The Calgary Flames unveiled new forward lines at Monday’s practice

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
7 months ago
After an off-day on Sunday, the Calgary Flames headed to Bell Centre in Montreal on Monday for practice. Coming off a loss in Ottawa, the Flames shuffled up their lines, per a social media report from The Athletic’s Julian McKenzie.
Here’s how the forwards lined up:
Adam Ruzicka – Elias Lindholm – Andrew Mangiapane
Connor Zary – Nazem Kadri – Martin Pospisil
Jonathan Huberdeau – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
Yegor Sharangovich – Dillon Dube – Walker Duehr
Per McKenzie, the fourth line was a “melange,” with Dube, Duehr and A.J. Greer rotating through various spots.
Aside from the Backlund line, these are a lot of players who have spent virtually no time playing together at five-on-five (via Natural Stat Trick).
  • Ruzicka, Lindholm and Mangiapane have played 1:43 together over the past two seasons.
  • Sharangovich, Dube and Duehr have played 40 seconds together this season.
  • Zary, Kadri and Pospisil have not played together at all.
Now, putting Huberdeau with Backlund and Coleman makes sense. Backlund and Coleman have been joined at the hip since Coleman’s arrival, and their line has been consistently effective – often highly so. Huberdeau has played 182:22 with Backlund and Coleman the past two seasons, posting consistently strong possession stats (and out-scoring the opposition 6-5).
In the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty important to get Huberdeau going. He’s in the first year of an eight year deal with a hefty $10.5 million cap hit. So it makes sense to put him with the Flames’ best 200-foot players; if nothing else, the line will have the puck a ton and it’ll give Huberdeau an opportunity to get his swagger back.
But it’ll be very interesting to see if the other three, relatively untested and unfamiliar, forward lines can find a way to build some chemistry and also get going. The Flames’ big challenge this season has been they’ve usually had one forward line playing well, but often it’s been only one line. That can’t continue if they want to have any hope of turning their season around.
The Flames are back in action on Tuesday as they conclude their road trip in Montreal.

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