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Under Treliving, the opening roster isn’t set in stone

The Calgary Flames will formally announce their opening night roster later today. Since arriving in Calgary in the spring of 2014, general manager Brad Treliving has consistently warned that the opening roster is a starting point but not necessarily set in stone.

Looking back at his tenure, two trends emerge:

  • There have always been roster changes within a few weeks of the season’s start.
  • Treliving has usually been up to some kind of weird shenanigans that surrounded the opening roster deadline, which often involved creativity in roster construction or salary cap management.

The 2014-15 season

Goalies (2): Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo

Defensemen (7): TJ Brodie, Raphael Diaz, Deryk Engelland, Mark Giordano, Kris Russell, Ladislav Smid and Dennis Wideman

Forwards (14): Mikael Backlund, Brandon Bollig, Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, Joe Colborne, Johnny Gaudreau, Curtis Glencross, Jiri Hudler, David Jones, Brian McGrattan, Sean Monahan, Mason Raymond, Devin Setoguchi and Matt Stajan

Injured: D Corey Potter, F Emile Poirier, F Sam Bennett

Josh Jooris was recalled from Stockton by mid-October after a strong camp (and injuries to Lance Bouma and David Jones that opened up a roster spot). Poirier and Potter ended up in the AHL once they got healthy, while Bennett was returned to the OHL but was recalled in time for the playoffs.

The 2015-16 season

Goalies (3): Jonas Hiller, Joni Ortio and Karri Ramo

Defensemen (6): Deryk Engelland, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Kulak, Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman

Forwards (13): Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Brandon Bollig, Lance Bouma, Micheal Ferland, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Jiri Hudler, David Jones, Josh Jooris, Sean Monahan, Mason Raymond and Matt Stajan

Injured: D TJ Brodie, F Joe Colborne, D Ryan Culkin and D Ladislav Smid

The Flames famously waived Raymond and Paul Byron the day before the roster deadline, losing Byron to a claim by Montreal. The team basically shrugged and rolled along with three goalies for awhile. Markus Granlund replaced an injured Lance Bouma within the first couple weeks of the season. Brodie returned after the first couple weeks of the season, bumping Kulak first to the press box and later to the AHL.

The 2016-17 season

Goalies (2): Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson

Defensemen (8): TJ Brodie, Deryk Engelland, Mark Giordano, Niklas Grossmann, Dougie Hamilton, Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Kulak and Dennis Wideman

Forwards (11): Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Lance Bouma, Troy Brouwer, Alex Chiasson, Micheal Ferland, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Freddie Hamilton, Sean Monahan, Matt Stajan, Matthew Tkachuk and Kris Versteeg

Injured: D Ladislav Smid

The Flames finally re-signed restricted free agent Johnny Gaudreau the day prior to the season’s start and they signed tryout players Kris Versteeg (out of Edmonton’s camp) and Niklas Grossmann (out of their own), to round out the roster. Grossmann didn’t last terribly long, eventually returning to Europe – he was primarily signed to maximize the long-term injury reserve salary cap relief from the injured Smid.

The 2017-18 season

Goalies (2): Eddie Lack and Mike Smith

Defensemen (7): Matt Bartkowski, TJ Brodie, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Travis Hamonic, Brett Kulak and Michael Stone

Forwards (14): Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Troy Brouwer, Micheal Ferland, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Tanner Glass, Freddie Hamilton, Garnet Hathaway, Curtis Lazar, Sean Monahan, Matt Stajan, Matthew Tkachuk and Kris Versteeg

Injured: F Marek Hrivik, F Daniel Pribyl

Mark Jankowski was the last player demoted. The team signed Jaromir Jagr the day of the roster announcement, sending Hathaway to the AHL to open a roster spot. Jankowski and Hathaway returned within a few weeks due to injuries and the demotion of Glass to the AHL. Lack was in the AHL by mid-November, replaced by David Rittich.

  • redhot1

    Man, the flames have trotted out some truly bad lineups the last few years. It’s clear that this forward group is miles better than any we’ve seen for a while.

