Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Flames have roster options heading into the weekend (but none are ideal)

Two Calgary Flames forwards left Thursday night’s game against the Detroit Red Wings with injuries. If the Flames need to find short-term roster reinforcements, their current cap situation has restricted their ability to manuever in the short-term. They have some options available, but none of them are particularly great.

So here’s what we know

As of today, the Flames have $154,958 in cap space and 22 players on their active roster (13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders). As of this morning, defenseman Juuso Valimaki is “only” on the injury reserve list and so the team gets no cap relief to compensate for his absence. Oliver Kylington is the only player on the active roster who is waiver exempt.

The Flames are playing in Los Angeles on Saturday and Anaheim on Sunday. The Stockton Heat are playing in San Diego on Friday and Bakersfield on Saturday.

Andrew Mangiapane and Elias Lindholm left Thursday’s game with injuries. Indications from our media pals – such as Postmedia’s Wes Gilbertson and Sportsnet 960 The Fan’s Pat Steinberg – are that Lindholm is probably gonna be fine. We haven’t heard much publicly about Mangiapane’s status yet. If Mangiapane’s unavailable, suddenly, the Flames are down to 21 healthy active players and have just one extra body at their disposal for a back-to-back set of games in California.

The available options

If they need one forward, Tobias Rieder will dress for both games and life goes on. If they need an additional player, either due to injury or to get some fresh legs for the game in Anaheim, they have three options available to them:

  1. They can dress seven defensemen.
  2. They can send Kylington down to the AHL and bring up a forward short-term (ideally a player with an equal or lesser cap hit).
  3. They can place Valimaki on the long-term injury reserve (LTIR) and bring up a forward short-term.

The team’s been rolling with only 22 players, rather than the limit of 23, to avoid dipping into LTIR. This seems to suggest a preference towards one of the first two options – particularly since the way LTIR works is like a piggy bank, as once it’s smashed open and space is being used it’s very difficult to put it back together again.

The dual challenge

As Nathan mentioned in Embers, potentially losing a player like Mangiapane (even temporarily) is a big challenge for the Flames. He’s been very useful and arguably their most versatile bottom six forward. But his potential absence also further complicates what was already a very tenuous cap situation for the Flames going forward. If Mangiapane (or anybody else) misses any length of time, suddenly the Flames are left hoping and praying that they don’t suffer any further injuries.

And we know how well hoping for things tends to work out.