Cheap forward UFA options for the Flames

The Flames, for all the good they’ve been doing so far this off-season, still have an incomplete team. They’ve taken steps to rectify that: maybe Matthew Tkachuk starts off as an NHLer, maybe Alex Chiasson is in fact a worthwhile pickup.

But their roster, as things currently stand, is incomplete. The Flames only qualified four of 13 restricted free agents yesterday, leaving previous mainstays in the forward corps without a contract. Joe Colborne and Josh Jooris are left, for the time being, without a team.

They’re still options, though, as are some kids still in the minors. But Chiasson hadn’t really been an option before yesterday, when the Ottawa Senators were ready to let him go to unrestricted free agency, and the Flames picked him up for cheap instead.

So let’s take a look at who the other Chiassons out there might be. The Flames won’t have the cap space to go after any big fish – but that doesn’t mean they won’t find value fish instead.

What are the Flames looking for?

Here’s what the Flames’ forward corps (approximately) looks like:

Gaudreau – Monahan – ?????

Tkachuk (?) – Bennett – ?????

Ferland – Backlund – Frolik

Bouma (?) – Stajan (?) – Chiasson

Questionables: Bollig, Colborne, Jooris, Freddie Hamilton, Shinkaruk, Grant, Raymond, Pribyl

The roster has only a few set pieces as of right now, but there’s a few obvious holes. The right wing position is absolutely nothing right now except for Michael Frolik, the left wing position needs some reinvigorating, and the fourth line centre spot is no longer Matt Stajan’s natural habitat.

The first priority is to put Frolik on the first line. He’s getting paid that money, so might as well place him there. To keep things healthy on the bottom lines, you have to find right wing depth that can, at the very least, mimic his contributions. We aren’t going to find anyone who drive possession as well as Frolik does, but there are some players who can move pucks from the defensive to offensive zone pretty well. Let’s go find some of those guys.

Second priority is the left wing. The spaces are all filled, but there are still some questions. I put Tkachuk there because he probably gets nine games to start the season. I’m not sure if he makes it, but he’s at least there to start. Lance Bouma has flopped on his face after piggybacking Backlund for a season, and could be moved. Ferland, even if he isn’t shooting <5%, probably won’t go higher than 35 points a season. Brandon Bollig is as advertised. That position needs some life.

Finally, the Flames have solid centre depth, but they could use an upgrade at 4C. Stajan is very useful, but he could have his age catch up to him and slow down past the point of replacement. We saw glimpses of that happening last year, and it could bite the Flames if he doesn’t regain his stride. Not the most immediate priority, but something worth considering.

So quickly, here’s the criteria:

  • Young-ish (24-28)
  • Good possession player
  • Some decent scoring numbers
  • Could be signed for under $2M (based on current value and previous contracts)

Without further adieu, here’s the list:

1. Colton Sceviour

Age
Position (shoots)
GP-G-A-P
CFrel%
ZSrel%
Previous Contract
27 Right Wing (right) 71-11-12-23 -2.25% -11.65% 2Y/$650,000 AAV

(notes: all Corsi and ZS stats are 5v5 and from corsica.hockey)

Sceviour isn’t a flashy name, but he does everything right. He received the toughest starts out of any Dallas Star, yet has a decent CFrel% considering. Placed in less strenuous situations, he could probably get to 30 or 40 points.

A big reason I think this move could happen is because of his previous experience under Gulutzan. Sceviour’s first two years of professional hockey were played with Gulutzan’s Texas Stars, and he quickly developed into a solid AHLer, and then a solid depth NHLer (though this was after Gulutzan was fired from Dallas). Alex Chiasson was brought in for similar reasons, and Sceviour could probably be cheaper than he is.

