Flames Make Moves: Draft Picks and Pending Free Agents

Ryan Pike
April 23 2013 08:39AM

 

Over the past month your Calgary Flames have made a lot of moves. Gone are Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester and Blake Comeau. Acquired in their place were a lot of future assets – Ben Hanowski, Kenny Agostino, Reto Berra, Mark Cundari, two first round draft picks and a fifth round pick, all in this year's draft

In addition, the Flames have signed a ton of guys. In the past month, the club has come to terms with Tyler Wotherspoon, Laurent Brossoit, Hanowski, Berra, John Ramage, Markus Granlund and Joey MacDonald.

So with those moves done, where do they stand going forward?

CONTRACTS

As of today, the Flames have 30 players under contract for 2013-14, including Miikka Kiprusoff, who is widely believed to be retiring at the end of this season. If he does take a powder, his contract comes off the books. Either way, presume the Flames will sign or otherwise acquire around another 15 bodies or so.

In goal, the Flames have five men under contract: Kipper, the recently signed Joey MacDonald, Reto Berra, Joni Ortio and Laurent Brossoit. Ortio may stay in Finland, Berra is confirmed as coming to North America (as per Jay Feaster's recent appearance on The Fan 960) and Brossoit is expected to turn pro. Once restricted free agent Karri Ramo signs, I would guess the team has its four North American netminders locked down – Ramo, MacDonald, Berra and Brossoit. Danny Taylor and Leland Irving are slated to become Group VI unrestricted free agents.

On the blueline, things are much less clear. Signed for 2013-14 right now are seven players: Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich and Derek Smith, and minor-leaguers Wotherspoon, Ramage and James Martin. Five defenders are RFAs: Chris Butler, T.J. Brodie, Chris Breen, Brady Lamb and Mark Cundari. Brett Carson and Anton Babchuk will become UFAs on July 5. I'd wager that Brodie, Breen and Cundari will definitely be retained, but outside of them, who knows.

Up-front, there are 18 guys with NHL contracts. They are Mike Cammalleri, Jiri Hudler, Alex Tanguay, Matt Stajan, Curtis Glencross, Lee Stempniak, Ben Hanowski, Max Renhart, Roman Horak, Tim Jackman, Ryan Howse, Michael Ferland, Markus Granlund, Blair Jones, Ben Street, Turner Elson and David Eddy.

That's not a bad group to start with.

Mikael Backlund headlines an RFA class that also includes Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, Carter Bancks, Akim Aliu, Greg Nemisz, Bryan Cameron and Gaelan Patterson. Unrestricted free agents include Roman Cervenka, Brian McGrattan, Steve Begin, Ben Walter, Krys Kolanos and Mike Testwuide. Backlund will definitely be back. I'd also expect that Bouma will be retained, while one (or both) of Begin and McGrattan may stick around. Beyond that, there will be a lot of turnover in the forward ranks. Former first rounder Greg Nemisz didn't attend training camp and has been recalled during dead time as the team experiments with various players. He likely won't be back. Roman Cervenka, as discussed, is a good bet to leave as well.

For what it's worth, after my predicted re-signing of Brodie, Breen, Cundari, Backlund, Bouma and Begin/McGrattan, that leaves the club at 35 players signed for 2013-14 and with a lot of wiggle and cap room.

DRAFT PICKS

In the 2011 draft, the Flames went to the podium five times and chose (in order) Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Tyler Wotherspoon, Johnny Gaudreau and Laurent Brossoit. The team seems quite satisfied with that group.

In the 2013 draft, the Flames presently have nine draft picks in their back pocket. That includes three first round selections – their own, Pittsburgh's and St. Louis' – their own third and fourth rounders, Columbus' fifth rounder, their own sixth rounder and two seventh rounders (their own and Ottawa's).

What the Flames do with their nine picks probably depends on where they finish and what their scouts say. In his visit with Pat Steinberg and Ryan Leslie on The Fan 960 this week, Feaster mentioned that the scouting staff feels there are four elite prospects – which probably means Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon and one other guy (Barkov, LIndholm?). If Calgary's scouts feel like there's a huge, huge drop-off after the top four and the rest of the draft, I'd expect them to try to move up. And it may not be horribly difficult to move up with three first rounders.

But heck, if they figure that the first round is deep beyond the top four, they may just say “to heck with it,” and make the most of their three choices in the top 30.

A LOOK AHEAD

Calgary's season ends on Friday night in Chicago. Green Garbage Bag Day is likely Sunday, featuring exit meetings and exit medicals. The next day, Monday, is the NHL's Draft Lottery drawing, where the draft order for the first 14 picks is determined.

The NHL Draft is Sunday, June 30, beginning at 1pm MT and running until all seven rounds are done and the life-force is sapped from all involved. Free agency season begins on Friday, July 5.

But first, the Flames have three games left to play in the current season.

