It's fun when the team you cheer for has great propects and great prospect camps because you get to hope that they will crack the line up, this was the case recently in Calgary where some of the young talent made the fans think, "what if?".
"Flamstr" wrote a few great blogs on prospect camp and even interviewed the families of a couple (if you haven't read these it's worth your while) and after reading that a few readers were hoping they'd make the team. While it isn't impossible for these young guys to make the team there are several reasons why they wouldn't. Their talent is not in question, it's simply a numbers thing, the number of players and the numbers their contracts put against the cap.
No one like to waste money, especially franchises, so if you were hoping Aucoin would start in the A.H.L. this year don't hold your breath because financially it doesn't make sense. It would be terrific if the best players made the team all of the time like Keenan has stated but we know the contracts mean something. Here is a look at your 2008/09 Flames based on contracts, the teams actual depth chart and one way contracts.
Obviously the top line will look like:
LW- Cammalleri C- Langkow RW- Iginla
It gets a bit more tricky from there, these line ups will change of course but the starting night should be very close to:
LW-Bourque C- Lombardi RW- Bertuzzi
LW- Glencross C- Conroy RW- Moss
LW- Nystrom C- Primeau RW- Boyd
Roy And Prust will be the alternate guys in the press box. Nilson WILL be demoted or traded if Sutter gets lucky.
So what does this say? Looking at this line up what strikes you? (this is where oiler fans jump in and make their obvious jokes). To me this version of the flames has two things, team speed and team toughness. Not every player is super fast or a tough guy but as a whole adding guys like Glencross, Cammalleri and Bourque says they are serious about speed this year. In addition to the Boyd's and Lombardis' on this team we are in for some fast paced hockey. In case you have not seem Nystrom or Prust play together I forsee a huge checking line emerging there, tough fast kids ...watch out.
With Bertuzzi, if he can regain some of that nastyness we hated playing against from before, will alone make the team tougher but Roy and Prust are legit fighters as well. In my opionion Roy is a bit of a waste and was not needed but Sutter gets paid a lot more to make great decisions and I am a salesman so...
The kids on the team are gritty, the flames drafted gritty for four years so fans are hoping to see it now, Prust, Nystrom and yes even Boyd. Boyd is really unique because he was a smaller guy with great hands that would go to the net last year...and get smoked. He put on 10 lbs of muscle this year and I would peg ho\im to be the great surprise of 08/09 for the flames. If you doubt it go watch the world juniors he dominated a few years back.
The defense is really easy to look at, we know Anders won't be back unless there is huge injuries, Warrener WILL be kept around unless traded, he will not be sent down. Erikkson's demotion alone puts the flames under the cap, if Nilson gets sent down we are 1 million under the cap. It's just numbers but don't expect Backlund or Wahl to make the team this year, next year for sure for Backlund.
Pardy will be the extra D this year, he is a great young D and as will all young d us fans will have to try and support him through his mistakes whch is different than Anders... he should have known better!!
Like I said, this wasn't about my opinions on lines, the lines would be considerably different if it was. This was based on one way contracts, players under those contracts and the Flames' own depth chart.