Every fall, National Hockey League clubs load up on professional try-out players. Part of the ubiquity of PTOs is having a consequence-free chance to see how they can do, but the other part is load management for the team’s veterans. With eight pre-season games to play and a requirement to dress eight veterans per game, having some PTO players to lighten the load can help keep players fresh for the regular season.
Well, the good news is the Flames should be perfectly fine for load management because they have oodles of players considered “veterans” under the CBA.
The CBA defines pre-season veterans as follows:
For purposes of this Section 15.4(c), a veteran shall constitute either: (1) a forward or defenseman who played in thirty (30) NHL Games during the previous season, (2) a goaltender who either dressed in fifty (50) or more NHL Games or played in thirty (30) or more NHL Games in the previous season, (3) a first round draft choice from the most recent year’s Entry Draft, or (4) any Player who has played one-hundred (100) or more career NHL Games.
Here’s who qualifies under the CBA definitions for veteran players:
(1) a forward or defenseman who played in thirty (30) NHL Games during the previous season: Rasmus Andersson, Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Andrew MacDonald, Noah Hanifin, Oliver Kylington, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Milan Lucic, Sean Monahan, Austin Czarnik, Elias Lindholm, Michael Frolik, Mark Jankowski, Sam Bennett, Devante Smith-Pelly, Derek Ryan, Tobias Rieder and, once they sign, Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane.
Right there, that’s 19 players who qualify – 21 once Tkachuk and Mangiapane come into the fold. The Flames need 16 veterans to dress for the pair of games on Monday, but after that point they only need eight for any single game. They can rotate bodies in and out pretty readily without touching on any of the other categories.
(2) a goaltender who either dressed in fifty (50) or more NHL Games or played in thirty (30) or more NHL Games in the previous season: Cam Talbot and David Rittich
(3) a first round draft choice from the most recent year’s Entry Draft: Jakob Pelletier
(4) any Player who has played one-hundred (100) or more career NHL Games: Brandon Davidson, Eric Gryba and Zac Rinaldo
Excluding the looming RFA deals, the Flames have 25 players who meet the CBA veteran requirements. They’re in a position where they can really explore how some of their young and untested players stack up because they have so many veteran players that they can rotate through their pre-season calendar.