The Calgary Flames look to be back in it. After two dominant wins over the fourth-placed Habs, they are just four points back, although Montreal has a game in hand. The Flames will need everyone on the roster giving their all if they are to make the playoffs. With the risk of injury ever-present, and with the need to be fresh top of mind, the Flames have a few players that they can call up. Having just brought up Glenn Gawdin and Byron Froese, we wanted to know who you would call up next for the Flames. We asked, you answered.
Unsurprisingly, most fans picked the Heat’s leading scorer Matthew Phillips to get the call-up to the Flames. Phillips currently has 20 points in 26 games, good for 30th in points league-wide. While he has been around the organization a number of years, he has yet to play a game for the big club. When we spoke to him earlier in the season, he felt confident that this was going to be a big year for him. With the Flames back in the hunt, bringing up Phillips as a right shot rightwinger with a lot to prove may be the piece that they need to jump ahead of the Habs for the final playoff spot.
Phillips would likely be an improvement over Buddy Robinson on the fourth line, and would inject some pace and skill to the bottom of the roster. While he is a smaller player, he is unafraid of playing in the corners and getting to the front of the net. As smaller players go, he plays more similar to Andrew Mangiapane than Johnny Gaudreau, but he has a nifty set of hands to help him create offence. Phillips is likely the best forward fit.
The other option that fans really liked was Adam Ruzicka, who is having a breakout season with the Heat. The Slovak forward is second on the team with 19 points, and has already tied his goals total for last season in less than half as many games.
Unlike Phillips, Ruzicka is a big body presence who has great hands and the ability to score goals in tight. The big question with him would be fit, with the Flames already having lots of left shot centres who can play wing in the lineup currently. That being said, Ruzicka has excelled in the AHL this season, and has already been called up to Calgary once this season. He may be due to finally get his first NHL game if for no other reason than for the Flames to see what they have in him.
The one answer which I think may be the best fit for the Flames is Connor Mackey. With Noah Hanifin taking a hard hit into the boards in last night’s game against Montreal, the Flames will be looking to bring up some more defensive depth. Mackey has been praised up and down as being close to NHL ready and has been the Heat’s best defenceman this season. He has taken strides in his development and has put up 16 points so far this season. He’s the guy I think makes the most sense.
The Flames have been hesitant to play Oliver Kylington this season, and with Michael Stone seemingly a lock in the lineup, Nikita Nesterov is the next guy up. However, both Nesterov and Valimaki do not seem to be favoured by Sutter, with him scratching both multiple times since being brought on. Mackey may be a fit with the Flames, having already played a few games already this season. He is a couple of years older than Valimaki, and has four college seasons already under his belt. If Sutter is looking for a young guy who has a lot of promise and playing experience under his belt, Mackey may be just the fit.
Who do you think makes the most sense? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.