2. Sam Gagner

Age
Position (shoots)
GP-G-A-P
CFrel%
ZSrel%
Previous Contract
26 Centre (right) 53-8-8-16 +1.95 -3.93 3Y/$4.8M AAV

Now hear me out:

The former Oiler has certainly fallen off of a cliff since departing Edmonton (usually the inverse happens), but there is a lot of evidence that Gagner is still a very useful player that can succeed in a bottom six role. Relative to other Flyers forwards, he received the fourth worst zone starts and had the seventh best corsi. He shot around 5% at 5v5 this year. The Gagner we’ve seen recently is, most likely, a lie. The Gagner that is on the market right now could be the one who could routinely put up 40 points on the Oilers’ worst teams.

Considering that, there is no better time to pick up Gagner than this offseason. After being buried in the AHL last year, his stock is pretty much at rock bottom. He can probably be picked up for around $1.5M for only one year. Optimistically, he finds his former self and can be shipped out at the deadline or kept around if he isn’t riding a high PDO. At worst, he’s Devin Setoguchi and you bury him for no real loss.

3. Jonathan Marchessault

Age
Position (shoots)
GP-G-A-P
CFrel%
ZSrel%
Previous Contract
25 Centre (right) 45-7-11-18 1.60% -9.35% 1Y/$650,000

The undrafted Quebecor finally broke into the NHL this year after a long stint in the AHL, and he looked really good in the process. He scored at about a 30 point pace while being handed the worst zone starts of any Lightning forward.

Marchessault is still a bit of an untested commodity. He’s only received 49 NHL games, 45 from this season. He’s going to come really cheap, but comes with the added uncertainty. He might be able to stick it for 82 games, he might prove to be a fluke. I’m leaning towards the former, but nothing is really certain.

4. Devante Smith-Pelly

Age
Position
GP-G-A-P
CFrel%
ZSrel%
Previous Contract
24 Right Wing (right) 64-14-11-25 -3.27 -8.74 2Y/$800,000 AAV

Smith-Pelly has been more known for his seemingly permanent inclusion in trade rumours than his actual play, which is unfortunate because he is quite the useful hockey player. He’s slowly improved year after year,

He certainly hasn’t lived up to the name he built for himself in the AHL, but he does do good defensive work while scoring a decent amount given his TOI (1.99 P/60 at 5v5). He’s been bounced around from team to team, and with New Jersey unwilling to qualify him, he’s probably looking for another in July. The Flames can swoop in and take him (and then probably trade him. Poor DSP).

5. Beau Bennett

Age
Position (shoots)
GP-G-A-P
CFrel%
ZSrel%
Previous Contract
24 Right Wing (right) 33-6-6-12 1.03 0.07 1Y/$800,000

That tweet sums up Beau Bennett’s main flaw. The poor youngster has had an unfortunate spree of injuries since he’s made the NHL (according to Fox, seven since 2013 and three trips to the IR), but is still a pretty good producer when healthy.

The Devils and the Penguins both didn’t feel like paying him $880,000 next year. He can probably be had for just a few dollars under that figure. At this price, Bennett is a very, very low risk player with a high potential should he remain healthy. Even if you get 3/4ths of a season with him, you could be looking at a solid 3/4 RW for about 40 points. All that we ask is that he is wrapped in bubble wrap and marked ‘fragile’ on his plane ride over.

6. Brett Connolly

Age
Position (shoots)
GP-G-A-P
CFrel%
ZSrel%
Previous Contract
24 Right Wing (right) 71-9-16-25 3.41% -4.16% 1Y/$1.025M

Since their Stanley Cup run, the Bruins have been slowly imploding due to some stunning moves. They traded a lot of their young superstar talent (wasting the returns in the process), overpaid older players, refused to trade pending UFAs, and drafted off the board every time. They just make bad personnel decisions, period. Not handing Brett Connolly a qualifying offer is just another in a long line of them.

And who are we to say no to Boston making a big mistake? Connolly is young (despite looking like he’s 40), has finally found his NHL feet, and looks like a potential middle-six winger (with top line possession stats). The Flames could probably get him on a similar contract to his previous one, add an extra year, and then make a decision.

