To say the Calgary Flames have been gravely affected by injuries would be a drastic understatement. The nine players who have missed time at some point this season – whether because of illness or injury – are the same as the number of injured Columbus Blue Jackets as of Nov. 2.
The following is a list of who has missed at least one game, what the cause was and the length of the injury (no second date means still injured, unless otherwise stated):
- Michael Ferland: concussion, day-to-day, Oct. 31
- Mikael Backlund: abdomen, IR, Oct. 30
- Joe Colborne: upper body, IR, Oct. 29
- Matt Stajan: knee, IR, Oct. 29
- Mason Raymond: shoulder, IR, Oct. 27
- Lance Bouma: facial, Oct. 15 (one game)
- Deryk Engelland: lower body, Oct. 15-19
- Jiri Hudler: flu, Oct. 11 (one game)
- David Jones: lower body, Oct. 9-27
They may not have suffered as much as the Jackets in terms of man games lost, but the players they have been forced to play without are as important as any. Raymond and Colborne were each among the team’s leading scorers prior to their absences, while Jones, Engelland and Bouma were missed in the gritty aspect of the team’s game.
And yet, despite all of these injuries the Flames amassed a 7-4-2 record through 13 games, which has them third in the Pacific Division (as of Nov. 3). Even more impressive, from Oct. 9 to 19 – when, at best, the team was missing only one of these players – the Flames went 4-2.
The saying that every cloud has a silver lining has been no more evident than during this tough stretch of injuries. These injuries have allowed the opportunity for players who performed well in training camp and in the AHL to showcase themselves at the NHL level – and they’ve made the most of the opportunity.
Josh Jooris, Markus Granlund, Michael Ferland and – because of Ferland’s subsequent injury – Sven Baertschi have each seen time in the NHL and made an impact. Jooris has four points in five games since his call-up, while Granlund has two points in two games since his recall.
But what is most impressive is the fact the Flames have defeated the Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens (most recently) with these call-ups in the lineup. The win against Montreal was an emphatic one, too, as they came out on top 6-2 thanks to Jooris’ two goals.
The way Calgary started in the first two weeks of the season was surprising enough as it is, but to continue that success through the end of October and into November – considering the circumstances – has been an incredible feat. Even when they lose the Flames are playing teams tough until the final whistle, which is something not many teams can say.
If they can continue to have this kind of impact it will be tough to send any of these kids back to Adirondack when the lineup finally gets healthy again. But if it means they keep on winning, that’s a great problem to have.