Calgary Flames featured some new faces (and lines) in Monday’s practice

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
For the first time since last Saturday, the Calgary Flames hit the practice ice on Monday. This time, they’re in scenic Boston to get ready for their Tuesday night clash with the Bruins.
The skate featured five new faces, as well as some new lines and pairings.
(Stick-taps to our pal Julian McKenzie from The Athletic, who’s on the trip and tweeted a lot of updates from practice.)

Some new faces (and numbers)

Monday featured the return to the Flames of three somewhat familiar faces, as well as the debuts of two completely new faces.
  • Andrei Kuzmenko, acquired in the Elias Lindholm trade, made his debut wearing #96.
  • Brayden Pachal, claimed on waivers on Sunday, made his debut wearing #94.
  • Jakob Pelletier, who was injured in training camp, returned wearing #22.
  • Kevin Rooney, who was also injured in training camp, returned wearing #21.
  • Cole Schwindt, who was sent down to the AHL prior to the All-Star break, returned wearing #79.
Kuzmenko and Pachal will each be the first players in franchise history to wear those numbers in a game.

Some new lines

Via McKenzie, here’s how the team lined up on Monday:
Huberdeau – Sharangovich – Kuzmenko
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
Rooney/Pelletier – Schwindt – Duehr
Weegar – Andersson
Hanifin – Tanev
Kylington – Pachal
Gilbert – Oesterle
So, the thing that may get fans all riled up is the possibility that Pelletier could be the odd man out up front. And to that we say: it kinda makes sense. Hear us out. The Flames have two established NHL centres in Backlund and Kadri on their roster. Schwindt has played centre in the AHL, but hasn’t got a ton of NHL experience yet. Sharangovich is primarily a winger, but can play centre.
In the event you need to give those guys some help, especially on the road in Boston, it does make some sense to use Rooney as your fourth line winger so you essentially have a utility centre that can jump in to take draws and put out fires.
On the back end, we get a return to the “usual” pairings, except Kylington playing with Pachal, pairing a finesse and speed defender with a guy that has a bit more snarl and physicality to his game. It makes some sense, and perhaps provides a stylistic echo to the Hanifin-Tanev pairing.
Based on these lines, we would expect to see Kuzmenko and Pachal make their Flames debuts on Tuesday night. But take that with a grain of salt, as things could always get tinkered or tweaked in Tuesday’s morning skate.

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