7. Brandon Pirri

Age
Position (shoots)
GP-G-A-P
CFrel%
ZSrel%
Previous Contract
25 Centre (left) 61-14-15-29 -0.33% 5.8% 2Y/$925,000 AAV

Pirri is an intriguing player who has fallen off the face of the Earth really quickly. He was worth a draft pick at trade deadline, but not worth a qualifying offer four months later. Strange, considering Pirri has managed moderate success everywhere he goes. He’s second on this list with regard to points and PPG, behind Gagner in both categories.

He’s not a great possession guy, but 0.5 PPG at age 25 is too tempting to take a pass on, especially at the price he will command. If you place him low enough on the roster, his negative impact will be diminished. Perhaps the Flames could even get a pick from him this year too.

Final thoughts

Here’s what the usage chart says about all these players:

The two standouts are Marchessault and Connolly. The Lightning player seems to be a defensive stalwart while Connolly looks primed for an offensive explosion. I think the Flames could easily use both: Marchessault in a bottom six, defensive role, and Connolly potentially on the second line. Both of these guys could cost less than $2 million combined.

Though that would be absolutely it for free agent dabbling. The Flames, either because of cap room or roster space, probably can’t take more than two of these guys. Marchessault is the preferred option, with Connolly coming in a close second, but I think that Sceviour is probably the most likely outcome. We’ll have to see what awaits us July 1st.

  • Scary Gary

    We can bury Mason Raymond and Brandon Bollig this year and their contracts will expire but is it time to buy out Matt Stajan? I agree he seems like a good role model to the kids but at $3.125 for the next two years and declining skills I’m sure we could find a similar center to replace him.

  • everton fc

    Lot of injury-prone people on that list. But we let a lot of guys go, from Stockton. A few of these guys, like Gagner, could fill that cupboard. Another Mason Raymond. Sad. Why isn’t Cody Hodgson on the list?! 😉

    Connolly, if healthy, might be worth a punt. But why pick up Chiasson? Both RWs…

    Pelly-Smith is the one who most interest me. Sceviour is also interesting… And Connolly with Gagner… But we had dead wood like Bollig, Raymond, even Stajan…

    Gagner’s 27 when the season starts. Connolly’s just turned 24. Seems Connolly’s been in the league forever. But he’s still young enough to maybe turn it around here. That said, how many Connolly/Chiasson’s do we need? Landon Ferraro’s another UFA someone will scoop.

    • everton fc

      Connolly, Gagner, Pelly-Smith, Sceviour. All interesting.

      But we signed Chiasson… Where do these guys fit? Connolly maybe fits over Jooris… Pelly-Smith and Sceviour, as well.

      Gagner over Stajan? Maybe….

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Gaudreau/Monahan/Connolly

    Tkachuk/Bennett/Gagner

    Stajan/Backlund/Frolik

    Ferland/Grant/Chiasson

    Extras:
    Jooris
    Bouma

    Bollig sent to minors, Colborne to free agency.

    In Connolly and Gagner, both have posted decent posession stats, but also have the ability to put up points, especially with those players… and both are right handed.

    Stajan moves to the wing where he showed ok next to Backlund at the end of last year. This becomes the true shut-down line and gives Stajan the Backlund effect to increase trade value. Stajan traded at deadline to make room for farm callus (Pribly? Shinkaruk?) If Tkachuk goes down, Jooris fills in and Bollig comes up to ride pine.

    • Greg

      Boy, we could sure use another top end forward to help Johnny and Monny out eh? Does a Raymond buyout clear enough cap space for an Okposo type signing? The Flames clearly have room to protect another forward, so I don’t mind if they dangle a NMC to help entice a UFA.

    • everton fc

      They’ll find a way to sign Colborne. I don’t think he moves. And I thinK Shinkaruk will play some games on RW. I don’t see him on the farm this season. At least that’s my “hope”….

      I’d take Vanek over Gagner, on any of our lines. The challenge, of course, is cap space. Read that Brouwer is a “glorified Bouma”. Perhaps… Gagner won’t get any bog contract from anyone. He’ll have to take what he gets. Vanek has value. He’ll score 20 goals. But he’s a guy I may not want in “the room”, around the kids…

      Sceviour and Pelly-Smith – neither ar 2nd line RWs. Unless the idea is to move Frolik on the right-side of Bennett, where would they fit, now that Chiasson is here?

