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Grossman ready for final game before roster cuts

Nicklas Grossman has 'nothing to lose' in the final pre-season game before camp cuts

by Aaron Vickers @AAVickers /

CALGARY, AB -- Nicklas Grossmann didn't log 589 games by leaving his comfort zone.

And, with significant roster cuts looming Monday, the 31-year-old defenceman knows now isn't the time to start.

"I don't even know if I can go out of the box too much, to be honest," said Grossmann, in Calgary Flames camp on a professional try-out and in the lineup Sunday against the Winnipeg Jets (7:00 PM MT; SN960).

"I think my whole career, looking back, the way for me to be successful is to play my game. I can't start doing a bunch of other (crap) because I need to get a roster spot … that I need to make these plays. I need to stick within my game and play to my strengths.

"That's what I'm going to do. It's what I've been doing my whole career. I just have to play to my strengths, play a hard-nosed game, solid. That's what I can do."

Flames coach Glen Gulutzan said Saturday that he hopes to have decisions made Monday that will see Calgary's roster slim to 16 or 17 forwards, and nine or 10 defencemen.

Gulutzan's suggestion was that if you're on the bubble, stick with what's gotten you this far. 

But stand out in doing so.

"We need some guys to step up and show, that as the lineups get better, they can stick out somehow in a positive way and contribute in what their role is," Gultuzan said. "We have certain ideas for certain guys what roles we need to get filled here and they need to grasp those and run with it. We're just looking for guys to fill the boxes that we have. There's going to be some competition right to the wire, I would guess, here."

Grossmann, who has spent the past decade in the NHL with the Dallas Stars, Philadelphia Flyers, and Arizona Coyotes, knows that roster trimming is near.

But there's no extra pressure despite working without a contract.

There's nothing for the hulking blueliner to lose.

"Realistically, it's different, yes," said Grossman, who had seven points in 58 games with the Coyotes last season.

"But I approach it the same way I have every year. I've tried to come in in good shape and take it as serious as I can, for myself and the team. There's no difference this year to me. I approach it the same way. I've got to earn a job and I want to prove I can play and prove to myself I can play.

"It's not that I feel extra pressure or anything. I've got nothing to lose. I just try to enjoy it, have fun, work my butt off and go from there."

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