The Calgary Flames shuffled their lines at Saturday’s practice
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike6 months ago
The Calgary Flames have not scored many goals at five-on-five recently. (Heck, all season.) In five of their past seven games, the Flames have scored zero five-on-five goals. So it’s probably not shocking that the club shuffled up their forward lines at Saturday’s practice after being blanked by Anaheim at five-on-five in Friday’s 3-1 loss.
Via our pal Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960 The Fan, here are the lines.
- Line 1: Jakob Pelletier – Elias Lindholm – Tyler Toffoli
- Line 2: Jonathan Huberdeau – Nazem Kadri – Dillon Dube
- Line 3: Andrew Mangiapane – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
- Line 4: Milan Lucic – Adam Ruzicka – Walker Duehr
So here are the changes from Friday’s (status quo) lines:
- Nick Ritchie went from left wing on Line 2 to skating as an extra.
- Jonathan Huberdeau went from the right wing to the left wing on Line 2.
- Dillon Dube went from centre on Line 4 to right wing on Line 2.
- Trevor Lewis went from right wing on Line 4 to skating as an extra.
- Adam Ruzicka went from skating as an extra to centre on Line 4.
- Walker Duehr went from skating as an extra to right wing on Line 4.
Lines 1 and 3 saw no changes, per reports. Both lines have performed quite well, so this makes sense.
So what to make of the changes? Well, Huberdeau being moved to the left side after playing 34 games on his off-wing seems like a long time coming. Earlier this week, we broke down extensively Huberdeau’s (mixed) results playing on the right side. He’s a much better defensive player on the left side, and his offensive underlyings aren’t that much worse.
Dube moving to the right wing is something he’s done in the past frequently, and seems like a good fit alongside Kadri and Huberdeau given his speed and fore-checking ability. Dube and Kadri as puck-retrieval players and shooters and Huberdeau as the distributor on the line seems like a good stylistic fit.
The fourth line has been, to be blunt, a jumble throughout this season. We’ve had various FlamesNation contributors wax poetic about Lucic’s struggles this season, and we’re not going to till new ground here. Suffice it to say: he hasn’t been great. Ruzicka and Duehr have speed and a bit of youthful exuberance, so perhaps that sparks Lucic?
We’ll see if these new lines are used on Sunday against Ottawa and how well they perform.
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