After the Calgary Flames’ sixth regulation loss in a row, the team has been looking a lot more serious about kicking off a rebuild. In the most recent 32 Thoughts written article, Eliotte Friedman had a wealth of notes surrounding the Flames. One of which was that an NHL executive heard that the Flames were going to waive a veteran player to shake up the roster. It remains unknown if the veteran was meant to be the recently waived Jordan Oesterle or someone with a bigger impact on the roster. However, with Oesterle clearing waivers and being sent down, the Flames have made another transaction to tweak the lineup.
Flames re-call DeSimone
After calling up defenceman Ilya Solovyov while Rasmus Andersson was out serving his suspension, the team quietly sent Solovyov back down on October 30. Now with Oesterle sent down, the Flames look to be turning to DeSimone to play the role of the sixth/seventh defenceman. With Nikita Zadorov‘s status unresolved due to personal matters, DeSimone fits as a good option to slot into games.
Last season, DeSimone featured in four NHL games with the Flames and is still looking for his first NHL point. DeSimone’s most common partner last season was Dennis Gilbert, who’s played in nine games so far this season. After Gilbert, DeSimone also played with Zadorov for a few shifts. The pairing of DeSimone and Gilbert actually saw decent results together with the Flames controlling expected goals with them on the ice. This starkly contrasts the disastrous pairing with Zadorov where the two just struggled and often found themselves on their heels.
If DeSimone does slot into games, it would be worth reuniting the pairing that actually worked and having him play alongside Gilbert. This makes for a definitive third pairing and opens up a bit of room to experiment with the top-four in Chris Tanev, Andersson, MacKenzie Weegar, and Noah Hanifin.
Tweaking for the sake of tweaking
Going back to how this roster transaction was initiated from yesterday until now, if the waiving of Oesterle was in fact the Flames’ roster shakeup move, that alone doesn’t have any massive implications. The re-call of DeSimone marks a change regardless, and at least gets him more NHL reps whether just in practises or also in games, but the Flames have yet to truly act in a clear-cut direction. It’s the proverbial calm before the storm of a Flames rebuild; however, they’re finding themselves more in the storm before the storm.