It has been an eventful week and a bit for the Calgary Flames as their entire roster with the exception of three players, as well as coaching and support staff has entered Covid-19 protocol. This has resulted in game delays through the NHL holiday break until at least December 26th. After that, if the Flames are able to get back to games with parts of their roster, there may be some players they need to call up from their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat, to fill some gaps as players finish up their quarantine period. Here are who some of those players might be.
Flames goaltending back-up, Dan Vladar able to avoid the locker room Covid-19 spread until December 21st. Because Vladar’s quarantine started days later than his teammates, the Flames may find themselves in need of a goaltender. Dustin Wolf is the obvious choice.
Wolf has had an unbelievable season for the Heat finding himself in the top three standings in the whole AHL for GAA, wins and save percentage. He has been the go-to netminder for the Heat and even after 16 starts, he has yet to lose in regulation. Going into the holiday break, his record sits at 14-0-2.
At only 20 years old, he is still making use of his development at his first full pro season in the AHL. The way he has been playing, however, it may be a matter of when he gets his shot at the NHL as opposed to if. Either way, he is a very solid option to have to backup Markstrom and possibly get some ice time with the Flames as they navigate their team Covid-19 situation.
Glenn Gawdin has hopped back and forth for the Flames the last couple of seasons. Most recently, he played back in October for a pair of games against the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers but did not pick up a point. He has played a total of nine games in the NHL and has earned a total of one assist in that time.
Gawdin usually has a strong showing at Flames training camp and is a top call-up when the Flames are down a center. His opportunities with the Flames have shown a trend of being split with another Heat regular, Adam Ruzicka, who was already up with the Flames when this scenario began to play out.
Gawdin sits at second in Heat scoring with nine goals and 15 assists for a total of 24 points.
Jakob Pelletier is another Heat rookie that has been playing at a mind-blowing capacity. He is a speedy playmaker with a wicked accurate shot. Going into the Christmas break, his scoring is third in the AHL and first among rookies. He sits at a 1.17 point per game average with 10 goals, 17 assists for a total of 27 points in 23 games.
Pelletier has been playing on a top line with Matthew Phillips and Adam Ruzicka. Since Ruzicka’s call-up, Glenn Gawdin has been centering these two. Pelletier has yet to be called up by the Flames but the level of his skill will surely get a look at the NHL at some point. Maybe sooner rather than later.
Walker Duehr has already got the attention of the Flames coaching staff as he was one of the last cuts from training camp and was on the cusp of making the opening night roster. He has been called up once this season already and got his NHL debut on November 14th against the Ottawa Senators. This was a huge game for him already, but also for his home state of South Dakota, as he was the first player from that state to play in the NHL.
Duehr has not been one of the players that is overly noticeable on the scoreboard, but he does his part in helping the team. This season, in 15 games with the Heat, he has earned four goals and two assists for a total of six points. He is a big-bodied right-winger that finishes his checks and fits into the makeup of the Flames roster.
Phillips is a fan favourite who has spent his entire AHL career with the Flames organization. He has played in 154 games in his five years for the Heat. He is a smaller winger that carries some of the same attributes as Johnny Gaudreau. In his 20 games with the Heat this year, he has matched his scoring from last year with 21 points in 10 fewer games than the modified 2020-21 season in Canada.
Matthew Phillips sits at third in Heat team scoring with nine goals and 12 assists. He has only played in one game in the NHL that came at the bitter end of the Flames’ 2020-21 season when they were already mathematically out of the playoffs. Phillips is one of those players fans want to see more of if he were offered a fair shot with the Flames. His biggest downfall has been his size and for some reason, the team has been unable to see past that. Maybe a chance in the lineup for a handful of games will show what he has to offer if his AHL skills transfer into the NHL.
These are just a few of many possible Heat call-ups that might be seen in the next week or so. While a lot is up in the air at the moment, it is hard to tell if the Flames will actually need some players to fill their lineup if they continue to be delayed. The Heat also faced a Covid-19 situation of their own in the past week as their Wednesday night game against the San Diego Gulls was postponed for that reason. It is unclear how many players it may be affecting and if that Flames Covid situation has anything to do with it.
It is most important now that the players and teams that have been affected by Covid-19 are able to rest and recover while keeping themselves and their families safe. More updates regarding this ongoing situation are to be expected in the next coming days.