Flames Roster At-A-Glance

The first wave of free agent signings are done. Depth signings and subsequent moves are probably coming up in the next few weeks as we inch closer and closer to the end of summer and the beginning of camps.

But for now, here’s where things stand for the Flames organizationally.

GOALIES

The Flames have three goalies under NHL contracts (Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller and Brad Thiessen). Joni Ortio is an RFA and most likely will be signed. It remains to be seen if Calgary signs another goalie to a pro deal in order to have a prospect play in Alaska or not. The “rotation” approach (AHL back-up goes to ECHL to get playing time, then switches with ECHL starter) appeared to work well last year.

Ramo and Hiller will be the NHL tandem. No controversy here.

DEFENSEMEN

The Flames have a dozen players under valid NHL contracts: Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano, Ladislav Smid, Deryk Engelland, Kris Russell, T.J. Brodie, Tyler Wotherspoon, Patrick Sieloff, John Ramage, Sena Acolatse, Brett Kulak and Ryan Culkin. Keegan Kanzig has a contract but it’ll slide unless he plays 10 NHL games, which is unlikely. Mark Cundari is an RFA and will likely sign. Chad Billins is a qualified RFA, but he signed a KHL deal, so his qualification was to retain his rights.

The Flames probably have some minor league moves to make, as their projected AHL blueline is incredibly young and relatively inexperienced. We may see a move or two on the NHL level as well, depending on who gets injured and how cap situations look in the fall. The big question here is if Wotherspoon jumps back in right away or spends time in Adirondack before any NHL call-up. If it’s felt he’s not ready, they may make a move to hedge their bets a bit.

FORWARDS

The Flames have 22 forwards under active NHL deals: Jiri Hudler, David Jones, Corban Knight, Mason Raymond, Matt Stajan, Curtis Glencross, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Sven Baertschi, Bryce van Brabant, Brandon Bollig, Josh Jooris, Markus Granlund, Bill Arnold, Kenny Agostino, David Wolf, Max Reinhart, Michael Ferland, Brian McGrattan, Paul Byron and Turner Elson. (Whew.) Emile Poirier & Morgan Klimchuk have sliding deals unless they play 10 NHL games. Joe Colborne is an RFA going to salary arbitration. Lance Bouma is a “regular” RFA who will likely sign. Mathieu Tousignant and Garnet Hathaway have AHL deals.

The Flames forward group has a lot of depth, which is to say at the NHL level there are productive bodies but beyond Backlund nobody who can drive possession (and at the AHL level, guys that can challenge for NHL depth spots). I’d expect some movement here, if only to provide the team with some flexibility. As it stands there are likely 11 guys on one-way deals (including the RFAs) and then Monahan, so there’s not a lot of spots for newcomers. At the AHL level, like with defenders it’s a really young group. At worst, they’ll make moves to bring in AHL vets to tutor the kids.

OVERALL

Calgary has 37 players under active contracts, 3 sliding contracts, 4 RFAs that will probably sign, and Chad Billins (who’s an RFA who won’t sign due to KHL defection).

That’s a lot of flexibility, both contract and cap-wise. I still expect a bunch of depth moves, as it’s unlikely the team has (or is willing to part with) assets to land a big fish in the trade market. But as we get closer to October, players will get injured and teams will get into further cap trouble.

  • Serious note…

    Can the Flames organization find a way to shoot those 3rd jersey’s into space preferably directed at the surface of the sun? I’ll start a kick-starter if they don’t have the time to arrange such a feat?

  • Bring back the retro 3rds! Those walmart replicas are bruuuuutal.

    Word out of Chicago is that Kevin* Hayes isn’t keen on signing there.

    Given we just overpaid on Bollig, think there is a deal to be made with them? They are currently sitting with negative cap space….Bad Contract + Kevin* Hayes for serviceable replacement?

    • Mr. Hayes is an NCAA grad, so Chicago only holds his rights until August 15. After that, he becomes a UFA. That said, if he is not keen on signing with Chicago, then there is better opportunity here to combine with Mr. Gaudreau and Mr. Arnold by signing after August 15 with the Flames.

