Can Troy Brouwer play his game for four seasons?

Ryan Pike
July 22 2016 11:00AM

I'll be honest: when the Calgary Flames announced that they had signed Troy Brouwer to a four-year contract I didn't really see a lot of the downsides. In fact, my first reaction was, "Well, that makes sense."

You see, the Flames likely feel this signing solves two big problems: they were super-thin on their right side, and they were easy to play against. When I use the term "easy to play against," I refer you to the many games where Johnny Gaudreau was slashed on the wrists or hands (and the games he missed late in the season due to those slashes). Teams felt they could get away with it and let's be honest, they largely did; the Flames didn't have enough scoring depth to make them think twice (and their power-play was bad enough that they probably weren't worried abut taking slashing minors).

But let's not mince words: four years is a long time, and $4.5 million per season is pretty pricey. Once the Gaudreau and Sean Monahan extensions get done, he'll likely be the third-richest forward contract on the team – even if you factor in Sam Bennett's eventual extension. What has to happen to make that contract worthwhile?

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Ladislav Smid's status is holding up the depth defenseman signings

Ryan Pike
July 20 2016 11:00AM

We're into mid-July around the hockey world and the Calgary Flames still have four restricted free agents left to re-sign. The most prominent names are forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan (along with Freddie Hamilton), but blueliner Tyler Wotherspoon hasn't signed yet either. (Also on the market: unrestricted free agent Jakub Nakladal).

Given the quiet marketplace for blueliners, I've heard the question on Twitter (and elsewhere): why haven't Wotherspoon and/or Nakladal re-signed yet?

If you want a short answer, here it is: Ladislav Smid.

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Digging into the Flames and 2015-16 game scores

Ryan Pike
July 19 2016 02:00PM

What constitutes a "good game"? Many other sports, notably baseball, have seen their advanced stats communities tabulate what are known as "game scores," in an attempt to quantify what constitutes a good game.

In the context of ice hockey, obviously there are significant differences in terms of what are major events worthy of being captured in a game score. But the folks at Hockey Graphs have made an attempt. How does it work, and what can it tell us about the Calgary Flames?

Let's dive in!

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Gaudreau and Monahan not signed yet? Don't panic, it's complicated

Ryan Pike
July 18 2016 11:00AM

On July 1, two of the best draft picks in the history of the Calgary Flames became restricted free agents. Calgary's 2011 fourth round pick Johnny Gaudreau and 2013 first round pick Sean Monahan, together the two highest-scoring Flames last season, have been without contracts since Canada Day. Given that the dynamic duo is going to be eating up a large chunk of the Flames' salary cap and that they're likely to get two of the richest deals in the history of the franchise, the lack of signing announcements has caused some hand-wringing and brow-furrowing among the fanbase.

Why are these deals taking so long? Shouldn't they been done by now?

Relax. It's complicated.

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Let's talk about the Flames and waivers for 2016-17

Ryan Pike
July 14 2016 02:00PM

We're deep down in the July hockey news dregs, ladies and gentlemen. So as we all wait patiently to find out when Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau will sign with the Calgary Flames, and for what term and cap hit, let's take some time to ponder some other things that will undoubtedly factor into decision-making over the next while.

First up? The waiver wire.

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