Calgary Flames RFA’s – AHL

With maybe one exception (Paul Byron) all of the Flames current NHL RFA’s are no-brainers to retain. It’s the other 10 minor leaguers who make things a little bit tougher to predict. Let’s take a look at the rest of Calgary’s RFA class and see if we can determine who will stay and who will go. 

AHL

Max Reinhart – C, 23

This was a critical season for the eldest of the Reinhart brothers. The former 3rd rounder made huge strides last year, scoring at a near PPG pace after a very uneven rookie season. Nevertheless, needed to continue that momentum in 2014-15 in order to maintain his spot in the pecking order. The arrival of Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, Bill Arnold, Markus Granlund and Drew Shore has rapidly clogged up the organization’s centre depth chart.

Unfortunately for Reinhart, his offense reverted back to completely underwhelming levels this year with just 12 goals and 29 points in 59 games. The clever pivot thinks the game well, but is fairly underwhelming in almost all other aspects, including strength, speed and shooting. To make it to the NHL in a bottom-6 role, you need at least one of those other things to make dent. Or be able to punch people.

All of which is the long way to say Reinhart probably won’t be retained. At least, not in any role outside of “veteran depth for the farm”.

Prediction: Released to free agency

David Wolf – LW, 25

Although he didn’t tear down the walls and force himself onto the Flames roster, Calgary brass must be somewhat impressed with David Wolf. The second highest scorer on the farm this year has proven himself a bit more useful than just hired muscle. He even showed well during his brief cup of coffee in the show this year, though it’s clear he will have to improve his conditioning to be anything more than a 8 minute per night grinder. 

Wolf is a good bet to be retained.

Prediction: Re-signed for 2 years at $900k per year.

John Ramage – D, 24

Like Reinhart, this season was kinda Ramage’s last year to make an impression. He stuck in the AHL this time around, rather than being dropped into the ECHL like last year, but he hasn’t had a sniff at the show, even with Calgary in desperate need of blueline help up top.

The organization may re-sign Ramage because of his relative maturity and leadership for the farm, but he’s done as a Flames prospect. 

Prediction: Re-signed to an AHL deal.

Bill Arnold – C, 23

Arnold had a good rookie pro season, often centering the Adirondack Flames top line before being injured. The organization seems to like him and his development is in line with expectations. He’ll definitely be re-signed.

Prediction: Re-signed at $975 per year for two years.

Mark Cundari – D, 25

The Flames seemed very interested in Cundari when he first arrived, but that interest plummeted almost immediately afterward for whatever reason. Like Ramage, Cundari might be kept around because the farm needs bodies on the back-end, but my guess is both parties agree to move on. 

Prediction: Released to free agency

Sena Acolatse – D, 24

Free agent signing is frequently a healthy scratch on the farm despite lacklustre blueline depth. 

Prediction: Released to free agency

Kenny Agostino – LW, 23

It was a very slow start for the speedy Yale alum, but he has come on recently in the absence of guys like Emile Poirier, Sven Baertschi and Markus Granlund. Agostino will likely finish third or better on the Adirondack Flames in scoring and is trending in the right direction, which usually helps in off-season contract negotiations. 

Prediction: Re-signed at $850k per year for 2 years. 

Ben Hanowski – RW, 24

The other prospect garnered in the Jarome Iginla trade is in a less clear situation. Hanowski is older than Agostino and bigger, but also a much worse skater. Hanowski is reaching the age when most guys who are going to make the NHL already have and he was never once considered for a call-up by the Flames this season, instead bypassed by guys like Granlund, Poirier, Wolf, Ferland and Baertschi. 

I think the team may keep him around for farm depth, but he’s no longer really considered a prospect.

Prediction: Re-signed at $650k for one year.

Turner Elson – LW, 22

The feisty, undrafted winger managed 14 goals in a depth role for the farm team this year, but his future might be in jeopardy after suffering a severe concussion during a fight recently. Elson is a high energy “glue guy” that teams like to have in the organization, but we may have to see how he recovers from this unfortunate incident before prediction his future with the team.

