Flames return Alexander Yelesin to Stockton

In a move that definitely signals the impending return of Travis Hamonic from injury, the Calgary Flames have returned defenseman Alexander Yelesin to the American Hockey League’s Stockton Heat.

Yelesin has been on the NHL roster since Nov. 20, but was a healthy scratch in each of the five games that the Flames played since then. He’s a first year North American player making the adjustment to the smaller ice and the Flames organization, so having him up for the better part of three weeks was likely aimed at helping him figure out how far he is from an NHL gig.

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Hamonic’s been out of the lineup for a couple weeks, but with his return there’s really no reason for the Flames to carry eight defenders so out Yelesin goes. Expect Hamonic to return to the lineup on Thursday when the Flames host Buffalo. His return will likely cause the Flames to revert back to their Oliver Kylington/Michael Stone rotation on the third pairing.

The Flames now have 22 players on their active roster (Hamonic was never placed on injury reserve) and with the club using their long-term injury reserve cap space there’s really no cap impact of sending Yelesin down to the farm.