Flames 2016-17 Build-a-Roster

It’s the middle of July and for all intents and purposes the Flames‘ roster for 2016-17 is set. Brad Treliving has two major items on his to-do list left: re-sign Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. Re-inking the kids is an inevitability, so that’s just a question of what the numbers end up being. 

After that, it will be a minor tweak here and there. Likely, Treliving will opt to re-sign some of the club’s lingering RFAs and UFAs to fill in the depth. Unless he get scooped up by another team in the meantime, it Jakub Nakladal come back on one-year deal for instance. 

So what is the roster going to look like? Let’s take a guess.

Best Guess Roster 2016-17

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– Monahan and Gaudreau are re-signed for a combined $13M. It may come in a few hundred thousand more or less than that, but it strikes me as the realistic ballpark. 

– Because he’s only 18 years old, I have Matthew Tkachuk going back to junior and Hunter Shinkaruk making the team in his stead. However, it’s entirely possible Tkachuk makes the team and skates on Bennett’s wing. The Flames should have the cap space to do either, so take your pick.

– Re-sign Jakub Nakladal for sub-$1M contract. His cup of coffee last year suggests he could potentially force Wideman down the depth chart where he belongs.

– Ladislav Smid goes to LTIR for the season. The Flames have enough cap space to make this work, thankfully. However, if Smid is healthy enough to play, that likely eliminates the Nakladal re-signing at the very least.

– I demoted Bollig to save $300k in cap room and to improve the bottom six. The era of the designated enforcer is over and the Flames have more than enough replacement level grinders who are willing and able to replace him. 

– Brouwer joins the kids on the top line and Ferland joins Mikael and Michael on the hard minutes line. Sam Bennett’s unit would have to be fairly well protected at even strength, no matter which of Shinkaruk or Tkachuk gets the call on the LW. 

– Linden Vey slides in on the right side now that Jooris has been signed by New York. Garnet Hathaway gets the tapped as the 13th forward, but it could also be guy a Freddie Hamilton. Even with the addition of Troy Brouwer, Calgary right side looks suspect heading into the season. 

– I have T.J. Brodie dropping down to the second pairing to balance out the LW/RW balance on the backend. If the club is dedicated to keeping him with Giordano, however, they may have to look for a LH UFA defender to pair with Hamilton. My suggestion would be Barret Jackman on a one-year deal (he’s 35 and slowing down, but still a really good shot suppressor). 

Again, that would be instead of Nakladal and only if Smid is LTIR. Otherwise the team may have to try Wotherspoon.

The AHL Roster

For those interested, here’s how the Stockton Heat roster may look, given the assumptions above:

  • Hamilton – Jankowski – Pribyl
  • Mangiapane – Pollock – Poirier
  • Bollig – C – Carroll 
  • Klimchuk – C – Smith
  • Wotherspoon – Morrison
  • Kylington – Andersson
  • Kulak – Culkin 
  • Kanzig
  • Gillies
  • Rittich 


– I assume Hamilton and Wotherspoon will be retained (they are the other two RFAs who were given qualifying offers by the Flames). 

Given what they have right now, the Flames’ farm team is still lacking at least two players up front, so expect Treliving to ink a few more guys before the summer is over (even if it’s just to AHL deals). 

The battle on the backend will be interesting. Defenders like Wotherspoon, Kulak and Culkin are moving into the “make or break” areas of their pro careers, where they have to prove they have some sort of future with the organization. They’ll be up against the highly touted Swedes Oliver Kylington and Rasmus Andersson, who are younger but considered higher end prospects. Keegan Kanzig will just be hoping for AHL ice time while Kenney Morrison is AHL filler.

I’m not sure who will backup Gillies, but I went with the guy with pro experience in Rittich. Mason McDonald gets pushed to the ECHL.


Unless something drastic happens, your 2016-17 Flames are likely to look something like this come October. Despite Treliving’s efforts the last couple of years, there are still some clear areas of weakness on this team – the depth on the wings is questionable and falls off precipitously on the RW. The LW will be stronger in the future, but this year will probably have to suffer through the growing pains of at least one of Shinkaruk or Tkachuk.

