Flames Make Moves: Draft Picks and Pending Free Agents


Over the past month your Calgary Flames have made a lot of moves. Gone are Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester and Blake Comeau. Acquired in their place were a lot of future assets – Ben Hanowski, Kenny Agostino, Reto Berra, Mark Cundari, two first round draft picks and a fifth round pick, all in this year’s draft

In addition, the Flames have signed a ton of guys. In the past month, the club has come to terms with Tyler Wotherspoon, Laurent Brossoit, Hanowski, Berra, John Ramage, Markus Granlund and Joey MacDonald.

So with those moves done, where do they stand going forward?


As of today, the Flames have 30 players under contract for 2013-14, including Miikka Kiprusoff, who is widely believed to be retiring at the end of this season. If he does take a powder, his contract comes off the books. Either way, presume the Flames will sign or otherwise acquire around another 15 bodies or so.

In goal, the Flames have five men under contract: Kipper, the recently signed Joey MacDonald, Reto Berra, Joni Ortio and Laurent Brossoit. Ortio may stay in Finland, Berra is confirmed as coming to North America (as per Jay Feaster’s recent appearance on The Fan 960) and Brossoit is expected to turn pro. Once restricted free agent Karri Ramo signs, I would guess the team has its four North American netminders locked down – Ramo, MacDonald, Berra and Brossoit. Danny Taylor and Leland Irving are slated to become Group VI unrestricted free agents.

On the blueline, things are much less clear. Signed for 2013-14 right now are seven players: Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich and Derek Smith, and minor-leaguers Wotherspoon, Ramage and James Martin. Five defenders are RFAs: Chris Butler, T.J. Brodie, Chris Breen, Brady Lamb and Mark Cundari. Brett Carson and Anton Babchuk will become UFAs on July 5. I’d wager that Brodie, Breen and Cundari will definitely be retained, but outside of them, who knows.

Up-front, there are 18 guys with NHL contracts. They are Mike Cammalleri, Jiri Hudler, Alex Tanguay, Matt Stajan, Curtis Glencross, Lee Stempniak, Ben Hanowski, Max Renhart, Roman Horak, Tim Jackman, Ryan Howse, Michael Ferland, Markus Granlund, Blair Jones, Ben Street, Turner Elson and David Eddy.

That’s not a bad group to start with.

Mikael Backlund headlines an RFA class that also includes Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, Carter Bancks, Akim Aliu, Greg Nemisz, Bryan Cameron and Gaelan Patterson. Unrestricted free agents include Roman Cervenka, Brian McGrattan, Steve Begin, Ben Walter, Krys Kolanos and Mike Testwuide. Backlund will definitely be back. I’d also expect that Bouma will be retained, while one (or both) of Begin and McGrattan may stick around. Beyond that, there will be a lot of turnover in the forward ranks. Former first rounder Greg Nemisz didn’t attend training camp and has been recalled during dead time as the team experiments with various players. He likely won’t be back. Roman Cervenka, as discussed, is a good bet to leave as well.

For what it’s worth, after my predicted re-signing of Brodie, Breen, Cundari, Backlund, Bouma and Begin/McGrattan, that leaves the club at 35 players signed for 2013-14 and with a lot of wiggle and cap room.


In the 2011 draft, the Flames went to the podium five times and chose (in order) Sven Baertschi, Markus Granlund, Tyler Wotherspoon, Johnny Gaudreau and Laurent Brossoit. The team seems quite satisfied with that group.

In the 2013 draft, the Flames presently have nine draft picks in their back pocket. That includes three first round selections – their own, Pittsburgh’s and St. Louis’ – their own third and fourth rounders, Columbus’ fifth rounder, their own sixth rounder and two seventh rounders (their own and Ottawa’s).

What the Flames do with their nine picks probably depends on where they finish and what their scouts say. In his visit with Pat Steinberg and Ryan Leslie on The Fan 960 this week, Feaster mentioned that the scouting staff feels there are four elite prospects – which probably means Seth Jones, Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon and one other guy (Barkov, LIndholm?). If Calgary’s scouts feel like there’s a huge, huge drop-off after the top four and the rest of the draft, I’d expect them to try to move up. And it may not be horribly difficult to move up with three first rounders.

