After winning three of four games at home to start the year, the Calgary Wranglers are heading out on their first road trip of 2023 against the Henderson Silver Knights. This will be the first match-up between these teams this season and there is some embedded player history that should make for an interesting weekend series. 

Projected Lineups

Calgary
Last game the Wranglers skated with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. If they opt for this type of lineup again to start this series, this is what we could expect to see. Ben Jones got some time along Gallant and Nikolaev and DeSimone was getting in some extra ice time as well for the extra defensive pairing. Lineups shuffled throughout the game. 
Matthew Phillips – Ben Jones – Emilio Pettersen
Cole Schwindt – Connor Zary – Mitch McLain
Brett Sutter – Kevin Rooney – Adam Klapka
Alex Gallant – Ilya Nikolaev 
Ilya Solovyov – Nick DeSimone
Dennis Gilbert – Nicolas Meloche
Colton Poolman – Jeremie Poirier
Yan Kuznetsov
Dustin Wolf
Oscar Dansk
Henderson 
Brendan Brisson – Ivan Morozov – Jonas Rondbjerg
Gage Quinney – Byron Froese – Sheldon Rempal
Spencer Foo – Connor Ford – Maxim Marushev
Jermaine Loewen – Colt Conrad – Daniel D’Amato
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Lukas Cormier – Bayden Pachal
Daniil Chayka – Jake Bischoff
Peter DiLiberatore – Connor Corcoran
 
Laurent Brossoit
Jiri Patera

Leaders

Calgary 
Matthew Phillips – 27GP, 21G, 19A
Jakob Pelletier – 31GP, 15G, 19A (Inactive on NHL call-up)
Connor Zary – 33GP, 11G, 23A
Henderson 
Gage Quinney – 26GP, 15G, 12A
Byron Froese – 36GP, 8G, 19A
Sheldon Rempal – 8G, 18A

Notes and expectations

This match-up is the first out of eight games these teams will play against each other this season. With them being divisional competitors, it’s a surprise they haven’t faced each other yet. That’s what happens when you play in a large 10-team division. Interestingly enough, this will be a match-up with some Stockton Heat history attached to it. 
To start with the most recent memory, former Heat captain Byron Froese was acquired by the Las Vegas Golden Knights organization over the summer. He played the last three seasons with the Heat but went his separate way in free agency. Froese was a key producer for the Heat last season putting up 20 goals and 17 assists in 55 games. 
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This season, Froese is off to a hot start sitting second in team scoring. He also got into one Golden Knights game this season back on Jan. 2 against the Colorado Avalanche. Once the first game of this series comes to an end, there will likely be some players looking to catch up with their former captain.
Another cool connection for these two teams is Spencer Foo. Foo was an undrafted but a highly-ranked Calgary Flames prospect back in 2017-19. He played in four games with the Flames in the 2017-18 season and scored his lone two NHL goals in that time. He played in 129 games with the Heat over two seasons and served as their alternate captain back in the 2018-19 season. Unfortunately, Foo will have fewer former teammates to catch up with as Matthew Phillips is the only current Wrangler that was with the Heat during Foo’s tenure.
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Standings-wise, this series is in Calgary’s favour. The Wranglers sit second in the Pacific Division with a 24-8-1-0 record. The Silver Knights are towards the bottom of the division at eighth with a 12-22-0-3 record. Henderson has only won two of their last 10 games while the Wranglers are on a three-game winning streak, only losing one of their last 10 games. 
This series will kick off on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. MT. They will finish up their series in an afternoon game on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. MT. You can stream these games on AHL.tv. Saturday’s game is offered for free as part of AHL.tv’s free preview day. FlamesNation contributors Mike Gould and myself will have updates on Twitter.