The Flames added two more names from the to-do list today, re-inking minor league forwards Paul Byron and Akim Aliu. Both contracts are two-way, one year deals. Byron’s NHL salary is worth $585,000 while Aliu (somehow) clocks in at $695,000.
That leaves just a couple of notable RFA’s hanging: Mikael Backlund and Leland Irving. Backlund is obviously the most interesting Flame still without a contract. His poor season last year in terms of health and counting numbers may be contributing to a hesistance on the team’s part to commit more dollars and time to the player. He’s a 23-year, skilled forward with an undetermined ceiling in line for a rebound, but he’s also been rumored as trade bait. The longer this drags on, the less likely it seems he’ll be sticking around the Flames organization.
Leland Irving is the favorite to back-up Miikka Kiprusoff this year, despite a rough end to his season in the AHL. With 6 years between him and his draft year, Irving is at the point in his career where he has to start proving to be more than a steady AHL starter if he’s going to take the next step.
This upcoming should be his big chance to show he can manage at the NHL level. No doubt the Flames are interested in a cheap, single season contract so they can judge where Irving is at while the new dad with be looking for a bit more security.