Random Thoughts – Free Agent Days and What’s Left For the Flames


It only took three signings for Brad Treliving to accomplish his primary goal this summer – get over the NHL’s salary floor. That seems like an entirely trivial and underwhelming objective to celebrate, but it’s one that had the possibility of causing all sorts of self inflicted wounds. Take, for example, Dale Tallon’s orgy of spending from a few summers ago when he signed half of the league’s mediocre UFA’s to long, bloated contracts. The Flames, conversely, escaped relatively intact. None of the deals were longer than three years and or for a dollar amount that may hamper them in the future. Mission accomplished.

So is there anything left for the club to do this summer?

– Before we move on, let’s just establish that the Deryk Engelland deal is, in fact, a bad contract. It is forgivable, however, given the three year term and the fact the Flames have buckets of cap room. If things go wrong a la Shane O’Brien, it’s also not so large a deal that it can’t be moved, bought out or buried. So as far as July 1 missteps go, it’s extremely minor.

– People have asked me what the chances are that Engelland actually finishes that contract as a member of the Flames. I’d say they’re fairly slim – at the very least, he’s likely to be a 7th defender and frequent healthy scratch by the time 2016-17 rolls around. Either because the Flames have improved and he’s been usurped or because his skills have eroded to the point he’s no longer an everyday NHLer (or both). The post-32 years don’t tend to be kind to big, slow guys with minimal puck skills.

– The Mason Raymond and Jonas Hiller deals, on the other hand, are wholly defensible. Neither is probable to be a true difference maker, but they will make capable placeholders while the team finds its footing at the very least.

– Treliving and Burke might be finished for the summer. Aside from tying up some loose ends like the Joe Colborne arbitration case, the Flames brass can ice an NHL squad come October. That said, if they want to get creative, there are a few more options they want to pursue…

– A few of the NHL’s better teams are still in cap trouble. The Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals in particular are rubbing up against the cap ceiling. Calgary has already done a deal with Chicago for Bollig, but it’s possible they may be able to wrangle a Johhny Boychuk, Chris Kelly or Mike Green from the Bruins or Capitals, depending on price and interest on the other end.

Green is the most interesting target – he’s 28 and has just one more season at $6.25M. The native Calgarian has struggled to stay healthy since his back-to-back 70+ point seasons a few years ago. On top of that, his last year was his worst in the league statistically since his rookie campaign in 2006-07 (9 goals, 38 points in 70 games). It’s possible his club may be looking to sell him for pennies on the dollar, particularly since they backed up the brinks truck for Matt NIskanen and Brooks Orpik this summer.

The situation is a potentially ideal one for the Flames. It gives the team a one-year audition with Green to see if he’s on the steep decline or just experienced a hiccup. If he falls on his face, the team can walk away. If he rebounds, they can choose to re-sign him.

– Another name constantly surfacing in the rumor mill is the Winnipeg Jets Evander Kane. The 22-year old sniper suffered through a 7.6% personal shooting percentage and ended up with a relatively disappointing 19 goals and 41 points in 60 games ;ast season, but there’s no denying he is a legit talent.

The problem with a Kane deal is the Jets will be looking for hefty return, even if they have soured on the player for whatever reason. The demanded return may be heavy in assets the Flames either don’t have (established impact offensive forwards) or don’t want to give up (2015 first rounder, Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Bennett or Sean Monahan).

At the very least it would be worth inquiring about the player given his ceiling, age and potential offensive impact. At 22, he’d slide right in the gap between Calgary’s young-ish core players (Backlund, Brodie) and their up-and-comers (Monahan, Gaudreau, Baertschi, Granlund, Bennett, etc). 

– Speaking of which, the Flames decision makers will need to start identifying which veterans they want to either keep or acquire for this Flames roster a few years down the road. If guys like Hudler, Glencross and Wideman aren’t in the plans, then it’s time to start laying the groundwork for deals to ship them out of town and garner some sort of return.

In addition, the club will need to start planning on how they can start supplementing this roster with useful 27-30 year olds if everything goes to plan and the kids start making some noise in a couple years time. It’s possible for the Flames to avoid the decade long ditch the Oilers find themselves in and get this thing turned around relatively quickly, but they’ll need to be able to leverage their youth with quality NHL veterans when the time comes. And no, Brandon Bollig and Dereyk Engelland don’t qualify.

