Pre-Season Primer: First Test for Flames Vets

After the Young Stars tournament wrapped up last week in Penticton, main camp is now officially underway at the Saddledome without Flames captain Jarome Iginla, who remains out of commission with tightness and muscle spasms in his back. 

This condition is not unfamiliar to Iginla, who told the Fan 960 that he is "day-to-day," although he feels much better today and hopes to get back into the lineup soon. 

The players who survived Saturday's roster cuts participated in an intra-squad scrimmage today at the 'Dome, which saw Team White come away with the 'W' thanks to goals from Mikael Backlund and Jay Bouwmeester. The real action begins tomorrow evening in split-squad games against the Canucks, with the victorious Team White representing the Flames at Rogers Arena in Vancouver (8PM MT, Sportsnet West) while Team Black will aim for a better result on home ice (7PM MT, Fan 960). 

After the jump: Split squad rosters and who to watch as players compete for spots and prepare for the season ahead. 

Rosters [via flames.nhl.com

 

Team White: 

Sven Baertschi - Mikael Backlund - Niklas Hagman

Curtis Glencross - David Moss - Patrick Holland

Michael FerlandRoman Horak - Quintin Laing 

Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond - Carter Bancks - Guillaume Desbiens 

 

Chris Butler - Jay Bouwmeester

Derek Smith - Anton Babchuk

Joe Piskula - Clay Wilson 

 

Leland Irving/Joni Ortio 

 

Team Black: 

Alex TanguayPaul Byron - Rene Bourque

Lee Stempniak - Matt Stajan - Turner Elson

Ryan Howse - Lance Bouma - Tim Jackman

Tom Kostopoulos - Olli Jokinen - Greg Nemisz 

 

Scott Hannan - Mark Giordano

Jordan Henry - Brendan Mikkelson

T.J. Brodie - James Martin 

 

Miikka Kiprusoff/Henrik Karlsson 

 

Players to Watch: 

 

Mikael Backlund: The second-year pro scored twice in today's scrimmage game and will be looking to prove to Brent Sutter and the Flames' coaching staff that he is ready for a consistent top-six role come October 

Sven Baertschi: The Flames' first round pick in 2011 made a good impression at the Young Stars tournament, scoring twice and adding an assist in the team's final game against the rival Oilers. While it's unlikely the 18-year-old will be competing for a roster spot this season, early results indicate that he could be a player of interest for both Heat and Flames fans this coming season. 

Paul Byron: As one of the players coming back in the Regehr trade, expectations will likely be high for 22-year-old Byron, who is still an unknown commodity around these parts. Byron shot 21.1% last season and accumulated 26 goals and 53 points in 67 games with the AHL's Portland Pirates but scored just two points in eight games with the Sabres in 2010-11. 

Roman Horak: Acquired in the trade that sent Tim Erixon to the New York Rangers, Horak also remains something of a question mark in the minds of Flames fans. The former fifth-rounder has played two seasons alongside fellow Flames prospect Ryan Howse in Chilliwhack, and although Howse speaks kindly of his linemate, some fans in Calgary remain unconvinced about his abilities both as an individual player and at even strength. 

Chris Butler: 24-year-old Butler remains a somewhat confusing acquisition for the Flames after coming over in the Regehr trade. As of now he doesn't appear to have the makings of a top-four defender, but after putting up favourable underlying numbers as a member of the Sabres last season it's too soon to write him off entirely. 

Scott Hannan: A late-summer addition for the Flames, Hannan looks to be one of the league's better bargain signings of the off-season, but it remains to be seen if the 32-year-old still has what it takes to fill Reggie's skates against top competition on the first pairing. 

Lee Stempniak: Will Calgary's newest arrival help ignite the Flames' offence and, perhaps more importantly, former teammate Matt Stajan, who is in dire need of a bounce-back season? For the sake of everyone else involved, I sure hope so. 

David Moss: When Daymond Langkow was shipped off to the Phoenix Coyotes, there was some talk about Moss taking over as the Flames' first line centre, a role he played briefly in 2010-11 before going down with an ankle injury. Now, Moss is healthy again and ready to play--but can he pick up where he left off last season or is he in line for a regression? 

Patrick Holland: Holland is a prospect that has been making steady progress since being drafted by the Flames in the seventh round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, and he was rewarded with top-line duty in the Young Stars tournament, scoring twice against the Canucks' prospects last Monday. Now, he'll face the challenge of standing out amongst a crowd of seasoned NHL veterans in main camp. 

T.J. Brodie: The 21-year-old earned himself a cup of coffee with Flames after impressing in pre-season last September, will this be the year he sticks with the big club for good after paying his dues in the minors?

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