Flames Depth Chart and Needs Heading Into 2013 Free Agency

Kent Wilson
July 02 2013 07:57AM

 

 

The Stanley Cup has been won and the draft is over, but the summer is only just beginning. Unrestricted free agents will hit the open market this week and the bidding war will begin.

Normally there's at least a few big names inciting considerable interest across the league, but the truth is the UFA crop for this off-season is entirely underwhelming. The most interesting guys are probably going to be whoever gets bought out (Vincent Lecavalier, Ilya Brygalov, etc.).

Ironically. for perhaps the first time since the inception of the salary cap, the Flames have ample budget room heading into free agency ($24M+ if Kipper retires), but little need or indeed opportunity to spend it thanks to the state of the team and the unappealing UFA market.

Which isn't to say the Flames don't have needs and won't be making inquiries. Here's how the depth chart settle out currently:

Forwards

NHL

Cammalleri - Backlund (RFA) - Hudler

Glencross - Stajan - Stempniak

Baertschi - Knight - David Jones

Jackman - Horak - Bouma (RFA)

Blair Jones

UFA - McGrattan, Begin

AHL/ECHL

Street - Reinhart - Hanowski

Bancks (RFA) - Eddy - Nemisz (RFA)

Byron (RFA) - Patterson (RFA) - Aliu (RFA)

Howse - ? - Ferland

Elson

UFA - Walter, Kolanos, Testwuide

Junior/College/Europe

Gaudreau - Monahan - Agostino

Granlund - Arnold - Harrison

Poirier - Jankowski - ?

Klimchuk - Deblouw - ?

Gordon

Clearly the bulk of Feaster's work rests on the RFA side of things. The only forward RFA of high level importance is Mikael Backlund, but the Flames farm team also has significant needs. It's possible Greg Nemisz will get another contract from the team since they need some bodies to fill out Abbotsford, but I doubt he's considered a prospect of note anymore. Ditto Paul Byron.

On the NHL side, the depth chart is obviously underwhelming. Calgary would be shopping for talent a bit harder if they had managed to move Cammalleri at the draft, but I'm guessing he's going to have to stick it out for now and hope he lands with a contender at the deadline. The center depth chart after Matt Stajan is also a big question mark, with guys like Knight, Reinhart, Horak, Bouma and probably even Monahan all potentially duking it out at training camp.

In addition, this look shows you how weak the Flames are organizationally on the right side. Not only did the team fail to pick and develop a new star while Jarome was in town, they also mostly failed to back fill the RW position in general. After the Stempniak/Hudler/Jones trio at the NHL level, things fall of a cliff. Agostino is listed at RW out of convenience under college players, but he's naturally a LW. Feaster filled a bit of a gap when he traded for David Jones, but that side of the ice is going to look awfully thin very soon unless Calgary starts signing or acquiring some starboard talent. Stempniak has one year left on his deal and my guess is Hudler doesn't play out his entire contract in Calgary.

Defense

NHL

Brodie (RFA) - Wideman

Giordano - Butler (RFA)

Smith - O'Brien

UFA - Babchuk, Carson

AHL

Cundari (RFA) - Breen (RFA)

Wotherspoon - Lamb (RFA)

Ramage - Martin

Junior/College/Europe

Kulak - Sieloff

Culkin - Roy

Rafikov - Kanzig

Gilmour

Again, the Flames have a lot of RFA's to get to. For whatever reason Feaster and company haven't bothered to take care of this bit of business, so they'll be busy inking a lot of qualifying offers at the very least over the next week or so. Brodie, Cundari and Breen are all good bets to be done reletively quickly, while Butler will likely get another deal simply because Calgary needs NHL-ready guys on the parent club. Brady Lamb was a free agent signing out of collge who didn't do much in Abbotsford last year, so it's an open question whether the club will retain him or not.

John Gilmour was Calgary's last pick in the recent draft. He's already 20-years old so maybe he'll turn pro, although I suspect he'll stay in school long enough to finish his college degree since the NHL aspirations of most 7th rounders tend to go unfullfilled.

Goalies

NHL

Ramo

MacDonald

Kiprusoff (retired?)

AHL/ECHL

Berra

Ortio

Brossoit

UFA - Taylor, Brust, Irving

Junior/College/Europe

Gillies

There is obviously huge question marks at the top of the pile with Ramo, MacDonald and Berra all looking to somehow fill the Kiprusoff void. Junior stand-out Laurent Brossoit is old enough to turn pro this year, so watch for him, Ortio and Berra/MacDonald to duke it out for starting duties in Abbotsford. Whoever doesn't stick in the AHL will likely find themselves in the ECHL, although Ortio always has the option of going back to Finland.

As for Leland Irving, I doubt he is retained by the org. They have enough bodies competing at both the AHL and NHL levels and he's not a clear step up from any of them. The Irving experiment is over in Calgary.

Jon Gillies may be the goaltender with the highest ceiling in the organization currently, but he's just 19 years old and only has a single, outstanding season consisting of just 35 college games under his belt. We're a long ways away from knowing if he's truly an NHL starter or not.

