Talk heading into Game 3 of the Calgary Flames preseason schedule was around the vacant spot on the roster.
Somewhere in the top nine, a winger spot awaits.
Candidates range from PTO players Sonny Milano and Cody Eakin to prospects Jakob Pelletier, Matthew Phillips, Cole Schwindt and rookie camp standout Adam Klapka.
And with Adam Ruzicka signing on again on the opening day of training camp, he’s in the mix, too. He could be the fourth-line centre, or get a crack as a flanker.
“There’s a good chance,” Ruzicka said after the morning skate in Calgary. “I spoke to the coaching staff and they want to try me on the wing.
“It’s a little different role, but it stays the same. You’ve got to compete in every single position you’re going to play. Just play hard and be good structurally and learn how to play that (spot).
“I can play whatever,” he added. “Centre, wing, I don’t really care. If I’m going to make the NHL, I’ll play in goal.”
In a 3-0 loss to the Kraken in Seattle on Tuesday night, there were few moments that stood out as one of those players striving to be ‘that guy.’
It was arguably Klapka’s quietest night since he drew eyes to his game with his size, speed and hands in Penticton. Pelletier, one of the more disappointing players at the Young Stars Classic, seems focused on his defensive play. That’s a good thing on one hand but, on the other, he appears afraid at times to open up for some offence.
Phillips might have been the best of that group on Tuesday, simply for some of the space he found and opportunities he created.
But was it memorable?
Ruzicka found himself back at centre by the end of the evening, and Schwindt’s name — if there was any play-by-play to be found — likely didn’t get mentioned much until he ripped a long bomb off the post late in the third period.
Milano and Eakin have looked good with the main group but not so much with the kids on Tuesday against a more star-studded Kraken lineup.
There certainly wasn’t much entertainment value.
But it is preseason, after all.
And we’ll see from head coach Darryl Sutter’s lineup on Wednesday which, if any, of these hopefuls get to ride shotgun with the Calgary Flames’ stars.
Photo: Kraken TV