As the season winds down, Flames fans continue prepare ourselves for the challenges of next year.
Draft simulators, RFA cap hits and expansion drafts dominate the discussion in the latest mailbag. Oh and let’s talk a bit about Jon Gillies and Joe Coborne…
— Leah (@leahflame) March 18, 2016
Usually this is a tough question to answer, but I think things are pretty clear in the Flames situation. It will depend somewhat on the finer details (what happens with players with NMC’s? What rookies/prospects are eligible to be included in the expansion draft? etc.). For now, we’ll assume that players with no trade and no move clauses are eligible and that prospects with two or less years under a pro contract are exempt.
Here’s who I would protect:
Things may change between now and the actual expansion draft of course, but how things stand currently this would be my protection list. The only tough decision is between Jooris and Colborne: I like Jooris a bit more as an overall player, but Colborne is much more likely to be plucked vs Jooris thanks to his size and counting stats. Default to protecting Colborne for now.
— Cory Exner (@ChapDadX) March 18, 2016
Subban is an elite defender, but I don’t think he’s enough of an upgrade over Brodie for the Flames to sacrifice TJ’s beneficial contract. Brodie is an incredible asset in part because he’s gloriously underpaid relative to his contributions. Add in moving the only established top-6 RWer depth on the team and the club’s pressing cap concerns? Flames say no.
As for the second question, there are a couple of teams who may have issues with puckstoppers at the expansion draft. Here’s a list off the top of my head:
So there’s going to be a few nervous teams. I imagine the Red Wings will willfully expose Howard because his getting claimed could solve a problem for them, but none of the other clubs are going to want to part with either of their goalies for nothing. I imagine the Ducks, Lightning, Bruins and Penguins might investigate the market for players like Andersen, Bishop, Subban and Murray.
All decent targets for the Flames, naturally 😉
— Thomas Kellner (@altokells29) March 18, 2016
Yes and yes are the probable answers here. Monahan has strong enough results to push for a long-term, big money deal and the Flames organization loves the player. That said, he’s unlikely to get the same payday as Gaudreau because Johnny has established himself as one of the truly elite offensive players in the league.
Treliving’s priorities this summer are, in order:
- Sign Gaudreau
- Sign Monahan
- Make a cap move or two
- Find a starting goalie
Once the team has the two kids under wraps, Treliving can determine where the organization is cap wise and what has to be done to manage the roster budget moving forward. After that he can determine what extreme measures, if he, he has to take to get the Flames cap flexibility and then he can look into finding a #1 puckstopper.
— Derby Herb (@HerbDerby) March 18, 2016
Having a big dog in an apartment is a bad idea. So, neither.
— Clay (@clayTRON8000) March 18, 2016
No, but a hotdog is.
— PostTDLdepression (@ChinookArchYYC) March 18, 2016
Of the guys on the parent roster right now, there are three other RFA’s aside from Gaudreau and Monahan: Joe Colborne, Josh Jooris and Freddie Hamilton. Colborne is the only guy who will be looking at a modest raise, from $1.275M to around the $2M range. I assume the team keeps them all, with Hamilton more in the “AHL depth player” role than anything.
On the farm there is: Derek Grant, Tyler Wotherspoon, Kenny Agostino, Bryce Van Brabant, Bill Arnold, Turner Elson and Kevin Poulin. The only guy I don’t see them re-signing in Van Brabant. He’s a 24-year old undrafted grinder who has 13 points this year in the AHL. No need to commit an NHL contract slot to a guy with that kind of limited upside (I don’t know why they signed him in the first place, honestly).
— kino (@jjkino123) March 18, 2016
Gillies is the Flames best goalie prospect in recent memory, but it’s hard to get a read on his timeline thanks to his completely wiped out season this year. I’d say the team would like to see at least one above average year in the AHL from Gillies before moving him up the ladder, so we’re at least a season away from seeing him regularly on the parent squad, at best.
Gillies upside is that of a quality NHL starter. His college career was outstanding and he has the requisite size (6’6″) to become a top notch starter.
— Chris (@pipes_06) March 18, 2016
— James Foster (@YKJFosterYYC) March 18, 2016
I’ve liked Joe Colborne a lot more in the latter half of this season than I have previously, which is why he shows up in my protected players list for the expansion draft above. He seems to advanced from “mostly detrimental” to “capable passenger” whatever line he’s on. That sounds like backhanded compliment, but it’s a hurdle a lot of young guys never get over and I had my doubts Colborne would ultimately clear it.
Big & Local is never going to be a shut down centre or legitimate scoring winger, but he has enough offense and other skills (face-offs and shootout) that he can be useful in a bottom-6 role.
Like most players on the team, he has definitely benefited from playing with Backlund and Frolik. Altogether, the trio sports a 52% CF, which is impressive given the club’s overall possession rate 47%. Away from them, Colborne plunges down to the team average (46.8%).
In addition, his SH% has run incredibly hot this season, especially in the latter half (a career high 18.3%). He’s been more of a 12% shooter during his career, so we should expect that number to regress moving forward. That means, take his career high in goals (15) and points (31) this year with a pinch of salt.
Colborne will always be a frustrating player to some degree: he’s big guy with relatively soft hands who will occasionally tease you with a noteworthy play or shift. He’s also a guy who can, for long periods of time, look awkward and indecisive on the ice, killing more plays than he makes. He’s a clear tier above guys like Bollig, Bouma and Stajan, but a contending team likely doesn’t have Colborne in their regular top-6 rotation.
— Ali-Faizan Virji (@AliVirji) March 18, 2016
Okposo would be a great target for the Flames, but there’s a solid chance the club won’t be able to afford him given their cap constraints and pressing need for a goaltender. We’ll know way more by the end of June, at which point Treliving will have re-signed the kids and the NHL will have firmly announced next year’s cap ceiling.