May 29 2015 11:00AM
I'll admit that I had no strong opinions of Raphael Diaz when the Calgary Flames signed him following training camp. I believe my initial reaction was, "Well, I bet he signed cheap."
He did, likely as insurance so that the Flames didn't have to (a) rush Tyler Wotherspoon back into the NHL after shoulder surgery or (b) have to rely on Corey Potter in the NHL, also recovering from shoulder surgery. As it turns out, injuries meant that Diaz eventually became a regular part of the line-up and Potter inherited his spot as the number-seven defender.
A right-handed defender with decent instincts and a pretty good shot, Diaz more or less performed up to expectations. He occasionally helped the team, probably more often than he hurt them.
May 29 2015 09:00AM
Just as the Flames may have some trade targets in their sites this off-season, the club may well have some players they want to auction off as well. I personally identified Dennis Wideman as a good trade candidate in my recent look at the Flames cap situation over the next three years owing to his price tag, age and likelihood to fall back down to earth moving forward.
At the time of writing, Dennis Wideman was the runaway favourite in the FN poll as a trade candidate as well. The question remains, should the Flames even trade Wideman and are there any teams who could potentially be interested?
Nation World HQ
May 29 2015 06:45AM
David Booth's interesting stretch routine, Mike Babcock's assistants, Canucks wanting to fix blueline, David Clarkson versus Matt Beleskey, Flames trade targets, teams in Cap trouble, Leon Draisaitl, Peter Chiarelli, free agency, the NHL draft and more in this week's Roundup brought to you by Draftkings.
May 28 2015 03:10PM
Calgary Flames General Manager Brad Treliving says the team's number one priority this summer is securing a contract extension for captain Mark Giordano. Turning 32 in October, Giordano is Calgary's best player and has entered the very top tier of defencemen in this league. But what truly is fair when it comes to Gio's next contract? While it's not FDR's nation shaping plan during the Great Depression, The New Deal for the captain is as significant a negotiation the Flames have had in quite some time.
May 28 2015 01:00PM
Paul Byron made the big jump last season, going from being a pretty good but not quite NHL-caliber forward to being an everyday player. His speed and hockey sense made him a valuable commodity on the team - a player that Bob Hartley could slot in basically anywhere and with any linemates and get value out of him.
He continued this strong play in 2014-15, but he just couldn't bury a break-away chance.
You could tell the Flames really missed Byron during the playoffs. He's fast and small, but plays physical and is a strong back-checker. And for the second straight season, when he was healthy, he was one of the Flames' most consistent players.