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Photo Credit: James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports

Flames protected list revealed

On Sunday, at 8 a.m. MT, 30 NHL teams’ protection lists will be revealed to the Vegas Golden Knights, and to everyone else, as well.

But since lists were submitted at 3 p.m. MT today, details have been leaking out. As it stands, we know just who the Flames have decided to protect, and there are absolutely no surprises on the list.

Via Eric Francis, the Flames opted to protect seven forwards, three defencemen, and one goalie:

  • Johnny Gaudreau
  • Sean Monahan
  • Mikael Backlund
  • Michael Frolik
  • Sam Bennett
  • Micheal Ferland
  • Curtis Lazar
  • Mark Giordano
  • T.J. Brodie
  • Dougie Hamilton
  • Mike Smith

There was brief contention over the forwards throughout the year, but things sorted themselves out. Headed into the season, Gaudreau, Monahan, Backlund, Frolik, and Bennett were givens: two are the top two scorers on the team, two are the most reliable shutdown veterans they have, and Bennett was the highest draft pick in franchise history who still has a ton of potential.

The final two forward spots were a bigger question. Troy Brouwer was assumed to be one of them; after all, he was a guy with a recent history of consistent scoring, and after being the Flames’ big free agency get, was sure to be a key part of the team… until he rather quickly showed himself as not quite worth it. Whether his 2016-17 season was just one isolated down year or whether it was a sign of things to come, as the season went on, there was absolutely zero justification for using a protection slot on him.

Enter two younger forwards. Ferland put in consistent play and effort throughout the season before eventually being rewarded with first line time, when Gaudreau and Monahan finally found a linemate who clicked. Lazar, meanwhile, didn’t play for the Flames upon being acquired, but as he was acquired for a second round pick and is believed by management to be a big part of the team’s future – and seeing as how there aren’t any other forwards necessarily worth protecting over him – was a given.

The defence was automatic; ever since expansion draft rules were released, we’ve known who would be protected. Hopefully, once the draft is over, the Flames will be able to add that top four defenceman they were unable to throughout the season due to expansion.

Smith was the final question mark to be protected, and why he was acquired earlier today: so he would be on the team in time to be protected. The Flames picked up their goalie at the 11th hour.

Now, all that’s left is to see just who the Flames will lose in the expansion draft. Possibilities include Brouwer, Alex Chiasson, Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma, Brett Kulak, Hunter Shinkraruk, and Emile Poirier. It’s also possible the Flames could lose one of their impending unrestricted free agents – Kris Versteeg, Michael Stone, Deryk Engelland – if Vegas selects them and they’re willing to sign.

Vegas’ chosen roster will be revealed on June 21, during the NHL Awards.

  • The GREAT WW

    The best player left unprotected is DEFINITELY Brouwer.
    It’s going to hurt, but that is the price to pay to make the NHL even better.
    Good luck Troy Brouwer…

    WW

  • Krizgotti

    Troy Brouwer is a bum I’m glad they protected ferland over Brouwer.. if anything we might lose versteeg and/or stone those are assets to this team.. great job by the flames management.. still sceptical about the Mike Smith deal though.. if it was my decision I would have kept Elliott and brought up Gilles as his back up

    • supra steve

      Why does anyone think that Gillies is ready to join the Flames? He was, by all reports, outplayed by Rittich last season. Rittich is one year older and has more professional experience, he (in my mind) is the likely Flames backup for 2017-18. Gillies needs to continue with regular starts at the AHL level, and needs to outplay whoever ends up being his stablemate in Stockton (McDonald or Parsons). If he can’t do that, then he’s probably expendable.

    • Waittillnextyear

      Another year of the Flames thinking they have their number 1 goalie. Is this year 3 or 4 that Flame fans jump on the #1 goalie bandwagon only to be disappointed by 20 games in?
      Nothing will change until management realizes that the defense is flawed.
      I’ve heard they have 3 Norris trophy candidates every year. Don’t stop believing, as the song says.

    • jakethesnail

      I would rather lose a second rounder for Mike Smith, a proven #1 when we make the playoffs, than a 3rd rounder to re-sign Elliott who did not have the confidence of the players and in the end Management. Tre spoke to Elliott yesterday and told him that he was not in the Flames future. By the way, Flames can still re-sign Johnson if Vegas does no take him.

  • freethe flames

    I’m wondering if Vegas might be better off taking either Versteeg or Stone. I believe they can talk with FA over the next few days. Lets start with Versteeg; based on everything I have read about other teams protected list the one major area of concern for LV is likely Offense and Versteeg would help them there. He is also likely to be paid more to go Vegas than the Flames will offer him and he could be flipped at the trade deadline if he has a good season. 1 year at @ $3m would likely get it done.

    Stone is coming off a season where his value has gone down; it is unlikely anyone will offer him the $4m he was paid last year. For him to be a reasonable candidate to stay here he would likely have to give a deep home town discount.(Somewhere closer to $2m over 2/3 years than $3m) LV might be prepared to pay him closer to the $4m for one year and then flip him at the trade deadline.

    • JoelOttosJock

      I hope Vegas takes Stone, this way Treliving cannot resign anymore of his garbage from Arizona. He is not a #3-4 dman, which the Flames despretley need. Wouldn’t be bad at #5 and able to slide up with injuries etc if he would resign for say 4 years at 3 million, but he is going to want more, so let jim walk.

