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Flames vs. Jets preview: Home stretch

The next time there's a hockey game in the Saddledome, it'll be the regular season.

wheeeeeee
wheeeeeee
Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

SB Nation 2014 NHL Preview

Two preseason games. Thirty-three players at camp. It's coming down to the wire, and the lineups are resembling what we're likely to see throughout the season more and more every day. The projected Flames lineup:

Left Wing Center Right Wing
Johnny Gaudreau Sean Monahan Jiri Hudler
Sven Baertschi Joe Colborne Josh Jooris
Paul Byron Sam Bennett Devin Setoguchi
Curtis Glencross Matt Stajan Brian McGrattan
Left Defense Right Defense
TJ Brodie Mark Giordano
Kris Russell Deryk Engelland
Ladislav Smid Dennis Wideman
Goalies
Karri Ramo
Joni Ortio
  • This is frustrating. You know why this is frustrating? Swap Jooris with Mason Raymond, Bennett with Mikael Backlund, and McGrattan with Lance Bouma. There. You have an opening day roster with four lines, all capable of playing, and not a goon in sight. Because they aren't necessary. The Flames have room for Gaudreau *and* Baertschi. They *can* roll four lines. If they dress guys like McGrattan and Brandon Bollig, then they're simply choosing not to. If it comes at the expense of an NHL-ready prospect, then, to put it as simply as possible: they're fucking up.
  • (This means no offence to Jooris or Bennett - Jooris has had an incredible showing, but I don't think he makes the opening day roster. As for Bennett, he shouldn't be up year-round. As for McGrattan and even Bollig... Yeah, they honestly don't add anything, and if the need to dress them comes at the expense of a prospect, no, that's very bad and very wrong.)
  • Speaking of, waiting for Rafa Diaz to get his contract. Tick tock tick tock... Because that six-man group is pretty much what we're getting, but Diaz is probably going to work his way into a regular top four spot this season. Remember how quickly Russell did it last year?
  • After battling a tooth infection, Smiddy's back. Other injured guys who could return very soon: Backlund, Raymond, David Jones (have we all just collectively agreed to forget about Jones? Seriously, where does he fit in?).
  • Ramo should be going the distance tonight.
  • Some decent Winnipeg Jets playing tonight: Andrew Ladd, Evander Kane, Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele. Should actually be a pretty fun game.

Puck drop is at 7 p.m. MT at the Saddledome. Either you're there, or you're listening to it on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. No word about streaming just yet, but the Flames have been pretty good about providing online streams for home games.

UPDATE: Yup it's being streamed! As long as you're within the Calgary market, you should be able to watch on either the Flames' or Sportsnet's site.