After a week of rookie camp in which a number of the Calgary Flames’ young players put on an absolute show, the big boys are finally in town and ready to start the season. As is usual, prior to the start of the season, general manager Brad Treliving addresses the media, talking about what to expect from camp, some of the moves made through the off-season, and what to expect moving forward.
During the press conference, we followed along and gave live tweets covering everything Treliving said, but now it’s organized into sections. Here are some of the key highlights.
Injury and availability updates
Perhaps the biggest piece of news that came out of the Flames’ rookie camp was the injury to Connor Zary, which at the time looked quite serious. However, Treliving noted that it was a minor issue, and he could be back skating as early as later this week. Very good news for his chances of making the team.
Another injury from rookie camp which does look serious was to Johannes Kinnvall, who has suffered an undisclosed ailment. This will keep him out for weeks, and will not allow him to participate at main camp. He looked very good in the first rookie game, and was particularly impressive as the Flames’ power play quarterback. Expect him to start the season in Stockton once healthy.
Among the main team, both Noah Hanifin and Sean Monahan underwent major surgeries towards the end of last season. Hanifin had surgery on his shoulder while Monahan had hip surgery, which was the third summer in a row that the forward had surgery to fix a lingering injury. However, both surgeries were successful, and both are expected to be 100% ready to go for the start of the season.
Two players will not be joining the Flames at camp—at least for the time being. Daniil Chechelev has decided to make the trip over from Russia, but is still going through immigration protocols at this point. He may be at camp if this is cleared up in time.
Tyler Parsons will also not be at camp this year. He was “unable to satisfy quarantine rules,” and as a result will not be joining the team for main camp. He will, however, be at Stockton Heat camp when it does get started next month. When asked about his vaccination status, Treliving refused to answer, noting that the media should “ask Tyler that question.”
All Calgary Flames at main camp this year have been fully vaccinated.
This is the most contentious issue surrounding the Flames going into this season. After another disappointing season in which the talk was that big changes were needed in the organization, the Flames were yet again unable to make a big trade.
Treliving addressed this, saying that they talked about making moves but ultimately the moves were not available for them. It sounds like either the cost was too high for the Flames or they were unable to lure big free agency adds to the team in a cap-friendly way.
However, he was quick to dismiss the suggestion that the Flames were just bringing the same team back to the Saddledome this season. He pointed out that the Flames will have seven to eight new players in the Flaming C this season, which will absolutely make an impact on their team.
Young stars making the team
Two of those players who could be fighting for a spot this season are Zary and Jakob Pelletier, and GM Treliving noted that both have a shot at making it, but that it would be tough. The NHL is a very tough league and players do not just get gifted a spot simply by virtue of their draft position, and while on paper it may look like there are not spots available, younger players have beaten the odds before.
Treliving pointed to two seasons ago when Dillon Dube and Juuso Valimaki forced their way onto the team by having phenomenal preseasons. If Zary and Pelletier want a spot with the Flames, they can absolutely earn it.
Broadly, Treliving has a lot of faith in his young players, and generally liked what he saw at rookie camp earlier this week. He specifically called out Pelletier and Zary along with Dustin Wolf, Martin Pospisil, and Jeremie Poirier by name. Poirier has actually been placed in Group Three for training camp, the group of players who are likely Stockton bound, instead of the one of mostly unsigned CHL prospects. A reward for his excellent play through camp.
What to expect from main camp
The Flames finally hit the ice this morning, with each group on the ice for a two-hour slot. Group Two, the mostly NHL players group, gets going at 11 am, which is the first opportunity for them to hit the ice since last season.
The Flames play their first preseason game on Sunday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome against the Oilers. With a short preseason, expect cuts to start very quickly, and the Flames to start getting down to their main roster sooner than later.
As fun as rookie camp was this past week, it is time to get down to work for the Calgary Flames. They have a lot to do before the puck drops on Game 1 of the regular season in just a couple of weeks.