– The other bit of optional business for Treliving this off-season is Mikael Backlund and TJ Brodie extensions. The Feaster bridge deals for both guys end in 2015 and as of July 1, the Flames have the ability to begin negotiating their new contracts in earnest.

It’s the right move. Both players had a coming out party last year.The counting numbers weren’t big enough to catch the attention of the general NHL fanbase, but each guy put up stunning underlying results in a very difficult situation. As noted recently – the Flames with Brodie and Backlund on the ice together put up elite level possession and goal differentials. Without them (and Giordano), the club was bottom-5 territory. These are core players and, as such, are likely only to get more expensive if they play another season and lead the Flames in various categories. They’re probably only going to get more expensive past October 8th.

If either guy has a decent agent then they likely know this and may well wait the Flames out to ensure a higher pay day. That said, I hope the team is looking into the possibility anyways.

  • piscera.infada

    Kane is an interesting piece of the puzzle for a team that is trying to push from rebuilding to competing, but he comes off as a bit of a cancer. He is still young so there’s opportunity for him to mature, but I’m not sure if I’d want his attitude in the locker room. Plus you’d have to give up some pretty damn good assets for him. If the Flames were a couple years ahead on their rebuild, I’d be more interested but at this point I think it’s too early to pursue an Evander Kane.

    • Southern_Point

      The worst thing he ever did was holding up stacks of money to his ear. That’s not really cancerous that’s the kind of joke a 20 yr old thinks is funny. We have a prospect who was criminally charged and there are no qualms about his character from flames fans.

      The biggest issue with us acquiring him would be the customary first round pick required in whatever package we would send to Winnipeg to acquire him. The 2015 first rounder could be somewhat monumental for us and we would have to decide whether our roster+ Kane is better then a top 5 pick. If not then the possibility of picking McDavid/Eichel might make it not worth it.

  • piscera.infada

    After watching today’s scrimmage and seeing the potential of Klimchuk and Agostino I would not be surprised to see Sven moved as part of a package(personally I would not do so) to acquire a rw or rd around 25-27 that could help this team.

  • piscera.infada

    There’s no denying that Kane is a talented player but he’s a head case. Unfortunately, I think a guy like him would prefer to not play in a Canadian market and have the spotlight shined on him. If he could somewhere and try to stay anonymous he may be able to to find his game and his head again. I wouldn’t mind seeing Boychuk or Green here, I prefer that former than the latter. I think Boychuk fills more of a need for the Flames than Green does. I’m interested to see in what happens to Hudler and Wideman.

  • Bob Cobb

    Nice math, the Flames have already missed the playoffs the last 5 years. This is year one of the supposed “Rebuild” and you’re looking at 3-5 years more of rebuild, don’t kid yourself. The Flames will be as big of a dumpster fire longer than the Oilers have been.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Further complicating Chicago’s cap concerns are the new deals for Toews & Kane today. 10.5 million each for 8 years. Get this… per capgeek, when those deals kick in next year, Chicago will have 15 players signed at a 65 million+ cap hit. They need to resign Saad, Leddy, Oduya and Kruger. Even if the cap goes up to say 72 – 73 million, that only leaves 7 – 8 million to fill 8 roster spots, and not just roster spots… roster spots with those key guys. YIKES.

    Perhaps there is a piece we could leverage out of Chicago to help them out!! I would like to see Leddy here.

    • Greg

      I agree. I think Boston can manage to wiggle their way out of their cap situation for this season and just buy time to see how much it goes up next year before doing anything drastic. But I look at Chicago’s situation and I just cannot see any solution that doesn’t involve losing a very good asset this offseason.

      • McRib

        Chicago has shown no problems in the past with trading away aging veterans (see Bolland, Versteeg, etc).

        They aren’t trading young players just about to hit the top of their talent curve like Saad, Leddy. As much as I would like to dream about getting one of those young talents I will keep my head out of the clouds, Hahah. If Teuvo Teravainen comes in guns a blazing this year or next why wouldn’t they get a Marian Hossa off their cap in a year or two?