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Now in his fourth season covering the Calgary Flames and the NHL, Ryan Pike is a Calgary native and FlamesNation's managing editor. He's trying to keep his head up, his stick on the ice and is giving it 110% every shift. You can also find his work at The Hockey Writers and the Wrestling Observer.
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#51 Parallex
April 23 2013, 04:14PM
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@piscera.infada

Of the guys under contract? No idea... wouldn't bet on Brossoit until we see if he can make the adult league transition. If we're picking a horse to go with from all the guys in the system I'd probably go with Gillis. Insane freshman NCAA numbers and he's got more size. I like tall goalies.

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#52 piscera.infada
April 23 2013, 04:19PM
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@Parallex

I completely forgot Gilles existed... Yeah, he's a solid pick.

I just feel like Brossoit could have the whole 'chip on his shoulder' thing. Ya' know, not being picked for the world juniors and everything...

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#53 Al Buis
April 23 2013, 05:57PM
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Sorry Ryan..I believe the second seventh round pick should be from Chicago for the Goalie Karlsson trade earlier in the year not Ottawa. Great article keep up the excellent work!!

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#54 Baalzamon
April 23 2013, 07:51PM
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Parallex wrote:

That doesn't concern me at all. JM has his certified greybeard back-up goalie card but no one in their right mind would see him as a starting goalie. He'll be Ramo's Back-up with Berra & Brosseit in the AHL and Ortio chillin' in Finland.

One thing I really hope Feaster does is tell Ward that he's not going to get any (as in zero zilch nada zip) AHL veteran keepers. No Brusts, No Taylor's and he is to play the actual prospects. Our farm team is a developmental team not Troy Wards personal audition stage for an NHL coaching job... Play the prospects not the never-gonna-be's.

Yeah, that drove me nuts last year when Ward was playing Irving every game, Ortio got a couple minutes here and there, then they randomly brought in Danny Taylor. I was extremely confused at the time, let me tell you.

Of course, Irving was soon called up to the NHL, but Ortio still didn't play.

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#55 MC Hockey
April 23 2013, 09:12PM
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Interesting thread here. I have some ideas too.

I like the idea of Flames exploring trades with cap-strapped teams to pick up guys like Frloik or Bolland, but be careful there...perhaps ensure we get younger not older... meaning Tanguay may have to go and perhaps he wants that too.

If Ramo is not coming over (perhaps ever?), then I don't mind the idea of a Bernier trade to solidify the goalie position. Also, unless Flames get MacKinnon in draft (and would need lottery win for that) then I expect Feaster will be asked (by owners) or just decide he needs to get a #1 centre and sadly go for Derek Roy or Mike Ribiero.

Also given the Canucks' cap problems, especially if Luongo retained, then maybe annoying agitator Max Lapierre could be brought in as effective 3rd or 4th line centre for the Flames.

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#56 PrairieStew
April 23 2013, 11:24PM
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I like the discussion here.

Agree that Butler has been terrible this year, but would qualify him for one more year, mostly because we don't have the bodies on defence. As for Byron - bad luck for him this year - I think he would work well in a Hartley speed game but injury prevented him from getting that chance. Again - qualify him for one more year, but there seems to be plenty of his type.

I think this past week has shown that if they get decent goaltending, anything is possible. Even after 4 very good performances they are 29th in sv%. Joey's .905 (.907 evsv) is just nowhere near good enough. Kipper has had a grand total of 5 good games this year ( 3 vs Detroit, first game back vs San Jose and the other night vs Anaheim) , otherwise he has been terrible - 73rd in the league in evsv !!

Look at Anaheim and Columbus 91.5 and 91.8 to Calgary's 89.0. If the Flames get 91.5 this year (league median) and you are talking 33 fewer goals against; plus 6 instead of -27. Last year Columbus 89.9, Anaheim 90.5. Additions of Fasth and Bobrovsky major reasons for turnaround.

No buyouts neccesary - but might take other teams garbage to gain assets, then bury in minors or buyout.

I agree that Cammy should stay - I like how he looks with Sven. Tanguay could go - still pretty cheap at $3.5, maybe there is a market for him. I'd like to see Sven stay in top 6 (w Backlund and Cammy) and keep the Stemp- Stajan - Glencross unit as the #2 line. Horak should stay all year with Hudler and I'd bring Cervanka back - does everyone realize he is 3rd on the team in even strength goals ?

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#57 Franko J
April 23 2013, 11:26PM
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Jeff In Lethbridge wrote:

say we end up picking 6th...

what would it take to move up to 3rd?

Our 6th and another first round pick? More?

Opinions? Precedents?

If history dictates anything the Flames will sooner trade down than up. Having three first round picks and no second round picks I think at this time they are probably holding onto those picks. The lowest the Flames have picked is 6th. Picking 6th has not gone so great for this team. So maybe trading up would not be so bad, but I would sooner try and trade possible roster players and the sixth pick than any further draft picks.

Outside of Jones, I think that the majority of prospects will require further development prior to jumping into the rigours of the NHL.

With the team having three first round picks I like the scenario of flexibility with the picks and the several options they can utilize with them. Sure beats the alternative where there has been times where this hasn't drafted until the third round.

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#58 PrairieStew
April 23 2013, 11:27PM
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@PrairieStew

For perspective Flames were 12th in SV% last year (11-12)at 91.4, so if they had got that this year.....

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