July 26 2016 10:00AM
The Calgary Flames have turned the 2016 offseason into a bit of a turnstile. Specifically up front and between the pipes, the Flames have undergone a dramatic overhaul as they try to improve on their rather dreadful 2015-16 campaign. But with all this deckchair shuffling, is Calgary actually poised to be a better team? I think they are for one specific reason.
July 26 2016 08:00AM
This time about 13 months ago, the Flames were in need of another top four defenceman. There were some about to be available in the free agent market, but instead, Brad Treliving went in a completely different direction: acquiring then-22-year-old Dougie Hamilton from the Boston Bruins for draft picks. It was instantly a vastly superior option, because he was about five years younger than pretty much everyone else who would have been available.
He fit perfectly into the rebuild. And it worked out well, because his #27 had recently become available a few months before Calgary acquired him.
July 25 2016 02:00PM
Traditionally, a National Hockey League club gets about a year to decide what to do with a recently drafted player. Usually teams have two seasons to decide whether to ink their draftees (it's a bit longer for college and European players), and even in the case of draftees taken in their second or third time in the draft pool teams usually get some time to digest before deciding. (A recent example of that is current AHLer Austin Carroll, who went back for his overage year in the Western Hockey League before signing and going pro.)
But for 2016 seventh round selection Stepan Falkovsky, things are a bit complicated.
July 25 2016 10:45AM
While the expansion draft's rules have been set, there are still small details trickling in every now and then. And here's the latest one: Hunter Shinkaruk and Emile Poirier will be eligible to be taken. So should the Flames want to keep them, they must protect them.
This news comes to us via Arthur Staple:
NHL deputy commish Bill Daly confirmed to me via email today that Ryan Pulock must be protected in the expansion draft. #Isles— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) July 25, 2016
Like Shinkaruk and Poirier, Pulock played in the AHL during the 2014-15 season, even though his entry-level contract slid due to his late-year birthday. That was, technically, his first year of professional experience; the 2015-16 season was his second.
That means the 2016-17 season will be his (and their) third professional season: which makes them eligible to be taken.
July 25 2016 08:00AM
The Flames had five draft picks in 2011. All five of those picks have made the NHL in some capacity, but only two are still with the team: Johnny Gaudreau, and Tyler Wotherspoon, who both were two of just four restricted free agents to be qualified.
Wotherspoon had a tumultuous 2014-15 season, being constantly recalled and constantly sat, even though he had shed his training camp number and gotten the lower #26. Last season, though, he was featured enough to be considered a part of the Flames' future.