        • supra steve

          Chicago moved Bolland at 27 years of age. They moved Versteeg at 24 years, Ladd at 24 years, and Byfuglien at 25 years.

          They have shown the willingness to move good young players in the past when the cap became an issue, and it could continue to be the case in the near future with these new high AAV deals.

        • Greg

          I’d agree, except that they are 2.2M over the cap this year, so they can’t wait to jettison someone 1-2 years from now. If you look at what contracts they’ve got that are at least the 2.2M they need to get cap compliant, it’s a lot of guys that (a) have been a big part of their success or (b) have a NTC and won’t likely cooperate in accepting a trade from cup-contender to bottom-feeder. Sharp, Bickell, etc – Chicago’s trade options will be so limited they’ll at least have to give 1 away to another contender if they go that route.

          Someone like Oduya might agree to waive his NTC if the acquiring team is willing to give him a contract extension. What’s it going to cost to convince a team to help you out with that?

          Hossa’ contract, even as good as he is, is virtually untradeable with the cap-recapture penalty. Buying him out barely gives them enough cap relief, not to mention costs them his services, so that’s a zero-sum game.

          It actually looks to me like Nick Leddy is the only contract they have that doesn’t have any limitation, and would fetch them an asset back instead of costing them one to sell.

          If Bowman can steer out of that skid without a sizeable dent, I’ll be seriously impressed.

    • everton fc

      One of Saad/Leddy/Oduya/Kruger are moving. Probably Oduya, as he’s 31/the oldest.

      Leddy would be nice here. Is Kruger critical to the Hawks success? They’ll find a way. Saad won’t be going anywhere.

      They’ll move people for picks, me thinks. And still be competitive.

  • everton fc

    Does Burke really want a rebuild? I think he wants to compete now. Who wouldn’t? What fans wouldn’t? The test for a good/great GM is can they do both? Compete now, whilst rebuilding.

    • supra steve

      And just how on earth are the Flames going to “compete now”? If that was the goal, would they not have been seriously after some of the high price UFAs who have already signed elsewhere?

      • everton fc

        I didn’t say they could compete now. Nor do I think they can. But Burke is known to make big, multi-layer moves.

        What I was getting at is Burke’s patience. Or lack thereof. With a rebuild, I mean.

        • piscera.infada

          I would argue that what they did in free-agency points to the fact that they are, regardless of what Burke says about his “patience”, taking the rebuild seriously. That means, taking the time to let things grow, instead of rushing head-long into free agency or the trade market. I’m not a proponent of tanking, but if there’s a year to just sit back and let what happens happen, this is probably that year.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    I do think there’s an opportunity for the Flames to take advantage of the aforementioned teams where they are up against the cap. The team is jammed up at the left side with the best Flames prospects waiting for a opening. It would be nice if BT could dangle a LW and a late 2015 pick for one of Chicago’s unaffordable contracts.

    Kevin Hayes is also a potential target, since the Hawks haven’t signed him yet and the August 1 deadline is right around the corner. That would be a nice win. He looks to be a bottom 6 winger, but if he’s free why not?

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    NOt only does Chitown need to lose at least $2.22MM in salary for this season, but they have to sign Saad for next season.

    Hossa doesn’t have any NTC, according to capgeek. He may be 35 and signed for 7 more seasons, but he’s only $5.75MM/year.

  • EugeneV

    So I’m thinking right now that the Flames should be able to sign Jason Fram if they want to. My basis for thinking this: Turner Elson.

    Elson (who apparently has the same birthday as Mark Jankowski) was first eligible for the draft in 2010. He was not selected. He also passed through the 2011 draft, but was signed by the Flames a couple months later (September 22 of 2011). Fram is in the same boat. He was draft eligible in 2013, passed through that and the 2014 drafts.

    So, in theory, there should be nothing stopping the Flames from signing him. Huzzah.

    I still think they should have drafted him to seal up his rights… but if they sign him I suppose it doesn’t really matter either way.

    • seve927

      Per 960 this afternoon: Tre mentioned one name only about bringing invitees back for main camp. One Jason Fram. I’d be pretty happy to see that. Sounds like they’re seeing things the same way FN is!

