It’s been quite a year in Calgary.
The Flames shocked the hockey world by making the playoffs on the backs of a cadre of young players, then they upped the ante by winning a round. Then the org’s GM consummates possibly the biggest impact trade since Sutter swapped a 2nd for Kiprusoff and caps it all off by snagging the biggest forward UFA target on the team’s list.
Which is to say, we have a lot to talk about. In fact there’s so much that I have split the mailbag into two posts. In Part 1, we talk about the Flames various roster logjams and what we can expect out of Michael Frolik.
— Colin (@DragonsDeck) July 3, 2015
— Dave Hutchinson (@davehutch51) July 3, 2015
If the Flames sign all of their pending RFA’s, the club has a lot of forwards at the bottom of the rotation to muddle through. The list includes Lance Bouma (RFA), Paul Byron (RFA), Josh Jooris (RFA), Drew Shore (RFA), Brandon Bollig, Joe Colborne, Matt Stajan, Mason Raymond and David Jones with Micheal Ferland, Markus Granlund, Bill Arnold and David Wolf knocking on the door.
That’s 13 guys battling for seven roster spots. Three of them are still able to sneak through waivers if they are sent down for now (Granlund, Arnold and Wolf), though Granlund is just five games away from waivers eligibility. Ferland is this grouping as well, though depending on how you read the CBA, he may be waiver eligible starting this year.
We can say the list of “fringe” guys looks like this: Raymond, Bollig, Ferland, Granlund, Arnold and Wolf, with Ferland challenging to work his way into a full blown regular player this season. Bollig and Raymond are clearly redundant and it’s on the team to find ways to move them along somehow. After that, it will be incumbent on Granlund, Arnold and Wolf to prove they are more than top line AHL players in order to bump one of the other regulars.
If Raymond and Bollig are traded or demoted, that leaves Colborne, Stajan, Bouma, Jooris, Byron, Jones, Ferland and Shore to fill out the bottom six. If Ferland can’t be sent to the AHL without waivers, the Flames may need to get rid of at least one more of these bodies before the season starts.
— Ron (@ronipedia) July 3, 2015
The other logjam is in net. With the re-signing of Karri Ramo, Calgary now has three puck stoppers who are waivers eligible and on one-way deals.
Sometimes it’s possible to sneak a goalie through waivers at the start of the year because teams almost always start the season with a full complement of goaltenders. That said, there’s still plenty of risk when it comes to trying to slide a prospect of Orit’s calibre through 29 NHL clubs. It would only take one to decide he’s a better long-term bet than they’re #2 guy for him to get swiped for nothing.
Brad Treliving has made veiled references to potentially trading one of the veterans at some point during the summer recently. In fact, the team may have re-signed Ramo to increase their trade options and roster flexibility. If I was forced to bet, I say the Flames deal one of Ramo or Hiller before the puck drops in October.
@Kent_Wilson 1. Let’s have your opinion on Mason Raymonds outlook for next year…2. Does Ferland make team out of camp I presume..?
— NidNation (@NiddNation) July 3, 2015
Though this is somewhat answered above, I wanted to talk about these two players specifically.
Raymond, I think, will get moved along at the team’s earliest convenience. He lost the confidence of the coaching staff last year and was passed on the depth chart by more than a few guys. Calgary has since added more depth and his contract is now way out of line with his position on the team. I’m sure Treliving will hope to send him to a bottom feeder lacking depth or needing cap dollars by September (NJ? ARI?).
As for Ferland, everything depends on his wavier eligibility. If he can’t be sent down without exposing him to the rest of the league, I’m sure the team will keep him around on the parent club some way, some how.
— Catherine ❤️ America (@CataCarryOn) July 3, 2015
Treliving has referred to Frolik as a “Swiss army knife” forward because he can fill in at some many different positions. Frolik is a left shooting right winger, but he can play LW and C in a pinch. He’s also a capable defensive forward and PKer.
From my perspective, Frolik makes a great linemate for Backlund on a shutdown trio, but he may be forced into a more offensively oriented role in a year or two if the Flames can’t re-sign or replace Jiri Hudler. That said, ideally Frolik is a middle rotation forward who takes on tough circumstances so the team can give the high ground to the scorers (almost exactly like Backlund).
— Uncle Poc (@TheRealPoc) July 3, 2015
This is more up to Bob Hartley than Treliving, but at this juncture it’s really hard to guess how Frolik and Bennett will be deployed this season. The team may want to shift Bennett to the wing due to the dearth of scorers on that side after Gaudreau, though they may also want to start to develop Bennett at centre if that’s where they feel he is more impactful long term.
As such, the coaching staff may choose to shift Frolik to the left side and either play him with Bennett at C to provide him some veteran help at even strength, or instead cobble together a shut down unit with Backlund so that he can shield Bennett more fully (Frolik – Backlund – Jones/Byron for example).
— Moe (@DeAnimoe) July 3, 2015
I’m not sure how eager the team will be to eat that kind of money in the minors (combined $4.4M), especially when it only affords the club some $1.8M in saved cap space. That said, if neither player can be moved and both are bumped from the active roster by better options, it may be the club’s only play in the short term.
Right now, Engelland is probably safer than Bollig – there’s less bottom rotation depth on the back-end than up front. If the team signs another player or two for the blueline though, that could change.
— Dave Camwell (@davecamwell) July 3, 2015
Asked and answered here I think. Glencross was a really effective 2nd/3rd line winger for years, but he’s clearly hit a wall the last few seasons. Previously one of the quickest players in the league, Glencross has visibly slowed down, which takes away one of his primary assets. Curtis can still fire a howitzer of a shot, but he’s not nearly as aggressive as he used to be and he doesn’t have the sort of hands or hockey IQ that can sustain his play now that he’s lost a step.
I still think he’s NHLer, but Glencross’ time as a legitimate impact guy is all but done, a fact which is no doubt clear to GM’s across the league. It’s unfortunate for Curtis because he was completely underpaid during his last deal in Calgary. His window for a retirement deal is now closed, so he’ll be hustling for short-term contracts from here on out I assume.