We're getting closer and closer to the real season. There are just three preseason games left for the Calgary Flames to play, the Stockton Heat's camp is just around the corner, and it's time to acknowledge that while several prospects have been fun to watch, they simply aren't going to make this team. To that end, the Flames have cut 15 players from camp.
Twelve can bypass waivers, and have been assigned to the Heat. They are:
- LW Kenny Agostino
- C Bill Arnold
- D Ryan Culkin
- G Jon Gillies
- D Keegan Kanzig
- LW Morgan Klimchuk
- D Oliver Kylington
- D Kenney Morrison
- RW Emile Poirier
- RW Blair Riley
- D Patrick Sieloff
- LW Bryce Van Brabant
It's important to note that just because the above players have been assigned to the Heat, doesn't mean that's where they'll spend their season. Of course, AHL teams have camps as well, and Stockton's begins on Monday, Sept. 28 (otherwise known as "tomorrow"). Stockton needs the bodies, and the prospects need the chance to prove they belong at the AHL level.
The only players really in question for AHL status on that list are Kanzig and Kylington. Kanzig has gotten no game action outside of Penticton, and he couldn't even keep up in those games. With the Flames' increased depth in regards to their prospect defencemen, he may not be able to survive AHL camp, and could end up in either the ECHL or back in the WHL.
As for Kylington, he isn't guaranteed to make the Heat, either, but for an entirely different reason. It's not that he can't keep up with the professional game - more that he's still raw and inexperienced. The Flames dressed a very young defence group for their most recent preseason game, and Kylington was the only one who didn't get 20 minutes. As it stands, the Brandon Wheat Kings may be the better team for him to be on - and it's possible his partner could be Ivan Provorov. Who doesn't want to see that?
It should be noted Culkin will still be out at least another four to six weeks with a shoulder injury, leaving another spot open on Stockton's defence for the start of the season.
Two other players are expected to join the Heat once they clear waivers (which they almost certainly will):
- C Turner Elson
- C Derek Grant
Last, but certainly not least, Rasmus Andersson has finally been returned to the Barrie Colts. He was the longest-standing guaranteed CHL player, and this preseason, he proved to a lot of people he's one of the top defence prospects the Flames have in their pool (if not the top guy, frankly). The future is incredibly bright for him, and he'll probably turn professional next season.
Thirty-two players remain at camp: three goalies, 11 defencemen, and 18 forwards. With T.J. Brodie and Ladislav Smid on the injured reserve, the Flames still have to cut seven players. Jakub Nakladal (who may or may not also be injured), Brett Kulak, Ryan Wilson, and Tyler Wotherspoon remain to fight for a spot on the team. Wilson is still on a professional tryout.