There is a logjam on the blue line in Calgary, but the team is content to keep it that way. Sportsnet’s Eric Francis recently spoke to Flames GM Brad Treliving who stated that the team won’t be changing it’s current configuration on defense. With the recent recall of veteran Michael Stone from a conditioning stint in the AHL, Calgary currently has nine defenseman on the NHL roster. Treliving doubled down on his commitment to competition on the back end by adding that Juuso Valimaki, currently logging major minutes in the minors, will soon be recalled as well. At that point, the Flames will have ten defensemen and plan to carry that group through the remainder of the season.
With ten defensemen seeking play time, one would think multiple jobs are up for grabs. In fact, Francis writes that only one spot is really available if the Flames are at full health. The grouping of Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, and Noah Hanifin are all cemented in their top-four roles and the team has no complaints with young Rasmus Andersson on the bottom pair. That leaves five rearguards to battle for the one left-side spot beside Andersson on a nightly basis, while the other four watch from the press box.