  • everton fc

    I’ve been watching the players interviews on the Flames website. Some impressive personalities.

    Gillies and Roy seem exceptionally mature. Very comfortable. Good interviews. Gillies has a typical goalie attitude. Comfident but not flakey. With a sense of humour. Klimchuk seems intense, in a positive way. All three seem character guys.

    Janko seems very young compared to these guys. Perhaps just more laid back, but not as mature. Nice kid. Mattsson seems to be a big kid, thick. Thick neck. Low-key. Seems a balanced kid. Not a lot of idle chatter.

    Just my thoughts.

    • FeyWest

      I love all the interviews as well, all well spoken. My favorite by far has been Gillies I just love those types of personalities, but the Flames are shaping up well from a character stand-point (Talent is on par great combination!)

      • everton fc

        Based on personality, I can see why people in the organization also like Harrison. If he can put together a game like Bouma, he’d be a nice diamond in the rough for that type of role. Of course, a 6th round pick scoring no goals and 5 assists at Colgate… Not much to lean on yet, past his personality!

  • everton fc

    AHL alignment released today. Read here

    Anyone else find it a bit ironic that the AHL doesn’t have any teams further west than San Antonio, but the ECHL (East Coast Hockey League) has teams in Las Vegas, Utah, and Alaska?

  • PrairieStew

    I would not be surprised to see a deal for Green. He is forgetful on defense but is more mobile than most and should be motivated. Offer Smid in return. If that happens I would split Brodie and Gio ( yes I know how good they were together) and make TJ go back to the left side and play the second pair with Wideman.

    Hayes has to be considering Calgary. Ahead of him on the depth chart at RW is Hudler, Jones, Colborne and McGrattan – all 4 could be gone within 2 seasons. Competing with him presently is Wolf, Hanowski and Ferland. I like his chances.

  • MattyFranchise

    I kind of like the Mike Green idea. His underlying stats look ok CF% 51.7, CFRel% + 4.6, and 54.8% ZS. He also only shot 5.4% last season, there’s no way he’s not gonna bounce back from that, barring injuries of course, so last year may have been an aberration statwise for him.

    According to capgeek the flames have 18.5 million available for this season which would leave 12.25 million for Bouma and Galiardi. Pretty sure they’re not going to cost that much.

    One problem is cost. The only defender the Caps had last season that had more TOI than Green was Carlson and looking at the Volmann chart Carlson was… not as good. Hopefully he can be seen as somewhat expendable with Orpik and Niskanen in the line up.

    Another problem is that they currently have 6 defenders signed and they’re all 1-way contracts. Not exactly sure how that would work unless they want all of their D prospects playing in the AHL all season/until injuries hit.

    As for the Backlund and Brodie extensions, they wouldn’t take effect until next season anyway so unless Green gets resigned for stupid stupid money (ie, his current contract) there wouldn’t be a problem.

    Since I have no idea, what does anyone think would be reasonable to pick up Green for one season?

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Article on Oiler’s Nation about NHLE’s for training camp hopefuls.

    Their highest prospect is Draisaitl at 40 then it drops off to 30 for Greg Chase and then everyone else is under 25.

    Just interesting how superior the Flames forward prospect depth is at the moment. I haven’t seen FN post prospect NHLE in a while but I believe Gaudreau was somewhere in the 60’s or high 50’s, Bennett at 39, then we have Baertschi, Poirer, Arnold, Agostino, Klimchuk, Arnold, Reinhart, etc. in that 30+ range. RIDONKULOUS.

    • RexLibris

      The most recent FN article on the subject is here: http://flamesnation.ca/2014/6/24/an-argument-for-nhle

      Yeah, Bennett is listed at 39.3.

      I believe I recall something about Gaudreau being in the 60 pt range for his NHLE but that needs to be placed in perspective of those numbers coming from his last NCAA season, a situation in which one would hope he would dominate.

      Also, that NHLE would put him in the Patrick Kane range of player expectations, something I believe was mentioned in an article on the subject (but I may be misremembering things at this point), and so needs to be taken with some healthy caution.

