Flames general manager Brad Treliving is ever the cerebral type.
So when it came to the strategy of assembling a roster for the upcoming O.R.G. NHL China Games, he had a few goals in mind, leaving no stone unturned.
“You look at the names on the roster and everybody can figure out who the locks are on our team, but this doesn’t preclude anyone who’s not coming to China of being on our team,” Treliving said.
“A big part of who’s staying is us wanting to get some younger players a lot of game action in certain situations they wouldn’t get if they were going to China.”
The Flames are sending a roster of 15 forwards, eight defencemen and three goaltenders, comprised mostly of veterans that were on the team last year, with some new additions.
Newcomers Elias Lindholm, James Neal and Noah Hanifin are also included; so, too, are veterans Dalton Prout and Anthony Peluso, who spent the bulk of the 2017-18 campaign in the AHL, but are looking to make an impression on management.
Fourth-year pro Morgan Klimchuk rounds out the roster.
A notable omission from the China group is top prospect Spencer Foo, who had an excellent rookie season with the Stockton Heat before getting a taste of the big show late last year, scoring twice in his first four games a Flame.
“Foo, (Andrew) Mangiapane, (Alan) Quine, (Buddy) Robinson, (Kerby) Rychel, (Matthew) Philips and so on – I’ve talked to those players and they know there’s a method to the madness here,” Treliving said.
“They’re going to get great exposure. They’re going to play in top offensive roles; they’re going to play on special teams… We think that’s real important for them. In a lot of ways, it’s an added bonus with a lot of the regular players gone.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for the guys that aren’t going to really showcase themselves.”
The Flames play two games during their eight-day journey, Sept. 15 and 19, against the Boston Bruins in Shenzhen and Beijing, respectively.
Treliving expects all 25 players to make at least one appearance during the trip.
“The goal was to get a small enough group together to make it manageable, and a big enough group so that you can have solid, competitive practices while you’re there.”