It’s here. At long last, the day we’ve long been waiting for since the Flames’ season ended pitifully on April 9: it’s officially the NHL Draft.
Well, not quite yet; the draft itself is still 11 hours away. But as we know, it can be a very, very busy day.
Just last year, while we were all speculating just who, exactly, the Calgary Flames would take at 15th overall, they made a gigantic splash out of nowhere by acquiring Dougie Hamilton. Nobody saw it coming: then bam, all of a sudden the Flames had taken over the day’s chatter.
Will Brad Treliving be able to pull off another such move? Perhaps – and perhaps, like last year, it will be just as quiet.
There are a couple of rumours still floating around the Flames, though. So as we gear up for today, let’s go over them.
The third overall pick
If the Flames hadn’t won their final game of the season – with an outstanding performance from Niklas Backstrom and goals from Brandon Bollig and Patrick Sieloff, no less – they would have been in position to win the lottery for the third overall pick. That would have put them in position to draft Jesse Puljujarvi: a big, talented right winger who would have instantly been perfect for them.
Alas, they did win that final game of the season – but the dream isn’t dead yet, as Treliving has reportedly been trying to move up to third or fourth overall. Dealing with Edmonton feels almost unthinkable – joking about trading Dennis Wideman and the sixth overall pick for number four aside – while Columbus might be more palatable, especially as they seem to be willing to trade down.
Can a deal be found here? Perhaps, though the Flames would likely have to take back salary from the Blue Jackets. While Scott Hartnell’s cap hit will be $4.75 million for the next three seasons – until he’s 37 – he’s big, would help solve the winger depth, and can still actually produce. Sergei Bobrovsky, meanwhile, could potentially solve the Flames’ goaltending woes, but that $7.425 million cap hit from the 27-year-old who only had a .908 SV% last season could be a tough pill to swallow.
Columbus has stated that if they trade the third overall pick, it won’t be until picks one and two have been selected, so be sure to keep an eye out for that at the top of the draft. If Treliving is really going to wield any magic, it will probably be here.
All the goalies
Dreger: “Brad Treliving is confident that he’s going to be able to land a goaltender. That’s his intent this week here in Buffalo.” #Flames
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) June 23, 2016
At some point, the Pittsburgh Penguins will need to do something about their two netminders. Matt Murray, having just won a Stanley Cup at the age of 22, seems almost untouchable; his 31-year-old backup with a cap hit of $5.75 million for the next three seasons, Marc-Andre Fleury, a little less so. The Penguins aren’t in any rush to trade him; however, their reported wanting of the sixth overall pick (and then some!) is definitely much too high.
On to Ben Bishop, who has just one year left on his deal worth $5.95 million, and is apparently a primary target for the Flames. He’s one of the top goalies who could be available – potentially the best – and the Flames should be able to re-sign him. The question is, just what does Tampa want in return?
Sharks willing to move Reimer’s rights over the next few days if a team shows interest in pending UFA goalie. Did same with Niemi a yr ago
— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 23, 2016
The Flames haven’t expressed an outright interest in James Reimer, who heads this year’s free agent goaltending class. However, they could get a start on the competition – except since Calgary is the only team without a starting goalie, maybe it would make more sense to simply wait.
— Brian Lawton (@brianlawton9) June 23, 2016
The Flames are left wanting for both skilled wingers and size; Milan Lucic just so happens to fill both those areas. However, this is more likely a pipe dream than anything. How are they supposed to sign Lucic – a free agent looking to cash in – amidst all their terrible contracts still on the books, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan’s impending raises, and the addition of a starting-caliber goalie, all of which are bigger needs? It’s probably not going to work out. Not without something big happening first.
Now, if you want to get REALLY wild:
McKenzie just talked about a scenario where CGY moves Hamilton for 4OV, opening up cap space for Ben Bishop & drafting Tkachuk AND Juolevi.
— Tyler (@akaRCN) June 24, 2016
That just feels like a situation where people start really overthinking everything, so I’ll just leave that there. It’s hard to see something like that happening.
That about covers the three big areas the Flames will be focused on this week: adding important new talent to the franchise, acquiring a goalie, and maybe do something about the lack of both size and depth on the wings.
It’s sure to be an amazing day. May it leave memories as fond as those from 2015.