The Calgary Flames currently have 58 players on their training camp roster. They could get down into the 30s by the end of the week, as the big club prepares for big cuts and the Calgary Wranglers prepare for their first American Hockey League training camp at Winsport starting early next week.
The Flames are going to be trimming the roster big-time following Friday’s game against Edmonton. Here’s who’s safe and who’s likely not.
- Goaltenders : Jacob Markstrom and Daniel Vladar
- Defencemen : Noah Hanifin, MacKenzie Weegar, Oliver Kylington*, Rasmus Andersson, Nikita Zadorov and Chris Tanev
- Forwards : Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, Blake Coleman, Andrew Mangiapane, Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Dillon Dube, Mikael Backlund, Trevor Lewis, Milan Lucic and Kevin Rooney
After a week, the locks remain the locks. The X-factor here is Kylington’s status, which could open up another roster spot (but not cap space) for an additional blueliner to begin the regular season.
- Goaltender : Dustin Wolf
- Defencemen : Juuso Valimaki, Nicolas Meloche, Connor Mackey and Michael Stone
- Forwards : Matthew Phillips, Cody Eakin, Sonny Milano, Jakob Pelletier, Cole Schwindt, Brett Ritchie, Adam Ruzicka, Ben Jones, Adam Klapka and Connor Zary
Wolf is the club’s undisputed #3 goalie and probably sticks around to get practice reps with the NHL group. On the blueline, there are roughly four guys vying for one or two roster spots, depending on Kylington’s status. I would argue that Meloche and Stone have the inside track, particularly with Weegar (and Zadorov to a lesser extent) being able to play on the left or right side of the ice. Up front, it’s kind of a numbers game and there are a lot of bodies and probably only a couple of spots. I think they err on the side of keeping a few extra players around if only for Sutter to get more practice sessions with them to build familiarity in case of a mid-season recall. It feels like Milano and Ritchie have the inside track for the forward spots that are available.
Probably not safe
- Goaltender : Oscar Dansk
- Defencemen : Dennis Gilbert, Colton Poolman, Nick DeSimone, Ilya Solovyov, Jeremie Poirier and Yan Kuznetsov
- Forwards : Rory Kerins, Ilya Nikolaev, Walker Duehr, Martin Pospisil, Clark Bishop and Emilio Pettersen
These guys are all able to play in the NHL because they have NHL contracts, but the numbers game is working against them unfortunately.
The likeliest cuts
- Goaltender : Daniil Chechelev and Brad Arvanitis
- Defencemen : Simon Lavigne, Rhett Rhinehart and Josh Brook
- Forwards : Brett Sutter, Alex Gallant, Lucas Feuk, Mitch McLain, Calder Brooks and Matt Marcinew
These guys are all unable to play in the NHL because they don’t have NHL contracts, as all are signed to AHL deals with the Wranglers. As such, they’re all headed across town.
If the Flames trim their camp roster of the last two categories of players – probably not safe and the likeliest cuts – their camp roster would be reduced by 24 players (3 goaltenders, 9 defencemen and 12 forwards) and that would leave approximately 34 players still in camp. That feels about right to me, but we’ll see what they end up doing after their final pre-season game of this week against the Oilers.