2005-06 CALGARY FLAMES Training Camp Coverage << Hockey Alliance  
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Camp Management
By D'Arcy McGrath
The new NHL season has many new wrinkles and adjustments for Joe Hockey Fan to ingest. You have rule changes, roster upheaval, a general shift in the power rankings from big markets to well built young rosters heck even the ice looks different with lines that are new and old lines that are fat. With the final cuts for NHL rosters due today, another new addition to the hockey landscape is the slim and trim NHL roster.
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Catching Up On Camp
By D'Arcy McGrath
The Flames are still at least 11 cuts away from their final roster, but it's never too early to take stock on the comings and goings of training camp. First game at home tonight, and with the club 25% of the way through their meaningless schedule before the puck drops Calgarypuck.com takes a look at how camp is unfolding.
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A Lot Can Change in 24 Months
By D'Arcy McGrath
Even under normal circumstances a lot can change with a NHL roster over the course of one season. A trade deadline, a free agent signing season, a retirement or two, and a few prospects stepping up can transform a club in a relatively short time period.
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Prospect Camp
Monday's fitness testing marked the beginning of the club's main camp and brought an end to the prospect camp as many juniors were sent packing back to their CHL teams. The Flames now have 51 players in camp vying for 23 (or perhaps 22) NHL roster spots. There are only three or four contested spots open depending on your view on certain veterans.
Position Breakdown
Left Wing --
Locks: Tony Amonte, Marcus Nilson, Chris Simon, Darren McCarty
Bubble:Eric Nystrom
Farmhand: Lynn Loyns, Brandon Prust, Craig McDonald

Skinny: The left wing position is one of some conern this fall, or it isn't depending on the position you give to all but a handful of forwards. The club's roster list has Tony Amonte and Darren McCarty as left wingers when they naturally play the right side. If they are indeed lining up on the port than the club has an ambarassment of riches with five seasoned pros ready to fill four lines. McCarty will likely play on the right however, and Steve Reinprecht should end up at center allowing one of Eric Nystrom or Brandon Prust to make the grade. If not look for a guy like Craig McDonald to see some time in Calgary. The left side is one to watch.
Center --
Locks:Daymond Langkow, Steven Reinprecht, Stephane Yelle, Jason Wiemer, Byron Ritchie
Bubble:Matthew Lombardi
Farmhand: Cam Severson

Skinny: Essentially six guys in camp that can play center, though as many as four of these fellows will likely see time on the wings as well - Daymond Langkow and Stephane Yelle as the only game in game out pivots. The Flames have shored up many a hole up front through free agency, but the center ice position remains the one spot that could be classified as a weakness. Does Calgary have a true #1 center?... A player to watch will be Matthew Lombardi coming off a playoff concussion that saw him essentially sit active for 12 months. Can he get back to, or build upon his 16 goal rookie campaign, or will the inactivity and injury set him back in his development? A contributing Lombardi gives the Flames many options up front.
Right Wing --
Locks: Jarome Iginla, Shean Donovan
Bubble: Chuck Kobasew
Farmhand: Brantt Myhres

Skinny: The assignments of positions based on the camp guide would suggest the Flames are thin on the right side, though in fact that isn't the case. With Jarome Iginla, Darren McCarty and Shean Donovan likely to line up on the right the only real question mark is what role will Chuck Kobasew play after his outstanding season in the American Hockey League. Much like Lombardi at center, if Kobasew can pick up the scoring slack behind Iginla and play on the second line the Flames are pretty much set. ... Beyond Kobasew, however the club may keep Brantt Myhres in town to fill the enforcer role vacated by the departure of Oliwa.
Defense --
Locks: Andrew Ference, Roman Hamrlik, Jordan Leopold, Robyn Regehr, Rhett Warrener
Bubble: Steve Montador, Dion Phaneuf
Farmhand: Steve Bancroft, Mark Giordano, Zenith Komarniski, Ritchie Regehr, Brandon Rogers

Skinny: If there is any position with literally nothing left to settle it's the blueline this fall in Calgary. The team has five clear cut NHL defenceman, a seventh man with cup final experience, and an impact prospect that has already had space cleared for his debut. With that said however, there are a few interesting players in camp that could have a say in how things come down, including stalwart defenceman Robyn Regehr's little brother Ritchie, who continues to improve game in and game out. Could Regehr Jr. force a decision from coach Sutter?

Goaltender --
Locks: Miikka Kiprusoff
Bubble: Phillipe Sauve, Brent Krahn
Farmhand: Curst McElhinney

Skinny: One of the most intriguing battles in camp will be that of Miikka Kiprusoff's caddy. The acquisition of Phillipe Sauve - and the adjoining testemonial on his behalf by goalie coach David Marcoux - suggests the job is Sauve's to lose but don't tell that to Flame draft pick Brent Krahn. With three games in three days near the end of the exhibition schedule both should get a good long look before the final decision is made.

SWOT
Strengths --
The blueline. The Calgary Flames came out of the lockout with one of the best young defence corps in hockey. Since that they've lost the services of Toni Lydman, but have added powerplay quarterback and minute gobbler Roman Hamrlik and a notable prospect in Dion Phaneuf. This group will be key to the Flames season, both in a defensive aspect helping Miika Kiprusoff and in generating offence on transition.
Weaknesses --
Goaltending. The Flames appear to have one of the game's best in Miikka Kiprusoff so picking this position as a weakness might raise some eyebrows. However, should Kiprusoff be unable to live up to his one great season the Flames are in some serious trouble given their lack of an experienced vet to pick up the slack.
Opportunities --
Much like the late 80's and early 90's the Flames finally come to camp with less fingers crossed and "ifs" listed for reasons why they should succeed this season. Much like when the likes of Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Suter and Robert Reichel broke in the club's young players will now be afforded less spotlight and pressure with the added depth in all positions of talented vets. That change alone may make all the difference in a breakthrough season by the likes of Jordan Leopold, Chuck Kobasew or Matthew Lombardi.
Threats --
The Flames are still relatively thin when it comes to scoring, and with that therein lines a huge threat with any injuries to the club's scoring forwards. If one of Jarome Iginla, Tony Amonte, Steve Reinprecht or Daymond Langkow went down for extended periods, the club just might not find the back of the net enough to win hockey games.

Camp Information
Location:
Don Hartman NE Sportsplex
Opens:
9/7 - Prospects Report
9/11 - Rookies Intra-Squad Game
9/12 - Veterans Report for Testing
9/13 - Veterans Take to the Ice
Training Camp Discussion on the
Message Boards
Today's News - 9/13
Fitness Testing Complete
With Monday's gruelling fitness testing out of the way, the remaining players will take to the ice on Tuesday. Reports have captain Jarome Iginla leading the way in fitness testing with Robyn Regehr hot on his heels.
Pre-Season Schedule
9/16 - @ EDMONTON (7:00)
9/17 - @ CHICAGO (5:00)
9/21 - CHICAGO (7:00)
9/23 - EDMONTON (7:00)
9/26 - VANCOUVER (7:00)
9/27 - @ EDMONTON (7:00)
9/28 - EDMONTON (7:00)
9/30 - @ VANCOUVER (8:00)
10/5 - SEASON OPENER
Cut Counter (23 roster spots)
Players Remaining Cuts Remaining
22 0
Camp Roster
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