      Connolly might be the best fit w/Bennett. So you’d have Frolik, Connolly and Chiasson down the right side. But no true 1st line RW, unless they role with Shinkaruk and see how he does…

      Tkachuk/Bennett/Connolly might be a nice 2nd line, though I see Connolly as forever “Bottom 6”. Pelly-Smith might have had more value to me, than Chiasson, but I think Chiasson signing is cheaper than bringing Jooris back. We can only have so many of these types of players. Chiasson may have the better shot at 15 goals, over Pelly-Smith, who has never reached any offensive potential yet.

    • _vntony

      I like what you have here. The only change I would make is somehow fitting Shinkaruk into that line up. The way he played at the end of the season makes me believe he’s ready for the NHL.
      He seemed to do well on the right side of Johnny and Mony as well.
      All his goals were near the front of the crease, so maybe he’d be a fit on the right side of Tkachuk-Bennett and then we don’t even need a guy like Gagner.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        I don’t disagree and think Shinkaruk could fit in somewhere. It seems there is always injuries to someone at some point in time, so perhaps he is there as a result of this.

        I just don’t see how we can get a big name RW at this point and with our cap situation. Gagner and Connolly strike me as guys that could put up points for a year on a short contract till our cap space clears up.

    • Styxx

      A potential Flames forward line-up focusing on bringing up our farm talent:

      Gaudreau/Monahan/Shinkaruk
      Tkachuk(Poirier)/Bennett/Frolik
      Stajan/Backlund/Klimchuk
      Ferland/Jankowski/Hathaway
      Extras: Chiasson, Poirier (after 9 games for Tkachuk), Bouma, Colborne

  • Greg

    I like the Connolly idea. Not sure why both TB and Bos didn’t value him, but given what Colbourne seems ready to fetch on the UFA market, Connolly seems like a good low-risk bet to drop into his spot at a lower price.

  • Styxx

    Seems to me we keep looking outside our farm system for answers, rather than developing from within.

    If a budget-team like Anaheim can continue to successfully bring up 21-23 year old talent, and then trade them 3-6 years later for more picks and fill specific holes…can the Flames do the same? Else why do we even have a farm team.

    We seem to be getting away from the primary concept a couple years ago of developing talent and shifting again to thinking we should go out and acquire it.

    I would rather have 1-2 wing positions kept open to rotate young forwards through to support their development. Would be great to think a few of the players we have been following the last 4 years will be able to have productive NHL careers….Hathaway, Jankowski, Poirier, Shinkaruk, Klimchuk, Carroll, Pollock, Smith, Mangiapane. Maybe under Gulutzan they will now have a chance …??

    • everton fc

      Pollock is a guy I have high hopes for. I hope we go this way, as well. Brining in a guy like Chiasson, still 24, sort of fits. Nothing to lose. Young guys like Pelly-Smith, Connolly… Short contracts… You never know if they click here.

      We need a #1RW. A #2 LW, unless they think Shinkaruk and/or Tkachuk are ready. Personally, I’d love to role with Shinkaruk/Bennett/Tkachuk.

      Many good posts on this topic, thus far.

      • _vntony

        Agreed! Tkachuk-Bennett-Shinkaruk would look good. All hard work ethic guys with a nose for the net!
        Pummel the crap outta other lines and be able to put up numbers! Looks good to me.

        • everton fc

          Someone mentioned Perron. Let’s “assume”…

          Gaudreau-Monahan-Perron
          Shinkaruk-Bennett-Tkachuk
          Colborne-Backlund-Frolik
          Ferland-Stajan-Chiasson

          Move Bouma. Move Bollig, though I doubt they do, and I doubt they send him down. If you can’t move Raymond, he and one of Jooris, Hathaway, Grant become your two other forwards. Hathaway has nothing more to gain in the AHL, and may be at his ceiling. Grant has nothing more to gain in the AHL, either. But he needs minutes. Raymond doesn’t. Nor Bollig.