Prediction: Re-signed for 1 year if healthy.

Michael Ferland – LW, 23

The big winger took some strides in his sophomore season, coming strong out of the gate and earning himself an early call-up. A concussion in the NHL de-railed his season somewhat, but he recovered enough to earn another recall recently, though he has spent more time as healthy scratch than on the ice so far. 

Ferland has shown well in the NHL, with strong forechecking and relatively good puck management. He has a way to go before he’s an NHL regular, but could take the same track that saw similar players like Lance Bouma and Josh Jooris to the show.

Prediction: Re-signed at $825 for 2 years.

  • RedMan

    It’s Sena Acolatse, not Sean. (I was thinking about the D prospects recently and I had to check)

    On that note, sure are light on D prospects.

    Bit disappointing about Hanowski and Agostino.

    /Team Byron

  • I think a team like BUF might deal an AHL tweener for Reinhart.

    Given the # of potential AHL D next yr (Wotherspoon, Culkin, Kulak, Sieloff, Morrison, Kanzig, Cundari, Ramage, Acolatse, Billins, Rafikov), I think Cundari/Ramage future depends on if Billins comes back & if Rafikov comes over. Billins could be Corey Potter’s replacement imo.

    • everton fc

      Let’s not forget Feaster had a deal in place with Boston, only to have it nixed by your all-time leading scorer. Shero had Feaster by the short and curlies, thanks to J.I.’s last minute shortening of his short list . IMO, we were lucky to get anything out of the Penguins. The Bruins deal (as reported) was as fair a deal as we’d ever see for an aging Jarome. And the former GM wasn’t the only one who wanted to keep him forever…
      The real reason Feaster is gone is the ROR fiasco.

    • Koolmoedee

      I know everyone loves to throw Feaster under the bus, but the Flames are riding three key Feaster acquisitions in Hudler, Monahan, and Gaudreau right now.

      When Hudler signed, everyone was saying he was too small, overpaid, and wouldn’t be nearly as productive outside of the Detroit system. He’s seventh in league scoring right now and has been instrumental in developing Monahan and Gaudreau, who will be the foundations of the team for years to come.

      When the Flames drafted Poirier, (with the pick from the Bouwmeester trade), everyone was upset they didn’t take Shinkaruk, who was still available. The Flames have several more promising prospects in Granlund, Wotherspoon, Gillies, Klimchuk, etc. who were drafted under Feaster.

      And let’s not forget who hired Hartley, who deserves strong consideration for the Adams trophy, and has shaped the very culture of the team.

      Since Feaster left, the Flames’ biggest moves have been landing Hiller, Raymond, Engelland, and Bollig. This remains a team built by Feaster and Sutter.

      Whatever success the Flames are having right now or will have in the next couple of years is due in large part because of Feaster. We can agree he was far from perfect, but no GM is. He has, however, laid a solid foundation.

      Imagine where the Flames would be without the players and coaches Feaster brought in.

      • BurningSensation

        I’m not disputing his signing of Hudler, drafting of Gaudreau or having Monahan fall to him as poor moves. It was his extremely poor return on trades or no return in the case of Kipper and Jokinen after he said he could convince players to waive. Our new management in their 1 plus year had Bennett fall to them which looks good plus secured 6 picks in the top 80 in what is considered a very strong draft year through trades. As we see, no team is scrambling to hire Feaster

      • BurningSensation

        And, if only he had turned some of the trade chips into a second line, we would really look good. Hats off to Feaster for getting Gaudreau and Hudler though. I hope some more of his drafts turn out too.

        • everton fc

          Feaster also gave us Russell and Wideman, both critical components in this years success. Not to mention Hartley, Feaster’s biggest coup, perhaps.

