The Flames are back on the ice and training camp is in full swing, and we’re back to bring you all the news as things kick off. We’ll discuss the off-season contracts signed including Mark Giordano and Michael Ferland. We cover the rookie tournament and who thought were studs, and duds. As well, we look ahead to the main camp and preview who might win a job, who might lose a job, and more.
Get ready for the hockey season getting started again and get up-to-date with all the Flames news.
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It’s been a long, hot summer here in Calgary, and the Flames management team has been busy! There have been some high profile players added to the team, some important players re-signed, new jersey numbers assigned, players who have left the Flames organization, and more. In this episode we’ll recap everything that’s happened with the Calgary Flames organization this summer, and what might still get done, so you are in the know and ready when the puck hits the ice for training camp.
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It did not take long for the Flames and Canucks to renew their playoff hostilities. Right after the opening face-off Micheal Ferland and Derek Dorsett dropped the gloves. It was a very one-sided bout with Ferland being the clear winner. Following the fight, Lance Bouma threw a solid check and the Flames were buzzing around Ryan Miller and the Canucks in the opening minutes. What looked like a great start to the game by the Flames quickly died at the four minute mark, Deryk Engelland was called for high-sticking. While the Canucks did not score on the man advantage, they did come close several times. This was the beginning of the sloppy play that plagued the Flames all evening. They did continue to have possession of the puck through the first 10 minutes, but were unable to generate any cohesive attacks against Miller. Eight minutes into the game, the battle of the Brandon’s began with Bollig and Prust fighting to a draw. It was at the 10 minute mark that the wheels came off the bus. First, Vancouver broke in on a two on one that they should have scored if not for an amazing stick save by Karri Ramo. Then on the next shift they did open the scoring. A poor line change by the Flames allowed Jannik Hansen to break in and pick the top corner on Ramo. In the minutes following the opening goal, the Flames were unable to generate anything and looked completely sloppy on the ice. Brandon Sutter extended the Canucks lead with two minutes remaining in the first period. He was on the receiving end of a cross ice feed from Daniel Sedin and batted it out of the air into the net. Luca Sbisa was called for crosschecking with one minute remaining in the first period. The Flames were unable to generate any zone pressure in the abbreviated power play and went to the intermission trailing 2-0. They were outshot 15-9 after leading 7-3 at one point.
At last, hockey returns. It was a short summer break for the Flames, coming off their second best playoff performance in the past quarter century. Now, the counters are reset back to zero and it is a blank page for everyone in the organization. What the Flames hope to write over the next few months is a story of building on the chapter before towards greater glory, rather than the same tale that the Colorado Avalanche and Toronto Maple Leafs have spun in recent years. There are some new characters that will add their abilities to the group that has to prove that last season was not a fluke. Out from last year’s opening day roster are Brian McGrattan, Devin Setoguchi, Curtis Glencross, Paul Byron, and Raphael Diaz. The new additions include Michael Frolik, Sam Bennett, Dougie Hamilton, Brett Kulak, and Joni Ortio. This team needs another hot start to start this season in order to prevent articles written about them and how they were not really as good as they were last year. Where they were able to surprise teams last year, they will not be able to surprise anyone any more.
The Flames have lost Paul Byron on waivers to Montreal. His defensive prowess will be missed in the Flames organization, but his skills will be better served in the Eastern Conference where he doesn’t need to be in the lineup against teams that are almost a foot taller than him on average. That reduced pressure should allow him to better use his skills this season and perhaps have a breakout year.
For the Flames, it was a necessary move. With the Flames having difficulties with teams like Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Winnipeg, all of whom have a large portion of their rosters consisting of large players, the Flames need to get bigger through their lineup as well to be able to properly compete especially in the playoffs.
The Flames made some adjustments to their roster today before tomorrow’s deadline to have the final roster set. Paul Byron and Mason Raymond were placed on waivers today. If they clear, they can be assigned to Stockton at any point in the next 30 days or 10 NHL games played without having to go through waivers again. This is likely an insurance move now so they have options once Brodie, Colborne, and Smid return from injury.
The only move they needed to make to become roster compliant was assigning Granlund to Stockton, which they did. He had an excellent camp and is on the verge of becoming a full time player, but not quite yet. He will likely be the first call up forward for the Flames this season.
Bob Hartley also designated Joni Ortio the #3 goalie on the depth chart. This may just be a ploy in order to boost the trade value of the other two goalies until a suitor can be found for one of them. It is difficult because all three played exceptionally well during the preseason.
All your Hamilton’s are belong to us. The Flames acquired Dougie Hamilton’s older brother for a conditional 7th round draft pick. He has already cleared waivers and will play in Stockton to start the year.
With his excellent performance in last night’s game, Brett Kulak cemented himself a spot on the opening day roster. Unfortunately, that came at the expense of Ryan Wilson, who also performed excellently in the preseason for the Flames. With the release of Wilson, the roster is down to 27, with three players slated to go on the IR (Smid, Brodie, Colborne). That means only one more player has to be sent to Stockton, which will likely be Markus Granlund due to his not needing to clear waivers to be assigned.
The deadline is Tuesday at 5 PM.
Drew Shore was not claimed off waivers and will be assigned to Stockton to start the season. He will be joined there by veteran enforcer Colton Orr. Orr was brought in because the division the Heat are in each have a heavyweight on their roster, and they were the only team without one. Having a deterrent is always better than having a team take liberties on the prospects that the Flames are trying to develop.
The final game of the preseason will be played in Calgary tonight as they face the Winnipeg Jets in the second half of a home and home series. The Flames did not fair too well when they headed to the MTS center on Thursday, dropping the game 3-1 in regulation and losing the 3 on 3 OT in the first minute. The Flames have sent most of the extra players to the AHL camp in Stockton. Only a couple players that were not entirely expected to start in Calgary remain, Brett Kulak, Ryan Wilson and Joni Ortio. The two defenders will likely draw in tonight as they compete for the current last spot on the blue line, while Ortio has likely secured a spot in the NHL to begin the year. (more…)
A busy news day in Flames news. Joe Colborne will be out for the next few weeks with a broken thumb. That should help to alleviate the forward roster crunch a bit while the Flames will have some time to sort things out. A casualty of the roster crunch is center Drew Shore. He was placed on waivers today and could be claimed by another team.
Jakub Nakladal, Kenney Morrison, Patrick Sieloff, Tyler Wotherspoon and Garnet Hathaway were all re-assigned to Stockton. With that series of cuts, Brett Kulak has appeared to make the cut and will begin the season in Calgary, at least until TJ Brodie returns from his injury.
The Flames head to Winnipeg tonight for their last road game before the beginning of the regular season. In an unusual move, both Kenney Morrison and Patrick Sieloff were recalled by the Flames yesterday. It would make some sense for both those players to play in the contest tonight as the top four defense are locks, but the bottom three spots are still up for grabs. Morrison, Sieloff, Kulak, Wotherspoon, Wilson, Engelland and Smid are all fighting for those spots and most of those players except perhaps Smid will play tonight. Another story is the goaltending battle that was taken to the next level on Tuesday. Joni Ortio had a leg up on a roster spot due to his 35 save shut out against the Avalanche in Colorado last week. Then both Hiller and Ramo combined to post a 29 save shut out against the same Avalanche on Tuesday. I would expect that Ortio would get another game in to show that he can beat another team that isn’t scoreless in six periods against the Flames. (more…)