      Perhaps we could see a reprise, albeit likely brief, of that dynamite Boston College line in Glens Falls. . .

    • I think you mean Kevin Hayes.

      And honestly, my interest in him wanes by the day. Originally I was ambivalent about the possibility of him signing with the Flames, now it just doesn’t really interest me at all. He’s just another low-ceiling gritchart kind of guy.

      We’ve seen this movie before, no?

      • piscera.infada

        I agree. The few (limited) times I’ve watched him, he hasn’t done much for me aside from having a big shot. His skating looks like a work in progress as well. That said, if he’s really willing to join the Flames, I think you make that deal – he could work out, he’s got some connections on the team, maybe you hit a home-run for no cost at all. I’m not trading for him though (or at least not more than a 5th round pick).

      • His NHLE this year was 56 and that would put him 2nd out of all our prospects I believe. Correct me if I am wrong, but to me (aside from Johnny driving the bus) that surely isn’t just a big useless gritchart dude to me.

        I guess you could say it took till his last year though to put up the numbers so we have to see if that can be maintained…

        If Hayes signs elsewhere Chicago gets a 2nd round so I immagine that would be the minimum going rate (since he was 24th overall)

        Probably makes the most sense to just grab him for free when his is UFA

        • This is probably a case where NHLe is fairly unrepresentative of the player. Hayes’ pre-Johnny NHLE as a 21-year old was 31. That’s certainly not terrible, but it’s nowhere near the astronomical 56 he managed this year.

          We can safely assume Gaudreau drove the bus on that number (as you mention) because Hawys didn’t explode until he played a full season on Johnny’s wing.

          As I mentioned previously, I wouldn’t mind the Flames acquiring Hayes. But he wouldn’t suddenly be a really high end prospect or anything.

          • Just caught news that Kevin is not attending Black Hawks camp! Pretty big red flag there!

            Re his stat explosion this last season I believe that he suffered an injury in his second season and found his footing through his third,’earning’ Jonny’s right wing from originally centre. The ‘I realized how important it is to me’ story.

            I remember reading it in an article while following Jonny, but can’t find the article just yet. Maybe some one smarter than me recalls it?

  • JMK

    I know this is a really basic question, but I’ve only followed NHL for a year and still learning. But are there trade windows in the NHL? I noticed a lot of transfer activity on July 1st, so was this the opening of the trade window? And is there a close date? I know there’s a certain date that trades must be done in time for the playoffs, but other than that can teams trade whenever? I did a quick google search but didn’t return much. Thanks!!

    • Yes and no. There are no trade or transfer windows in hockey like there is in soccer. Free agency opens, like you said, on July first. From that date till sometime in March (about the 3/4 mark of the season) teams are free to sign any free angents are trade with any teams that they please. There is about a 4 month period from March to the end of the playoffs where the teams are stuck with the players they have.

    • supra steve

      There is a league imposed “trade deadline” each year about 6 weeks before the playoffs start. After that there is no more trading until after the playoffs, not sure on an exact date it ends. Otherwise it is pretty much open season for teams to make deals the rest of the year (late June till early March).

    • Welcome! and Congratulations on following the greatest sport in the world. May I suggest hating all other Canadian teams (particularly western canadian teams) and cheering exclusively for the Calgary Flames?

  • JMK

    @ theCalgaryJames

    Haha thanks!! I think I’ve already bought into that philosophy unknowingly (was going to pretend to be a Canucks fan to annoy the girlfriend but abandoned that pretty quickly). I play an Irish sport here in Calgary and our biggest rivals were Edmonton after the first game hah!!

    • everton fc

      So replace the flaming C with a dumpster fire during the rebuild?

      haha I kid. Love the team and what we are doing. Can’t wait for this season as more of our young guys will get a chance to play.

    • piscera.infada

      Agreed… Unless your city has cachet like NY and LA you don’t do it… But Calgary exceeds cachet. We’re the financial capital of our solar system and the largest exporter of eucalyptus. Too much to mention really.