But heck, if they figure that the first round is deep beyond the top four, they may just say “to heck with it,” and make the most of their three choices in the top 30.


Calgary’s season ends on Friday night in Chicago. Green Garbage Bag Day is likely Sunday, featuring exit meetings and exit medicals. The next day, Monday, is the NHL’s Draft Lottery drawing, where the draft order for the first 14 picks is determined.

The NHL Draft is Sunday, June 30, beginning at 1pm MT and running until all seven rounds are done and the life-force is sapped from all involved. Free agency season begins on Friday, July 5.

But first, the Flames have three games left to play in the current season.

Recently around the Nation

  • TheRealPoc

    Not landing an elite talent in this draft, after being so terrible for such a “long” stretch of the season, is going to hurt something awful.

    I can’t remember the last time I was apoplectic over my team winning 5 of their last 6, yet here I am.

  • Subversive

    Can someone tell me how the draft lottery works? Is there just one draw, for 1st overall (with each team having an appropriate shot at that pick)? I understand no one can drop more than one position, so if someone other that the worst overall team wins the 1st overall pick, everybody drops 1 spot and we’re done?

  • Subversive

    Even if they go 0-3 down the stretch, the Flames are likely looking at the 5th (or even 6th) pick going into the draft lottery. That means they have an 8.1% chance of winning the lottery and around 20% chance of getting knocked down yet another spot. Ugh.

    It will be interesting to see where the STL pick comes in at. We’ve been cheering for them to make the playoffs, and now we have to cheer for a first round elimination.


  • piscera.infada

    Am I the only person on the face of this earth who doesn’t think Chris Butler is THAT bad?

    I actually see him as a relatively young guy with a great deal of upside. Bouwmeester left him on an island in almost every game they played together last year. And he’s played with Smith or Babchuk most of this year (not guys I’m particularly high on).

    • TheRealPoc

      If you’re not the only guy, you’re definitely in the minority.

      He’s a complete nightmare with the puck and he loses his coverage assignments in the d-zone on a regular basis. And now he’s making the same mistakes against considerably softer minutes & assignments than last season. If he was an offensive threat or a physical presence, that might be tolerable – but he’s neither.

      Chris Butler is not an NHL defenceman, plain and simple. I still have no clue what our FO sees in him.

        • TheRealPoc

          No, he is that bad. Kent’s underlying numbers are going to paint an ugly picture, and the eye test corroborates with that completely.

          For someone as intelligent as he is, you’d think he’d be able to show a little more composure and make better reads, both with and without the puck. He’s also a great skater; I’m sure that made him enticing to our pro scouts as a “kid with upside.” But that kid is gonna turn 27 next season and more often than not, he still looks completely overwhelmed at this level.

          Resigning him will be a mistake.

    • I looked at Butler’s results last night and they awful across the board. I’m going to go into great detail with the regular skaters this off-season, but Butler’s underlying numbers are startlingly bad given his role this year.

      There isn’t much upside there since he’s not an offensive threat either. He’s kind of like the next coming of David Hale.

    • Double Dion

      Yes. Chris Butler gets torched against mediocre competition. He skates well and looks to have the tools, but he is a shockingly bad defender with the skill set he has. I hated JBo, but he wasn’t the one making Butler look bad. JBo made Butler look better than he was.

    • Franko J

      If history dictates anything the Flames will sooner trade down than up. Having three first round picks and no second round picks I think at this time they are probably holding onto those picks. The lowest the Flames have picked is 6th. Picking 6th has not gone so great for this team. So maybe trading up would not be so bad, but I would sooner try and trade possible roster players and the sixth pick than any further draft picks.

      Outside of Jones, I think that the majority of prospects will require further development prior to jumping into the rigours of the NHL.

      With the team having three first round picks I like the scenario of flexibility with the picks and the several options they can utilize with them. Sure beats the alternative where there has been times where this hasn’t drafted until the third round.

  • Drafting in our range, say 6-10 im curious what other GM’s will want to get into the top 3 or 4,
    I suspect the price will be large.

    I wonder what johnny gaudreau market value is ? I may be in the minority to trade him, but say
    Stl 1st + gaudrea gets us in top 10 ? 5?

    A man can dream

  • TheRealPoc

    And I find it absolutely comical there are fans who still excuse Butler’s poor play last season because he played with Bouwmeester…but they wouldn’t dare consider the reverse scenario to be true.

