How the Calgary Flames’ organizational depth stacks up as of mid-July
Photo credit:Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike2 months ago
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Folks, we’re getting into the dog days of summer. The Stampede is wrapping up, and the Calgary Flames have seemingly made the majority of their major off-season signings and roster moves. Now that the dust has seemingly settled, we’ve decided to take a big picture look at the organization’s roster to see how their depth shapes up.
We’re focusing entirely on players with active NHL and AHL contracts. Let’s dive in!
NHL Locks (9): Jonathan Huberdeau, Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Nazem Kadri, Yegor Sharangovich, Dillon Dube, Mikael Backlund, Blake Coleman and Walker Duehr
These are the established NHL players… and Walker Duehr, who requires waivers to go to the AHL and really found a niche in the NHL last season.
On the Bubble (5): Jakob Pelletier, Matt Coronato, Adam Ruzicka, Ben Jones and Connor Zary
Pelletier spent just shy of half of last season on the NHL roster and looked very good. Coronato impressed in his lone NHL game and at the World Championships. Jones was arguably the best Wranglers forward that didn’t see the NHL last season. Zary had a great showing at 2022’s training camp and followed it up with a quite solid regular season. Ruzicka requires waivers to go to the AHL and spent all of 2022-23 on the NHL roster, but he slides into this group because he was a healthy scratch so often last season. He feels like somebody that needs to lay claim to an NHL spot rather than gets one by default.
AHL Locks (9): Dryden Hunt, Cole Schwindt, Kevin Rooney, Emilio Pettersen, Martin Pospisil, Clark Bishop, Adam Klapka, Mitch McLain (AHL) and Alex Gallant (AHL)
All 9 of these guys are established AHL players from 2022-23. McLain and Gallant could end up as healthy scratches or they could play all the time, depending on various factors.
Unclear (5): William Stromgren, Lucas Ciona, Rory Kerins, Ilya Nikolaev and Mark Duarte (AHL)
It’s hard to determine where these guys fit because three of them (Stromgren, Ciona, Duarte) are first-time North American pros, while Kerins and Nikolaev spent most of last season in the ECHL with Rapid City. All five of these players are eligible to be sent to Rapid City, so we’ll see how many of these guys carve out a role for themselves with the AHL club. (As it was in 2022-23, somebody will be victims of the numbers game in the AHL and end up in South Dakota.)
NHL Locks (7): MacKenzie Weegar, Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, Oliver Kylington, Nikita Zadorov and Jordan Oesterle
Barring a trade, it’s hard to imagine the NHL defensive group changing.
On the bubble (1): Dennis Gilbert
It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Gilbert. He was really effective depth for the Flames after being called up mid-season, and he’s inexpensive as heck – his cap hit ($762,500) is actually lower than the NHL’s league minimum of $775,000. He needs waivers to go to the AHL, and he could be a tempting claim possibility for teams needing some depth.
AHL Locks (6): Ilya Solovyov, Nick DeSimone, Jeremie Poirier, Colton Poolman, Yan Kuznetsov and Brady Lyle
Like the core NHL group, barring a trade it seems pretty likely that this is the core of the AHL blueline group. It’s a mix of guys on their ELCs and more veteran AHL blueliners, much like last season.
On the bubble (1): Jarrod Gourley (AHL)
Gourley bounced between the AHL and ECHL in 2022-23 and, depending on other possible moves, he seems like a candidate to have a similar role in the Flames system.
NHL Locks (2): Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar
Barring a trade, this is the NHL tandem.
On the bubble (1): Dustin Wolf
He’s awesome, but he doesn’t require waivers to go to the AHL, which may create the temptation to stash him away (barring the Flames getting a good offer on Vladar).
AHL Locks (1): Oscar Dansk
He’s a reliable AHL veteran backup who can start in a pinch.
Unclear (2): Matt Radomsky (AHL) and Connor Murphy (AHL)
Between these two guys, Radomsky has dressed once and combined they have zero AHL action. It seems likely that one or both finds themselves in Rapid City at some point this coming season.
What do you think of the Flames’ organizational depth at this point in the off-season? Do you foresee the Flames making additional moves to shore up particular areas of the roster? Let us know in the comments!
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