In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, we return to the Jack Eichel conversation after a story broke that general manager Brad Treliving seriously tried to acquire the Buffalo Sabres forward this offseason. In other news, Blake Coleman will not be available for the season opener after being suspended for a boarding major. Meanwhile, Chris Tanev responded to Connor McDavid, who suggested that Tanev made a dangerous play on him when he was driving the net. As training camp finishes up, the Flames have announced their final roster.
Eichel Still up for Grabs
The conversation regarding Eichel went quiet in the past month, at least in Calgary. Most believed that if management was going to make a move for him, it would have happened by now. However, some are reconsidering that after Elliotte Friedman said on the Jeff Marek Show last week that Treliving tried to make it happen over the summer.
“One of the teams that we knew was really big into (acquiring Eichel) was Calgary,” Friedman said. “Calgary really tried. And not once did anybody say to me, ‘He wouldn’t go to Calgary.’”
This comment, paired with the fact that Treliving said at the beginning of the camp he was still open to making moves to improve the team, has some thinking Eichel may still be traded to the Flames. It’s a difficult situation given that he would require surgery and miss time immediately after being acquired, but it’s hard to deny how great it would be for the Flames to finally have a number one center.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety (DoPS) announced that Coleman has been suspended for two games, including one preseason game and the Flames’ regular-season opener on Oct. 16. The incident occurred during the second period of the Flames’ 3-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday night, when Coleman hit Jets forward Jansen Harkins from behind while he was already in an awkward position along the boards. The play resulted in a two-minute penalty, but the DoPS felt more was deserved, and it is tough to argue with their decision.
It isn’t an ideal start for Coleman, who just signed a six-year, $29.4 million contract during the offseason. Thankfully, he will only miss one regular-season game, as his team is counting on him to play a significant role in the top six.
Tanev Responds to McDavid
During a game between the Flames and Oilers on Oct. 4, McDavid was involved in a dangerous play early in the third period when he went flying into goaltender Jacob Markstrom after trying to drive the net. The play resulted in a goal from Jesse Puljujarvi, though there was immediate concern for the Oilers captain, who laid down in the crease momentarily before popping back up. After the game, he made it known that the play should have been a penalty and says defencemen need to clean up their ‘sloppy stick’ play. A few days later, Tanev responded.
“I’m trying to play the puck,” said Tanev. “He’s on a partial breakaway, and I’m trying to get the puck. It’s obviously unfortunate that he gets tripped up and goes into the goalie, but anyone who’s watched me play knows I’m a pretty honest player. I take maybe three of four minors a year. I don’t think I’m going out there trying to hurt people.
I’m not trying to take his legs out. I’m trying to play the puck with my stick, and he’s trying to jump over me as well. Obviously, it is what it is. I’m trying to stop him from getting a breakaway and scoring. As I said, it’s obviously unfortunate. I’m not looking to take anyone’s legs out or hurt anyone. I’m trying to go stick on puck, and it’s obviously unfortunate what happened.”
Most opinions on this play depended on which team you support. I think it should have been a two-minute penalty to Tanev, but McDavid also needs to realize that driving the net at his speed can result in some dangerous collisions. Regardless of opinions, it seems to have fueled the Battle of Alberta, which is great news for all fans.
Flames Make Final Cuts
Darryl Sutter and the rest of the Flames coaching staff have made their final decisions on their opening-night roster for the 2021-22 season (from ‘Wes Gilbertson: Glenn Gawdin, Oliver Kylington stick around as Flames announce final training-camp cuts,’ The Calgary Sun, 10/10/21). After a great camp, both Oliver Kylington and Glenn Gawdin will remain with the club to start the season, which is a surprise after the team signed several veterans to short-term deals this offseason.
With the good stories, however, come the bad. The team was forced to send Adam Werner, Connor Mackey, Walker Duehr, Byron Froese and Justin Kirkland to the American Hockey League. Heading into camp, the only player expected to have a shot at making the team was Mackey, but Duehr, a college free agent signing, had a very impressive camp and should get an NHL call-up at some point this season.
With the roster now finalized, we are getting oh so close to the season opener. For the Flames, that will take place on Oct. 16, against their biggest rivals, the Oilers. That game will take place at Rogers Place, but Flames fans won’t have to wait much longer to watch their team in person; two days later, they take on the Anaheim Ducks in their home opener.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.