          I think the lineup above would win games. Connolly would make the most sense, as an addition. And maybe Pelly-Smith. A defence of:

          Brodie/Hamilton
          Gio/Nakladal
          Wotherspoon/Jokipaaka
          Engelland

          (Wideman moved. If Engelland is moved, Kulak’s the #7, or sign Wiercioch.)

          I think this works….

          • everton fc

            I keep forgetting Pribyl.

            Assuming he’s healthy and starts the season in Calgary (and signing Perron would be costly)

            Gaudreau-Monahan-Prybil,
            Shinkaruk-Bennett-Tkachuk,
            Colborne-Backlund-Frolik,
            Ferland-Stajan-Chiasson

            If Prybil needs time in the “A”, sign Connolly on the cheap. If we can unload Wideman’s salary, and Raymond’s, sign Perron.

    • _vntony

      I see your point and that’s a fair assessment.
      I think if the Flames can sign one of the UFAs for short term one-year ‘show me deals’, I wouldn’t exactly be opposed to it.
      It gives the prospects another year or so to develop in the minors.
      Porier took a step back last season and others like Mangiapane and Pollock are just starting their pro careers. A little seasoning in the A wouldn’t hurt their development.
      They can gain NHL experience when injuries inevitably occur.

  • mattyc

    I like Cody Hodgson as a reclamation project. Dude can score at a decent clip. I see our forwards as:

    Gaudreau – Monahan – Shinkaruk/Hodgson

    Ferland – Bennett – Colborne

    Jooris – Backlund – Frolik

    Bouma – Stajan – Chiasson

    Extras: Bollig, Grant, Raymond

    • KACaribou

      I am the one thumbs up, because I tend to think the players we have are better than the players available. They’re all a year older after all.

      I also don’t necessarily see Ferland as a 4th liner, so I like your second line with Bennett and Colborne.

      I hope Poirier is working his a$$ off this summer because I would love to see him added as a possibility with Schinker/Hodgson.

      Also leaving open the possibility that Tkachuk may just kick down the door in camp. He seems like that type of kid.

      Also Grant may enter the equation more prominently.

      • mattyc

        Yeah I think we already have a lot of middling players, in particular FWDs, and don’t have the cap space to get more upper-tier players. I see 4 ‘proven’ top 6 fwds (Monahan, Gaudreau, Frolik, Backlund), and one more ‘likely’ (Bennett). After that, we have a lot of 3-4th liners.

        In a dream scenario, we can get rid of some cap space and get another elite or very good forward (Stamkos/Lucic/Okposo, etc), but that likely comes with prohibitive term, and also involves in us finding a taker for some of our dead cap. I think its much more likely and realistic to take a chance on a reclamation project who’s got some offensive ability (Hodgson is but one example), who won’t cost term or money, and then let the cohort of bubble players fight for the last spots.

        I also think Tkachuk will be hard-pressed to make the team this year — even if we lose Colborne and Jooris. Realistically, he’ll have to outplay quite a number of players.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Gaudreau – Monahan – Tkachuk

    Mangiapane – Bennett – Frolik

    Shinkaruk – Backlund – Chiasson

    Ferland – Stajan – Pribyl

    Bouma in the press box, Bollig and MayRay to Stockton. JoJoo re-signed?

    • radiomonkey

      Unless he thoroughly earns a roster spot, I think you want Mangiapane starting in Stockton. CHL to NHL as an undersized forward is a huge jump. And between Shinkaruk, Mangiapane, Pollock, Poirier, Klimchuk, Pribyl and Hathaway, the Flames have more wing prospects than they’ve had in a while. There’s time and opportunity to establish a pecking order on the farm. Why not take it?

    • Fat Tony

      I like what I’m seeing here but I think Mangiapane and probably even Tkachuk spends another year developing. This is still within the rebuild phase and we don’t want to rush players up that aren’t ready.

      I believe BT has something up his sleeve in regards to the RW position in free agency. As for the other open spot, I think it’s Porier’s job to lose. He definitely deserving of the chance.

      FT

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      How’s about:

      Johnny – Monahan – Frolik

      Shinkaruk (Tkachuk) – Bennett – Chiasson

      Ferland – Backlund – Poirier

      Pirri – Stajan – Colborne

      Extra: Jooris, Bouma

      Frolik is the best plug-and-play player on the team. He was misused by Hartley, so give him top line minutes and watch the offense return. Backlund does not need Frolik, and makes players better. Give him Poirier to make the best use of. Ferland adds grit and some finish to that line. Shinkaruk/Tkachuk with Bennett is the best use of that type of talent. Tkachuk gets 9 games and the rest of the time Shinkaruk goes to the net and finished the two foot goals. Since you would shelter this line a bit, Chiasson gets to be an offensive player and not get buried. Pirri will not get signed by Anaheim before July 1st. He adds a LHS and could easily contribute on the 4th line. Colborne adds some size.

  • Styxx

    I am surprised there have been so few comments about the massive change of philosophy and operational management of the Heat.

    Not judging good or bad…just observing. Treliving just performed open heart surgery on the whole farm team by letting go 8+ players who were mostly aged 24-26. Lesson here for drafted players: if you haven’t got 50+ games in by age 23 better plan to start your back-up career.

    Remaining non-roster players (excluding G; D in brackets):
    24 yrs: Hamilton, Hathaway (Morrisson)
    23 yrs: Pribyl (Wotherspoon)
    22 yrs: Carroll (Kulak, Culkin)
    21 yrs: Jankowski, Poirier, Shinkaruk, Klimchuk (Kanzig)
    20 yrs: Smith, Mangiapane, Pollock (no D aged 20…Andersson, Kylington aged 19)

    So as it relates to this current discussion re: bringing aboard cheap young UFA’s… I would suggest it better to develop from within. The UFAs suggested all have limited upside, their only benefit being that all played 30-70 NHL games last year. Flames have ~7 1st & 2nd rounders on the farm, plus other worthy players deserving needed development time on the big roster, hopefully with several showing more than 12-25 points like the UFA list in this article.

    • everton fc

      Good points.

      Morrison and Hathaway could be next to go. Glad they are continuing w/Wotherspoon. Culkin and Carroll will have to have better years, though Carroll served his role (is he a better option than Hathaway, in the same role? I wonder…) Smith is another who may have a short life-span with the organization.

      Others who need to improve: Klimchuk and Poirier. And Kanzig – will he the next Sieloff? My hope is Kanzig proves us all wrong and shines down in Stockton.

      Still think Connolly and Pelly-Smith are worth consideration. One year deals. What is there to lose, as they’d both come cheaper than Bouma, perhaps both salary’s less than Lance’s? (Can’t see how they keep Bouma if Colborne stays…)

    • I feel you aren’t seeing the forest for the trees.

      Of course, developing from within is the ultimate goal. The Flames are trying to do that right now, seeing as they drafted nine players, trade for prospects, and generally try to keep a healthy farm team full of talent.

      The problem is that development takes time. Of all the guys you listed, the most expierienced is Freddie Hamilton with 33 games and 3 points. Next is probably Shinkaruk with eight total games and three points. These are the most NHL ready farmhands but you’re confusing that with them being ready for a full 82 game NHL season. They are not that ready.

      The Flames have immediate spots to fill, and these guys might only be capable of filling them for 20 games. There’s no need to stunt their development. Sign a few cheap guys, as listed here, let the prospects put their time in, and if they deserve a call up, bury the signees. There is no harm in signing these players. They are, at the very least, NHL players who can hold spots until the prospects arrive.

  • Baalzamon

    The first priority is to put Frolik on the first line.

    Disagree. This was tried at the end of last season and it just did not work, for whatever reason. Not only did they not score, they also got buried possession wise somehow.

    Connolly would be a great pickup IMO. None of the others interest me, especially Gagner.

  • JMK

    Will Stockton be pretty slim on centres next year?? Wonder will Pollock play there. Jankowski and Hamilton are the only ones I can think of.

    Can’t wait to see what all those wingers can do though. Hopefully a better season!