          He set us up nicely. Feaster, that is. Where he scared me was the offer he was going to make to Richards, and of course the Ryan O’Reilly fiasco.

          • LETS not forget that ownership (one in particular) wasn’t willing to get rid of Iginla until it was too late. Feaster had handcuffs on him. Nobody pitches a perfect game, really its all about whether a GM wins more than he loses? Rebuilt the scouting after Sutter but Jankowski and ROR did it in for Jay. What good did Sutter ever do as a GM? But he played the game. A guy like Feaster who never played hockey will never get respect in the old boys club. He wont be working in the NHL again.

          • piscera.infada

            In all fairness, Feaster didn’t rebuild the scouting staff from Sutter. There have been comings and goings as there is with any position, but many of the pieces that were around for Sutter’s tenure are still around today. If you were to make the argument that Feaster utilized them differently, I have all day for that, but to say he took the from office in a completely different direction with regards to personnel is giving him entirely too much credit.

            Feaster re-stocked the cupboards with depth prospects and he was able to amass cap-flexibility (the main reason he was brought in). The were also some great draft “steals” and picks during his time with the Flames. However, I find when people speak so glowingly of his draft record they overlook that fact that his (and Weisbrod’s, as the story goes) “crown jewel” pick was Jankowski. That was a pick that the Flames really needed–they had to have it–and Feaster and Weisbrod became enamoured with a story, got too cute, and bit hard. We all love to rag on the current administration for drafting Hunter Smith in the second, but the Jankowski pick wasn’t defensible at the time, and surely isn’t now (considering there are 4 players actually contributing in the NHL right now that were picked around that spot).

            In short, that was the pick where Feaster and Weisbrod went full-on “Sutter”, they took a player because Wesibrod got caught in a snow storm, and that miss hurts. That was always going to be a “judge me when it works or fails” pick, and it failed, regardless of if he becomes and NHLer or not–Feaster couldn’t get out of his own way with the hyperbole.

          • piscera.infada

            In all fairness, Feaster didn’t rebuild the scouting staff from Sutter. There have been comings and goings as there is with any position, but many of the pieces that were around for Sutter’s tenure are still around today. If you were to make the argument that Feaster utilized them differently, I have all day for that, but to say he took the from office in a completely different direction with regards to personnel is giving him entirely too much credit.

            Feaster re-stocked the cupboards with depth prospects and he was able to amass cap-flexibility (the main reason he was brought in). The were also some great draft “steals” and picks during his time with the Flames. However, I find when people speak so glowingly of his draft record they overlook that fact that his (and Weisbrod’s, as the story goes) “crown jewel” pick was Jankowski. That was a pick that the Flames really needed–they had to have it–and Feaster and Weisbrod became enamoured with a story, got too cute, and bit hard. We all love to rag on the current administration for drafting Hunter Smith in the second, but the Jankowski pick wasn’t defensible at the time, and surely isn’t now (considering there are 4 players actually contributing in the NHL right now that were picked around that spot).

            In short, that was the pick where Feaster and Weisbrod went full-on “Sutter”, they took a player because Wesibrod got caught in a snow storm, and that miss hurts. That was always going to be a “judge me when it works or fails” pick, and it failed, regardless of if he becomes and NHLer or not–Feaster couldn’t get out of his own way with the hyperbole.

          • piscera.infada

            In all fairness, Feaster didn’t rebuild the scouting staff from Sutter. There have been comings and goings as there is with any position, but many of the pieces that were around for Sutter’s tenure are still around today. If you were to make the argument that Feaster utilized them differently, I have all day for that, but to say he took the from office in a completely different direction with regards to personnel is giving him entirely too much credit.

