The Calgary Flames are flying high right now, sporting the best record in the Pacific Division and winners of seven of their last ten. The Flames owe their success to a number of players, but veteran defenseman Dalton Prout has not been one of them. Prout has been a healthy scratch for all but one game this season, the team’s second game of the season back on October 6th. That inactivity has finally become a concern for the team, as the Flames announced that they have sent Prout down to the AHL on a conditioning assignment.
Prout, 28, was acquired by Calgary in a trade with the New Jersey Devils last season, in which goaltender Eddie Lack headed back to New Jersey. Prout did not suit up for the Flames, but instead played out the rest of the season with the Stockton Heat. It was the first time since his rookie season that Prout did not play at least a quarter of the NHL season, but now looks as if it could be a sign of things to come rather than a fluke.
Prout is a big, physical defender, but struggles with skating and and lacks finesse in his game. Calgary has shown that they don’t need to or want to rely on him, even last year, and are even deeper on the blue line this season. The play of rookies Juuso Valimaki and Rasmus Andersson have made Prout an unnecessary fixture in Calgary thus far. This conditioning stint will get him some play time, key on the off chance that they do need him, but seems more like a preface to a more permanent solution for Prout.