Tag: Akim Aliu

Sven Baertschi

Calgary’s not exactly going all out to win tonight in Nashville


The Calgary Flames are going with a decidedly young lineup tonight when they visit the Predators in Nashville.

Names include: Carter Bancks (age 23, making his NHL debut), Mark Cundari (23), Sven Baertschi (20), Max Reinhart (21), Roman Horak (21), Akim Aliu (23), Paul Byron (23), and Ben Hanowski (22).

“It will be to see who’s going to step up,” head coach Bob Hartley said, per the Calgary Sun. “Most of the young players have been with us for a few weeks, and some have just arrived from AHL Abbotsford. But many of them have played a game or two before, so they know what to expect.

“It’s kind of one of the final exams.”

And if the young guys fail the exam, oh well, at least it won’t hurt the Flames’ draft position anymore than it’s already been hurt lately.

You’ll be excused if you haven’t noticed, but Calgary has actually been playing well lately. The Flames have won five of their last six, pushing them up to 24th overall in the standings.


Related: NHL Draft lottery set for Apr. 29, all non-playoff teams eligible for No. 1 pick

Jets ink Montoya, Flames sign Aliu, Byron

Al Montoya

A few minor signings to pass your way…

Jets ink Montoya

Winnipeg has found its backup for Ondrej Pavelec, signing former Islanders goalie Al Montoya to a one-year, $601,000 deal.

Montoya, 26, appeared in 31 games for New York last season, posting a 9-11-5 record with a .893 save percentage and 3.10 GAA.

It once looked as though the former sixth overall pick would never get his career on track — the 2010-11 season, that is. An injury to Rick DiPietro and the Dwayne Roloson-to-Tampa trade opened the door for Montoya to appear in 20 games, and he made the most of his opportunity by posting a 9-5-5 record with a .921 save percentage and 2.39 GAA.

Flames sign pair

Calgary continued to be busy this offseason by inking Akim Aliu and Paul Byron to one-year, two-way deals.

Aliu, 23, will be paid $695,000 at the NHL level next season, $105,000 at the AHL level. He made his NHL debut with the Flames last year and shined in a limited body of work — two games, two goals, one assist, 12 penalty minutes and a plus-3 rating.

“Akim made tremendous strides in getting his career development path back on track this past season in Abbotsford and he was rewarded for his hard work by receiving an end-of-season recall to Calgary,” said Flames General Manager Jay Feaster. “In his two games with our Club he showed that he is a very good skater, is willing to play a strong physical game and can also score goals at the NHL level.”

Byron, also 23, appeared in 22 games with Calgary last season scoring 3G-2A-5PTS. He came to the Flames as part of the Robyn Regehr-Chris Butler trade and split time between the NHL and AHL Abbotsford last year. He’ll make $585,000 at the NHL level next season, $105,000 at the AHL.

“Paul was a very valuable depth player for us last season and had a solid playoff-run with Abbotsford,” Feaster said. “Paul looked right at home during his various recalls to Calgary and he demonstrated that he can score goals at the NHL level.”

Flames and Jets make minor trade

Akim Aliu

The Flames and Jets swapped minor-leaguers on Monday, with Winnipeg sending forward Akim Aliu to Calgary in exchange for John Negrin. The trade is a bit of a curious one as both players currently play for AHL Abbotsford — Aliu was on loan from the Jets organization.

For someone that’s yet to play an NHL game, Aliu is well known throughout the league. While playing for OHL Windsor in 2005, Aliu engaged in a highly-publicized fight with teammate Steve Downie, an incident that stemmed from Aliu’s refusal to take part in a hazing incident on the Spitfires team bus.

Aliu was suspended one game for the fight, Downie five — the incident also ended up costing head coach Moe Mantha his job.

Professionally, Aliu has bounced around an awful lot (especially for a 22-year-old.) He’s played in Rockford, Toledo, Chicago, Gwinnett, Peioria, Colorado, St. John’s and now Abbotsford.

Negrin, also 22, has three games of NHL experience to his credit, all with the Flames. He was taken 70th overall at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, 14 spots after Aliu.

(Photo courtesy Windsor Star)