            Feaster re-stocked the cupboards with depth prospects and he was able to amass cap-flexibility (the main reason he was brought in). The were also some great draft “steals” and picks during his time with the Flames. However, I find when people speak so glowingly of his draft record they overlook that fact that his (and Weisbrod’s, as the story goes) “crown jewel” pick was Jankowski. That was a pick that the Flames really needed–they had to have it–and Feaster and Weisbrod became enamoured with a story, got too cute, and bit hard. We all love to rag on the current administration for drafting Hunter Smith in the second, but the Jankowski pick wasn’t defensible at the time, and surely isn’t now (considering there are 4 players actually contributing in the NHL right now that were picked around that spot).

            In short, that was the pick where Feaster and Weisbrod went full-on “Sutter”, they took a player because Wesibrod got caught in a snow storm, and that miss hurts. That was always going to be a “judge me when it works or fails” pick, and it failed, regardless of if he becomes and NHLer or not–Feaster couldn’t get out of his own way with the hyperbole.

          • piscera.infada

            In all fairness, Feaster didn’t rebuild the scouting staff from Sutter. There have been small changes as there is with any position, but many of the pieces that were around for Sutter’s tenure are still around today. If you were to make the argument that Feaster utilized them differently, I have all day for that, but to say he took the from office in a completely different direction with regards to personnel is giving him entirely too much credit.

            Feaster re-stocked the cupboards with depth prospects and he was able to create workable cap-flexibility (the main reason he was brought in). There were also some great draft “steals” and picks during his time with the Flames. However, I find when people speak so glowingly of his draft record they overlook that fact that his (and Weisbrod’s, as the story goes) “crown jewel” pick was Jankowski. That was a pick that the Flames really needed–they had to have it–and Feaster and Weisbrod became enamoured with a story, got too cute, and bit hard. We all love to rag on the current administration for drafting Hunter Smith in the second, but the Jankowski pick wasn’t defensible at the time, and surely isn’t now (considering there are 4 players actually contributing in the NHL right now that were picked around that spot).

            In short, that was the pick where Feaster and Weisbrod went full-on “Sutter”, they took a player because Wesibrod got caught in a snow storm, and that miss hurts. That was always going to be a “judge me when it works or fails” pick, and it wasn’t a pragmatic pick, regardless of if he becomes and NHLer or not–Feaster couldn’t get out of his own way with the hyperbole post-draft.

    • First of all he wasn’t a defenseman. Second of all your hero nixed the trade to send him to the Bruins for much better prospects. He chose to go to Pittsburgh as was his right with a no trade clause. Feaster made a pretty good deal with Boston and that all time flames leading scorer went to pitt lost to Boston in the playoffs and then signed with Boston as a free agent. That to me was a classless act which cost the flames the better prospects and ended up costing him a cup.
      this roster is pretty much made up of feasters decisions and I’m thankful we had him. And when you are looking at hudler Monahan and gaudreau you can be thankful for his input as well.

  • everton fc

    A 4th line wit Wolf and Ferland as bookends would be massive. But I project Ferland as a 3rd line power forward. He’s got the speed, size and skill to warrant more minutes. And he’ll get them.

    The d-corps is thin. Thy should sign Eric Roy. His goal production ma have sagged bit this year, but he had more point than last season and was +31. His defencive game has improved.

    Drafting teammate Ryan Pilon wouldn’t hurt, either. His point-production, goals included, was almost as good as Provorov’s, albeit in 8 more games…

    Acolatse provides AHL-level depth just like Ramage and Cundari; I see little difference in the latter duo. I think Cundari is one to think about.

  • Parallex

    What’s Granlund’s waiver status for next year?

    If we assume Shore and Ferland make the team next year (which I think is a fair assumption)that doesn’t really leave any open spots for anyone other then Bennett.

    • Burnward

      I have the same question. Granlund has played in 50 NHL games to date and if he gets to 66 like Shore did does he have to clear waivers too?

      What about Jooris? Does he sign a NHL contract and do they keep Byron?

      That would mean:

      Shore, Ferland, Jooris, Byron, Granland, and Bennett, are going after the four forward spots left (after resigning Bouma and Backland)

      Also means :

      Poirier, Wolf, Klimchuk and Arnold as solid call ups for next year.

