Thursday, September 24, 2009

Flames Send Backlund Down

The Flames kept the train of selection sheet prospects heading out of town on me, as they sent down Mikael Backlund to Abbotsford of the AHL on Thursday. Backlund was joined by Brett Sutter and Matt Pelech cutting the roster down to 28 players, including two training camp invites, Theoren Fleury and David Shantz.

The longer that Fleury stays on the training camp roster, the more likely it seems that he'll be sticking around and with only four more positional cuts to make (knowing full well one cut will be a goalie), he's going to be taking someone's job this year.

Jarome IginlaDion PhaneufMiikka Kiprusoff
Olli JokinenJay BouwmeesterCurtis McElhinney
Daymond LangkowCory SarichDavid Shantz
Craig ConroyMark Giordano
Rene BourqueAnton Stralman
Curtis GlencrossAdam Pardy
David MossRobyn Regehr
Dustin BoydStaffan Kronwall
Nigel Dawes

Jamie Lundmark

Fredrik Sjostrom

Eric Nystrom

Colin Stuart

Jason Jaffray

Brandon Prust

Brian McGrattan

Theoren Fleury

Jarome Iginla should be pretty pleased with the work that has been done with the club below his name this summer. Olli Jokinen will be his centre for the year, by the looks of things and they'll have a glutton of choices for the wing on the other side. They also decided that they wanted to get a little tougher, since they signed Nigel Dawes and Brian McGrattan for some grit and some pugilism. The addition of Jay Bouwmeester will also be a welcomed change to a blueline that did have some troubles efficiently moving the puck out of their own zone.

Salary CapNow, the Flames have 26 players signed on to deals at this point on the camp roster and they'll all figure in to a cap hit of approximately $57.5 million, just $700,000 over the cap ceiling. This means that the final cuts to the team should take the team down below the ceiling and all will be well. The Flames were cap fiends last season, having to dress a very minimal line-up near the end of the year and having it cost them a game or two and the division title. Things are a bit different this year.

Now, personally, I don't pick Flames. I can't. Reputation doesn't let me, since I'm a huge Canucks fan. Nevertheless, it does look like they'll be a good team to pick from this year, as Iginla and Jokinen have started to click and be a bit more comfortable together. The question is whether or not the team can gel and buy into the new Sutter system to help keep pucks out of their own net. Miikka Kiprusoff has not had the most solid of preseason camps and Curtis McElhinney has only one career win in the NHL. This could be their new Achilles heel.

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