Not much can be gained from practice, but Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter will be watching for a number of details from his players today.
One group will be on tape from Vancouver. The other is the one he’s coaching as the Flames pre-season kicks off with a split-squad doubleheader.
Sutter and the Calgary Flames stars will take on the Canucks at the Saddledome (6 p.m.) an hour after the road squad starts in Vancouver (5 p.m.). Most of the top players are staying in town with their coach. That includes the top line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli. A lot of talk about chemistry has taken place the last few days of camp. Sutter succinctly defines that process as something everyone at home can relate to.
“It’s no different than having your friends at school,” he shrugged on Saturday. “Same idea.”
As Huberdeau and the gang get acquainted in game conditions, Sutter is watching for a number of things in addition to “the Xs and Os.”
Work ethic. How they play to the identity they’ve been asked to create. How they interact and communicate with each other. These are all extremely important elements on the journey after adding a significant number of new pieces in the off-season.
Here are the lines and pairings anticipated in each city tonight.
Flames Line combos and pairing projections:
@ Vancouver (5 p.m., Sportsnet)
Jakob Pelletier – Cole Schwindt – Matthew Phillips
Milan Lucic – Kevin Rooney – Brett Ritchie
Martin Pospisil – Adam Ruzicka – Trevor Lewis
Mitch McLain – Ben Jones – Adam Klapka
Nikita Zadorov – Nicolas Meloche
Juuso Valimaki – Michael Stone
Dennis Gilbert – Nick DeSimone
The Calgary Flames confirmed their rosters for each city on Sunday morning and they are the same as Saturday’s scrimmage. So it’s safe to assume we’ll see the team start with the same trios up front and pairings on defence.
Flames line combos and pairing projections:
@ Calgary (6 p.m., CalgaryFlames.com)
Jonathan Huberdeau – Elias Lindholm – Tyler Toffoli
Dillon Dube – Mikael Backlund – Blake Coleman
Sonny Milano – Connor Zary – Cody Eakin
Brett Sutter – Clark Bishop – Walker Duehr
Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson
Connor Mackey – MacKenzie Weegar
Jeremie Poirier – Colton Poolman
Calgary Flames fans who paid for tickets to the pre-season contest get rewarded with the star-studded lineup at home on split-squad day. We’ll see the top line and likely third line in action. With Nazem Kadri, Andrew Mangiapane and Chris Tanev sitting out the early games this offseason, Sonny Milano‘s tryout is alongside an exciting young centre in Connor Zary and fellow PTO winger Cody Eakin.