May 02 2016 08:00AM
One of the more underrated parts of a team's off-season is qualifying restricted free agents. It's not as exciting as the draft or free agency, and doesn't even carry the shine a new contract has to it.
Still, come the end of June, teams have to decide who they're going to keep and who won't be brought back. With limited spots in both the NHL and AHL, not to mention an overall 50 contract limit, choices have to be made.
There are obvious ones for the Flames. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan will no doubt be back, and regular NHLers like Joe Colborne and Josh Jooris should be qualified. There's also Joni Ortio, who hasn't proven himself quite yet, but has at least earned the chance to prove himself.
What about the rest? The Flames currently sit at 46 contracts, with five UFAs expiring, and six new deals slated to kick in next season. Some players may have to be on the way out.
May 01 2016 08:00AM
And so, the lottery has decreed: barring a trade, the Calgary Flames will be picking sixth overall in the 2016 NHL draft. It's a position they're familiar with, as recently as just three years ago; it's also a position they've only once picked above, when they selected Sam Bennett fourth overall in 2014.
It varies from draft to draft, but this year, it's the top three picks that are the big names. Last year it was the big two; the years before, the big four. Rarely do we see it stretch out to the big six.
But some pretty good players have gone sixth overall, and if the Flames do their due diligence, they'll get a good player at sixth overall. Here's who's gone there in recent years.
April 30 2016 07:33PM
Sigh. Well that was unfortunate.
After 60 minutes of Damien Cox, the draft lottery finally got underway in Toronto. Things fell in favour of the host city, with the Maple Leafs winning the 1st overall pick after a season designed, and surgically executed to complete that exact task. The result of the second and third lotteries, for those numbered picks respectively, is where a sour taste sets into the mouths of Flames fans.
April 30 2016 06:25PM
After enduring a 2015-16 season where the hockey gods rarely smiled upon them, the Calgary Flames hoped to beat the odds and win one of the three NHL Draft lotteries. They did not. While they didn't get bumped all the way down to 8th overall, they'll draft in the spot they were most likely to draft: 6th overall (which they had a 35.5% chance of getting).
The lottery draws were won by Toronto (1st overall), Winnipeg (2nd overall) and Columbus (3rd overall).
April 30 2016 02:00PM
Thirty years ago today, Steve Smith scored on his own net in Game 7 of the Smythe Division finals. The goal stood as the series clinching marker, sending the Flames to their first ever Stanley Cup Final.
These facts, laid bare, don't adequately capture the enormity of that moment for Flames fans at the time. The Oilers in 1986 were an (almost) unstoppable juggernaut. Their roster boasted half a done future hall of famers. They had won two cups in a row and were considered the next dynastic franchise after the early 80's NY Islanders and 70's Montreal Canadians.