    One guy in that pair was definitely dragging down the other, but it wasn’t the guy who’s currently crushing his 24 minutes/night with St. Louis.

    • piscera.infada

      You get no argument from me that Bouwmeester’s effective in a certain roll, with the right partner.

      That being said, having him mentor a young kid, at 30 minutes a night is not that roll, or that partner. Face it, he’s soft (perhaps the softest). The only time he shows any emotion is when he’s “accidentally” high sticking someone in the face, and it goes unnoticed by the refs (something that happened quite often, and I find rather comical).

      I’m not going to say Bouwmeester wouldn’t have played better not paired with Butler. But I don’t think it did Butler any favors either.

      • Double Dion

        JBo was soft, no question about it. Butler is also soft. The difference is JBo can actually do other things. Butler brings poor offence and defence to go along with his softness. JBo is above average in both those other areas. (I feel sick defending JBo, but he’s better than Butler).

    • Double Dion

      Agree 100%. It was JBo carrying Butler. As I’ve always stated. When Butler was taken off his pairing most of his supporters turned on him with venom.

      Also, do NOT re-sign Byron.

      Both players are useless.

      Man that Regehr trade was pathetic. And we give up a 2nd just to get rid of 1 year left on Kotalik. Stupid.

      Essentially we got nothing in that trade, but the Sabres deal the same player 2 years later for two 2nds.

  • I’m hoping we go after 2 or 3 ufa’s. Top on my list is Nathan Horton! We aren’t strong on rw and he’d be a great fit. Big scoring winger. Wonder if we should go after Andrew ference as a veteran to help with the youth! He’s popular in the dressing room. I also like filppula but he’s a left winger. I imagine we’ll be making 2 or 3 deals anyways.

    • Agreed, though I’m not sure the level of talent is available this free agency to turn this team around over a season. I do hope the flames use our ability to spend to the cap as an asset, whether it be taking in larger contracts that are expiring in a year or two, or signing pieces to use acquire talent in future trades.

      • Double Dion

        I agree, I don’t think we should be targeting very many UFAs. I’d look at a bottom pairing physical guy to replace Butler (Fistric or O’Byrne) if the price and term is right. A 4th liner or two who don’t need to be sheltered and play a tough game ( Ryan Jones, Torres or Nystrom), again, if the price and term are right. I’d also look to teams like Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, Minnesota and Philadelphia to see what they are doing with their cap situations. Guys like Kelly, Boychuk, Bolland, Frolik, Talbot, Meszaros and Kennedy could all be solid additions if they’re available on the cheap. What I don’t want to see in a 5 year 30 million dollar contract being offered to Weiss, or 6 years 30 million to Clarkson. That would be counter productive. Wouldn’t mind seeing 1 year bigger money offers to quality vets we can flip at the deadline who also would fill a need for this upcoming year. For example: Elias 5 million, Morrow 4.5 million, Regehr 3.5 million. I realize that they’re all overpays, but we have to overpay to entice and it’s ok if it’s a 1 year deal.

        • Oyo

          this comment thread is awesome. well done everyone. i agree with what your saying for the most part. Chicago will be in cap hell next year and i think we may be able to pry Frolik out of there but not Bolland. And as for UFA i like the idea of bringing in someone to help mentor and still contribute with a good attitude.

          Heres what i HOPE to see next year:

          Sven – Backs – Cammi

          glen x – Stajan – Frolik

          hudler – horak – stempniak

          bouma – MAX – timmy jack (i love him)

          Brodie – wideman

          Gio – Ference

          Sarich – Cundari


          (rotating door of goalies)

          i think this team while still rebuilding, will be competitive and hard working.
          Buy out tangs this summer and use that money and whatever LOW PICK / prospect u need to get Frolik. Ference is UFA. easy low cost management. i would love Hagelin as well but dont see where he would fit seeing as how hes a left winger.

  • Double Dion

    On a two year deal for around $900K I would keep Butler because while he is a 5/6 defenseman he has enough mobility to be able to fill in the #4 role in the defense rotation in emergency situations.
    Compared to options like Babchuk or Carson there is not another player that can fill that slot in the Flames organization. Sign and slot players where they belong, not just based on the upside you wish they had.

