The Calgary Flames arrived in Buffalo hoping to get a few things done. They wanted to get a starting goalie. They wanted to stock their cupboards with some skilled forwards. They wanted to add some size. They wanted to add some right-handed shots.
After two days, seven rounds (and a trade) in Buffalo, I think it’s safe to say they’ve positioned themselves well for the rest of the summer.
Here’s a quick rundown of where the Flames sit.
The Flames added 10 new faces to the organization: two goaltenders, two defensemen and six forwards.
- Goalie Brian Elliott (added via trade from St. Louis for the 35th overall pick and a conditional 2018 third rounder if he re-signs with the Flames)
- London Knights goalie Tyler Parsons (selected 54th overall)
- Ottawa 67’s defenseman Stepan Falkovsky (selected 186th overall)
- U.S. National Development Team defenseman Adam Fox (selected 66th overall)
- London Knights forward Matthew Tkachuk (selected 6th overall)
- HPK forward Eetu Tuulola (selected 156th overall)
- Skelleftea forward Linus Lindstrom (selected 96th overall)
- Grand Rapids (Minnesota) high school forward Mitchell Mattson (selected 126th overall)
- Kelowna Rockets forward Dillon Dube (selected 56th overall)
- Victoria Royals forward Matthew Phillips (selected 166th overall)
For those scoring at home: Falkovsky and Mattson are big, Dube and Phillips are local, and you can categorize Elliott, Parsons, Fox, Tkachuk, Lindstrom, Dube and Phillips as legitimately skilled players (and you can make a case that Tuulola might be, too). Fox, Tuulola and Phillips are all also right-shooting players.
They didn’t go big at the expense of talent, they went big after they had accumulated a bunch of talent. All-in-all, they got a little bit of everything and helped themselves out in a lot of interesting ways.
After this weekend, Calgary’s organization depth in a lot of areas suddenly seems even better.
- NHL: Brian Elliott and Joni Ortio (RFA)
- AHL: Jon Gillies and David Rittich
- ECHL: Mason McDonald
- Junior: Tyler Parsons and Nick Schnieder
Aside from maybe some questions about Ortio’s ability to be a good, regular NHL back-up, that doesn’t seem like a bad mix of players. And wave goodbye to Karri Ramo and Kevin Poulin, neither of which really fit into the team’s plans anymore.
- NHL: Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Ladislav Smid, Deryk Engelland and Jyrki Jokipakka
- AHL: Jakub Nakladal (UFA), Tyler Wotherspoon (RFA), Keegan Kanzig, Patrick Sieloff, Kenney Morrison, Oliver Kylington, Rasmus Andersson, Ryan Culkin and Brett Kulak
- Junior: Riley Bruce and Stepan Falkovsky
- College: Adam Fox and Brandon Hickey
- Europe: Adam Ollas Mattsson and Rushan Rafikov
Let’s be blunt here: Nakladal and Wotherspoon should be in the NHL at this point, and I’m including them because I presume the Flames are going to retain both of them. Aside from that: man, the Flames need to clear out Wideman and Smid so they can get their AHL kids some expanded ice-time. As it stands, somebody decent is going to be getting some time in Adirondack. Kulak, Culkin and Kylington could compete for NHL call-ups this coming season.
Outside of the pros: Fox and Hickey are both really interesting puck-moving prospects, while Ollas Mattsson is a real nice dark-horse. (Rafikov probably isn’t a prospect of note anymore, but he’s included because he’s still team property.)
- NHL: Johnny Gaudreau (RFA), Sean Monahan (RFA), Joe Colborne (RFA), Josh Jooris (RFA), Michael Frolik, Mikael Backlund, Sam Bennett, Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma, Brandon Bollig and Micheal Ferland (and UFA Derek Grant, if he’s retained)
- AHL: Mason Raymond, Mark Jankowski, Hunter Shinkaruk, Brett Pollock, Hunter Smith, Daniel Pribyl, Morgan Klimchuk, Emile Poirier, Andrew Mangiapane, Garnet Hathaway, Austin Carroll, Kenny Agostino (RFA), Bill Arnold (RFA), Turner Elson (RFA), Freddie Hamilton (RFA), Drew Shore (RFA) and Bryce van Brabant (RFA)
- Junior: Pavel Karnaukhov, Dillon Dube, Matthew Phillips and Matthew Tkachuk
- College: Tim Harrison and Mitchell Mattson
- Europe: Eetu Tuulola and Linus Lindstrom
It looks like the Flames will graduate two or three forwards from their farm system into the NHL next season, pending other moves. Those graduations will help the log-jam in the AHL a bit, but the incoming AHL forwards (Jankowski, Pollock, Pribyl, Mangiapane) sound really solid on paper and should make things interesting there. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Flames opt not to qualify one or two of the AHL restricted free agents just to ease the log-jam a bit.
Beyond the pros, the college group seems a bit “meh” – two bigger guys – but the junior and European contingents seem decent. The CHL Import Draft is on Tuesday and it wouldn’t shock me if a Canadian junior club takes a chance on Tuulola or Lindstrom.
In terms of Calgary’s salary cap space, we should have a better idea of how the Flames look later this week: qualifying offers for RFAs are due on Monday and the buyout window closes on Thursday. If they opt not to retain somebody like Joe Colborne or if they opt to buy out somebody like Dennis Wideman or Mason Raymond, they could be active in free agency after all.
Heading towards July 1 the Flames may still wish to explore a veteran goaltender rather than lean on Ortio as their back-up, and they’d probably like to obtain a middle-six winger to add some scoring depth. But looking at the projected NHL bodies, there aren’t a lot of gaping holes on this roster anymore.
Considering how the team looked when Brad Treliving arrived in Calgary, they’ve come a long, long way.