Flames Give Qualifying Offers to 12, Cut 3 Loose

The last big contractual deadline of the 2014-15 season has hit in the form of qualifying offers for pending restricted free agents. The Calgary Flames announced their qualifying offers this afternoon via a press release, with a dozen players being qualified and three becoming free agents by not receiving an offer.

The team has sent offers to forwards Josh Jooris, Drew Shore, Lance Bouma, Micheal Ferland, Paul Byron, Bryce van Brabant, Bill Arnold, David Wolf, Kenny Agostino, Max Reinhart and Turner Elson, as well as defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Not qualified were forward Ben Hanowski and defenders John Ramage and Sena Acolatse.

Of the players being retained, probably Van Brabant, Wolf and Reinhart are the biggest surprises. However, Van Brabant and Wolf are big (and big equals good), while Reinhart is still a player with skills and smarts. He got surpassed by several prospects this season, but he’s still a valuable commodity and could get back into the mix with a good camp. Turner Elson is also a bit surprising, and probably a reward for him being a solider for two seasons in the developmental system, working his way up from the ECHL’s Alaska Aces two seasons ago into an energy and leadership role with the Baby Flames this year.

The trio being cut loose all have something in common: arbitration rights. There’s a chance that, like they did with Paul Byron last summer, the Flames will continue negotiations without the threat of arbitration looming. But it’s not like any of the three players not retained have much leverage if it went that way.

While Ramage saw a brief glimpse of the NHL in Game 82 against Winnipeg, there’s questions about his upside given his age. Both Ramage and Acolatse are right-handed shots; with the Flames adding Kenney Morrison and Jakub Nakladal in recent months, likely they’re victims of the numbers game here. Injuries also restricted Acolatse to just 38 games for Adirondack last year, which may have been a factor. Ben Hanowski, one of three pieces the Flames acquired for Jarome Iginla, has never really embraced the physical role he’ll have to play to get to the NHL, nor was his skating really to the level it’d need to be. By all accounts, though, he was a model citizen for the Baby Flames in Adirondack, so maybe he gets retained on an AHL deal and given a role in Stockton. All three players will become unrestricted free agents when the market opens on July 1.

The moves reduce the Flames list of contracted players to 43 (31 active contracts and 12 restricted free agents), as of July 1.

  • everton fc

    I’m lad they are taking another look at Van Brabant. I like him. Good to see they still have interest in Byron, as well. Those are the two that pleasantly surprised me. I expected Elson to be qualified. He’s the organization’s “type of player”.

  • Colin.S

    Really happy they just didn’t cut Byron loose. While at the same time surprised to see so many bodies retained. The 3 cut loose however don’t amount to a big loss in the system and should open up a spot or two for some of the new guys coming in.

    Though I expected Reinhart to get cut, kinda glad he wasn’t.

  • everton fc

    Reinhart may simply take a little longer to find a place here, though places are filling up fast. Think of Hathaway, kids like Carroll, a guy like Wolf… Reinhart has his work cut our for him, that’s for certain.

  • DestroDertell

    Good to see Byron coming back. I’ll admit I was worried they were going to underrate him and let him go because of the “no room for him” point.

    –Now that I think about it, it’s actually a good point. Doesn’t it mean one of Raymond or Bollig will be traded?

  • beloch

    My first thought when reading the headline was: “Please don’t let Byron be one of the unlucky three!”. I’m glad to hear he wasn’t. Sure, he lacks finish and size, but he’s basically a pocket rocket designed to move the puck up the wing. Given what his salary will likely be, he offers great value for a team that needs to improve its possession numbers.

    Another player I was relieved to see qualified was David Wolf. His conditioning was sub-par last season, but that is something hard work could fix over the summer. Wolf, Ferland, and Byron offer some great alternatives to Bollig on the left wing.

  • Nick24

    I’m very happy that Byron and Reinhart were retained. I’ve been a big fan of Reinhart’s since his days in Kootenay. I met him at Cowboy’s after game one of the second round of the playoffs and hung out with him while Kenny Agostino was playing poker. He seemed like a really nice guy, and I’m happy that he’ll get at least one more shot in the organization!

    • Tommynotsohuge

      Because you met him at Cowboys and hung out with him unfortunately does not make him an NHL’er. Hopefully the Oilers will want to unite him with his brother and give us a 3rd rounder in return..one can only hope!

  • Trevy

    Reinhart’s days are numbered. Hathaway is the second coming of Bouma and will surely leap frog Reinhart if not already. Unless Reinhart suddenly decides to change his game, I believe his future role will be to just mentor the kids in Stocton. Great guy, just not what the big club covets in a player.