    Ramo, Berra, MacDonald are the three netminders that will determine who the odd man out is to go down to the farm. Though I have my doubts it is Ramo based on the type of contract they will need to give him to get him to come over.

    Top three defense are Brodie, Giordano, and Wideman. Cundari looks to have the potential to fit in the fourth spot and that is where somebody like Butler (on an affordable contract) makes sense because he can help balance off minutes if the rookie gets overwhelmed. Wild card in the top seven is if they do draft one of the defensemen (Zadorov, Nurse, or Ristolienen) are they good enough to make the team next year?

  • Double Dion

    Calgary has too many needs and too much empty cupboard to waste assets trying to trade up. They wont get a chance at the top three. They might have a chance at one of the three centers (Barkov, Lindholm, Monahan) if a team above them like Nichushkin or a defenseman. But chances are they will be looking at one of the three defense prospects and should pick the best one and then focus on other needs with the next two draft picks.

    If they do end up with a defenseman with the first pick then I think they need to do what they can to draft Gauthier and bring in one good center prospect this draft. If they are unable to draft him than I would look at trading the Blues and Penguins first round pick to the Canadiens’ for their first and second round picks and the Flames and Predators second round picks.

    Calgary needs help and depth at almost every prospect position (goaltending is the only exception but I would still be okay picking up a goaltender in the fifth round). They need to be acquiring as much talent as possible and the more picks that they have the better chance it gives them.

  • Double Dion

    If the Flames are really going to do a “re-tool” properly than they need to be giving their young prospects every chance to play the beginning of next year. Dont resign any player that is over 30, and dont look at bringing in any UFA’s that are over 29. Make deals that bring in players like Frolik or Hagelin that can help drive play and possession and give some of the younger guys linemates that can help to cover their learning mistakes.

    • piscera.infada

      I partially agree with you. I’m vehemently not for shipping out all over 30s, but I agree that we shouldn’t go out signing FA’s that are over 29 (unless they bring us back some sort of reasonable return and term, as a function of cap relief).

      The one issue I have is this idea that a rebuild means your young players have to be ‘the go to guys’ from day one. That means starting in the NHL right out of junior, after draft day. In my eyes, this is not the way to properly develop prospects. Thus, you can’t start scrapping your entire team in favor of the kids.

      I think the best example of this is Yakupov. Why is he playing in the NHL this year? Was he supposed to come in and be a difference maker this year? No. Every time I watch an Oiler’s game he looks out of place. He has skill and speed (as everyone can see), but he is a perfect illustration of a guy who needs to learn the North American pro game in the AHL first.

  • Double Dion

    I never said that you should be starting every kid out of junior. I said that you should be looking to bring in guys that are in the prime of their career that are easier to get because what they do is drive possession and maybe dont put up huge point totals. Bring in support guys like Stempniak that can help to bridge the gap the next three years and help to provide support and guidance to the young kids.

    I would not re-sign players over 30. Not neccessarily just dump the players that we have that are over 30. But there does need to be a plan in place for moving out Tanguay and Cammalleri in the next season or two in order to continue the cultural change in the club.

    • piscera.infada

      Agreed. That comment wasn’t entirely directed at you.

      I think Tanguay will be gone sooner, rather than later.
      On Cammy, if he isn’t opposed to being a guiding force in this “re-tool”, I would keep him. I think he’s the kind of player who knows a thing or two about adversity, how to play larger than his size, and is accountable… To me he seems like the kind of player to bring young guys up around. If he accepts it, of course.
      If he wants out, by all means, get as much as you can for him.

  • T&A4Flames

    Anybody else here think we make a push for Bernier? Add Joey Mac to a package. I’ve heard they are looking for a top 6 guy for next year. They will likely have to make more moves but maybe something like Tanguay, J Mac and a prospect/pick. There are also rumors that they will go after Iginla in the summer. Reuniting he and Tangs would be interesting.

    I’m ok with signing a UFA or 2 but I would hope they explore trades with cap strapped teams 1st. That may bring back other assets or get us steals. Guys on 1 or 2 yr deals may also bring other 1st rnd’s at next years deadline.

    As for Butler, i think he is exactly the kind of cheap player that could be used in a cap dumping trade.

