What happened to this summer’s Flames free agents?

The summer of 2016 was one of much change for the Calgary Flames, and nowhere was that more evident than through the sheer amount of organizational turnover over the last few months. The Flames had 19 free agents of various stripes beginning July 1.

With the hockey season almost upon us, let’s check in to see what happened to those 19 UFAs and RFAs.


Group 2 (with matching rights):

  • Freddie Hamilton – unsigned
  • Sean Monahan – re-signed with Flames with seven-year mega-deal
  • Tyler Wotherspoon – re-signed with Flames with one-year “show me” deal

Group 2 (no matching rights):

  • Johnny Gaudreau – unsigned


Group 3:

  • Niklas Backstrom – signed with HIFK (SM-Liiga)
  • Chad Billins – signed with Vancouver on a one-year, two-way deal
    • Billins was an RFA after the 2013-14 season but went to Europe. The Flames retained his rights for two seasons, after which he became a UFA.
  • Jonas Hiller – signed with EHC Biel (NLA)
  • Jakub Nakladal – unsigned (although, according to this Czech interview, there is “something looming“)
  • Karri Ramo – unsigned

Group 6:

  • Derek Grant – signed with Buffalo on a one-year, two-way deal

Non-Qualified Group 2:

  • Kenny Agostino – signed with St. Louis on a one-year deal
  • Bill Arnold – unsigned
  • Joe Colborne – signed with Colorado on a two-year deal
  • Turner Elson – signed with Colorado on a one-year, two-way deal
  • Josh Jooris – signed with NY Rangers on a one-year, two-way deal
  • Joni Ortio – signed with Skelleftea AIK (SHL)
  • Kevin Poulin – unsigned
  • Drew Shore – signed with EHC Kloten (NLA)
  • Bryce van Brabant – unsigned


  • David Jones – unsigned
    • The Flames traded pending UFA David Jones to Minnesota for pending UFA Niklas Backstrom, who hadn’t played all year, and a sixth round pick. Jones has no contract. Backstrom went back to Europe. The Flames used the pick to take Matt Phillips.
  • Jiri Hudler – signed with Dallas on a one-year deal
  • Kris Russell – unsigned
    • Primo

      Im surprised Freddie Hamilton remains unsigned….I’m guessing he is looking for a one way deal. My other surprise is that Billy Arnold is not signed by anyone at this point…an energetic kid with speed and strong faceoff skills……

    • freethe flames

      “somethings looming” for Nakladal; there are a lot of teams that he could play for and be an upgrade to their third pairings RHD including our very own Flames.

    • jakethesnail

      Happy to find out that Nakladal says that something is “looming” with a Flames contract.

      Tre likely told him not to sign with another team because Flames would like to have him back. (If they can unload one of their bad contract D-men). Could wind up to be just wishful thinking by Nak, but I do hope that things work out well for Nak and the Flames.

    • Just.Visiting

      I hope that “Joni Hockey” does well in Europe and makes his way back to the NHL at some point.

      I’d thought that he’d shown some solid potential in many of his games, but was hurt by inconsistency. I would have preferred a bigger sample size last year.

      Keeping my fingers crossed that Nak makes his way back. Full marks to him if he returns, as I’m sure that he had other opportunities he could have pursued.

      • freethe flames

        It does a translation for you. But in a nut shell he is hoping that the world cup will result in a contract and that he thinks on is close. It does not imply with any team in particular but if you an overly optimistic Flames fan and a believer in the conspiracy theory then you might be able to read into that he might be coming back to Calgary. It also suggests that he is hopeful that it will be in the NHL but also suggests if the best deal is somewhere in Europe that is where he will be.

        I am firm believer that he is good enough based on last years viewings to play on most teams bottom pairing and I think with the right partner could be on the top 4 for many teams and I maintain that to be true with Calgary. He could play with either Gio or TJ and I don’t think he would hurt their games.

      • freethe flames

        As a Flames fan I sure hope not but as you are an Oilers Fan it does make a great deal of hockey sense. Nakladal would help solidify your top 6 and be a RHD who could play every night and on both special teams. The only drawback for Nakladal is he would have to live in Edmonton.