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Flames vs Oilers, Flames at Oilers game preview: Split squad day

The Flames and Oilers are kicking off the preseason with simultaneous split squad games in Alberta. There are a lot of players playing tonight. A loooot.

Tired of this picture yet? 'cause they're on a line tonight.
Tired of this picture yet? 'cause they're on a line tonight.
Rich Lam

Today's the day. Preseason is officially kicking off around the league, and the Flames are a part of it with not just one, but two games. In Calgary, the Flames take on the Edmonton Oilers at 6 p.m. MT. Meanwhile, about three hours up north, some other Oilers will host more Flames, also at 6 p.m. MT. Both games will be available to stream online, and if you miss them, we'll have recaps up for you after.

Why they can't stagger split squad games, we'll never know. Seriously, would it be that hard to start one of the games at 6:30? Anyway, here are the projected lineups for the game in Calgary:

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Mason Raymond Sean Monahan Jiri Hudler
Johnny Gaudreau Joe Colborne Devin Setoguchi
Brandon Bollig Max Reinhart Josh Jooris
Morgan Klimchuk Corban Knight Garnet Hathaway
Left Defense Right Defense
Mark Giordano TJ Brodie
Ryan Culkin Sheldon Brookbank
Brett Kulak Deryk Engelland
Jonas Hiller
Brad Thiessen

Edmonton Oilers
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Nail Yakupov Mark Arcobello Teddy Purcell
Iiro Pakarinen Anton Lander Steven Pinizzotto
Matt Hendricks Boyd Gordon Jussi Joensuu
Mitch Moroz Jujhar Khaira Chris Baltisberger
Left Defense Right Defense
Nikita Nikitin Mark Fayne
Martin Marincin Dillon Simpson
Jordan Oesterle David Musil
Viktor Fasth
Laurent Brossoit

And in Edmonton:

Calgary Flames
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Curtis Glencross Matt Stajan David Jones
David Wolf Bill Arnold Austin Carroll
Sven Baertschi Markus Granlund Paul Byron
Lance Bouma Mathieu Tousignant Brian McGrattan
Left Defense Right Defense
Kris Russell Dennis Wideman
Ladislav Smid Raphael Diaz
Mark Cundari Nolan Yonkman
Mason McDonald
Joni Ortio

Edmonton Oilers
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Taylor Hall Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Greg Chase
Benoit Pouliot Leon Draisaitl David Perron
Marc-Olivier Roy Will Acton Kyle Platzer
Vladimir Tkachev Bogdan Yakimov Kevin Westgarth
Left Defense Right Defense
Darnell Nurse Justin Schultz
Andrew Ference Brad Hunt
Keith Aulie Oscar Klefbom
Ben Scrivens
Richard Bachman

No surprises here: both teams are saving their biggest players for at home, and it's not a stretch to think that both home rosters will probably kick around the away team a little. That said, of course, how awesome would it be for a Flames sweep tonight? It's certainly possible.

Some thoughts on the Flames lineups:

  • The first and second lines at home, and the first and third lines away could all be real NHL lines. I'm especially interested in the Baertschi - Granlund - Byron line, since that's a line that might end up in the AHL this year instead, but they should be able to complement one another very nicely.
  • There's a fair share of grit lines mixed in there as well, of course. Carroll seems to have done nothing but impress, as he gets to play with two more players the organization is excited about. Arnold probably won't play in the NHL for a bit yet, but the freshly brought in Wolf could definitely snag a bottom six spot. It's a nice story for the seventh rounder.
  • The Flames are showing off pretty much all their free agent and trade acquisitions at home. So they better be good.
  • Reinhart and Knight are probably battling for the same spot, so it makes sense to keep them close together. That said, of all their wingers, Klimchuk has the greatest potential.
  • I wouldn't hate a Giordano - Brodie / Russell - Wideman / Smid - Diaz defence throughout the NHL season. The defence in Edmonton is deeper, but the defence in Calgary has the elite Giordano - Brodie pairing, so it evens out.
  • Kinda weird how they're playing the goonier type defencemen with prospects, though. What are the expectations there, for both parties?
  • At least in Calgary, Hiller will be playing the first 40 minutes, while Thiessen takes the final period. Hiller is almost certainly making the team, while Thiessen will almost certainly be the AHL team's backup. Meanwhile, Ortio gets the start in Edmonton, and there will probably be a similar split. McDonald is almost certainly going back to junior, while Ortio is almost certainly going to be Adirondack's starter.

There's definitely a lot to look for in both games. Even with injuries, between the two teams, there are enough veterans to make a full lineup. There isn't a lot of room for prospects to grab spots, and there are definitely a few - Gaudreau, Reinhart, Knight, Wolf, Baertschi, and Granlund - who could all probably play a regular NHL shift this season. It'll be a tight, interesting battle, all entering another gear in just a few hours.