    The rest of the QO’s were pretty much bang on!

    • everton fc

      Actually, Hathaway’s game is more like Bouma’s. And he’s only had the one good pro season. This camp will tell us a lot about Hathaway. But I do like him as a prospect. Never forget, Ferland was a power forward who scored many goals in junior. Hathaway is not of the same pedigree.

      Reinhart’s a different kind of player. Guys like Arnold make Reinhart’s future almost bleak.

      • Trevy

        My mistake, I read an article on Hathaway a while back and made the wrong reference to who’s style of game he resembles. I indeed meant to say Bouma.

        Reinhart had his chances and unfortunately has been surpassed by the likes of Granlund and Arnold. As I said before, he is more likely being kept to mentor kids in Stocton.

        Thanks for the correction Blue!

  • Trevy

    The reason Rhino was qualified is too keep him away from the Oilers. Eventually they will trade a draft choice of somekind to the Flames for his rights…shrewd move by BT..again!!

  • beloch

    It’s being reported that both the Oilers and Flames were considering a trade for Mike Richards, but both potential deals have been scuttled by a currently unknown “off-ice incident” that has prompted the Kings to terminate Richard’s contract. No buy-out. They just slapped him on unconditional waivers and then tore his contract up. Dean Lombardi reportedly approached both Treliving and Chiarelli at the draft to inform them of this so that their negotiations would not go any further.

    There’s a lot of crazy going on here. The most specific rumors I’ve been able to find about the “off-ice incident” claim that Richards made a commitment to off-season training and failed to meet it. L.A. wants out of Richards albatross of a contract, to be sure, but using a technicality like this to do so would be pretty scummy, and it doesn’t explain why Lombardi would warn Treliving and Chiarelli off. My bet is that the “off-ice incident” was something more serious.

    The Oilers need a veteran centre, so maybe they could have used Richards. The Flames have substantially less use for an overpriced, aging, and rapidly deteriorating left-shooting centre. Richards’ contract has another five years left on it and, odds are, it will be pure dead-weight exactly when the Flames are going to need some cap space. Lombardi would have to sweeten the pot with some serious picks and prospects to make that contract worth touching.

    Frankly, this is a messed up situation. Unless Richards did something that merits universal contempt and horror, the law-suits are going to fly fast and thick. That being said, I’m honestly surprised the Flames were kicking the tires on Richards. His contract is just too awful.

  • beloch

    It’s being reported that both the Oilers and Flames were considering a trade for Mike Richards, but both potential deals have been scuttled by a currently unknown “off-ice incident” that has prompted the Kings to terminate Richard’s contract. No buy-out. They just slapped him on unconditional waivers and then tore his contract up. Dean Lombardi reportedly approached both Treliving and Chiarelli at the draft to inform them of this so that their negotiations would not go any further.

    There’s a lot of crazy going on here. The most specific rumors I’ve been able to find about the “off-ice incident” claim that Richards made a commitment to off-season training and failed to meet it. L.A. wants out of Richards albatross of a contract, to be sure, but using a technicality like this to do so would be pretty scummy, and it doesn’t explain why Lombardi would warn Treliving and Chiarelli off. My bet is that the “off-ice incident” was something more serious.

    The Oilers need a veteran centre, so maybe they could have used Richards. The Flames have substantially less use for an overpriced, aging, and rapidly deteriorating left-shooting centre. Richards’ contract has another five years left on it and, odds are, it will be pure dead-weight exactly when the Flames are going to need some cap space. Lombardi would have to sweeten the pot with some serious picks and prospects to make that contract worth touching.

    Frankly, this is a messed up situation. Unless Richards did something that merits universal contempt and horror, the law-suits are going to fly fast and thick. That being said, I’m honestly surprised the Flames were kicking the tires on Richards. His contract is just too awful.

  • beloch

    It’s being reported that both the Oilers and Flames were considering a trade for Mike Richards, but both potential deals have been scuttled by a currently unknown “off-ice incident” that has prompted the Kings to terminate Richard’s contract. No buy-out. They just slapped him on unconditional waivers and then tore his contract up. Dean Lombardi reportedly approached both Treliving and Chiarelli at the draft to inform them of this so that their negotiations would not go any further.

