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A Cursory Look at Training Camp Lines

September 23, 2022, 6:56 PM ET [1 Comments]
Trevor Neufeld
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
With fitness testing concluding Wednesday and training camp kicking off yesterday, we finally get something beyond foundation shaking player transactions to talk about. Training camp has been split into two groups. Group B is the AHL/ECHL group and the below Group A is the NHL squad as well as a few hopefuls.

Group A
Huberdeau-Lindholm-Toffoli
Eakin-Kadri-Milano
Dube-Backlund-Coleman
Lucic-Rooney-Ritchie
Pospisil-Ruzicka-Lewis

Weegar-Tanev
Hanifin-Andersson
Zadorov-Meloche
Valimaki-Stone

Markstrom
Vladar

A few notes.

Eakin’s placement on the second line is surely a placeholder for the injured Andrew Mangiapane. With that said, I’m not sure Kadri was envisioning starting camp with his new team on a line with two players on professional tryout agreements.

Valimaki gets another look playing around the NHL team. A bit of a surprise given he was passed on the depth chart last season by Connor Mackey.

Martin Pospisil’s presence is a surprise as well. The menacing left winger is waiver eligible this season, although a physical project like Martin will likely only be seen as an asset when he can match strength with some of the more developed physical players at the highest level. While he appeared to be a downright bully during last year’s rookie games, his style seemed to diminish down to a quiet checker when we got a look at him against NHL players in the preseason.

At the age of 22, Martin is drawing closer to the day the 6’2” 192lb Slovak breaks into the league. Based on his placement in group A — perhaps that day will come this season.

Cusp Players Requiring Waivers in 22-23
D Juuso Välimäki
D Connor Mackey
D Nicolas Meloche
D Dennis Gilbert
C Adam Ruzicka
LW Martin Pospisil
RW Matthew Phillips

Nicolas Meloche is in an interesting spot as well. One has to wonder if 6’3” 211lb Quebecer is who Darryl Sutter has pencilled in to replace Erik Gudbranson on the third pairing. The size isn’t far off and Meloche isn’t afraid to make his presence known.

Odds are good that the pairings get a shakeup once Oliver Kylington returns from leave, but a Zadorov-Meloche pairing sounds great if that’s what the Flames roll with to start the season.

Courtesy of Julian McKenzie of the Athletic, here are the lines for Group B.

Group B
Pelletier-Schwindt-Phillips
Gallant-Zary-Pettersson
Sutter-Bishop-Duehr
McLain-Jones-Klapka

Gilbert-De Simone
Mackey-Poolman
Poirier-Brook
Kuznetsov-Solovyov

Less to note here, but it’s unlikely that Adam Klapka stays buried for long. The 6’8” Czech showed some serious potential at the 2022 Young Stars Classic. Putting him on a line with Pospisil and Ruzicka in Group A would be beyond compelling. The fact that all three can communicate relatively well with one another in their respective native tongues would help a lot.

Alex Gallant is a gem of a player, but it’s doubtful that he holds a spot on a line with Connor Zary and Mattias Emilio Pettersson. He’s a great teammate and sticks up for anyone that needs it, but let his stat lines from the last six seasons do the talking. That final number on the line is PIM.

CC00-B547-E631-4227-BE16-A600785-A1-F9-F

It’s unclear whether Connor Mackey is actually on the second pairing as that defensive group is still being defined, but he might be a bit perturbed at not being included in Group A.

It’s rather clear from the first line that those three are anticipated to be the Wranglers’ top forward unit. Surely frustrating for the 24 year old Matthew Phillips. This may be his last season with the Flames organization if he doesn’t get a fair chance this season.

It’s not unreasonable to say that maybe he should be getting a look with Nazem Kadri while Andrew Mangiapane is injured. Milano is a natural left wing and could slide over. Even playing right wing on Pospisil and Ruzicka’s unit would be fair to the native Calgarian.

We slowly approach Sunday when preseason action begins with a game against the Canucks. Stay tuned for more as the situation at camp develops.


Trevor Neufeld


@Trevor_Neufeld
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