  • Pizzaman

    Lazar is the strange one when you think about it. In Ottawa he was given all the chances to show – he has NHL level skating and nothing else. And he is a microphone hog. He sat for a long time with the Flames before playing. He is a risk.

    • The Doctor

      I have no problem whatsoever with Lazar starting the season on the fourth line. I don’t think you can go too wrong with a guy with that much talent as a depth player.

  • The GREAT WW

    Protected list confirmed on Sportsnet, I don’t know why I lost sleep over something so obvious, I must have little confidence in management.

    -Leave Brouwer unprotected: check.

    If not picked by Vegas:
    -Remove “A”
    -Zero power play time
    -4th line only

    WW

    • OKG

      Au contraire WW.

      If not taken:

      -Put on line with Frolik and Backlund
      -Double shift on PP
      -Leave A there
      -Recoup any trade value that may have existed and pull out early

    • The Fall

      Brouwer is perfect for the power play: a) dont have to worry about shot suppression, and b) he is actually very good at screening the goalie. Sean owes a handful of goals last year to Brouwer’2 ass being 2mm in front of the goalie’s mask.

  • Baalzamon

    Anaheim exposed Manson over Fowler.

    I mean, I’m sure Murray has a deal in place with McPhee to not take Manson, but even so… why risk it? McPhee doesn’t have to take every offer everyone gives him. Why risk losing your second best defenseman for literally no reason at all?

    • Kevin R

      Agree but I think Parsons, Gilles & Riitch are going to have one heck of a battle for that job come training camp. Anything can happen. You will see 3 motivated guys fighting for the job, may the best man win.

      • Kevin R

        Sorry, weird double post. I was going to say it’s obvious that Vegas is getting Anaheims & Columbus 1st round picks & I am sure they would have something in writing when recording the trade. If McPhee double cross a bunch of GM’s, his career & reputation could be gone in 60 seconds. What I can’t figure out is what the heck is Fletcher doing in Minny??? They don’t have a 1st rounder & they left Dumba available, why wouldn’t he flip him to Dallas for the #3 pick? Imagine Mcphee wasn’t happy about the deal Calg & Arizona did yesterday, takes a buyer out of the Goaltending market. Personally, if I were McPhee I would fly with Grubauer & Raanta & take that kid Rust from Pitt instead. Wouldn’t that throw a monkey wrench at ole Rutherford.

        • flames2015

          Vegas is not going to take 2 backups with small sample sizes to tend to their night. Fluery waived his nmc specifically to go Vegas, he will be a knight.

          • Kevin R

            They can go after Mason, or Elliott or any other plethora of UFA’s like any other team. Basically for the same reasons not many here wanted MAF because his numbers weren’t any better than Mason or Elliott. Why should McPhee just do Pitt a favour, sometimes you have to be ruthless. Take Rust & then flick Pitt a 4th rounder for MAF & thereby doing him a favour of eating that cap space for him. Personally, I think LVK should make Rutherford throw in a swe

        • smatic10

          I actually agree, I was thinking this myself. There’s no real reason the Knights have to pick Fleury unless McPhee and Rutherford have already had an agreement in place. Picking up Rust would be the way better decision. A young, right shot goal scorer with speed? I’ll take that any day over a Fleury. Guys like Grubaeur/Raanta have #1 potential that should be taken a chance on, and if Vegas really wants a stopgap with actual number 1 experience, you have guys like Mason/Elliott/others available.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Kulak – NHL ready 5-6 D, could slot higher for VGK.
    Stajan – not much term left, good 4C option, and a dynamite guy.
    Brouwer – expensive for 3 more years and VGK has to get to the floor, had a terrible year, has been well thought of by NHL types recently, McPhee knows him from WAS days.
    Versteeg – good mid rotation winger with scoring potential, might be willing to sign for a reasonable $.
    Shinkaruk and other AHL guys – I think they have to go on waivers to get assigned to VGK’s AHL team, so that probably reduces the likelihood that they get taken, but VGK will have to assign some of their picks, so…

    That’s the order of how likely I think guys are to get taken.

    • everton fc

      Too many good defenders ready to play in the NHL may save Kulak for us. Versteeg is a dice roll, as he wants to sign here. Ditto Stone, but we may not want Stone (we want/need/should re-sign Versteeg).

      I see Chiasson as the one they pick. Stajan’s the other. Then Brouwer. Ideally, we al hope it’s Brouwer. The AHL guys won’t be taken. And I wonder if BT has a deal of some sorts w/McPhee to sacrifice one of the AHL prospects to keep guys like Kulak, Versteeg, and yes, even Chiasson off Vegas wish list. (I think Chiasson is a player we’d all like to have back next season – and he’s still young).

      • Baalzamon

        I just did a mock… and you may actually be right about that. I ended up with Manson, Enstrom, Demers, Brendan Smith, Methot, Davidson, Sustr… there are a lot of good defensemen available. Some of those will be deal-protected by their teams, but even so… Vegas doesn’t have to take the offers teams make to them. They could end up with a near top-tier D corps if they play their cards right.

        I’ve been so sure Kulak would be taken for so long… but he might not.