The Calgary Flames have a late game tonight, but it could be a really important one for the regular season hopes and dreams of a few bubble players. The Flames chopped down their camp roster to just 29 players (28 of them healthy) yesterday in advance of tonight’s game in San Jose against the Sharks. The visitors will dress as close to their NHL roster as they’ve put together all preseason, while the Sharks are likely to do the same.
The puck drops just after 8:30 p.m. MT and you can catch the game streaming on the Flames website or on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.
The local hockey club is down to 29 players and has to make six cuts before opening puck drop on Wednesday. That means they need to use the last two games to (a) build some swagger into their offensive game and (b) finalize a few spots.
Projected lines (via Derek Wills and Wes Gilbertson):
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Tkachuk – Backlund – Frolik
Dube – Ryan – Neal
Bennett – Jankowski – Czarnik
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Valimaki – Stone
The extras look to be Dalton Prout, Marcus Hogstrom (injured), Brett Kulak, Rasmus Andersson, Curtis Lazar, Garnet Hathaway, Anthony Peluso and Andrew Mangiapane.
After Tuesday’s game against San Jose at home, Flames head coach Bill Peters was dismissive of using the goaltenders’ performances to evaluate them given how shoddy the team was in their own end. Hopefully they’ll be better tonight. It sounds like Mike Smith and Jon Gillies will share the crease, but it’s unclear how it’ll be split up as of yet.
The Sharks are carrying 27 players right now (three goaltenders, nine defensemen and 15 forwards). The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz noted on Twitter that the Sharks probably will keep 8 defensemen to start the year (likely to avoid losing Tim Heed on the waiver wire), so the important race tonight is to see which bubble forwards can avoid being the two guys sent down to the Barracuda. Other than that, they’re expecting to dress their big guns – including the newly-acquired Erik Karlsson.
As with the Flames, expect to see San Jose’s secondary goalies in net: Aaron Dell and Antoine Bibeau.
Things To Watch
We’re getting down to the nitty gritty here, so it’s probably fair to judge how well the various NHL regulars look. Definitely focus on how the NHL special teams groups fare against other NHL players. And definitely pay attention to the remaining bubble players, as they’ll need to show that they belong in the big leagues rather than being shipped down to Stockton before the roster deadline.