Report: Starting point in Giordano negotiations set at 8-years, $72 million

Thomas Drance
July 01 2015 09:55AM

Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving had made it no secret: it's a priority of his organization to lock up team captain Mark Giordano before he hits the unrestricted free agent market next summer.

Though he was always effective, Giordano is the rare late-blooming superstar. Over the past few seasons,  Giordano has blossomed from being a bona fide top pairing player, to a Norris-caliber 1A defenseman for the Flames. 

It's not going to be cheap to extend him, and indeed, Giordano's camp is opening negotiations with an eight-year, $72 million ask ($9 million annual average value) according to Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos. Kypreos' report isn't the first we've heard of it, it corroborates a report from last week by typically dogged TSN's Frank Seravalli.

Read Article | 25 Comments

Flames Free Agent Frenzy Preview

Thomas Drance
July 01 2015 09:00AM

Mason Raymond: an appropriate cautionary tale for the free agent frenzy.
Photo Creidt: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames made an earth shattering offseason addition last weekend when they traded for blue chip young defenseman Dougie Hamilton prior to the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Now that Hamilton has been locked up for six years with an eminently reasonable contract carrying an annual average value of $5.75 million, the Flames can turn their attention to free agency. Will Flames general manager Brad Treliving put the memory of last season's slew of misguided contracts behind him, and continue his hot streak this July 1?

Let's preview the Flames' particular needs and posture ahead of the opening of the unrestricted free agent market.

Read Article | 13 Comments

Report: Flames lock up Dougie Hamilton with 6-year, $34.5 million contract

Thomas Drance
June 30 2015 12:08PM

Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames have signed 22-year-old bluechip defenseman Dougie Hamilton to a six-year contract worth a reported $34.5 million. The contract will carry an annual average value of $5.75 million.

It's a steal of a contract for a young, 6-foot-5, two-way defender who has produced first-pairing results throughout the first three seasons of his NHL career, and is only scratching at the surface of what he might accomplish in the NHL.

Read Article | 70 Comments

Thomas Drance's NHL Awards Ballot

Thomas Drance
June 24 2015 08:00PM

Photo Credit: Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports

This was my first hockey season as a member of the PHWA, and I had the mixed blessing of casting an NHL Awards ballot. It was an honour, but it was also a heavy burden.

After years of slamming NHL awards voters for this, that and the other thing, actually having a ballot this season changed my perspective. I agonized for weeks over my selections, researched deserving candidates for each award heavily, re-streamed game video, and talked to a variety of industry people whom I trust before allowing my vote to be tallied. 

Some of these decisions were decided by a wafer thin margin. I'd wake up one day thinking that Erik Karlsson was my pick for the Norris, and I'd go to sleep that night thinking that 'really, P.K. Subban was the most valuable two-way defender in hockey this season.' Then I cast my first place Norris vote for neither player.

Anyway, in the interest of transparency and because these sorts of hockey conversations are pertinent and fun, I'd like to present my 2014-15 NHL Awards ballot for your scrutiny, consideration and entertainment. 

Read Article | 45 Comments

Top-10 UFA Countdown: #5 Paul Martin

Thomas Drance
June 18 2015 11:00AM

Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

This is a series counting down the top-10 pending UFAs. It will be posted across the Nation Network over the next month! Enjoy!

Paul Martin, 34, is getting a bit long in the tooth, but he remains a sturdy defensive defender with the ability to transition the puck and win the territorial matchup against top-of-the-roster competition. If you're sensing that the theme of our unrestricted free agent countdown is "he's useful, but kind of old!" then you're catching on.

The American-born Martin will be among the best blue liners available on July 1, and has the ability to significant improve the complexion of a club in need of an upgrade on the back end in the short-term. He's 34 though, and we might reasonably expect him to begin to incur diminishing returns going forward (and there's reason to believe he might already be on the down swing).

Read on past the jump for more.

Read Article | 52 Comments