The Calgary Flames announced their training camp roster last night, including dozens of players from previous seasons of the team… and six names we probably didn’t expect to see.
Those six? They’re the few. They proud. The professional tryouts.
Let’s get to know them, shall we?
Drafted in 2008 out of the QMJHL, Adam (a product of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador) was highly touted due to his size and scoring prowess. A second round pick by Buffalo, he’s played 90 games in the NHL but has never quite figured out how to stick full-time. Now 26, he’s trying to get back on the NHL radar. He seems more likely to be an AHL player this year and try to use a strong season to get back to the NHL, though. Best-case scenario for him is perhaps becoming something like Derek Grant.
Here’s an interesting one.
Just 25 years old, Grigoriev is an effective defensive blueliner with limited offensive upside (according to KHL followers on the Twitter machine). He’s not huge at 5’9″ and 176 pounds, but he was good enough to play nearly five full seasons (and 255 games) in the Kontinental Hockey League with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, Barys Astana, Torpedo Nizhny Novogord and Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. My guess is the Flames went to see if Rushan Rafikov was playing in Lokomotiv last year, saw Grigoriev and fell in love.
He’s a right shot defenseman and the Flames have (a) just eight of them in camp and (b) two of them on their NHL roster with contracts that will expire after this season. If I’m Grigoriev, I see some opportunity down the line if I can get an AHL job and impress this year.
Interesting thing to keep an eye on. Mikhail Grigoryev was recently released from his contract with Lokomotiv. The 25 year old RHD is still
— Josh Khalfin (@Josh_Khalfin) August 20, 2016
A 2004 pick, Grossmann is a big, physical defenseman. He’s not known for his scoring. He’s played nearly 600 games in the NHL between Dallas, Philadelphia and Arizona, and he’s won a couple of medals in international competition (and he’s a guy that many within the organization have seen play and know a bit about). At this juncture, him being invited to camp basically makes him this year’s version of Corey Potter; if he’s on the team, it’s because the perception among management is none of the kids are ready yet.
Calgary’s penalty kill was God-awful last season, and new coach Glen Gulutzan undoubtedly had that in mind when Higgins was lured into the fold. But he ticks a lot of Calgary’s boxes: he’s a college man, he’s a veteran that can help mould the young forwards, and he’s been to a Stanley Cup Final (with Vancouver in 2011). If he can provide some bottom six depth and he hasn’t lost a step, there’s probably some value there.
Admittedly I don’t quite see the fit here, as Korpikoski would add another body to the muddle that is the Flames’ bottom six group. But that said, he’s got an Olympic medal and he’s another veteran body that can help guide the kids. At least through training camp, that is. Beyond that, I’m not sure if he has a future with this group.
The Flames don’t have a ton of veteran defensive depth on the farm, and Robak is a big body (6’3″, 195). He’s another person in the organization from the prairies, and he’s played a smattering of NHL games. Like Adam, he’s a 2008 second rounder (taken two spots after Adam) and he’s a guy that circled the NHL but never quite landed. He could be good depth for Stockton.