The bottom of the rotation on the backend is also still a mess. Dougie Hamilton was a massive addition and he firms up the second pairing to some degree, but the amount of expensive flotsam (Deryk Engelland, Dennis Wideman and Ladislav Smid) makes the bottom end cumbersome, slow and rapidly declining all at once. The team will automatically improve once all that bad money is off the books next year, even if they are all replaced by kids or cheap, middle-of-the-road free agents.

So what does your roster look like? Try the Cap Friendly Armchair GM (or just use a spreadsheet) and share in the comments.

  • everton fc

    Vey is a better option than Jooris, in my opinion. I like the lineups you have here, Kent.

    Only thing I think may occur is Nakladal is not signed. I get this feeling one of Kulak or Wotherspoon gets that spot, and I’m okay with that.

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    As much as Backlund and Frolik formes a good pai on th shut down line, I think Frolik is going to end up with Bennett or Monahan. He too speedy a guy to just use defensively.

    so here goes:

    Johnny – Monahan – Frolik
    Shinkaruk – Bennett – Brouwer
    Ferland – Backlund – Poirier
    Bouma – Stajan – Chiasson
    Ex. Vey, Hamilton

    Gio – Brodie
    Kevin – Hamilton
    ngelland – Nakladal
    Ex. Spoon

    I really wish we could get Rakell out of Anaheim. Would have to trade Backlund to mke it work. Or Bouma.

  • KACaribou

    Not sure why everyone is trying to force Frolik to the top line. Ever watched him play?

    The guy is fast and works like the devil, but he doesn’t seem to have the foggiest clue of what to do in the offensive zone half the time.

    It’s not that he doesn’t have skill, he does, but he’s a better shut down guy to me rather than a top forward.

    He’s kind of a Backlund but on the wing.

    That’s why I think Kent’s line-up with Frolik on Backlund’s line with Ferly makes sense. All three guys struggling together to put the puck in the net, however do all the other things well.

    It would be interesting if they found that they could help each other offensively too, because they together will control play quite often.

    • Baalzamon

      How about this for a wacky lineup?

      1. Gaudreau – Monahan – Shinkaruk
      2. Frolik – Bennett – Brouwer
      3. Ferland – Backlund – Chiasson
      4. Bouma – Stajan – Vey
      • KACaribou

        Not sure if Frolik plays LW ever, but it’s an interesting concept.

        Me? I am unconvinced Shinker is quite ready enough for a first line role.

        I am hesitant about both Chaisson and Vey being the definite RWs.

        These three question marks really makes me wonder how far the Flames have come this off season filling in needs. Perhaps they are waiting to see the progress of these guys, with the addition of Poirier as well?

        I tend to think Tkachuk has as good a chance of making an impact on this team as Chaisson, Vey or Shinker.

        • freethe flames

          I tend to agree with you. I think we have the potential to ice 3 very effective pairings upfront: Johnny/Monny/???(every situation but many O zone starts), ???/Bennett/Brouwer(sheltered O zone starts), ???/Backs/Frolik(most of the tough defensive zone starts) but until someone steps up and proves they can fill those roles I remain skeptical. Ferland is still a work in progress, Shinkaruk as well. Chiasson, Bouma and Vey are reclamation projects who all need significant bounce back years. Poirier also needs a significant bounce back year after last seasons AHL season. I hope that they all do have good seasons but that is a lot of question marks. Tkachcuk, Mangiapane, Janko and Prybil all provide additional hope but they are all rookies.

          I also worry about Stajan who has struggled significantly the last 3 years; maybe GG system will give him new life but I really think the game may have passed him by. If I had to choose between a 4th line with Stajan and Bollig as key players I would rathe see a revolving door of kids.

          Here’s hoping for bounce back years and rapid development of some kids. One more veteran top 9 forward would really help but with the current cap hit it will be difficult.

          I have the same basic issues with our D core; our top 3 are excellent, JJ(you can call him Kevin if you wish) could make a solid top 4; but I’m not excited about either Wides or Eng’s playing top 4 or playing together as the 5/6. (I’m assuming Smid LTIR) One of Spoon/Kulak need to step up and earn a job. There is of course a chance to add one more veteran defender(I like many think Nakdaddy would be a good fit). The other defenders are awefully young other than Culkan and Morrisson who both need to make major pushes.

