The Calgary Flames open their preseason schedule tonight with a pair of games, split squad against the Vancouver Canucks. With a brand new core, the Flames have just one major question to answer up front: who will fill the open spot in the top-nine, specifically RW on the second line?
We asked, you answered.
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Plenty of options
This week’s poll featured three leading candidates, though there are many others who could play in that open slot.
Before the season started, almost every major line prediction website had Jakob Pelletier on the third line of the Flames’ roster. After a truly stellar rookie season in the AHL, Pelletier looks to have all the tools to be an effective NHLer on a nightly basis.
However, after a lackluster showing in the Penticton Young Stars Classic just a couple weeks ago, he’s fallen out of favour with fans, many now turning elsewhere for options to fill that open wing slot.
Perhaps the Flames feel the same way as Pelletier has started camp in group two, away from the NHL locks and instead skating with the group likely destined for the AHL.
Will Pelletier be able to make up for lost ground in the preseason and prove he’s ready for a full-time NHL role? Time will tell.
Sonny with a chance?
Now, many fans are looking at PTO Sonny Milano to come out with a bang. After a breakout season in Anaheim last year, he was not qualified by the Ducks and didn’t earn a contract from any team. Invited to Calgary’s camp on a PTO because of the open slot in the top-nine, Milano is no doubt motivated to prove all 32 teams wrong and show that he deserves a regular spot in the top half of an NHL roster.
Brad Treliving said that Milano’s offensive punch is exactly what they’re looking for in their top-nine, so all Milano needs to do is prove him right. He will be put in every position to succeed, with his first chance coming tonight. Let’s see how he does.
Dozens of darkhorses
Trevor Lewis received just 2% of the votes in this week’s poll, but he is just one of a few options that could fill in that spot. Newly signed Brett Ritchie could be a truck-like addition to Andrew Mangiapane and Nazem Kadri‘s line. Maybe Adam Ruzicka shifts over to the wing to get a regular spot in the NHL lineup, since the center position is basically spoken for.
There are plenty of options, but it looks like it’s Milano’s spot to lose, at this point.
Do you think Milano will earn a contract by the end of training camp? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter @wincolumnCGY.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire