentially as we probably dont re sign Duchene and Bennett can still be a top 6 guy if he gets his game figured out. I hope the team sits Bennett beside Neal that seems like a guy Sam should model his game after……trash away lol.

    • Chucky

      It might be an interesting place “out there” but some times you need to come back to reality.
      Giving up Stone, Bennett and somebody else for a guy that they cannot sign without waiving goodbye to Tkachuk next year is like going all in on a inside straight flush . Treliving is just not that high risk gambling type of guy, no successful GM is.