        • Kevin R

          I think everyone needs to realize that we need to ride with some young guys until we get some cap breathing room. With how long Monahan & Gaudreau deals are taking, it sounds like we will be needing every nickel of that remaining $14 mill. I think we may be seeing a lot of different looks.
          I don’t know how realistic this is but I would really like to see this:

          Gaudreau-Monahan-Janko (Janko’s a big kid & most can look pretty good with these two)

          Ferland-Bennett-Brouwer That would be a pretty fun line once they get it going

          Bouma-Backlund-Frolik Backlund & Bouma have played together before & would be nice to get Bouma back in everyones good books again


          Naturally injuries & circumstances will change the 4th line as the year unfolds.

  • Styxx

    Need to infuse the line-up with additional youth, skill & tenacity and upgrade on Colborne & Jooris.
    Time to get Matty to tutor Janks & bring in Hathaway’s spirit

    Gaudreau – Monohan – Brouwer
    Ferland – Backlund – Frolich
    Tkachuk(9)/Shinkaruk – Bennett – Chiasson
    Stajan/Jankowski – Jankowski/Stajan – Hathaway

    Brouwer(18 goals), Chiasson(8), Shinkaruk(8), Jankowski(5), Hathaway(5) should easily be able to replace (or improve) on goals for versus the players who left while the team should be much better defensively (-25 to -30 GA)

    • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

      Tkachuk 0 games/ Hathaway 14 games/ Shinkarauk 8 games/ Jankowski 0 games pro.
      This would be a recipe for disaster in your bottom 6. I don’t know where your depth on the wings are coming from but if this is your lineup moving forward , good luck.
      Bottom six looks horrible!

      If this year is a growing year then so be it but if the goal is playoffs not a chance with these wingers. Frolik and Brouwer on the top lines are a joke as well.

      • Brent G.

        Your a poor troll and this comment shouldn’t warrant a response but I’ll indulge –

        The Flames are still in a rebuild of creating a contender. This process has been about 3 years long to date, making the playoffs in one of those seasons. They have finished above the Oilers for the past 10 seasons, 11 after this upcoming season – book it.

        By comparison the Oilers are a bad team with terrible defence that is AT LEAST 7 years into a rebuild. For some reason you are all so delusional you somehow believe you won the Hall-Larsson trade. In addition most Oiler fans defend the Lucic contract which has total bust written over it.

        It’s interesting you feel compelled to come on here with these stupid comments. The delusions of beng a Oiler fan means your opinion is irrelevant.

        • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

          Someone suggested that the particular lineup they posted would be a good one .
          Do you think that is a good bottom six lineup? If you do think it’s good enough bottom six, then you don’t watch much hockey.

          • Sure, I’ll bite and pretend you’re not a complete troll because it’s actually an interesting topic. I’m not sure which proposed lineup you’re talking about, so I’ll refer to the one Kent suggests in the article.

            The bottom 6:

            Stajan and Bouma are arguably both overpays and Vey is a bit of an unknown for me, but no I’m not worried about that 4th line at all. I think odds are that it’ll be steady and reliable and provide some energy, especially when matched against other 4th lines.

            Bennet’s Chiasson/Shinkaruk line would, I’ll admit, leave me a little more worried–especially because I think Sam is going to be a stellar 2-way player soon and I want him put in a position to succeed and grow as a player right away. If Tkachuk could legitimately claim a spot on that line, Shinkaruk could move to the right wing, Chiasson could be swapped in and out for the Vey position on the 4th line, and life would be pretty good as far as I’m concerned.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            This is the lineup one was referring too

            Need to infuse the line-up with additional youth, skill & tenacity and upgrade on Colborne & Jooris.
            Time to get Matty to tutor Janks & bring in Hathaway’s spirit

            Gaudreau – Monohan – Brouwer
            Ferland – Backlund – Frolich
            Tkachuk(9)/Shinkaruk – Bennett – Chiasson
            Stajan/Jankowski – Jankowski/Stajan – Hathaway

            Brouwer(18 goals), Chiasson(8), Shinkaruk(8), Jankowski(5), Hathaway(5) should easily be able to replace (or improve) on goals for versus the players who left while the team should be much better defensively (-25 to -30 GA)

          • I actually agree with most of what you’re saying, except that those youngsters need to be able to be sent up and down from the farm team depending on their performance. Contracts like Vey’s make that possible. I’d be fine if the right wing positions on the 3rd and 4th lines were a revolving door for most of the year.