      By contrast, Baertschi’s NHLe, if I’ve got my maths right, in his draft year was 31.6. Which would put him ahead of Jonathan Toews and Brayden Schenn but behind Zach Hamill and Tyler Ennis.

      The best I could find on Gaudreau was his draft +1 year (no NHLe for USHL available that I could find) which worked out to 33.62. 44 pts, in 44 gp, times 82 and divided by .41. Check my work in case I’ve carried the two or forgotten to account for Planck’s constant.

      Draft +2 was 48.9. (44/44)x82x.41

      Draft +3 was 67.24. (80/40)x82x.41

      (Again, caveat emptor with the calculations)

      The Flames have their C depth more or less set for the next five or six years, depending on how Bennett and Monahan develop. They have a collection of wingers that are fairly deep with one dynamic prospect in Gaudreau who will likely spend his entire professional career answering questions about his size.

      This prospect group is still very young though, with some just entering the professional ranks this season. Factoring in the usual rate of attrition at this stage, they will need to add more skilled prospects to add to the collection.

      • seve927

        Excellent post, particularly your summary where you state:

        “This prospect group is still very young though, with some just entering the professional ranks this season. Factoring in the usual rate of attrition at this stage, they will need to add more skilled prospects”

        It’s very easy for FN to sit back with a certain amount of satisfaction and contentment that the prospect pool assembled has depth and breadth to fill out an NHL roster. If we put it in the context of the Flames drafting and development system over the last decade then it’s easy to be ecstatic with our current state.

        However history will show we’ll be fortunate to see about 1/4 of the top-ranked prospects make the club and play 50 much less 200 NHL games (per Bader’s earlier analysis). Further to this, if the primary goal is to build a Cup contender rather than merely competing for a playoff spot, then we need to a continuous flow of new prospects to develop and compete for spots.

        The Flames are also cursed by sitting next door to the Oilers in this regard, as its easy to become complacent with the bomb-blast area north of us..and easy to be content with just being better than them. Instead if the Flames were located adjacent to the Lightning and were able to see the drafting and development organization Stevie Y is building…that would be first class competition and require the Flames to aim their sights much much higher.

        In short, we’ve done well in a short period of time…but we’ve a long way to go and it will take most of the next decade. We need to keep focused on becoming a Cup contender rather than become smug thinking most of the work is done.

        • PrairieStew

          Not sure I believe that at least as far as the forward propsect pool goes. Flames players and prospects 25 and under:


          Trying my hardest to put fan bias aside, I have a really difficult time not seeing how 12 of these 17 can’t form a future roster here. Especially since 5 from that group are essentially already NHL’ers. I’m truly excited about our forward prospect depth.

          I’m also fairly happy with the goalie situation; it’s the D pool that needs work, but even then there’s still assets in Stajan, Hudler and Glencorss to be moved and another almost-for-sure top 5 pick next June.

          • I’d like to see something like this:

            1. Glencross – Stajan – Hudler
            2. Baertschi – Backlund – Raymond
            3. Gaudreau – Monahan – Colborne
            4. Bouma – Reinhart – Bollig
            5. McGrattan, Jones

            Won’t win too many games, but… well they won’t be winning too many games anyway, so you know.

            Of course, probably only one of Baertschi and Gaudreau makes the team (at least initially), and I think everyone agrees that David Jones is probably a lock no matter what he looks like in training camp because… reasons.

          • FeyWest

            I like the fact we have so much depth, potential for 2nd and 3rd line callups, majority of guys I’ve seen and heard about during dev camp and earlier seem exciting and have that NHL potential.

            Daresay, I don’t think there’s ever been this kind of prospect pool for us…. EVER. Now to be fair I never knew much about this until the late 90’s as I’m just a youngin but I think last and this season have been the 2 I’ve been most excited about!

            Those lines look great to me it’s been awhile since we’ve had decent 4-line structure, Defence is a bit more limited but should be interesting.

            1. Brodie – Giordano (Brodano!)

            2. Russell – Wideman

            3. Smid – Engellund

            Wotherspoon/Culkin/Kulak (Callups)

            I think when McGrattan is ready to retire I’d love for him to join management sort of like Conny did, he works so well with everyone, he knows what hard work is and I love listening to his interviews!