  • wot96

    Mony jumping in as an 18yo was absolutely exceptional, and he has clearly developed over the last few years. Johnny took a couple of extra years to develop too, though he could probably have played in the NHL before he did. The point is that the Flames should not now be rushing the development of any of the promising prospects they have. Anyone that earns their way onto the big team, absolutely fine. But otherwise, don’t take the chance.

  • Styxx

    Actually Christan, I appreciated your article for bringing to light potential cheap young UFAs. However I believe you are focused on “here now” thinking which actually hinders prospect development.

    You are proposing the Flames add 1-2 more 3rd & 4th line players who played 30-70 NHL games last year and scored 12-29 points. Why? Because they are cheap and already have some NHL experience.

    I believe the focus should be on providing the opportunity for several deserving Flames prospects to get meaningful NHL experience which will aid in their development, and to get that experience as early as possible so they can maximize their development before their short window expires.

    Christian you state that the Flames’ prospects development will be stunted by giving them 20 games of NHL experience?? Further you indicate that there is no harm in signing more cheap players who can “hold” spots until the prospects arrive (and thereby preventing our worthy Flames prospects from getting precious NHL experience)??

    Case in point: Anaheim has 5(!!) D-men aged 22-25 on their NHL roster (Lindholm, Fowler, Despres, Manson, Vatanen) plus Theodore waiting while the Flames have 2 (Hamilton, Jokipakaa). Of note I believe 5 of the 6 Ducks were drafted & developed internally while both Flames were acquired through trade.

    Interesting that an established top contending team can afford to provide “slow-developing” D-men so much development time early in their careers. Anaheim has more young D-men on their roster than the Flames do forwards (Gaudreau/Monahan/Bennett…next is Ferland at 24). Meanwhile we have 7 first & second rounders and others who haven’t had a sniff of NHL time.

    So…why do we want to further clog up the development path for our young players? Did Treliving just dump 8+ older (aged 24-26) Heat players just so he could add more cheap 3rd & 4th liner cast-offs from other teams or was it to clear the development path for our Flames prospects so they could get needed NHL ice time?

    • Don’t confuse correlation with causation.

      Here’s the thing about Anaheim: those players were already good players. Depres, Fowler, and Lindholm were all first round picks, two of them top 15. They didn’t get good because Anaheim gave them playing time, they were already good, deserving players. Of the other two, one (Vatanen) is pretty good, but didn’t burst onto the scene until 23. The other (Manson) didn’t establish himself until age 24 and he’s kind of a replaceable player.

      Anaheim’s defence being young and good has more to do with player talent than player age. Three of these guys were good around the time they were picked. It’s just gravy that they’re young.

      Back to the Flames. Placing young guys -who have not shown exceptional success at the NHL level (emphasis on this)- in the lineup does not guarantee any success. These guys required plenty of injuries and a lost season to crack the lineup in the first place. They simply are not ready yet.

      There is nothing wrong with admitting this. These guys take time and they will be better for it. It is better, for the player and team, to give him time in a lower league than having him get his head kicked in at a higher level. You shouldn’t be banking on AHLers to become second liners with less than half a season total under their belt. These cheap guys can take those spots, and get kicked to the curb when prospects reach the NHL level.

      • Styxx

        Don’t confuse a player development plan with extended time in the minors being the plan.

        The Flames have not traditionally been a team that is good at drafting and developing.
        Player development requires players get intermittent NHL playing time, coming up for short stints and then going back down to apply what they have learned. Rinse and repeat a few times until they are ready to earn a roster spot.

        Filling all roster spots up with bargain basement journeymen which eliminates NHL ice-time for prospects is what we have done the last few years under Hartley.

        Prospects need this ice-time to develop. Providing 1-3 games at the end of the season is not a development plan…it’s a failing! And ice-time needs to be introduced at younger ages which further aids and maximizes learning progression.

        As you have stated Christian…most of our prospects have virtually no NHL games under the belt even by their Draft + 3,4,5 years, even though we have many 1st & 2nd rounders and other worthy prospects! Why(!?!) is a question that needs to be asked!

