And with this game, we see injured veterans returning, one last chance to get their legs under them before we get serious. Here is the Flames' projected lineup for tonight in Winnipeg:
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Johnny Gaudreau||Joe Colborne||Mason Raymond|
|Josh Jooris||Mikael Backlund||David Jones|
|Jiri Hudler||Matt Stajan||Devin Setoguchi|
|Brandon Bollig||Lance Bouma||Brian McGrattan|
|Left Defense||Right Defense|
|TJ Brodie||Raphael Diaz|
|Deryk Engelland||Kris Russell|
|Ladislav Smid||Dennis Wideman|
- Notable scratches: Well, Mark Giordano and Sean Monahan are obviously on the team, even if they're not playing tonight, so somebody has to get bumped somewhere. Does this mean Diaz is finally getting his contract, though? Or does he need to earn it in this game?
- Give Gaudreau #13 already.
- Michael Ferland did not play the last preseason game. He was cut the next day. Sven Baertschi is a scratch tonight. It does not bode well. (For the record, he's certainly better than a few players you could name in the lineup. Players the Flames shouldn't have. Because they take roster spots from kids... And if those kids are ready [Sven certainly looks it] then that's exactly what you DON'T want on a rebuilding team...)
- Paul Byron is a scratch as well. He was a consistent feature in the Flames lineup since his call up early last season. He was good, too, but he's barely gotten any preseason time. He's also still only 25, and well, better than some other players the Flames have. Cutting him would be a mistake.
- Sam Bennett isn't dressed either, and is apparently out with a shoulder injury. For all his skill, these frequent injuries, no matter how minor they may be, prove he should be sent back to junior. He's a good hockey player. He's also not ready to play against men. And with Colborne back at centre, the Flames are pretty full down the middle, so does he even get any regular season games?
- Jooris is still there, though, and that's pretty neat. He could very well make the team. Of course, that doesn't mean he stays up the full year - remember a few years ago, when Brodie had an amazing preseason, played three NHL games, looked lost, and was gone the rest of the year? I'm not saying that's what happens to Jooris, just pointing out that it doesn't necessarily mean he'll be on the roster year-round if he makes it (which is looking reasonably good). Still impressive, though.
- That fourth line looks like it could be the Flames' fourth line throughout the year. If it is, just remember: the Flames COULD dress a lineup in which they can roll four lines, and they're actively choosing NOT to.
The final preseason game is tonight, at 6 p.m., MT, in Winnipeg. It will be broadcast on radio. No word about streaming yet, but Winnipeg is a Canadian team, so you'd think they'd be providing an outlet to watch online...?