In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, Nazem Kadri has been selected as the lone Flame for the upcoming 2023 NHL All-Star Game, set to take place in Sunrise, Florida, on Friday, Feb. 3 and Saturday, Feb. 4. Speaking of the All-Star Game, Milan Lucic sent out a rather humorous tweet days ago, asking for fans to help vote him into the contest. In other news, Brett Ritchie has been placed on injured reserve (IR) with a wrist injury, resulting in both Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr being recalled.
Kadri Named to All-Star Game
This season will mark the second straight All-Star Game for Kadri, who was the “Last Man In” selection for the Colorado Avalanche a season ago. While by all means a deserving selection this season for the Flames, players such as Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli may have arguably been even better picks given the outstanding campaigns they are having.
As mentioned, however, the selection of Kadri is by no means a bad one, as the 32-year-old has proven quickly to be a great offseason addition for the Flames in 2022-23. Through 40 games, he has recorded 15 goals and 30 points, all while logging some major minutes under head coach Darryl Sutter.
Lucic Looking to Get Voted into All-Star Game
In a funny tweet sent out on Thursday night, Lucic asked for fans around the league to help vote him into the upcoming All-Star Game. It seemed to work too, as many responded to the hulking winger letting him know they had indeed done what he had asked. Nevertheless, it seems very unlikely that we will see him suit up for the annual event.
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Whether it was Lucic himself who sent out this tweet, or perhaps a teammate messing with him, remains unknown. What you can be sure about, however, is that it was nothing more than a playful joke. While certainly an All-Star caliber player in his earlier days, the 34-year-old is suited more for a bottom-six role at this point in his career. Through 37 games in 2022-23, he has just three goals and 10 points, though all three of those goals, along with five points, have come in his past nine games.
Flames Recall Pelletier & Duehr
In a game on Tuesday, Jan. 3 versus the Vancouver Canucks, Ritchie appeared to suffer a wrist injury, and has since been placed on the IR. While nothing has been confirmed, it is believed he could miss significant time as a result. In a corresponding move, the team announced that they had recalled both Pelletier and Duehr from the Calgary Wranglers of the American Hockey League (AHL).
Pelletier, 21, is a player Flames fans have wanted to see at the NHL level all season long. The 2019 first-round (26th overall) pick has impressed during his season and a half in the AHL and has managed 15 goals and 34 points through 31 outings so far in 2022-23. If he is able to get a top-six opportunity, he may quickly prove to be the scoring winger this team has been exploring the trade market for.
Duehr, 25, has been with the organization since signing as a college free agent near the end of the 2020-21 campaign. He was able to suit up for the first NHL game of his career last season, but was held pointless in just under nine minutes of ice time. To this point in 2022-23, he has put up 10 goals and 16 points in 31 games with the Wranglers.
Looking Ahead for the Flames
With Friday night’s big win over the New York Islanders, the Flames were able to pull ahead of the Edmonton Oilers in the standings and currently sit in the top wild card position in the Western Conference. They will look to pull further away from their provincial rival and gain space on the Seattle Kraken Sunday evening in a road matchup against the lowly Chicago Blackhawks, who may be without Patrick Kane in the contest.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.