    • Parallex

      Considering that the rumored price on Bernier at the deadline was Iginla+ (Which was batsh!t crazy). I’m going to go ahead and say they’re not going to push for Bernier… not unless the asking price goes way way way way down.

      Frankly I’m fine going forward with Ramo next year. See what the guy has, best goalie in the best league outside the NHL is worth a look. Beyond that I’d be fine fishing in this http://www.capgeek.com/free-agents/?year_id=2013&team_id=-1&position_id=G&fa_type_id=2 pond for a while while we wait for a home grown guy to emerge.

      • piscera.infada

        There’s not many on that list that are particularly appealing. However, the one that does grab my attention is Anton Khudobin.

        Although I’m not sure his success this year is on him or Boston’s defense. That alone makes it hard to judge. Definitely don’t want to over pay for a guy like that.

        • Parallex

          Appealing? No… But the idea isn’t particularily to find someone appealing it’s to find someone not appalling. Detroit got by for years with Chris Osgood afterall. Basically I’d rather the team fish around for league average rent-a-goalies then blow a wad of prospects/draft picks/money/term on a guy and then watch him crater ala Ilya Bryzgalov.

          I think overpaying on a goalie is just about the worst thing the Flames could do right now.

          • Double Dion

            I agree, we shouldn’t be targeting a big name goalie right now. If someone like Emery falls in your lap for cheap you might take a look at that, but we have lots of unproven guys who “might” be good. Lets give them a try before we look at other options. We gave up a 2nd for Ramo and I’d like to see what he can do. I’m a little concerned that signing JM means he’s not coming over though…

          • Parallex

            That doesn’t concern me at all. JM has his certified greybeard back-up goalie card but no one in their right mind would see him as a starting goalie. He’ll be Ramo’s Back-up with Berra & Brosseit in the AHL and Ortio chillin’ in Finland.

            One thing I really hope Feaster does is tell Ward that he’s not going to get any (as in zero zilch nada zip) AHL veteran keepers. No Brusts, No Taylor’s and he is to play the actual prospects. Our farm team is a developmental team not Troy Wards personal audition stage for an NHL coaching job… Play the prospects not the never-gonna-be’s.

          • Al Buis

            Yeah, that drove me nuts last year when Ward was playing Irving every game, Ortio got a couple minutes here and there, then they randomly brought in Danny Taylor. I was extremely confused at the time, let me tell you.

            Of course, Irving was soon called up to the NHL, but Ortio still didn’t play.

  • T&A4Flames

    I defended Bouwmeester last year. I’ve always considered him to be a legitimate top pair dman.

    Oddly, I also defended Butler. I knew he was playing over his ability, and that Bouwmeester was dragging him along behind him, but I also fully expected Butler to be perfectly acceptable in a 2nd pair (meaning that with relatively softish minutes, he would have had an even corsi, or something). I was completely and unequivocally wrong, and I don’t mind admitting it.

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    Does anyone else notice stajans name is left out of the departure list.. I actually liked watching him this year he seemed to carry over from last year and became a leaderish type player. good job ragin stajan. plus i enjoy seeing his face when he gets dumped on his rear by the opposing team just gliding through center ice….resulting in a powerplay…

    • Double Dion

      I’m glad for him. Seems like a good dude, but his play before this season justified the whipping he took. He more than met my expectations this year. I was hoping he’d be a decent third line center, IMO he played like a decent 2nd line center. Good for him, he would have been my #1 buyout target before this year. Now I’d like to see him playout his contract.

  • RKD

    They’ve got to sort out who the core players are and quickly build around that new nucleus. Feaster has said they’ve looked at the other 29 teams, more specifically the teams who have to dump salary to avoid being over the cap.

    Hey Philly, we are glad to take Sean Couturier off your hands. Yo Chicago, give us that boy named Frolik.

    I wonder if the Flames use any of the compliance buyouts on guys like Stajan or Cammy. Stajan has been one of the more consistent Flames though.

    • Parallex

      “I wonder if the Flames use any of the compliance buyouts on guys like Stajan or Cammy. Stajan has been one of the more consistent Flames though.”

