There are a lot of players in Calgary Flames camp, but probably not for too much longer

Photo credit:David Moll/Calgary Wranglers
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
The Calgary Flames hit the ice for training camp on Thursday, and the club began camp juggling 64 players through three groups. However, while the Flames have oodles of bodies in camp right now, don’t expect that to continue for too long.
The Flames have 64 players in camp. Here’s the breakdown by contractual status:
  • 45 players on NHL contracts
  • 7 players on AHL contracts
  • 1 player on a PTO
  • 2 unsigned draftees (eligible to go back to junior)
  • 9 unsigned invitees (eligible to go back to junior)
Now, obviously there are only 45 players in camp that could potentially make the NHL roster. That’s a given. The early days of training camp are a good time for everybody to get practice reps, especially junior-aged players that Flames brass wants to know more about.
But junior seasons are getting going. The WHL and QMJHL began their seasons on Friday, while the OHL begins their season this coming Thursday. So while getting some reps with NHL players (or NHL adjacent players) in an NHL camp is valuable, unless they’re going to be pushing for NHL jobs, a bunch of players should be headed back to junior shortly.
Last year, the Flames sent back a bunch of junior-aged players during the first weekend of camp – the day before the first pre-season game – which allowed them to get their junior seasons started more or less on time. (Lucas Ciona stayed a little longer, but was dropped off in Seattle to join his junior team when the Flames headed there to play the Kraken).
The next big reduction to the camp roster usually comes at the end of September, just in time for the Wranglers’ AHL camp to begin. By that point, the camp usually is down to the core NHL roster and the likely AHL players that might be pushing for NHL minutes.
In short: yeah, there’s a lot of players in Flames camp. They’ll learn things, and the Flames will learn things about them, and then a good chunk of them will be sent to begin their seasons elsewhere and the battle for NHL jobs will unabashedly begin. In the meantime, the best part of the early portion of camp is the players that unexpectedly impress. (Remember how good Mitch McLain was in 2022’s camp?)
Training camp can take awhile. Try to enjoy the ride.

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