56Juuso Valimaki
Photo Credit: Candice Ward/USA Today Sports

What will the Flames roster look like this weekend?

The Calgary Flames lost three players from their lineup after Thursday’s win over the Minnesota Wild. Mikael Backlund is out with an injury, while Ryan Lomberg and Mark Giordano are suspended for the weekend.

With all these complications, the Flames’ roster situation over the next few days could get pretty complex. Here’s our best attempt to simplify things.

Who’s on the active roster?

The following players are currently on the 23-man active roster, per the NHL’s media site. We’ve broken them down into categories:

  • Goalies (2): David Rittich and Mike Smith
  • Defensemen (6): Rasmus Andersson, Dalton Prout, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Noah Hanifin and Oliver Kylington
  • Forwards (11): Derek Ryan, Johnny Gaudreau, James Neal, Matthew Tkachuk, Garnet Hathaway, Sean Monahan, Austin Czarnik, Elias Lindholm, Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane and Sam Bennett
  • Injured (2): Juuso Valimaki and Mikael Backlund
  • Suspended (2): Mark Giordano and Ryan Lomberg

Michael Frolik and Michael Stone are on the injured reserve and don’t count against the active roster.

Wait, the Flames don’t have enough forwards…

That’s right. But they have some options. Because they have fewer than 12 healthy forwards they can use an emergency recall to call up a forward for the weekend. Once Lomberg is no longer suspended, they’d need to send that recalled forward back to Stockton (or open up a roster spot to recall them “regularly”).

But because Valimaki’s been out for longer than a week – he hasn’t played since Nov. 23 – he can be placed on the injured reserve for the weekend to open a roster spot and then be activated at any time. And if the expectation is Backlund will be out for at least a week, they can put him on the injured reserve to open another spot.

Putting them both on the injured reserve would facilitate two regular recalls from Stockton and probably wouldn’t impact roster flexibility past the weekend.

Do they have to use Dalton Prout?

They’re probably going to use Prout. He’s an experienced NHL defenseman, one of six healthy defenders on their roster, and their other available options in Stockton are Rinat Valiev (23, 12 NHL games), Matt Taormina (32, 59 NHL games), Andrew Nielsen (22, 0 NHL games) and Josh Healey (24, 0 NHL games).

Prout’s not an ideal option, but he’s a known commodity with the most NHL games of anybody available to them, and carries fewer question marks than anybody they could bring up from the AHL.

What’s the most likely scenario?

Our best guess is Valimaki and Backlund both go on the injured reserve on Saturday morning and the Flames bring up two players – potentially a defenseman and forward – so they have some extra bodies around for the two weekend games.

The contenders for the forward spot are likely Kerby Rychel or Alan Quine (or even Curtis Lazar), while Taormina seems the simplest defenseman to bring up if the idea is that he’ll be a healthy scratch – the younger players in Stockton can stay there and keep playing.