Las Vegas to join Flames in Pacific Division in 2017-18

The Calgary Flames are about to get some new neighbours.

The National Hockey League officially announced that they will be adding a 31st franchise, located in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the 2017-18 season. The Las Vegas team will join the Flames in the Pacific Division, bumping the division to eight teams and the Western Conference to 15 teams.

The addition of the expansion team will have two primary impacts on the Flames.

The big impact will be the expansion draft, held between June 17 and 20 (with the 30 Vegas selections announced on June 21). The press release made official many details previously speculated regarding the draft:

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 3.16.45 PM

Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 3.16.14 PM

For what it’s worth, Matt Stajan and T.J. Brodie have modified no-trade clauses for 2017-18, but nobody on the team has a no-move clause.

The other big impact will be the changing of the schedule. The Flames will play the Vegas team at least four times a season – twice in Calgary and twice in Las Vegas – with the fifth game rotating around the six other Pacific Division clubs.

In essence, they’re carving off a game against each of the other Pacific teams and giving them to Las Vegas.

2016-17 2017-18
Pacific 29 games
(5 games vs. 5 teams)
(4 games vs. 1 team)
29 games
(4 games vs. 6 teams)
(5 games vs. 1 team)
Central 21 games
(3 games vs. 7 teams)
21 games
(3 games vs. 7 teams)
Eastern
Conference
32 games
(2 games vs. 16 teams)
32 games
(2 games vs. 16 teams)

Now that expansion is official, the 30 existing NHL general managers will begin jockeying to prepare for next summer’s gigantic expansion draft.

  • Backburner

    My guess is the NHL will be back down to 30 teams once Carolina folds.. or at least relocates to Quebec city in time for the 2017 season.

    I wonder if teams will expose players with big contracts to try to get some cap relief for the expansion draft.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I’m sure they will. But given the requirements, a lot of teams will have to expose one or two younger/cheaper assets, which is good for the expansion team.

      Luckily that won’t apply to the Flames. If nothing major changed on the roster between now and next July, I assume the Flames would end up losing Stajan or Bouma to the expansion team.

        • Denscafon

          According to BT at the season ticket holder meeting, Gillis will not be exposed to the expansion draft. This was a major concern for BT apparently but they have been told that to be considered 2 years as a pro, you have to have played a certain amount of games per season for it to count. After Providence won the national title, gillis signed a contract that year but didn’t play a single game so even though his contract says he’s a 2 year pro, the league will still exempt him from the expansion draft for lack of games played.

      • MattyFranchise

        Given a choice between the two I would think a team would pick stajan. He’s no spring chicken but his contract should be fine for a team trying to meet the cap floor for the first time and he doesn’t get injured nearly as much as Bouma.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        Just ran a mock expansion draft on General Fanager.

        I think our roster D-men (Jokipaka) might be more protected than I originally thought. With only being able to protect 3 D, there are a lot of teams with a solid top 4, I found multiple options I would take over Jokipaaka. In all honesty, the Flames won’t likely have an impact forward or d-man exposed. The swipe from the Flames might likely end up being a prospect RFA type contract such as a Wotherspoon, Arnold, Agostino type.

  • freethe flames

    General Fanager has a place where you can play GM for each team and decide who you would protect and then allows you to draft a team, 1 from each. The only problem is that it can’t predict who will be moved by trade deadline but it could be fun.

  • freethe flames

    The expansion draft is another reason we don’t need to overpay to acquire a veteran goalie. Go with a tandem for this year and protect which ever one earns the job.

    I think we would have to go with option a. 7 forwards, 3 defenders and a goalie. The three defenders are easy as are 5 forwards, the other two would depend on who we acquire or if someone really steps up.

  • freethe flames

    Ferland? I included Ferland not because I dislike him and I would protect him over Bouma or Stajan but I’m hopeful that BT adds at least 1 top 9 that I would like more then him.