Conclusion

If the Flames were trying to be competitive this season, I'd say they have a lot of work to do this summer. They're not, so that's not a concern.

The primary issue is getting all of the notable RFA's signed to decent deals and then looking for opprotunity and value where ever they may pop up. The top 4 lines of the NHL club are more or less complete, though my guess is Cammalleri and probably even Hudler would like to be playing elsewhere at some point in the near future - I can't imagine either guy having the interest in sticking it out through what is probably going to be a painful rebuild.

If a few contenders strike out in free agency, they may come calling about some of Calgary's vets like the two mentioned above in August, but then the Flames will have a lot of issues simply icing a team (unless they get NHL filler + futures in return). What seems more likely is deals to happen mid-way through the season or at the deadline.

There is some promise in Backlund, Brodie, Baertschi and it will be interesting to see how the goaltending settles out and perhaps what Corban Knight can do, but clearly this is a roster hunting for a good draft position and not the cup.

It's going to be long summer Flames fans, and likely an even longer 2013-14 season.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 Fats
July 02 2013, 10:52AM
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Schultz, Hunwick and Russell would be great additions to our D. Top 6 Brodie - Gio Wideman - Russell Schultz - Hunwick

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#52 Jeff Lebowski
July 02 2013, 10:54AM
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MC Hockey wrote:

I expect he will go after Vinny...and overpay and "overterm" him

Vinny is 33, what will he be like in 3 years? If Feaster does go after him, I hope a 3 year deal is absolute maximum.

I think Vinny will go for chance to win cup. Won't see him here.

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#53 icedawg_42
July 02 2013, 11:04AM
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Jeff Lebowski wrote:

Vinny is 33, what will he be like in 3 years? If Feaster does go after him, I hope a 3 year deal is absolute maximum.

I think Vinny will go for chance to win cup. Won't see him here.

That and I heard he wants East coast. Anyone know how far away from the cap floor the Flames sit as of today?

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#54 icedawg_42
July 02 2013, 11:06AM
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To answer my own question - the Flames sit $18,671,667 as of today according to capgeek...and they have Kipper ON the roster. Almost looks like Feaster needs to be foolish with money just to make the floor lol. *NOT* saying I want Feaster to be foolish with cap space, but what a refreshing change.

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#55 JayD54
July 02 2013, 11:11AM
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Kent, I think you may have not given the management group enough credit regarding Restricted Free Agency qualifying.

An interview with Feaster during the draft indicated that a number have been made, they just don't have to file them with the NHL office until today.

I, for one, am tired of this crapping all over Feaster and the front office. The job they have is much, much different today than it was twelve months ago and even four months ago. They finally got the latitude to make the changes that they wanted to make and are now at the inflection point of the rebuild. There are assets there that a lot of media 'talking heads' and journalistic wannabes have done their Google research on and haven't seen in person yet. Lets wait until we actually see them in Flames silks and up against live NHL competition to make those decisions eh?!

My money is that Baertschi, Backlund and Brodie will be youngsters to build on (Giordano with the "C" in 2013/14), that we will see either of Berra or Ramo come through as number 1 guy before Christmas. Do I think they will make the playoffs? No, but the downside might be a shot at either Sam Reinhart or Connor McDavid next June.

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#56 gotommygo
July 02 2013, 11:24AM
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@JayD54

'Do I think they will make the playoffs? No, but the downside might be a shot at either Sam Reinhart or Connor McDavid next June.'

McDavid will have to wait until June, 2015. The picks would be nice, but I hope they don't come last place two years in a row.

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#57 the-wolf
July 02 2013, 11:28AM
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Heard Vinny wants 5 x 5. What a joke. He wouldn't come to Calgary anyways. At his age he either wants another Cup or somewhere warm.

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#58 Stevil
July 02 2013, 11:34AM
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In Calgarys case with cap room and such I would not mind overpaying someone like Vinny. You have to think most of his value would come from mentoring the new guys even if the points or wins don't add up. That would have been my main argument for keeping Iggy. Mentorship from a former great is what guys like Sven are gonna need to step it up.

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#59 jeremywilhelm
July 02 2013, 11:39AM
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8 years at 5 mill for Bozak??? BAHAHAAHHAHAHAHHHAHAH

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#60 the-wolf
July 02 2013, 11:42AM
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http://thehockeywriters.com/emile-poirier-the-next-ones-2013-nhl-draft-prospect-profile/

The more I watch of this kid the more I like him. Can't believe some scouts knock his skating. Who cares if he's not the most fluid? He's probably faster than most NHler's right now.

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#61 Parallex
July 02 2013, 11:44AM
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@the-wolf

I still say we ought to offer him a big money 1 year deal (with no NTC). He get's paid big money (and later gets a shot at the cup), we get an asset we can eat a small amount of money on at the deadline and get a good future asset, a true contender team get's a really good player that they couldn't fit into their cap July 5th.

