Josh Jooris only played three years of college hockey. The now-24-year-old forfeited his NCAA eligibility when, after a 12-goal, 28-point junior year (39 games played), the Flames came calling, and offered him a contract. He signed, and instead of playing his senior year, went to the AHL instead. A modest 11-goal, 27-point outing (73 games played) didn't exactly put him on anyone's radar.
Then he had a great Penticton tournament. Then he scored two goals and an assist over six preseason games. He had eight shots on net. He caused other fans to cry out, "Who the hell is Josh Jooris?"
He survived until the last round of cuts. Now he's back as the first call up of the season.
The Flames have retroactively placed David Jones on his natural habitat, the injured reserve, dating back to his lone outing this season, the 5-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers one week ago, on Oct. 9. Over 16:22 of ice time he had two shots, one hit, and positive CF% and FF% Rel outings. And then, as per custom, we never saw him again, this time thanks to a lower body injury.
It's not just Jones who's injured. On Tuesday's effort against the Predators, Paul Gaustad had a hard hit on Lance Bouma while both were chasing the puck, and Bouma got the worst of it. He's currently day-to-day with a facial injury.
With two injuries to the forward group and nobody extra left, it's time for Jooris, who may play his first NHL game tomorrow against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Why Jooris? Because he was the last bottom six forward to be cut from camp, and the Flames are dealing with bottom six player injuries. He's been held off the scoreboard in the two Adirondack Flames games thus far, but the kids have only managed two goals in those games, anyway.
This also seems to point to the Flames continuing to phase out Brian McGrattan from the lineup. McGrattan has only played every other game so far this season, and wasn't expected to play last night; Bouma was a last-second scratch, and McGrattan was the only available body the Flames had left. With just two road games left, they could just roll with him - they Flames are currently carrying 12 hypothetically healthy forwards (we don't know if anyone still has the flu) - but Hartley doesn't seem to want him to be a regular anymore, at least not this early in the season.
We can probably expect Jooris to make his debut on the fourth line, lining up alongside Brandon Bollig and Matt Stajan. He probably won't get a ton of ice time, but hey, first NHL games are first NHL games, and those are exciting. Hopefully we'll see him tomorrow!