The Calgary Flames are nearing the end of training camp, with opening day rosters due to the league by 3 p.m. MT on Monday afternoon. In advance of that occasion, we’ve decided to take a trip down memory lane and look at the various season-opening rosters since Brad Treliving became general manager in 2014.
Treliving’s first opening roster was very conventional: two goaltenders, seven defensemen and 14 forwards.
- Goalies Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo
- Defensemen TJ Brodie, Raphael Diaz, Deryk Engelland, Mark Giordano, Kris Russell, Ladislav Smid and Dennis Wideman
- Forwards Mikael Backlund, Brandon Bollig, Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, Joe Colborne, Johnny Gaudreau, Curtis Glencross, Jiri Hudler, David Jones, Brian McGrattan, Sean Monahan, Mason Raymond, Devin Setoguchi and Matt Stajan
- Injured: Sam Bennett, Emile Poirier and Corey Potter
Bennett had an excellent camp despite needing shoulder surgery. He’d head to the OHL for the bulk of the season, but return to the Flames for the end of the season and the playoffs. The 2014-15 Flames began with a decent amount of cap space and maintained that for much of the season.
The 2015-16 opening roster was a bit more wacky, with three (!) goalies, six defensemen and 13 forwards. Three goalies was due to waiver worries – they lost Paul Byron to keep Joni Ortio – while having some established players on the injured list stretched their cap space out a bit.
- Goalies Jonas Hiller, Joni Ortio and Karri Ramo
- Defensemen Deryk Engelland, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Kulak, Kris Russell and Dennis Wideman
- Forwards Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Brandon Bollig, Lance Bouma, Micheal Ferland, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Jiri Hudler, David Jones, Josh Jooris, Sean Monahan, Mason Raymond and Matt Stajan
- Injured: T.J. Brodie, Joe Colborne, Ryan Culkin and Ladislav Smid.
Ramo and Kulak were sent to the AHL before the end of the month – the team needed cap space as players came off the injured list, and eventually the team decided to keep Ramo in the NHL instead of Ortio, rendering the loss of Byron completely pointless.
Continuing the cap fun of the previous season, the 2016-17 Flames began with a league-minimum 20-man roster (two goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards) as they tried to hammer out a new deal with restricted free agent Johnny Gaudreau.
- Goalies Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson
- Defensemen TJ Brodie, Deryk Engelland, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Kulak and Dennis Wideman
- Forwards Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Lance Bouma, Troy Brouwer, Alex Chiasson, Micheal Ferland, Michael Frolik, Freddie Hamilton, Sean Monahan, Matt Stajan and Matthew Tkachuk
- Injured: Ladislav Smid
So after this, it got complex. The Flames signed Kris Versteeg and Gaudreau, because they were good hockey players. Depth defender Nicklas Grossmann was signed to a deal and kept on the NHL roster to use up their remaining cap space, allowing the team to place Smid on the Long-Term IR in November and maximize the cap space they were allowed to replace.
The 2017-18 Flames were more tidy than the prior season’s edition: two goalies, seven defensemen and 13 forwards.
- Goalies Eddie Lack and Mike Smith
- Defensemen Matt Bartkowski, TJ Brodie, Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Travis Hamonic, Brett Kulak and Michael Stone
- Forwards Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Troy Brouwer, Micheal Ferland, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Freddie Hamilton, Garnet Hathaway, Curtis Lazar, Sean Monahan, Matt Stajan, Matthew Tkachuk and Kris Versteeg
- Injured: Marek Hrivik and Daniel Pribyl
The Flames signed Jaromir Jagr and Tanner Glass after this, resulting in a bit of roster shuffling. Lack was in the AHL after American Thanksgiving, replaced by David Rittich.
The 2018-19 Flames had a straightforward 23 player roster: two goalies, seven defensemen, 14 forwards.
- Goalies David Rittich and Mike Smith
- Defensemen TJ Brodie, Mark Giordano, Travis Hamonic, Noah Hanifin, Dalton Prout, Michael Stone and Juuso Valimaki
- Forwards Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Austin Czarnik, Dillon Dube, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Garnet Hathaway, Mark Jankowski, Curtis Lazar, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan, James Neal, Derek Ryan and Matthew Tkachuk.
- Injured: Matt Taormina
The Flames made some mid-season roster shuffles, notably recalling Andrew Mangiapane, and Valimaki suffered an injury and was subsequently sent to the AHL to rehab it.
The 2019-20 Flames had a 22 player roster: two goalies, seven defensemen, 13 forwards. (The roster was kept on the smaller side to conserve cap space.)
- Goalies David Rittich and Cam Talbot
- Defensemen Rasmus Andersson, TJ Brodie, Mark Giordano, Travis Hamonic, Noah Hanifin, Oliver Kylington and Michael Stone
- Forwards Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Austin Czarnik, Michael Frolik, Johnny Gaudreau, Mark Jankowski, Elias Lindholm, Milan Lucic, Andrew Mangiapane, Sean Monahan, Tobias Rieder, Derek Ryan and Matthew Tkachuk
- Injured: Juuso Valimaki
Valimaki missed the entire season with a knee injury.
The 2020-21 Flames were capped out and rocked a minimal roster except on game days. Their opening day roster was 20 players: two goalies, six defensemen and 12 forwards.
- Goalies Jacob Markstrom and David Rittich
- Defensemen Rasmus Andersson, Mark Giordano, Juuso Valimaki, Chris Tanev, Noah Hanifin and Nikita Nesterov
- Forwards Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Milan Lucic, Matthew Tkachuk, Joakim Nordstrom, Sean Monahan, Josh Leivo, Elias Lindholm, Dillon Dube, Dominik Simon and Sam Bennett
Derek Ryan was stashed on the taxi squad for a good chunk of the season to conserve cap space.
Which Flames opening roster was the best? Which was the weakest? Which was your favourite? Sound off in the comments!