After sending 20 players packing on Monday, the Calgary Flames have their training camp roster down to one group. They are currently juggling 29 bodies with just over a week until the regular season opens.
Here’s a snapshot of just how things are shaping up.
The Flames have three goalies in camp: David Rittich, Cam Talbot and Jon Gillies. Gillies is around to help manage the practice workload of the NHL goaltenders. He’ll be waived and assigned to the AHL before camp ends, though it wouldn’t be shocking if the Flames were trying to work out a loan arrangement to give Tyler Parsons and Artyom Zagidulin dedicated time with Stockton.
The Flames have nine defensemen in camp: Rasmus Andersson, Mark Giordano, Brandon Davidson, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Michael Stone, Andrew MacDonald, Noah Hanifin and Oliver Kylington. They’ll carry either six or seven, depending on cap space.
Andersson, Giordano, Brodie, Hamonic and Hanifin are locks. Kylington played a lot with Andersson last season, while Stone played a lot with Brodie. Kylington doesn’t need waivers to be sent to the AHL, while MacDonald is on a PTO and would need to be signed to stick around.
All things being equal, it feels like Kylington will be the sixth defender and Stone the seventh. (For cap purposes the Flames will need to have Juuso Valimaki listed when they file their roster on Oct. 1, but he’ll quickly be placed on Long-Term Injury Reserve.)
The Flames have 16 forwards in camp, excluding Matthew Tkachuk: Derek Ryan, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Tobias Rieder, Milan Lucic, Devante Smith-Pelly, Sean Monahan, Austin Czarnik, Elias Lindholm, Dillon Dube, Zac Rinaldo, Michael Frolik, Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane, Alan Quine and Sam Bennett. They’ll carry 13 or 14 this season, depending on cap space.
Realistically, this means that of the bubble group of the try-out players Tobias Rieder, Devante Smith-Pelly and Zac Rinaldo and contracted players Austin Czarnik, Dillon Dube and Alan Quine, likely two or three make the team. Czarnik might be the odd man out because of his cap hit ($1.25 million), while Dube and Quine may have the inside track on roster spots due to their low cap hits and versatility (both can play wing or center).
The X-factor up front is Tkachuk. His signing, and cap hit, will largely determine how many bodies the Flames carry and how much cap space they have going forward.
A guesswork lineup
Gaudreau – Monahan – Lindholm
Bennett – Backlund – Frolik
Dube – Ryan – Lucic
Mangiapane – Jankowski – Czarnik
Giordano – Brodie
Hanifin – Hamonic
Kylington – Andersson
The Flames will dress a largely NHL-ready lineup this evening against the Winnipeg Jets. They’ll probably dress more of a fringe group in San Jose. Saturday’s home date against the Edmonton Oilers will feature largely their opening night group, give or take a bubble body.
The NHL roster will become clear very quickly. Even moreso if/when Tkachuk signs.