        And placing a bar for prospects to outplay journeymen for spots when they have been deprived of NHL experience to properly develop is an asinine catch-22.

        Simply put…we need to do better! Bringing in more placeholders to score 12-25 points is detrimental to developing our talent from my perspective.

        • piscera.infada

          Simply put…we need to do better! Bringing in more placeholders to score 12-25 points is detrimental to developing our talent from my perspective.

          I do understand what you’re saying, and I agree to an extent. I would however, like to point out that there is a distinct difference between “intermittent NHL playing time”, and creating a situation where young players who aren’t ready to play in the NHL have to play in the NHL out of necessity. Leaving space on your roster for young players, while not forcing them to play when their not ready is a very fine balancing act.

          • Styxx

            Yes I certainly agree.

            I will note there is pent-up demand with 6-8 forwards that would benefit from 10 game call-ups so I am not thinking a lack of ready candidates will be an issue.

            And after jettisoning the older prospects there will be no issues with who gets call-ups nor any issues with waivers as the only ones left are on ELCs so up & down movement issues are minimal. In fact this could be an integral part of a new culture being implemented down in Stockton.

            Also when no ELC prospects are ready we are already overstocked with “NHLers” that would love to get additional time in…I am sure Bollig wouldn’t say no to some ice time 🙂

  • RedMan

    Everyone talks like Bouma is a bust, but surely one bad, injury plagued year is not the final word? I expect he will get the chance to have a bounce back year before he is shipped out.

        • Styxx

          Anything more than 4 years and over $20M is an overpay. He’s got 2 good years and 2 below-average years left. However Lucic is reported looking for 6 years.

          Per McGuire this morning…”the big question on Lucic is for him to keep healthy and Milan knows it. The way he plays…”

          So if the Oilers window to win is the next 4 years then go for it.

        • piscera.infada

          Given somewhere around a $6 to $7 million per salary, the “overpay” is moreso term. I would see anything over 3 years as an overpay–and given the market, he’s probably looking for 6 or 7 years.

          Look, playing against him at the start of that contract is going to suck, but for a player who doesn’t get around all that well to begin with, I wouldn’t feel comfortable in his 30+ seasons. More to the point, a sizable contract like that probably undercuts Edmonton’s ability to be truly competitive in any future defensemen markets.

          • MontanaMan

            Always easier said than done in Edmonton. How has the search for a 1/2 d-man gone so far? If you thinks Demers fits into this category, you’re kidding yourself. I think Lucic will use Edmonton to drive his price up, eventually signing with the Canucks. And once again, the Oilers will be left holding the bag.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      He spent yesterday with the Nucks organization, met management, etc. Had dinner. He is just as likely to get overpaid in Vancouver as EDM. I don’t really see the fit on the team. On one hand you have players that will avoid a scrum. On the other hand, you have a player like Lucic that like to fight and cause trouble. Playing him in EDM just stirs up trouble against the weaker stars.

      • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

        Who are the players that avoid scrums? Nurse? Nope. Kassian? Nope Maroon? Nope. Lucic?Nope.Hendricks? Nope. I don’t really see where you are coming from.
        There is a big shift in how the Oilers are viewed . This is not a soft team any longer. They are not small and are willing to engage.

        You say you don’t see a fit? Think again . He is exactly what they need in a forward and you hate the fact that may be true.

  • Dallery

    Smith-Pelley is one of Monny’s buddies and would fill that RW hole perfectly. Big body who started his coming out party with the Devils. Think Shinkaruk, Poirier, Grant will all push for spots. Don’t be surprised if Raymond is given another look as well. Different opportunity under new coach.

  • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

    It’s said that Calgary was also one of the teams that Lucic was thinking on signing with.
    Guess we will see what happens Friday.
    I think it would be a great addition to the Oilers and a player both teams need and would love to have.

  • Jason_C

    24 year old right wing who shoots right makes Connolly seem like the ideal candidate for Treliving to pursue. Not to mention he is 6’2, 195 lb with a draft pedigree. Brett Connolly on Bennett’s wing could be just right.