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.