Narrowly pulling out of a four game tailspin ten days ago against the 32nd-place Chicago Blackhawks, it’s not unreasonable to say that the Calgary Flames were eager to take a break and hit the reset button.
That button appears to have syrup or some other foodstuff lost in the keywell. It may have been pressed down over this entire last week and a half. The Calgary Flames are a bit of a new team since last hitting the ice.
Out is top minute munching center Elias Lindholm via a trade to Vancouver. Jordan Oesterle has been pushed out of the lineup by recent waiver claim Brayden Pachal. Jakob Pelletier and Kevin Rooney have rejoined the team after recovering from shoulder injuries and will attempt to inject life into a stagnant fourth forward unit.
Even more compelling? We’re just scratching the surface of this roster overhaul. Fun times to follow the Flames and their rookie general manager Craig Conroy.
Calgary Flames (22-22-5, 49 pts) vs Boston Bruins (31-9-9, 71 pts)
Last Ten: Calgary (5-5-0) Boston (7-1-2)
Time: 5:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.
TV: Sportsnet One, Sportsnet West, NESN, ESPN+
A few notes, thoughts, and observations.
A Much Needed Addition
We’ll get to the forwards in a moment, but who else is excited about the addition of Pachal?
Born out of Estevan, Saskatchewan, the Flames finally have a physical blue line presence since shipping off Nikita Zadorov.
A cursory look into the 24-year-old’s 15 career fights implies that Pachal isn’t going to knock out league heavyweights, but he is quick to respond when a teammate is in trouble. That is usually all it takes to deter some of the NHL’s more notorious bullies. It’s worth noting that Brayden was a Captain of the Henderson Silver Knights for the last two seasons before starting this season with the Golden Knights. He has a goal in 17 NHL appearances this season.
The Other End of the Skill Spectrum
Oddly enough, nothing seems to come up when checking into Russian sniper Andrei Kuzmenko’s resume on hockeyfights.com. Must be a server error.
While Kuz doesn’t adjust faces like Pachal might, he can certainly fill the net. The right shot winger recorded 39 goals and 74 points last season.
This season has been much less productive with only eight goals and 21 points. If rookie head coach Ryan Huska can get Kuzmenko back on track, the Flames will have yet another asset worth acquiring at the deadline. The notion of flipping the asset at either this deadline or the next remains a possibility. The Calgary Flames have three retention trades available still this season.
First things first, Huska will need to find a way to end the mercurial sniper’s goalless drought. Kuz has a mere two assists in 13 games since Dec 28.
A Place in His Heart for Beantown
Keep an eye on Noah Hanifin tonight. The Boston, Mass. product tends to show up offensively against his hometown Bruins. The 6-foot-3 smooth skating defenceman has four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 17 career games against the Bruins.
He also tends to drop the defence in those games and is a -10 at even strength.
The Flames will be in-tough tonight. 31-9-9 has Jim Montgomery’s crew in top of the Atlantic Division. Lindholm’s departure leaves a massive hole in the lineup. Tonight will be an interesting one.
Calgary Flames Projected Lineup
Courtesy of Eric Francis. @EricFrancis