      • piscera.infada

        Being that the flaming C is confusing any ways… maybe we should talk to the Mayor and change the name of Calgary to ‘Cachet’ drop the flaming C and emblazon the new city name across the chest, sleeves, pants, socks pants and Ken King’s forehead.

        The sign at city limits will look great…..

        “Welcome to ‘Cachet’ the heart of the new World.”

        _BV

  • RedMan

    If Poirier has a sliding contract does that mean he can only either in the NHL or the CHL? If thats true it would not be in his best interest,

    It must be nice to type all those names at forward it has been a long time since he had this much talent(at least the potential)

  • RedMan

    This is off topic. I was just looking through the teams and determining which are expected to be bottom feeders next year.

    Iwhat does everyone think? I could see Buffalo being worse (although they did get better in Free agency) but don’t picture any other team being worse than the flames. Am I dreaming? Florida and NYI will be better next year.

      • This is the Flames one and only “tank year” (the one thing Burke has done is set us up for the perfect tank; he didn’t have to screw the draft up to do it though….).

        The Oilers have been tanking for 8 years, it’s the only way they have been able to add any talent to their team….the Flames can tank one year. This year is it!!!

        WW

      • PrairieStew

        These are good bets as well. The bottom 5 will most likely consist or Calgary, Winnipeg, Carolina, Buffalo and Florida, in whatever order most likely.

        Edmonton improved, Buffalo improved if not for the fact they probably couldn’t get much worse I guess, Islanders imporved as well. Toronto may go up or down depending on their next set of moves, who knows, maybe they get all liqoured up and trade Gardiner for Engelland. But Toronto should be the Flames of yesteryear, good enough to not be worst in the league but not making the playoffs. Vancouver I think is in the same boat, not going to make the playoffs, but not a lottery team either. Who knows with Ottawa.

        But Buffalo/Florida/Calgary/Winnipeg/Carolina should be the bottom 5, with Calgary a good shot at the #1/2 pick.

    • Rockmorton65

      San Jose and Vancouver will regress a bit. How far, I’m not sure. Carolina and Winnipeg are going in the wrong direction. Florida, Edmonton the Isles and Buffalo never seem to improve. I see a bottom 5-10 finish for us, but unless Johnny G is a bust and everyone else regresses, not much lower.

      • Rockmorton65

        I’m not sure San Jose will regress enough for them to miss the playoffs; lets in at the west.
        Teams most likely to be locks for the playoffs:
        LA, Anaheim, Chicago, StL, Colorado, and Dallas.
        Teams legitimately in the hunt: Minny, SJ
        Teams hoping to be in the hunt: Vancouver, Arizona,Nashville
        Teams with a lot of work to do: Oilers, Jets and Flames.

        In the east it is in many ways a crap shoot(IMO):
        Locks: Boston
        Teams legitimately in the hunt: Rangers, Canadiens, Pittsburg, Philly, Columbus.
        Teams hoping to be in the hunt: everyone else except Buffalo.

        • Rockmorton65

          I don’t think Carolina or Florida will be involved in the east. I think Buffalo and Florida will take a small step forward, but nothing of significance. Like every year, the Oilers are expected to break out, so we’ll see. I can see Johnny G and Sven make the team out of camp. That might be enough of a spark to push us up a spot or two. Right now, I have us as better than Fla, Buff, Car and Wpg. The “wild cards” are Edm and NYI. And there is usually one team that goes into absolute free fall every year. I think it could be the Canucks or Leafs. We only finished 6 back of the Canucks and 7 back of the Leafs. If either of those teams regress, we could finish higher.

          If Gaudreau can make this team out of camp, which I think he will, it could add an interesting dynamic to the team. I find it kind of ironic that for all the talk of truculence and size, it could be a hobbit like Johnny Frodeau to shift the direction of the team.

  • Brownblazer

    @ Ryan.

    You forgot that Johnny Hockey will also be another forward driving possession (imo). Just putting it out there – but I think he’s got a legit shot at the calder.

