With the team’s final preseason game in the books on Sept. 28 (a 3-2 win against their arch-rivals the Edmonton Oilers) the Calgary Flames get ready for the preseason. In this post, I want to review some of the latest news out of Calgary as the team prepares for the opening of its regular season.
Item One: Calgary Flames Release Devante Smith-Pelly from PTO
The Calgary Flames announced that it had released veteran forward Devante Smith-Pelly from his professional tryout (PTO). Earlier in September, the Flames had invited the 27-year-old to their training camp roster. However, his luck ran out and he’s gone. By signing Tobias Rieder (who was also on a PTO), there was no longer room on the roster or salary-cap space to fit Smith-Pelly in the team’s plans. The veteran forward will become a free agent.
Here at NHL Trade Talk, we wish him luck catching on somewhere else.
The 27-year-old Smith-Pelly, who’s from Scarborough, Ontario, has played 10 seasons in the NHL. He was a second-round pick (Anaheim Ducks) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. Before trying to catch on with the Flames, he had previously played with the Ducks, the Montreal Canadiens, the New Jersey Devils, and the Washington Capitals. Last season with the Capitals, he scored four goals and added four assists in 54 games, his 10th in the NHL. His career totals are 44 goals and 57 assists over 395 games.
Item Two: Flames Assign Nine Players to Stockton Heat
The Calgary Flames announced that they have assigned nine players and placed one on waivers as a way to trim their roster before the beginning of the regular season.
These players: center Byron Froese, goalie Jon Gillies, left-winger Justin Kirkland, defenseman Andrew Nielson, right-winger Matthew Phillips, center Luke Philp, right-winger Buddy Robinson, defenseman Rinalt Valiev, and goalie Artyom Zabidulin have been assigned outright to the Heat.
Brandon Davidson has been placed on waivers, and if he passes through waivers he’ll be assigned to the Heat as well. The 28-year-old defenseman has been a depth defenseman for four teams before he came to try out with the Flames. From Taber, Alberta, it would have been nice had he latched on with a team he probably cheered for as a youngster. We’ll see how his season works out.
Item Three: Former Edmonton Oilers Score as Flames Beat Alberta Rival
In the stuff of dreams, or straight from the movies, two new Flames forwards came back to haunt their former team. For the record, Tobias Rieder and Milan Lucic were the players, and the Edmonton Oilers were the haunted team. Flames fans, who have followed that long-running hockey feud called The Battle of Alberta, must be smiling today.
In the Flames win over the Oilers 3-2 Saturday night, Rieder and Lucic scored all the Flames goals and led their new team to victory. Rieder, who ironically didn’t score a single goal during his entire time (67 games) with the Oilers last season, scored one in the second period and one in the third period (the game-winner) to help his team win its final preseason warmup. Lucic added a second-period goal to join the Flames’ fun.
The 26-year-old Rieder joined Calgary on a PTO and has impressed the Flames coaches enough that he has been signed to a roster spot. Head coach Bill Peters especially expressed his appreciation for Rieder’s ability to generate offensive opportunities. For Rieder, that goal-scoring albatross is now gone after he snapped a wrist shot past Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen. And, to get two goals – even better.
Lucic then made his own “so there” statement. After coming to Calgary this summer in a trade for two unwanted players (or contracts), with James Neal going the other way, Lucic scored for his new team. For as slow and ineffective as Lucic was in Edmonton, he’s showed none of that in Calgary. The coaching staff has lauded his ability to create offensive chances, especially on the power play. This goal was his first for the Flames in preseason.
Should Lucic ever get going, volleys of ‘Loooooooooooooooooooooch’ chanting will likely ring through the Scotiabank Saddledome all season.
For Oilers’ fans, should these two veteran players actually become contributing members on a powerful Flames line-up, there will be a lot of moaning and saying “Not again.”
What’s Next for the Calgary Flames?
The Flames open their regular-season schedule by traveling to Colorado to take on the Avalanche on Thursday evening. Here at NHL Trade Talk, we wish the Flames good luck on their upcoming season.
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