Calgary Flames set 2013 opening night roster

Sven Baertschi Heat

Sven Baertschi has graduated from the AHL and will start the NHL season in Calgary. (Ross Bonander/THW)

The Calgary Flames made a handful of roster moves on Friday as they finalized their roster to begin the 2013 National Hockey League season.

WHO’S OUT

  • Brett Carson and Paul Byron, clearing waivers and being assigned to the the American Hockey League’s Abbotsford Heat.
  • Roman Cervenka (blood clot) and Anton Babchuk (shoulder), placed on the injured reserve. According to Flames general manager Jay Feaster, Cervenka has an appointment on Monday at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix to determine how long he’ll need to continue to stay on blood thinners. Once he’s off his medication, he’ll be able to participate in full-contact practices.
  • Jiri Hudler, in the Czech Republic for his father’s funeral. The Flames have him declared as a non-roster player due to bereavement leave and while the club hopes he’ll be back soon, Feaster noted on Thursday that he’ll be given as much time as he needs before he returns to the team.

WHO’S IN

The following 22 players will begin the season with the Flames.

  • #34 Miikka Kiprusoff (goalie, 36-years-old) – Calgary’s undisputed starting netminder and franchise leader in starts, wins and shutouts. He’ll be counted on to start the lion’s share of games for his team.
  • #37 Leland Irving (goalie, 24-years-old) – Kiprusoff’s 9th different back-up during his tenure as a Flame, Irving was the club’s first round choice in 2006. He played 7 games with the big club last season and kept the Flames in all but one of them.
  • #4 Jay Bouwmeester (defense, 29-years-old) – an alternate captain and a huge minutes-eater on the back-end for Calgary. A good puck distributor, but not a great shooter.
  • #5 Mark Giordano (defense, 29-years-old) – an alternate captain and the heart and soul of Calgary’s team. The team’s leading shot blocker. An underrated offensive talent.
  • #6 Cory Sarich (defense, 34-years-old) – a Stanley Cup winner in 2004 (when his Tampa Bay Lightning beat Calgary), Sarich is physical, experienced but not particularly mobile. He’ll likely slot in and out of the line-up, but he adds grit on the back-end.
  • #7 T.J. Brodie (defense, 22-years-old) – Calgary’s fourth round choice in the 2008 draft, Brodie had a cup of coffee with the Flames two years ago but made the club on a full-time basis last year. It’s unclear where he’ll fit in the pairings to begin the year, though.
  • #11 Mikael Backlund (center, 23-years-old) – Calgary’s first round choice in the 2007 draft, Backlund hasn’t yet become an offensive threat at the NHL level. He had an excellent camp and had a tremendous half-season in Sweden’s HockeyAllsvenskan league.
  • #12 Jarome Iginla (right wing, 35-years-old) – the team’s long-time captain and all-time franchise leader in games, goals, points and most every other offensive category. He has scored 30 goals in 11 consecutive seasons and is, to be blunt, a very good 35-year-old hockey player.
  • #13 Mike Cammalleri (left wing, 30-years-old) – an alternate captain, Cammalleri was re-acquired from the Canadiens and gradually found his scoring touch and re-ignited his chemistry with Jarome Iginla. He’s small, but lightning-fast.
  • #15 Tim Jackman (right wing, 31-years-old) – two years ago, Jackman scored 10 goals and had a great shooting percentage. Last season he had 1 goal and had a horrible shooting percentage. His deal value is somewhere in the middle.
  • #17 Blake Comeau (left wing, 26-years-old) – claimed off waivers from the Islanders last year, Comeau didn’t put up many points but became a fixture on the penalty kill.
  • #18 Matt Stajan (center, 29-years-old) – the oft-maligned Stajan (the last vestige of the disastrous Dion Phaneuf trade) had an up-and-down 2011-12 campaign, but had a great finish as he re-discovered his scoring touch. If you ignore his cap hit, he’s a very useful depth option.
  • #19 Blair Jones (center, 26-years-old) – acquired from Tampa Bay last season, Jones provides the Flames with size on their bottom-six lines. He’s still considered a work in progress but has upside.
  • #20 Curtis Glencross (left wing, 30-years-old) – an alternate captain, Glencross was the NHL’s leader in shooting percentage last season and had a career-high 26 goals. Outside of his scoring touch, he’s a very under-rated two-way talent.
  • #22 Lee Stempniak (right wing, 29-years-old) – one of the club’s unsung heroes last year, Stempniak was a useful utility man that played on every line and in every situation.
  • #25 Steve Begin (center, 34-years-old) – originally drafted by the Flames way back in 1996, Begin won a roster spot on a try-out after missing all of last season due to injury.
  • #26 Dennis Wideman (defense, 29-years-old) – signed as a free agent, Wideman was a huge part of Washington’s power-play success last season and will be counted on to provide some offensive oomph from the back-end.
  • #27 Derek Smith (defense, 28-years-old) – Smith was an injury replacement player out of camp last year, but quietly emerged as the Flames’ best depth defender before himself going down due to injury.
  • #40 Alex Tanguay (left wing, 33-years-old) – a Stanley Cup winner with Colorado in 2001 (under new Flames coach Bob Hartley), Tanguay will try his luck at center to start the year. He last played that position in junior.
  • #44 Chris Butler (defense, 26-years-old) – acquired for Robyn Regehr, Butler played primarily on the top pairing last season with Jay Bouwmeester. He was okay, but he’s much better suited for second-pairing duty.
  • #47 Sven Baertschi (left wing, 20-years-old) – Calgary’s first round pick in the 2011 draft, Baertschi is already a fan-favourite. He had a five-game emergency recall stint last season and scored three goals.
  • #51 Roman Horak (left wing, 21-years-old) – acquired in the Tim Erixon deal, Horak’s made the Flames out of camp two years in a row, while Erixon will start the season (again) in the AHL.

WHO’S IN LIMBO

  • Goaltender Henrik Karlsson, deposed from his back-up job by Leland Irving, sits in Calgary and awaits his next assignment. The Flames AHL affiliate already has two veteran goalies (Barry Brust and Danny Taylor), so it’s possible that Karlsson may be assigned elsewhere.
  • Defenseman Steve McCarthy, released from his try-out. Begin’s signing has the Flames at 48 professional contracts and it appears unlikely that he’ll be given an NHL deal, but the possibility exists that he’ll return to Abbotsford, where he had a key leadership role for the Heat.

Ryan Pike
A native of the Stampede City, Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and as Managing Editor of FlamesNation.ca.
Ryan Pike

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