  • Burnward

    The Oilers will probably be picking first again as much as it scares me.

    They have a defense corps composed of 5-6’s and Scrivens can’t make 40 saves every night.

    Plus the team has already checked out on their head coach. We’ll be ahead of them, I am pretty sure.

  • Burnward

    Another kinda off topic thing…I personally really like Backlund as a player and view him as a really valuable piece of the team moving forward. His possession numbers are elite but his scoring numbers haven’t been great yet and it seems like some people don’t appreciate what he brings to the team because of his lack of abundant scoring. I could probably find out myself, but there’s lotsa people on his site that can do it faster and better than me (it’s awesome how many people there are here that research this stuff); what other players in the league can Backs be compared to? I was wondering cuz maybe the players like him are really valued by their teams and it would kinda put this into perspective..

  • Burnward

    With 8 established forwards and another 4 who emerged as NHLers I hope the coaching staff will have a plan to include the prospects. It is entirely possible that the Flames could start the season with a lineup upfront like this:

    Colborne/Monahan/Hudler
    Glenx/Stajan/DJones
    Raymond/Backs/Bollig
    Bouma/Byron/McG

    This in my mind would set the rebuild back as the likes of Johnny,Granlund and Sven need to play in the NHL to develop.

    Hopefully will be at the scrimmage today.

    • PrairieStew

      Not necessarily. I would argue that more ice time and becoming dominant players at the AHL level is better for the development of Johnny, Granlund and Sven than 4th line duty in Calgary on a team that struggles to win.

      I think that the potential for those 3 in particular is as top 6 forwards and of the 3, only Granlund has shown he can be top 6 in the AHL, and that only for half a season. I would far rather see all of them scoring at a point per game in AHL than playing 9 minutes a night playing with Mcgrattan and Bollig.

      • piscera.infada

        If (and a big if) Gaudreau makes the Flames roster next year, he won’t be playing 4th line minutes. In his one game last year, he worked his way up to first line duty pretty quickly. If you’re going to play his, he’ll be getting top-six minutes. Certainly not in a shutdown role, but he’ll be counted on to drive things offensively.

        That’s why it’s such an interesting assignment. I’m not going to be surprised if he’s in the AHL to start the season, but he’s definitely going to make a hard push for the opening night roster with the lack of skill the Flames have up front. Keep in mind he also older (21) than most prospects getting their first kick at the can, so it’s not unreasonable to see him on the big-team.

        I guess the question is simply if he looks like he can hold up physically. Considering everything we’ve seen from him as he’s progressed throughout his career to date, he’ll be able to make it work. He’s not a guy you sit on your bottom-six, he just isn’t. Burke, Treliving, and Hartley all know this.

  • piscera.infada

    I expect that there are still some moves left to be made. Look for the signing of another d-man. BT has stated that he would like to add some depth here. Likely someone with some experience on a short term contract. Even with the signing I think we are likely to see a number of prospects on the back end get a look. Injuries are inevitable. Don’t be surprised if Wotherspoon starts in minors for big minutes but gets the call early. I also think we will see Seiloff get a look as well as Kulak. I know that they like Seiloff’s edge and shot and Kulak’s mobility.

    I think the team that starts the year willbe very different from the one that finishes. This will be a year of selling hope and effort. I can live with it as long as we keep our focus on developing kids the right way and make smart moves. Hate to say it but in some ways I am in agreement with WW (the heel of FN) that BT May emphasis size over skill too much for my liking. Hopefully I am wrong but it seems that an nterview can’t go on without a long talk on the virtue of CHARACTER and being tough to play against. I understand that character matters but I far prefer a focus on skill. I am not one hitting the panic button I just hope that our desire to get bigger doesn’t equal less skilled. I also disagree with Burke who said one tough guy isn’t enough in western conference. Maybe I’ve been hanging out at FN too long but I agree with many on here that one guy is lots and three seems absurd. Also mark my words Wolfe will be up on the big squad for some time this year. Sitting in front of flames brass and they love this guy.

    Off to develment camp. Hoping Roy and smith show better. Go flames go.