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    At some point, the final decision will be made for the opening night group of 23.
    For as long as that group lasts.
    I know they don’t have to do it before Wedensday at 3pm EST, but it would be nice to know that they aren’t stringing along Gillies and Ras and Mangiapane. Gillies is obvious. The other two depend on Lazar and whether they want 8D or 14F. Even though Gillies and Mangiapane didn’t practice, there has not been any re-assignments. None. Peluso has not been assigned either. Kulak was assigned by Montreal.

  • Phockey

    Looking back at last years roster its almost surprising they weren’t further down in the final standings. I know I was optimistic last year at the start of the season but it may have been tainted by the fact I’m a huge fan and wanted so badly for them to be good. Fast forward 12 months and I’m still a huge fan and likely have the same tint on my glasses and still sip the Kool-aid. This year it looks different in so many positive ways. Like any good forest manager Tre has fallen a ton of dead standing wood which should allow for some new growth and appreciably improve the speed and depth for many seasons to come. GFG

    • Jourflamesfan

      I’m still not totally convinced that this is a dependable playoff roster.
      However, there are a few unknowns that will sort itself throughout the season. If one of the backups can establish themselves as a dependable backup or starter? Can tkachuk put up 60pts on the second line? What do they have in Jankowski? Or Dube? Czarnik even?
      Exciting season ahead! ?

      • mrroonie

        Tkachuk had 49 points in 68 games on the second line last season which projects out to 59 points in 82 games. I predict that if he plays the full season he should easily put up 60 and with natural progression of a young player of his caliber he should probably be closer to 70.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Your solid GM was also the chief architect for that HORRIBLE roster. Credit to him for trying to clean up a mess mainly of his own doing, but we’ll see how well a job he has done as the new season unfolds.

      • Beer League Coach

        Tre inherited a mess that dates back to the days of Darryl Sutter. Great coach, pathetic GM. Feaster tried hard but just didn’t have what it takes to handle a rebuild. Brian Burke has been stuck on the truculence train for his entire life and simply did not place the proper value on skill. Tre came in and showed he has a plan and is willing to stick with it. Rome wasn’t built in a day. He hasn’t given us a power house team yet but I think he is definitely on the right track. He doesn’t panic and does a thorough evaluation of what went right and what went wrong. He is not afraid to admit he made a mistake. See Troy Brouwer. I have a lot of faith in Tre to stick around and build this team into a solid Stanley Cup contender.

        • Demeo8

          This is 100 percent a tre roster. So he now sinks or swims. Those other rosters r a mixture of Sutter and feaster mistakes being fixed by tre. Not to mention this is the first off season in a long time they had money and flexibility. Those so called horrible rosters made it 2 out of 4 years to the playoffs lol something very rarely REBUILDING teams do. He was rebuilding into this. This team is from the fruits of his labour lol and it’s gunna keep getting better each year from now on.

          • everton fc

            Brouwer. Lazar. Gulutzen. No playoff success. This may, indeed, be Treliving’s “Make, Or Break” season. But I still wonder how much influence Burke had, in some of these signings? I think GG was Treliving’s pick. The others???….

  • buts

    A very much improved lineup over last year. The coaching change was big…..BP plays a very entertaining winning brand of hockey. The subtractions from last years lineup are a very significant change for the good and the additions are immense…..if we only had goaltending that is dependable we would definitely be contenders. I’m hoping Smith can stay healthy and can play 70 games….if not it’s bye bye playoffs.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      “.BP plays a very entertaining winning brand of hockey.” This is based on what? Under Peters, the Canes remained one of the worst draws in opposing buildings. While I won’t lay the attendance problems the Canes have in their own building at the feet of Peters, he didn’t do much to grow the hockey base in sports mad NC. As for a winning brand of hockey, what exactly did Peters win during his 4 years in NC?

      If you’re hoping for Smitty to play 70 games this season, then will also be hoping that Bettman’s lottery balls bounce the Flames’ way because 70 games for Smitty means to me a club yet again not within a sniff of the playoffs.

      • buts

        Aggressive forecheck and in all 3 zones BNM is winning hockey. If you ever played the game you would know that sitting back ala GG’s style will get you no where. The canes had numerous reasons why they didn’t win and BP wasn’t one of those reasons.

        • BlueMoonNigel

          The Canes did precious little winning during Billy’s tenure, and if he does onto the Flames what he did onto the Canes you will see not a lot of winning here under BP’s “entertaining winning brand of hockey.”

