CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames wrap up their 2015 pre-season schedule on Saturday night, hosting the Winnipeg Jets at 7:00 PM MT (CalgaryFlames.com, Sportsnet 960 The FAN).
With Jakub Nakladal, Tyler Wotherspoon, Patrick Sieloff, Kenney Morrison, and Garnet Hathaway assigned to Stockton on Friday, the Flames battle with the Jets is the final audition for the handful of hopefuls looking to earn a spot on the Oct. 7th roster.
The spotlight will be on the Flames defence corps, which had two spots open up early on in training camp.
"With Ladislav Smid and TJ Brodie’s injuries, we’re short on the blueline and we’ve been talking about this since Brodie’s injury," head coach Bob Hartley said. "There’s a battle for that spot and it’s down to two players – Brett Kulak and Ryan Wilson."
There is a chance the team opts to keep both rearguards on the roster, filling those six and seven spots, but with a fierce battle in net, nothing can be taken for granted. One of them could be cut if the team decides to open the season with three goaltenders.
"It's another step on the way," Kulak stated. "It's another step closer to being on the team opening night. It's what I worked for and what I planned to do with myself.
"I'm definitely happy but I'm not satisfied."
From a performance standpoint, Hartley is looking to see more polished play out of his lineup as the pre-season winds down.
"I'd like to see good execution. It's our last chance to get ready. After this, we're going to have a good day off on Sunday and then a few good practices. Wednesday, here we go. We start that big 82-game marathon.
"I think it's the hope of 30 teams, no injuries on that last game. We've already had our share of injuries. We can't control this but at the same time, [we can control] the execution, the pace. Most of all those games, you should see very close to full lineups for the 30 teams so that is going to be a good indication of who should play. There might be last round battles but we'll see what is going to happen."
Hartley hasn't made a decision on his starting netminder for Saturday's battle at the 'Dome. Joni Ortio made 23 saves in Thursday's 3-1 setback while Karri Ramo and Jonas Hiller split the goaltending duties in Tuesday's 2-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
Saturday's game will be streamed on CalgaryFlames.com (regional viewers) and Sportsnet 960 The FAN 960 will carry the radio broadcast.