One by one, Staffan Kronwall watched his competition go away.
Players like Matt Pelech, John Negrin and Brett Palin were sent to the minors.
But it wasn't until Anton Stralman was traded to Columbus Monday Kronwall was able to breath a slight sigh of relief.
Seven defencemen remain with the Flames, the number the club expects to carry, and he's one of them.
"I'm sitting in here still," said Kronwall, the 6-foot-4, 209-lb. blueliner signed as a free agent in the summer. "I'm taking it a day at a time, still.
"You never know what can happen."
Kronwall knows all too well what can happen.
Sure, the 26-year-old defenceman has a one-way contract, but he did last season, too, and only played three NHL games for the Washington Capitals. The bulk of the 2008-09 year was spent split between the AHL's Toronto Marlies and Hershey Bears.
"There's probably three, four guys on each farm team nowadays on one-way contracts. That is really no guarantee anymore," he said. "I'm thrilled to be sitting in this dressing room today, and I hope I'll sit here tomorrow and the next day and the next day."
Kronwall has 55 NHL games under his belt, in which he's collected one assist and 21 penalty minutes.
He's yet to make his mark but did build momentum over the pre-season.
"He certainly got better and better and more accustomed as we went along," said Flames head coach Brent Sutter. "It's something new for him -- new organization, different players, different coaching staff, learning different things.
"It's a process players go through learning that. Right now, he's one of the seven defencemen here, and he's warranted that."
Kronwall is the younger brother of Detroit Red Wings rising star Niklas Kronwall.