Series Preview: Gulls, with some familiar Heat alumni, host the Wranglers

Paige Siewert
1 year ago
The Calgary Wranglers are set to visit the San Diego Gulls this weekend for their first series of the season. The Gulls have not been super fortunate in the 2022-23 season, sitting dead last in the Pacific Division with a 6-14-0-0 record.
The Wranglers are the favourites for this series, sitting in second place with an 11-6-1-0 record. Standings aside, there are a few connections the Wranglers have to the Gulls that could play into the storyline of these games. See if you can spot them in the projected lineups. 

Projected Lineups

Jakob Pelletier – Radim Zohorna – Matthew Phillips
Emilio Pettersen – Connor Zary – Martin Pospisil
Brett Sutter – Ben Jones– Walker Duehr
Alex Gallant – Clark Bishop – Adam Klapka
Dennis Gilbert – Nick DeSimone
Ilya Solovyov – Jeremie Poirier
Yan Kuznetsov – Nicolas Meloche
Dustin Wolf
Oscar Dansk
San Diego 
Rocco Grimaldi – Benoit-Olivier Groulx – Danny O’Regan
Justin Kirkland – Glenn Gawdin – Hunter Drew
Brayden Tracey – Bryce Kindopp – Jacob Perrault
Blake McLaughlin – Logan Nijhoff
Nikolas Brouillard – Drew Helleson
Olli Jueolevi – Austin Strand
Andrew Nielsen –  Luka Profaca
Lukas Dostal
Olle Eriksson EK


Matthew Phillips – 18GP, 13G, 13A
Jakob Pelletier – 18GP, 9G, 12A
Connor Zary – 18GP, 8G,10A
San Diego 
Rocco Grimaldi – 19GP, 9G, 11A
Benoit-Olivier Groulx – 20GP, 5G, 10A
Danny O’Regan – 20GP, 2G, 13A

Notes and expectations

If you noticed from the expected lineups, there are two very familiar players that were members of the Stockton Heat last season. Glenn Gawdin and Justin Kirkland. Both were extremely impactful players and contributors to the Heat’s success in the 2021-22 regular season and postseason play. 
Gawdin played in 201 games with the Heat and finished his last season with the organization with 15 goals and 35 assists through 62 games and another six point through their playoff run. He earned the second most points in his tenure with the team just under Matthew Phillips at 148 and played the second most amount of games with the team just under Ryan Lomberg. This year, he’s gotten a trio of games in with the Anaheim Ducks and has been playing alongside his old Heat teammate, Justin Kirkland.
Justin Kirkland was perhaps one of the Heat’s most underrated players last year. He was one of the most reliable players they had last season almost putting up points in every single game. He was also deadly in the shootout He finished his last season with the Heat with 25 goals and 23 assists through 66 games and earned 12 points through their 13 game playoff run. 
These guys deserve a warm welcome back and both would’ve played at the Scotiabank Saddledome in the modified bubble season that had Stockton relocated to Calgary to be a part of the Canadian Division in 2020-21. Even on the other end of things, I’m sure these two would be happy to be playing in front of a crowd at the dome. 
These two could be spending some extra time chatting and catching up with their old teammates between whistles or throwing in some friendly bumps. They might have a note or two on how to beat Dustin Wolf that might give the Gulls a slight competitive advantage.
Thankfully for the Wranglers, they’ve got some remaining talent that has been fueling their success. Team and league-leading scorer Matthew Phillips is coming off a tremendous start to his season and recently earned a Player of the Week and Player of the Month recognition. 
Phillips’ linemate, Jakob Pelletier is also playing in an impressive manner. Pelletier has points in 10 straight games and does not show signs of slowing down. All eyes are on him to keep the streak going through this weekend. Between the connections these teams have, it could be an interesting pair of games despite the standings. 
These two are set to play on Friday and Saturday nights in San Diego at 8:00 p.m. MT. You can catch these games via AHL.TV. FlamesNation contributors Mike Gould and myself will have game updates for you on Twitter.

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