The NHL season starts tomorrow! The Calgary Flames are one of eight teams dropping the puck opening night, hosting the Vancouver Canucks at 8 p.m. MT. Kicking things off against a longtime rival, not to mention the team they defeated in the playoffs all the way back in April, is the perfect way to get hockey going.
To that end, the Flames have released their opening 22-man roster. Typically teams will have 23 men on their opening rosters, but because the Montreal Canadiens claimed Paul Byron off of waivers this morning, they're a man short.
Their actual lineup will be perfectly full, though, and this gives the Flames leeway to bring up any other player whenever they want - or keep room open for when one of the three injured parties to return without disrupting anybody.
Here are the 22 guys who will start off the Flames' 2015-16 season, consisting of 13 forwards, six defencemen, and three goalies:
|Left Wing||Center||Right Wing|
|Johnny Gaudreau||Sean Monahan||Jiri Hudler|
|Lance Bouma||Mikael Backlund||Michael Frolik|
|Micheal Ferland||Sam Bennett||Josh Jooris|
|Brandon Bollig||Matt Stajan||David Jones|
|Left Defence||Right Defence|
|Mark Giordano||Dougie Hamilton|
|Kris Russell||Dennis Wideman|
|Brett Kulak||Deryk Engelland|
|Joe Colborne||T.J. Brodie||Ladislav Smid|
Giordano is the Flames' captain, and Russell is the full-time alternate; Monahan and Wideman will alternate the other alternate's duties.
Colborne and Brodie are both essentially week-to-week at this point with a broken thumb and hand, respectively, while there's no concrete timetable on Smid. He's been practicing, but has gotten absolutely zero game action.
The Flames are entering the season with one extra forward - probably Raymond - as well as one extra goalie - probably Ortio. They have no extra defencemen available, so Kulak is getting games in, no matter what. Welcome to the NHL, kid.
Easily the most interesting part of all of this is just what is done with all three goaltenders on the roster. One will be a healthy scratch every night; the question is, though, if they rotate the goalies in and out - starter, backup, and scratch. For the time being, Ramo gets the opening night's starter's reigns.
It also remains to be seen what is done with Raymond. He fell out of favour towards the end of the 2014-15 season and the playoffs, and hasn't exactly reclaimed a regular lineup spot with his preseason performance. Raymond cleared waivers, but the Flames have not sent him down; he remains a part of the Flames for the time being, but his future with the club is definitely in question.
It's a much younger roster than last year's opener, though - and likely, a better one. Can't wait to see how 2015-16 plays out. Go Flames!