  • Greg

    The interesting rule twist today is the rule about exposing goalies. Sure, we all knew you could only protect one, but apparently you almost must expose one?!?! And it has to be someone under contract (or qualified) for 2017-2018?

    So say the Flames sign Reimer to a 3 year deal, and re-up Ortio on another 1 year deal. If they don’t extend him again, or sign someone else with NHL experience, they would be forced to expose Reimer and risk being back to 1 goalie.

    That might also turn the tables on the Flames and make teams think they might as well keep both their goalies because they need a 2nd one they can expose. Surprised that isn’t getting more discussion…

    • Kevin R

      Simple solution for us, give Ortio a contract & expose him. I do believe Ortio would still be an RFA of which he can be exposed even if he doesn’t have a contract. I could be wrong on that. Otherwise, give Ortio a 2 year deal, problem solved. I don’t think he would say no.

      • Greg

        True, but I think the bigger impact to the flames is how this affects other teams with multiple goaltenders, and whether it takes any sellers off the market. Probably doesn’t change much for Fleury (NMC) and maybe not Bishop (UFA), but for goalies like Elliot, it may have changed directions and made it a little less of a buyers market.

        Not sure why I really care though :P. I’m kinda getting all aboard the Sign-Riemer-Keep-Assets train anyway 🙂

        • Kevin R

          Well you look at the teams with 2 goalies that everyone is speculating about :

          Dallas: Niemi & Lehtonen- both will have 1 year left, does Dallas really cares if 1 gets picked off. Really surprised how everyone trashes how poor their goaltending was but last I saw they had the best record in the West on the back of their tandem & they made it to the 2nd round of the playoffs to game 7. As much as they are spending an insane amount of cap space on that position, they probably could ride it out before making a major change in net. Losing one of those two guys in the draft would be a silver lining. Their backs are not in a corner like some may think.

          St Louis: 2 solid goalies, bargain priced, 1 a UFA & 1 an RFA at the end of next year, chances are they will ride that tandem that was so successful for them this last season. But, they have to expose a goalie, if they keep Allen, they would need to expose someone & Elliott wouldn’t count being a UFA. Now they can resign Elliott & expose Allen, or they trade Elliott at the TDL & pick up a cheap backup that meets the requirements to be exposed. As much as Bettman said he didn’t want any hanky panky, hanky-panky is these GM’s middle name.

          Pitt: They don’t have to trade MAF now, but now is when they will get the best value. But, seeing old Rutherford is the GM of the year, he may think going with MAF & Murray next year & see if Murray is the next best goalie in the league with a larger sample size. Either way, the longer they wait to trade a goalie, the worse they will get humped because they will lose Murray 1 way or the other if MAF is still a Pen 1 year from now.

          Tampa: A little different than the Pitt scenario because their young guy Vas can & will be protected. Bishop is going to be a TDL conversation & they will have more suitors wanting Bishop prior to the expansion draft. I can Vanc being in the mix big time. If Tampa trades Bishop sooner, it’s for a total different scenario, it’ll be cap reasons & signing other players.

          Toronto: Now that they have Andersen, they will want to move Bernier & bring Sparks up so they can expose him. Bernier can probably be had for a song. If they are going after Stamkos & they want no cap coming back, I bet Klimchuk for Bernier & their #31 could be doable. If they pass on Stamkos, they may take Raymond & a 2nd or 3rd & just get rid of Bernier. I don’t see Bernier’s value getting higher at the TDL backing up Andersen.

          Most of these teams don’t have to do anything now, but once the New Years Eve hangover goes away, a different headache is about to begin.

          Personally, I keep thinking the Sign Reimer-save assets versus dump a contract-trade for a bridge, I think I would rather dump the contract & probably get the same type of meh goaltending either way. I just don’t see Reimer carrying this team anywhere close to the playoffs. There’s a good chance Bernier in a new scenario will give us the same & we can probably dump a contract & open up a position for a younger player we all want to see.