      And that’s just the forwards and who knows what pleasant surprise with a new prospect coming in next year too.

      Perhaps a trade maybe needed ?? Just saying.

      • everton fc

        Bennett’s a no-brainer. Ferland will stick. Jooris is assured a spot next season. Shore probably as well. Granlund could start in the AHL if he can clear waivers. Byron may not be re-signed, though I’d take him over Colborne.

        Poirier and Wolf are also interesting in all this. Arnold will probably spend the year in the AHL again. Wolf may have to prove he has the stamina to play at the NHL level.

  • I would expect Cundari resigned, actually. Conroy mentioned they considered calling him (and Wotherspoon) up very recently but wouldn’t want either sitting in the pressbox like Potter. That’s a sign they do like what they’ve got. He didn’t start the season great but he’s pretty much their #1 D right now.

    I also see Acolatse more likely to return on an AHL deal than Ramage, or even an NHL 2-way as he really exemplified in the second half of the season the “Flames Culture”. He played well from January forth.

    I see Hanowski either released or put on an AHL deal.

  • Prior to any new additions, this is how I see it :

    Gaudreau-Monahan-Hudler
    Bouma-Backlund-Jooris
    Bennett-Stajan-Raymond
    Ferland/Wolf-Shore-Byron/Engelland

    That leaves Jones, Colborne, Bollig out & Granlund in the A.

    • everton fc

      I can’t see the organization moving Bennett to the wing. They appear to be looking at this option w/Shore. I think Wolf needs to prove he can skate and keep up at this level. I think Raymond will be moved so there’s a spot for Poirier. I also get a funny feeling they’ll hardball Backlund.

      Bouma-Backlund-Jones should be our third line. It’s a great line. I think you’ll see Monahan/Bennett/Backlund/Stajan down the middle.

      They’ll keep Gaudreau/Monahan/Hudler together. And should. Bennett will be flanked by who knows who. Ferland might be nice with Bennett. Poirier makes sense, as well. And maybe even Byron. Maybe. Jooris may be a 4th liner, even though he’s proven he can be much more. Could the 3rd line be Bouma/Backlund/Jooris? Not a bad line if you move Jones.

      Jones and Raymond may not be here next season if they can be moved. The current 4th line of Ferland/Stajan/Shore is not a bad one either.

      So many decisions! So many forwards. Not enough d-men. What does this mean for Backlund, Granlund, Raymond, Colborne, Byron, Jones? I’d keep Backlund. Granlund. And yes, Jones, though his salary may be an issue. Colborne and Raymond I’d part with. I like Byron, and believe he has value.
      Of this group

      • Poirier isn’t quite ready & can go down without waivers. Better to let him marinate a bit longer.

        In my lineup, I’d have Bennett & Stajan swap C/W as needed. Long-term, yes Bennett is a C. Next season? Time on the W wouldn’t hurt.

        I’d like to keep Shore at C.

  • aye

    Don’t know why people are so high on Jooris. Personally I think we should trade him while his stock is high coming off a good year. He has a limited ceiling (wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being his best season). His stats are inflated by playing with Gaudreau and Hudler early in the season, and has clearly tailed off since. We have no shortage of prospects that can provide what he does, speed, grit, energy… So, I would package him in a deal to address other needs, and free up space for other young prospects.

    • aye

      This is one good option. My post earlier shown me and others that a trade is required among the forwards. ( Too many for next season ). I believe one or two for sure, will have to go. There are a few that can be traded with some value back in return. I think first they do sign Backs and Byron for their asset. However, they could still be traded after for something say like a young D.

      Here is my list of tradable forwards that can be replaced :

      Jooris Colburne, Byron, Backlund, and/or Granlund — a reason return . B to C player or draft pick.

      Bollig : poor return ( maybe a fifth round pick at best )

      I personally would keep Backlund and/or Granlund.

      Your turn