jokinen iginla

Flames turn back clock, reunite Iginla and Jokinen

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Fresh off a 5-1 whipping at the hands of divisional rival Vancouver, the Calgary Flames shook things up in a major way prior to tonight’s game against the Red Wings in Detroit.

Head coach Brent Sutter revamped almost all of his forward lines at this morning’s skate. Roman Horak is centering Rene Bourque and David Moss on the third line; Brendan Morrison is between Lee Stempniak and Alex Tanguay on the second while Olli Jokinen will center Curtis Glencross and Jarome Iginla on the top line.

If you’re thinking “wait, I seem to recall Jokinen and Iginla lighting it up once” you’re probably harkening back to when Calgary first acquired Jokinen in March 2009. This was a really big deal at the time — long before he became Olli “you must be” Jokinen. Upon making the trade, the Flames loaded up their first line with Iginla, Jokinen and Mike Cammalleri and for a while, the trio was unstoppable.

The Cammy-Olli-Iggy line had a scintillating debut, combining for seven points in a 5-1 win over Philly. They continued to play well — Jokinen recorded 15 points in 19 games while Iginla finished with 54 assists, the second-highest total of his career — but then the roof caved in.

The Flames let Cammalleri walk in free agency. Replacements were auditioned, but none found long-term success with Iginla and Jokinen (the closest was Tanguay.) Then Iginla and Jokinen were broken up. Then Jokinen was traded to New York. Then Calgary re-signed him as a free agent.

And now everything’s come full circle.

“Olli’s a different player than he was two years ago when Jarome and him played together,” Sutter told “Olli’s role has changed. He’s playing a different brand of hockey for us. He’s being rewarded for changing his game and the way he’s playing. He’s playing well and enjoying that role. Jarome will have to adjust somewhat to his new linemates and the way they play.”

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.