  • brodiegio4life

    What is set in stone is that stone will always have his spot in the lineup regardless of how badly he plays. Andersson and Valimaki should be in the lineup, but instead Stone and his awful contract is blocking one of them from getting a chance.

    • everton fc

      Stone was another BT signing.

      Just sayin’…

      I am quite positive about this season – mainly, because of Peters. I like him. I still have faith in our backup goalies. I like the fact this team finds ways back into games – like Hartley’s teams. We simply have to learn to take a lead, into the first… Second… Third… We can’t continue to play catch up. A fast, strong start in October is what this team desperately needs. The schedule isn’t necessarily easy, past the Canucks. In fact, to my eyes, it’s a touch October, for our boys. It’ll tell us a lot. For better, or worse. Particularly with our goaltending…

      • The Doctor

        Preseason is just that, but I did notice that this preseason we were able to get back into games after being down by several goals. That typically didn’t happen under Gulutzan, it was like slow water torture watching us lose.

  • Sven

    Impossible to pretend that this lineup is not dramatically more talented than any lineup iced by the Flames in the last 5+ years-

    but its also worth noting that the change behind the bench may also be significant

    In last years The Hockey News preseason revue the Flames were listed as having the 5th most talented squad in the league – behind Nashville, Winnipeg, Pittsburgh and Washington
    and we finished 20th

    In last years The Hockey News preseason revue the Hurricanes were listed as having the 21st most talented squad in the league –
    and they finished 21st

    even a step toward the mean

    is going to be a step up

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Wow…talk about lipstick on a pig. These last few line ups have been ugly.
    It seems like every year we are waiting for Bennett to find another level of offence. IMO this has had the biggest impact on our rebuild.

    I don’t this year will be a breakout for Bennett and Janko if the are stuck on the 4th line. You know management will need to slot the 13th and 14th forwards in at some point and when the do it will be on the 4 th line. It may even be at the expense of Bennett or Janko if the don’t generate any offence.

  • LannyMac

    Just pit balling. Trade; Calgary send Bennett, Janko, and Brodie to Toronto. In return for Nylander and a quality prospect. Seen enough of Bennett this preseason to believe he is only going to loose value this year. Absolutely do not want to loose Janko but he will never have the value of Nylander. Brodie could be a big lose unless Hamonic and Stone could jump a spot and Anderson is ready. It’s no secret Toronto desperately needs an offensive minded right D who can be serviceable in his own end. I believe Andersson will be in a position to take Brodie’s spot in three years so this is a premature trade but… Nylander would make the top two centers on the flames close to if not the best top two centers on any team. This opens a spot for Mangi on the forth line. It also bumps Backs to a third line checking role which I believe he is more suited for him. My guess is a trade will be worked out btwn Toronto and Arz eventually with Mathews being involved which makes my trade null and void but….

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I like it. I am a big fan of Janko but if he is not going to play top 9 minutes then you are holding him back. My opinion on Bennett has not changed. He does not process the game at an elite level. Brodie would be a good fit for TO. I would love to have Nylander but I have to think TO would want more.

      • everton fc

        We’d be taking some of the Leafs trash back, for certain. Swapping Dube for Jankowski is a bit of a dice roll. If you move Brodie, Andersson or Valimaki play w/Gio. Our 5/6 pairing would be Andersson or Valimaki, and Stone. Some real dice rolls…

        Interesting, though. Not saying I agree. Or necessarily disagree. Just responding…

        • LannyMac

          All semantics (if thats the right term) but if I was the coach I would not put a rookie with Gio I spot the two right vets up one spot and leave Andersson with prout or Valimaki. Dube takes Bennets spot on the wing the centers are as follows. Mony Nylander Backs and Ryan. Unbelievable lineup of centers

      • Jourflamesfan

        I dont think that the Calgary Flames will trade Mark Jankowski anytime soon. Too much potential that none of us quite know of yet. Too trade him now would be foolish. Imo!

    • BlueMoonNigel

      I like your thinking, but Nylander’s contract will not work for Cal come next year when Chucky finally gets paid and the club might be behind the 8 ball to nail down an elite goalie. You’re going to have to move out some big paycheques before Nylander can come and make a home here, and I seriously doubt the market for Stone and Frolik is particularly hot.