      The Flames are not buying out Mike Cammallari… they have no need for the cap space, he wears a letter, he has a positive Relative Corsi (matches Stajan in that regard since you designated him “one of the more consistent Flames”), he has some of the higher counting stats amoungst guys left on the team, he makes 6M+, he isn’t a long-term commit, and will play any position the team asks of him. Why on earth would they buy him out

      I would be only mildly surprised if he’s named Captain.

      • Double Dion

        Who wants to buy out Cammalleri? That would be terrible asset management. I think he’d have good value at the next deadline. He’s got a good playoff track record and can put the puck in the net. He’d be an ideal pick-up for a good team that struggles to score at the deadline. I don’t think he’d have much value at the draft, but he’d sure have some at the deadline.

        I’d be shocked if he was named captain though. That’s a two horse race between Giordano and Glencross IMO.

  • piscera.infada

    Exactly why Khudobin might make sense. Could probably sign him for cheap(ish) for two or three years, and he’s only 26. Worst case scenario he splits time with whoever we decide the other guy is. Best case, he carries over his play as a backup (with good numbers) and becomes a good goalie for us (a la Mike Smith).

      • piscera.infada

        I’m with you. I just thought that since the goalie situation was brought up, why not pose the question?

        If we’re talking hypothetical goalie signings, he’s the kind of guy who could work.

        I’m on board with seeing who emerges from the four under contract. I still think Brossoit is the guy going forward.

        • Parallex

          Of the guys under contract? No idea… wouldn’t bet on Brossoit until we see if he can make the adult league transition. If we’re picking a horse to go with from all the guys in the system I’d probably go with Gillis. Insane freshman NCAA numbers and he’s got more size. I like tall goalies.

          • piscera.infada

            I completely forgot Gilles existed… Yeah, he’s a solid pick.

            I just feel like Brossoit could have the whole ‘chip on his shoulder’ thing. Ya’ know, not being picked for the world juniors and everything…

  • Al Buis

    Sorry Ryan..I believe the second seventh round pick should be from Chicago for the Goalie Karlsson trade earlier in the year not Ottawa. Great article keep up the excellent work!!

  • MC Hockey

    Interesting thread here. I have some ideas too.

    I like the idea of Flames exploring trades with cap-strapped teams to pick up guys like Frloik or Bolland, but be careful there…perhaps ensure we get younger not older… meaning Tanguay may have to go and perhaps he wants that too.

    If Ramo is not coming over (perhaps ever?), then I don’t mind the idea of a Bernier trade to solidify the goalie position.

    Also, unless Flames get MacKinnon in draft (and would need lottery win for that) then I expect Feaster will be asked (by owners) or just decide he needs to get a #1 centre and sadly go for Derek Roy or Mike Ribiero.

    Also given the Canucks’ cap problems, especially if Luongo retained, then maybe annoying agitator Max Lapierre could be brought in as effective 3rd or 4th line centre for the Flames.

  • PrairieStew

    I like the discussion here.

    Agree that Butler has been terrible this year, but would qualify him for one more year, mostly because we don’t have the bodies on defence. As for Byron – bad luck for him this year – I think he would work well in a Hartley speed game but injury prevented him from getting that chance. Again – qualify him for one more year, but there seems to be plenty of his type.

    I think this past week has shown that if they get decent goaltending, anything is possible. Even after 4 very good performances they are 29th in sv%. Joey’s .905 (.907 evsv) is just nowhere near good enough. Kipper has had a grand total of 5 good games this year ( 3 vs Detroit, first game back vs San Jose and the other night vs Anaheim) , otherwise he has been terrible – 73rd in the league in evsv !!

    Look at Anaheim and Columbus 91.5 and 91.8 to Calgary’s 89.0. If the Flames get 91.5 this year (league median) and you are talking 33 fewer goals against; plus 6 instead of -27. Last year Columbus 89.9, Anaheim 90.5. Additions of Fasth and Bobrovsky major reasons for turnaround.

    No buyouts neccesary – but might take other teams garbage to gain assets, then bury in minors or buyout.

    I agree that Cammy should stay – I like how he looks with Sven. Tanguay could go – still pretty cheap at $3.5, maybe there is a market for him. I’d like to see Sven stay in top 6 (w Backlund and Cammy) and keep the Stemp- Stajan – Glencross unit as the #2 line. Horak should stay all year with Hudler and I’d bring Cervanka back – does everyone realize he is 3rd on the team in even strength goals ?