          • Greg

            While I agree with the idea of rolling 4 lines one should take into consideration that Rhino played the wing almost all of last season and that both Granlund and Knight had better season in the AHl at the center ice position than did Rhino. I would likely want either Bouma or Bollig playing on the Backs line; so how about Raymond-Granlund-Bollig and Sven-Backs-Bouma.

            However that leaves, McG,Djones, and Byron out and based upon the trend to want truculence and vets this line up will not likely materialize.

            As for not winning games this year, I’m not sure many of us expect the Flames to be in the playoffs or even in the hunt. I am a firm believer that rolling 4 lines will be more successful in the short run than playing a line of of the likes of what we saw last year with McG, westgarth and whoever the poor center was and seeing them play 3-6 minutes a game and their
            poor center iceman getting no development time. I also see that in the long term that this is the way to develop and evaluate a teams prospects.

          • Greg

            Didn’t Reinhart set a club record for points in a season? You could argue (maybe) that Granlund had a better season than he did, but Knight? Not even close (especially considering that Corban is 2 years older than Max).

            I’d like Knight to show more in the AHL before he makes the team. Reinhart, to my mind, is NHL ready, and far better suited to centering the “4th” line than Granlund is (to me, Granlund is a winger in the NHL, and probably on a scoring line, whereas Reinhart could easily be a center on a defensive line).

          • I too believe many of our prospects have NHL-level potential.

            The real message is whether:
            – we’re content with our current prospect pool, believing them to be sufficient to achieve our goals;
            – our goal is either wanting to develop a competitive Playoff-level team…or a Cup-contending team;
            – whether we should continue to emphasize prospect development as a core strength of the organization (given our currently flush prospect pool)

            While we can all be fairly happy right now..is this prospect group so good we can envision them contending with LA, CHI, STL & ANA in a Cup final?

          • Purple Hazze

            I don’t think we need to envision them contending with LA, CHI, STL & ANA in a cup final. If this group progress’s I think we’ll be a playoff team in hopefully 3 years, and a solid cup contender in another 3 years after that, when guys like Monahan will be entering their prime years. In 6 years out LA, CHI, STL & ANA will be completely different teams; Toews, Kane, Backes, Kopitar, Carter, Getzlaf, Perry will all be well into their 30’s and past their prime… Keith and Seabrook may not even be playing by then.

            If those teams continue to draft well they may still be competitive, but they’ll look completely different than they do today and will not necessarily be the powerhouses they are now.

          • Purple Hazze

            So looking on a broader basis…essentially you are saying you are confident that the CURRENT Flames prospect pool has equivalent talent (after maturing in 3-6 years time) to the CURRENT Cup contenders?

          • Purple Hazze

            I wouldn’t say confident, more like hopeful 🙂 I think with our current crop of prospects + our 2015 pick the Flames team of 2020 could be as good as the hawks/kings/bruins are today. But that’s IF these guys live up to the potential they’re showing today … so far all the arrows continue to point in the right direction.

          • Purple Hazze

            This discussion string began with Rex Libris words when he stated:

            “This prospect group is still very young though, with some just entering the professional ranks this season. Factoring in the usual rate of attrition at this stage, they will need to add more skilled prospects”

            I agree with Rex in believing we have a nice group of prospects..but they’re not all going to pan out with above average to elite potential.

            Rather than being satisfied with what we’ve got, the premise of my posts has been we need to keep our focus on drafting and developing premier prospects, and continually upgrading the talent at each position.

            So in summary:
            – Being satisfied and content will kill our aspirations of reaching the goal of winning a Cup!
            – Being happy with being good will lead us to a crappy ending. And
            – What we have now is not good enough to achieve what we aspire to!

  • EugeneV

    “the Flames with Brodie and Backlund on the ice together put up elite level possession and goal differentials. Without them (and Giordano), the club was bottom-5 territory.”

    They were bottom 5 with them as well.

    • jeremywilhelm

      That’s a terrible trade…

      … for the Flames. The Avs need to add their first and Erik Johnson just to get the conversation started.

      I mean, really. Colborne is a totally legit first line center, just like every Maple Leafs castoff, and Dennis Wideman should have been in the Norris conversation last season.