      • Styxx

        My preference is to develop two new players in the bottom 6 proposed by Kent…Jankowski & Hathaway instead of Vey & Bouma (who would be the extra).

        Jankowski has a real opportunity to be a skilled 6’4″ Chimera, Hanzal or J.Staal 3C in 2 years. Stajan can tutor him over that period, eventually playing the wing so Janks can further develop face-off skills.

        Hathaway brings tenacity & fire on the 4th line…something Vey does not. Janks and Hathaway have much better upside potential than Colborne and Jooris.

        Regarding the Oilers bottom 6 (always an easy comparison):

        Bennett > Draisaitl (per comments by numerous team executive & media)
        Janks/Stajan > Letestu/Lander
        Tkachuk/Shinkaruk > Yakupov
        Chiasson/Hathaway/Bouma > Pakarinen/Hendricks/Kassian

        Nuff said 🙂

          • Styxx

            So if Yak is so good..what is his current trade value? And what is Tkachuk’s market value relative to Yak’s?

            If you can honestly answer these two questions you will then be able to properly compare the bottom 6 of both teams as the player vs player valuations clearly (and honestly) show the Oiler bottom 6 is …the bottom!

            Continued mishandling (see Hall trade) and overvaluation (see your Yak comments) of Oiler assets is why the Flames are predicted to be the #2 or #3 Canadian team this year and the Oilers #6 or #7.

            Unfortunately Oilers fans are quickly coming to the realization that their 6 year haul of top draft picks for enduring futility on the ice…are rapidly disintegrating.

            Hall is gone, Yak is a bust, Nuge is not a #1 centre, Nurse is a disappointment, Bennett is a much better player than Draisaitl, and Ebs is declining and up for sale but not drawing any buyers. And the defence has gaping holes, the goaltending is still shaky and the forward group, particularly the bottom 6, is deficient. Plus a slow, defensively inept, aging winger will saddle the Oiler cap for many many years to come. Good luck…I truly wish you well 🙂

          • Brent G.

            What’s laughable is that you have no response because deep down you know he’s right. Wait until the oilers find a way to destroy puljarvi. Mcdavid will leave soon enough, only 6 more years to UFA I believe.

  • MWflames


    Top line capable of playing against other top lines. Brouwer should help with their cycle game and should be responsible enough in the defensive zone to handle tough competition.


    You don’t split up backlund and frolik. You just don’t. Ferland should be a nice physical complement to this line, and proved he is defensible responsible. This line gets tough zone starts.


    Kid line with scoring prowess and sheltered zone starts. Yes I think tkachuck makes the team; there’s not enough offense on the wings on this team.


    Because you have to play 4th line every now and then. Hopefully these guys can contribute in the pk.

    Vey and bollig in the press box probably.

    Defense is much simpler. Gio/Brodie Kevin/Hamilton and some combination of the vets on the last line. Doesnt matter to me, they won’t be good. Witherspoon and nakladal would be a great 3rd pairing imo, but theyd need to move widemen and smid to ltir I supposed. If Smid is healthy and insists on playing I suspect he gets waived and sent down, he’s not an nhl player anymore.

    • Jake the Snail

      Our PK was very good with Backs and Frolik. Don’t split these two up.

      Vey is on a two-way contract…should spend time at Stockton to get his confidence back. Same goes for Chiasson. And as much as we wish Bollig gone, it ain’t happening.

      Don’t know what happened in Ottawa between Chiasson and his coach but I will wait to see what transpires in Calgary before making a judgement on the relationship.

  • MonsterPod

    Whatever happened to Emile Poirier? I’ve been waiting for him for a few years. I know he shoots left, but we had him playing RW at times, didn’t we?

    He was part of the Shinkaruk draft — we took him two spots ahead, if I remember — and if we have Shinkaruk penciled in here, we should see what Poirier does in camp too.

    He may be ready for a rotating 3rd/4th line RW role with Chaisson.

    I believe he’s all we have left of Bouwmeester. Not a great trade…