The Calgary Flames hit the ice on Sunday for one last day of tweaks and tinkers before Monday’s final scrimmage and Tuesday’s roster deadline.
Here’s the notes from Sunday.
Here’s how the Flames lineup is looking…
Sam Bennett joined the main group on Sunday, so lines were tweaked a little bit. Here’s how they shook out:
Tkachuk – Lindholm – Dube
Gaudreau – Monahan – Mangiapane
Lucic – Backlund – Leivo
Nordstrom – Bennett – Ryan
Simon – Rinaldo
Giordano – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Valimaki – Nesterov
Mackey – Stone
It seems likely that Rinaldo is the odd man out (and he’ll probably be waived and sent to the taxi squad or AHL), as the Flames don’t have cap space for two extra forwards. We’ll probably see lines shuffled a bit more before the scrimmage, but for the most part Geoff Ward has kept pairings together during camp – Tkachuk/Lindholm, Backlund/Mangiapane, Gaudreau/Monahan and Bennett/Ryan – and the remaining wingers are bouncing around to fill in the gaps. Either Nordstrom or Simon will be the healthy scratch to start, but they’ll probably rotate.
The only “big” question left is who’ll be the seventh defender. (My bet is on Oliver Kylington.)
Here’s how the special teams units have mostly looked between scrimmage and practices:
- PP1: Tkachuk – Lindholm – Monahan – Gaudreau – Andersson
- PP2: Lucic – Leivo – Dube – Backlund – Giordano
- PK1: Backlund – Ryan – Giordano – Tanev
- PK2: Lindholm – Nordstrom – Hanifin – Andersson
- PK3: Dube – Mangiapane (and rotating defense)
Based on this set-up, the “bump up” unit after special teams shifts will probably include Bennett’s line and the Valimaki/Nesterov pair.
Also a weird quirk: the Flames are using the 1-3-1 set-up on the first PP unit (with only Andersson at the point), but a more traditional 3-2 set-up on the second (with Giordano and Backlund set back at the point).
The World Junior kids skated with the AHL group on Sunday and will take part in scrimmage, but the roster seems set and don’t expect to see any of them on Jan. 13 against Winnipeg.
Ward on goaltending
Speaking after practice, Ward noted that the Flames have a goaltending plan, but it’s currently written in pencil and it’ll probably be revised as they go along after they get input from the two goaltenders.
While Jacob Markstrom is brand-new to the Flames, Ward has experience seeing how a lot of games early on seemingly wore David Rittich out over the past two seasons. He thinks managing Rittich’s minutes differently should help him in the coming season.
“I think it’s gonna help him,” said Ward. “He’s certainly not going to be as tired as he has been in the second half of seasons as probably the last two years. But the other thing I think with David that’s much more noticeable is he’s spent a fair amount of time working on his mental game over the summer, and you can see sort of how he comes in every day and how how he approaches practice, and it’s a little bit different and it’s a little bit more business-like, and I think that’s going to help him out an awful lot, too.”