      I mean, let’s get real here, people.

  • jeremywilhelm

    Thinking of a possible all-German tilt between Leon Draisaitl and David Wolf, slugging it out with Wolf skating away the victor, then scoring out of the box on a breakaway in overtime to seal the deal.

  • jeremywilhelm

    I heard BT say that there is plenty of opportunity for the prospects to make the team out of trading camp, so I decided to dissect the roster. Up front we have 8 established NHLers( this meaning they have been in the league for a number of seasons and the coaching staff and fans more or less know what to expect of them)
    Hudler: leading scorer from last year, able to play either wing, team guy on and off the ice; unlikely he will be moved by a prospect.
    Backs: most improved forward, top possession guy, young and on the upswing.
    Glenx: Solid two way forward who had an injury plagued season but on the last year of a contract. When healthy a team leader.
    Stajan: Solid two way center who Burke just signed to a 3 year deal and will not likely be pushed out of a job this year.
    Raymond: The Flames just signed this two way winger and 20 goal scorer to a contract out of free agency so they must think he is better than the prospects.
    Bollig: the flames just traded for this power forward from the Hawks who played 10 minutes a night for a much better team and will likely be a staple on this team.

    McG; The team resident tough guy(he actually grew on me last season) however he is limited offensively and at times can be a defensive liability. Is a role player at best and should not play every night.

    DJones: a power forward whose season last year was plagued with injuries and inconsistent season. He will need to have a bounce back season not to be pushed out of the lineup. The one major advantage he has is he is a natural RW on a team devoid of them.

    Emerging NHLers (player who last year demonstrated that they can play in the NHL but have work to do, also may only have a short pro career to date)

    Monahan: the darling of the dance last year being the first rookie forward in for ever to score over 20 goal. He has lots to work and was added by being sheltered and by the collective agreement that only allowed him to play in the NHL or CHL. He is the biggest center on the roster and will not be pushed by the prospects.

    Bouma: big strong power forward who proved to be a tough two way forward who blocked shots and killed penalties with tenacity. A glue kind of forward who will need to find some offensive upside.

    Byron: mighty mouse who just signed a contract and whose second half of the season endeared himself to fans and coaches alike. He is small but plays hard however their are some young talented prospects hot on his heals.

    Colborne: Once this giant of a forward was moved to the wing his season improved. While he is the tallest of the current forwards he is not the most physical.

    So really there is not much room for the prospects on this team; I would say there are 9 everyday forwards in this group and 3 who can play in certain situations. We have IMO 5 prospects that are very close to being NHL ready and need to be given a chance if they earn it; Johnny, Granlund, Sven, Knight and Rhino. There are another 5-7 who are pushing that group; Bennett, Arnold, Ferland, Agostino, Klimchuk,Poirier, and Wolf. The management and coaching staff will need to make some tough decisions. Hopefully the players even make it tougher on them

    • jeremywilhelm

      I’ll be shocked if David Jones plays well enough in training camp to make the opening night roster.

      Whether he’s on the roster or not is another issue entirely.

      • jeremywilhelm

        He would be one of the bubble forwards but I remember at the end of the season both Hartley and Burke praised his work prior to the injury. in my ideal circumstance he, McG, Colborne and Byron would not be everyday players and room would be made for 2 of the prospects to play every game if they have earned it.

        • PrairieStew

          Agree totally.

          For the time being he is the 3rd RW behind Hudler and Colborne. I see him playing with Stajan and Raymond and getting buried a bit to give higher ground to Monahan’s line, while Backs centres Hudler and GlenX and goes up against top units.

    • PrairieStew

      I think you are right – barring injury those are your starting 12, with hopefully either Reinhart or Knight as the 13th forward ready to go in on the 4th line in case of an injury.

      Establishing a solid exciting team in Adirondack is also a consideration so the Boston College line ( Hayes is coming – book it) and a Sven, Granlund Wolf line followed by a Knight Ferland Agostino unit makes for a pretty impressive forward group on the farm.

      Johnny lights it up till Christmas then he gets the call up. Glencross gets traded to Colorado after Christmas and they start taking calls on Hudler.