    There’s a lot of crazy going on here. The most specific rumors I’ve been able to find about the “off-ice incident” claim that Richards made a commitment to off-season training and failed to meet it. L.A. wants out of Richards albatross of a contract, to be sure, but using a technicality like this to do so would be pretty scummy, and it doesn’t explain why Lombardi would warn Treliving and Chiarelli off. My bet is that the “off-ice incident” was something more serious.

    The Oilers need a veteran centre, so maybe they could have used Richards. The Flames have substantially less use for an overpriced, aging, and rapidly deteriorating left-shooting centre. Richards’ contract has another five years left on it and, odds are, it will be pure dead-weight exactly when the Flames are going to need some cap space. Lombardi would have to sweeten the pot with some serious picks and prospects to make that contract worth touching.

    Frankly, this is a messed up situation. Unless Richards did something that merits universal contempt and horror, the law-suits are going to fly fast and thick. That being said, I’m honestly surprised the Flames were kicking the tires on Richards. His contract is just too awful.

    • MontanaMan

      We know about 1% of what goes on in a dressing room and on a team throughout the year, but Richards has a long history of off ice problems, culminated with being dealt to LA. The Kings will have great legal counsel giving them advice so I’m sure they’re not scared of Richards suing them. Every contract has a Code of Conduct component and with Richard’s history, you know there was strong language included in his deal. I say he crossed the line (like he has likely done many times before) but this time they called him on it and terminated his contract. I support the Kings 100% and its another case of a team giving an opportunity to a high risk individual and the player screws it up.

      And Wolf? Not doing it for me as he doesn’t appear to have the skills or the head for the North American game. If it were my call, he wouldn’t have been re-signed.

    • RexLibris

      I’d read that the deal involved “significant assets” going to either the Flames or Oilers to take that contract but that the issues involved more or less nixed the deal once Lombardi learned they were severe enough to void the SPC.

      That is one hell of a thing to be able to negate a player contract. The PA is going to be screaming, unless they get information that leads even them to believe it is inexcusable.

      That means the Kings have been associated with Voynov, Stoll and allegations or innuendo about Richards all within a year. Lombardi has some very significant work ahead of him there, and cap management is only a part of it.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      If the NHLPA does nothing rumors would be rampant as to what Richards had done….

      But maybe the Kings are testing the validity of a Code of Conduct and if and when it can be applied.

    • RexLibris

      I have serious doubts about this report regarding interest from the Flames and Oilers. I suspect this is a last attempt by the LA Kings to rid themselves of this awful contract. I don’t think there is any merit and the fact that the player is not serious about his fitness is not a violation of the code of conduct. This is going to court in an attempt to arrive at a settlement that is less than the current liability the Kings have on this contract….

  • RexLibris

    I’m surprised Ramage was cut, but then it makes sense to use that spot to find a higher-performing AHL veteran to help bolster the team this season.

    Lots of contract space so the Flames can add some bodies via camp invites, PTOs, and lesser-light free-agents to provide them some roster flexibility.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Why would we want a 30 year old C, who is small, left shot , bad attitude, not overly good numbers…… Oh yes; he played on a good team once.

    Beats me…

    WW

    • trox

      Because he is on such a bad contract the Kings would have to send us picks or prospects to take it on. We would then bury the guy in the NHL until his contract expired. If we had the cap space and got something decent back, it would be a gem of a trade.

      • MontanaMan

        Which Lombardi probably planted and than made an anonymous phone call at just the right time to Security..
        What a crock. That was a millstone of a contract for years still. Must be nice to just be able to drop it and walk away and spend it on some high end talent instead

      • Graham

        Which Lombardi probably planted and than made an anonymous phone call at just the right time to Security..
        What a crock. That was a millstone of a contract for years still. Must be nice to just be able to drop it and walk away and spend it on some high end talent instead

      • supra steve

        This thing is going to be very messy. Voynov is also undergoing some serious legal issues, but the Kings have not cut him loose. The PA could come in and argue it that way, but then are they risking another morality clause being activated?

        Yes, it will be a long, messy fight.

  • OKG

    Was his rookie season so I’ll cut him some slack, but Bryce Van Brabant really doesn’t seem to have much justification for getting qualified.

    Wolf’s point production pretty much double his as a LW, and Hathaway not only brought a right handed stick on the RW but also scored at a 73% higher pace. Those two guys outperformed him at the same role essentially. Austin Caroll and Hunter Smith also project to hit the pro level next year.

  • MontanaMan

    The Americans have 1 lawyer for every 250 people. They need to keep them working.

    Also 1 lawyer for every 2 inmates so the Kings are helping keep the ststus quo.