| September 22, 2022, 6:04 PM
September 22, 2022, 6:04 PM
CALGARY — The solely factor sooner than the tempo the Calgary Flames set to open camp, was the velocity of tweets fired out with particulars of Day 1 line mixtures.
And the solely factor that stood out greater than Jonathan Huberdeau revealing he is promoting his Smurf-blue Lamborghini, was the hair on show on the crew’s second line.
As a relatively clean-cut Nazem Kadri appeared to his wings, the bearded veteran would possibly’ve questioned if he was half of an 80’s metallic band, given the ginger move of Cody Eakin on his left, and the brillo’d hen’s nest of Sonny Milano on the proper.
“I don’t know,” smiled Milano, when instructed he had the greatest lid in camp.
“Eakin also has some pretty cool hair too.”
Aside from Tyler Toffoli occupying the proper wing alongside Elias Lindholm and Huberdeau, the pair of PTO wingers flanking Kadri made for the most noteworthy trio of the day.
The ever-versatile Eakin is undoubtedly appearing as a placeholder for Andrew Mangiapane, who’s skating on his personal as he recovers from a tweak of types earlier in the summer time.
It places Milano in the driver’s seat to fill the apparent hole in a high 9 that’s clearly one participant brief in the eyes of administration.
“I talked to (head coach Darryl Sutter) the day before I got here (Sunday) and they seemed happy about me coming, telling me there’s a spot open and I’ve just got to get it,” mentioned the 26-year-old who famously transformed “The Dishigan” final yr with Trevor Zegras, en path to scoring 14 objectives and 34 factors in 66 video games as an Anaheim Duck.
“I had a pretty good season last year. I was definitely hoping for a contract, but it is what it is and I’m definitely excited for this opportunity. If I just do my best and play my game I think I’ll be good.”
After a torrid begin final yr, Milano solely managed to attain three objectives in his closing 27 video games, resulting in a stunning parting with the Ducks.
As powerful because it was for him to simply accept a PTO provide, he selected Calgary as a result of of the alternative that would see him enjoying alongside high gamers.
“I’m with Kadri, who had a hell of a yr, and Eakins, who is also a veteran, so it’s a great spot,” he mentioned.
“I think I’ve got a lot to prove. I thought I was worthy of a contract after last season. So I’ve just got to prove I can do it again.”
Insisting he first desires to evaluate these in camp, GM Brad Treliving wouldn’t deny he was nonetheless open to the risk of including one other winger if, say, Milano isn’t the reply.
“In all honesty, that top nine is still kind of a work in progress for us,” admitted Treliving, talking largely about the right-side place on the second line.
“I want to get a handle on what we’ve got here, but you’re always sniffing around. I don’t think anybody is done tinkering.”
“This camp is really important to sort out where everyone fits.”
As he joked, “we probably all put our lines together on a napkin — usually that lasts 10 minutes. You don’t know where chemistry is going to come from.”
Jakob Pelletier could also be the folks’s alternative to interrupt by, however when requested if he anticipated the AHL star to do one thing particular, Sutter mentioned, “No.”
“I think we have guys who can play both sides, so we’re lucky with Blake (Coleman), Mangs, Dubs (Dillon Dube), Cody. It’s not ‘who,’ it’s more like ‘how?’”
Sutter received a Stanley Cup with Toffoli and has lengthy praised how pure a scorer he’s, making him the favorite to make use of his proper shot on the high line with a setup ace like Huberdeau.
When requested about the totally different ability units between him and the man he’s changing, Matthew Tkachuk, Sutter was curt.
“One guy’s won Stanley Cups and been a big part of long playoff runs,” he mentioned.
Mikael Backlund, Dube and Coleman fashioned a 3rd line full of familiarity.
At the again finish, the plan appears clear: MacKenzie Weegar will play on his off aspect with Chris Tanev as the membership’s shut-down pair.
“Weegar can play big minutes,” mentioned Sutter of the beginner defender, who’s near signing an extension with the crew.
“Tanny can handle, his shoulder can handle…whoever you put with him.”
Last yr, Tanev helped flip Oliver Kylington right into a top-four defender.
Kylington is just not at the moment in the combine at camp as he’s coping with a private concern, leaving Nikita Zadorov and Nicolas Meloche as the third pairing.
Greeted by the kind of media mob he’d by no means seen in Florida, Huberdeau mentioned he’s already making different changes to his new atmosphere, together with promoting his Tesla and Lamborghini.
“It would’ve been somewhat chilly,” he mentioned of the convertible, one of “three or four” automobiles owned by the man who signed an $85 million extension with the Flames this summer time.
“I’m promoting every little thing. Starting over.”
“I’ve already got a pickup truck. That’s off the list. Then I’m not sure. If you put a convertible with snow tires, maybe that could work.”
Adjustments on the fly — the story of camp for these Flames.
*Mangiapane out as a consequence of harm and Kylington out for private causes.
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