Everybody wins.

Of course Vinny accepts a degree of risk (longterm injury) and has to go through this again next year so maybe that's a non-starter for him. 5x5 is crazy though... if that's the price of admission we should go to a different show.

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#62 Parallex
July 02 2013, 11:49AM
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the-wolf wrote:

http://thehockeywriters.com/emile-poirier-the-next-ones-2013-nhl-draft-prospect-profile/

The more I watch of this kid the more I like him. Can't believe some scouts knock his skating. Who cares if he's not the most fluid? He's probably faster than most NHler's right now.

Sometimes it makes a difference though... I mean in baseball a pitchers arm action is sometimes as important as what velocity he hits on the radar gun. I'm not familier with the biomechaniecs of skating to say if it would make a difference in the same sense (I imagine not actually) but it is something to consider.

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#63 the-wolf
July 02 2013, 11:50AM
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Parallex wrote:

Sometimes it makes a difference though... I mean in baseball a pitchers arm action is sometimes as important as what velocity he hits on the radar gun. I'm not familier with the biomechaniecs of skating to say if it would make a difference in the same sense (I imagine not actually) but it is something to consider.

In terms of improving, sure. I'm sort of coming from the viewpoint that I'm surprised he doesn't get a more credit though.

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#64 the-wolf
July 02 2013, 11:55AM
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More Seguin rumors popping up, but I worry about his degenerative hip.

Instead of going after Seguin or even Couturier, what about another center off Philly who is ready to step in this year? Scott Laughton. I had him on my radar last season. With Giroux, Schenn and Couturier already in place, I think Laughton could be had at a far more reasonable price.

Thoughts?

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#65 Baalzamon
July 02 2013, 11:57AM
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gotommygo wrote:

Calgary's first line in 2014/2015?

Klimchuk-Monahan-Poirier

FAR more likely to be Baertschi than Klimchuk. And more likely someone as yet undrafted than Poirier.

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#66 Baalzamon
July 02 2013, 11:59AM
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jeremywilhelm wrote:

8 years at 5 mill for Bozak??? BAHAHAAHHAHAHAHHHAHAH

derp.

@the-wolf

Honestly I don't know where all the concern over Seguin's "chronic" hip problems has come from. The guy has missed precisely 9 games in his NHL career.

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#67 gotommygo
July 02 2013, 12:04PM
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@Baalzamon

'FAR more likely to be Baertschi than Klimchuk. And more likely someone as yet undrafted than Poirier.'

Yeah, that was meant to be kind of tongue and cheek, but maybe not that obvious.

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#68 Kevin R
July 02 2013, 12:25PM
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This is getting interesting, hearing Blum wont be qualified by Nashville & will be UFA, also hear Wash are buying out Jeff Shultz. Calgary kid, probably would be a very reasonable signing. Blum would be a not bad fit for that 3-4 pairing.

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#69 Parallex
July 02 2013, 12:44PM
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@Kevin R

Would rather have Hunwick (on reguler waivers right now). Shultz isn't all that interesting to me... wonder if we could offer someone like Smith (or Butler) for Blum? I mean if they're just going to let him walk may as well offer something small for him.

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#70 Rockmorton65
July 02 2013, 12:58PM
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Is Schultz top 4 material?

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#71 MC Hockey
July 02 2013, 01:03PM
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the-wolf wrote:

More Seguin rumors popping up, but I worry about his degenerative hip.

Instead of going after Seguin or even Couturier, what about another center off Philly who is ready to step in this year? Scott Laughton. I had him on my radar last season. With Giroux, Schenn and Couturier already in place, I think Laughton could be had at a far more reasonable price.

Thoughts?

Sure if its possible. Why would Philly trade him however?

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#72 MC Hockey
July 02 2013, 01:05PM
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Fats wrote:

Schultz, Hunwick and Russell would be great additions to our D. Top 6 Brodie - Gio Wideman - Russell Schultz - Hunwick

I know Schultz and Hunwick will be available but is Russell??

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#73 Justin Azevedo
July 02 2013, 01:13PM
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@Rockmorton65

no. hasn't played significant minutes in a while and still gets lit up on the shot clock.

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#74 icedawg_42
July 02 2013, 01:34PM
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former Hitmen TJ Galiardi, coming home to the Flames.

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#75 aloudoun
July 02 2013, 01:38PM
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Looks like he is an RFA who made $950,000 last year. Played in 36 games for the Sharks with 5 goals and 9 assists. Probably became a redundant player once the Sharks brought in Kennedy.

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#76 RKD
July 02 2013, 02:33PM
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If Vinny doesn't go to Montreal, I doubt he would come to Calgary regardless of the Feaster connection. If Brad Richards had been bought out, he wouldn't come here. Vinny wants to win a Cup and probably prefers a non-hockey market. Quebec might be his home but this guy doesn't like pressure. He was given a C way too early in his career and it nearly derailed him. Hopefully Feaster doesn't given him a 5 year contract with a NTC.

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