66Sam Bennett

Flames tender qualifying offers, three players cut loose

After an eventful past 10 days for the Calgary Flames, the business of hockey keeps chugging along. The club announced today that they’ve tendered qualifying offers to several pending restricted free agents.

Receiving qualifying offers are goaltenders Jon Gillies and David Rittich, defensemen Brett Kulak and Tyler Wotherspoon, and forwards Sam Bennett, Curtis Lazar, Micheal Ferland, Garnet Hathaway and Linden Vey. Not receiving offers, and becoming unrestricted free agents if not signed before July 1, are defensemen Ryan Culkin and Kenney Morrison, and forward Alex Chiasson.

Some of the qualification decisions were blissfully simple for the Flames brass, while some were likely a challenge.

The decision to not qualify Culkin and Morrison probably comes down to one simple fact: neither really set the world on fire in their minor leagues during their entry level deals. Culkin struggled to stay healthy and wobbled between the AHL and ECHL over the past two seasons after nearly getting an NHL call-up during his first pro year, while Morrison was a frequent healthy scratch down the stretch for the Stockton Heat and never really seemed to knock on the NHL door.

Alex Chiasson’s situation is a bit more complex. Chiasson has arbitration rights due to his years of service in the NHL and so the Flames probably didn’t want to risk dealing with a pricey arbitration decision or have Chiasson simply accept his $840,000 qualifying offer. That’s not to say that Chiasson won’t be back, but it’ll be on a different term and scale than would be determined by an arbiter. This is the third time as Flames GM that Treliving has non-tendered a potential RFA to avoid an unfavourable arbitration decision, after Paul Byron and Joe Colborne.

Qualified players that do have arbitration rights include Ferland, Rittich, Vey, Hathaway and Wotherspoon. Having an arbitration case gives a team access to the second buyout window, which is a 48-hour period after the settlement of the last arbitration case.

Vey reportedly has a deal in the KHL with Barys Astana, but qualifying him maintains his North American rights for two more seasons. Wotherspoon was thought to be on the qualifying bubble, but he’s at the very least an experienced, useful minor league defender. At his age, though, there’s questions about his NHL upside.

  • ThisBigMouthIsRight

    Well Done BT, HEY~Stockton! Make room for Adam Ollas Mattsson, Stepan Falkovsky & Josh Healey.
    Hmmmm…? Maybe something in the works to add a #1 RW since Alex Chiasson didn’t get Qualified?

  • Newbietwo

    Have to admit if you can get Seth Griffith and put him in the minors for a year that might pay off.. Yakapov just sitting there likewise.. there has to be some upside to this kid

    • everton fc

      Qualifying Hathaway over Chiasson is both interesting and surprising to this fan. I think it frees up cap for Versteeg and Stone (yes, I think we will re-sign Stone; Andersson will toil in the “A” at least one more season). This probably means Brouwer will once again be tried on the 3rd line w/Versteeg and Bennett, unless we can move him. If we move Brouwer somehow, Hathaway takes the 4th line RW slot, and perhaps Jankowski plays RW with Versteeg and Bennett??

      Bennett won’t sit out. He’s a good kid.

      Perhaps Wotherspoon finally gets a chance to be at least a #7 up here, next season!

    • Rexx

      He has no leverage and Sam has made it apparent that he acknowledges the fact that he didn’t play to the level he is capable of. I don’t see him being a head case about the situation, more of a “I’m going to prove all the onlookers wrong” type of guy.

    • Atomic Clown

      Funny thing is Monahan is a deadly sniper, Gaudreau has the silly mitts, and Tkachuk is an alpha power forward in the making, whereas Bennett has been… lackluster, for lack of a better word. Yet he’s my favorite player on the flames currently

      • The Doctor

        Even though he didn’t light it up on the scoresheet last season, he did a lot of other good things on the ice. And a lot of other really good players took many seasons before they really started scoring in earnest — Iggy and Backlund being two Flames examples.

  • freethe flames

    We are reading to much into not qualifying Chaisson, it is likely one of the tools used with players having arbitration rights. If he signs elsewhere it does open up many other opportunities for the Flames.

  • everton fc

    Interesting players on this list;

    Grigorenko might be worth a punt. Ditto Yakupov. Both can be cut. Patrick Wiercioch is another, but I am 95% convinced Stone is re-signed.

  • Puckhead

    After the Smith and Hamonic moves I have no idea what Tre is going to do next. I’m pretty sure that Kulak and Janko will get a shot but beyond that I have no clue who else will be on the roster. Ideally I would like to see a couple more young guys given a chance, even if it’s as extra forwards or D.

  • Puckhead

    Unrelated, but when you look at the photos of Bennett and Stone on the FN home page for today’s articles, the retro jersey that Bennett is wearing just looks right to me. Maybe it’s because I’m older (you probably
    wouldn’t think this based on some of the immature stuff I post) and was here when the Flames came to town, so maybe this is why it is my jersey of choice.

  • jakethesnail

    Hamonic is not better than all of the defenseman in this year’s UFA pool like you say. For starters he had a less than average year last year.
    He does make less than the top guys will get, but he is a good 4rth Dman at best.
    Is he better than Russell? Maybe but analytics can’t measure heart and toughness.
    Why do you think that where ever Russell plays his team mates love him?
    He is a 180 pound bulldog and you can’t quantify that by analytics that are made up from people that never put on a pair of skates, and it never cost Edmonton 3 high picks to get him.
    Signed the real jakethesnail.

    • The Doctor

      Russell got completely dominated in our defensive zone when we played Anaheim in the playoffs the first time 3 years ago. He’s too small and not strong enough to physically deal with big power forwards who play the down-low cycle game like Anaheim does. Personally, I think Russell would have been better off being a forward rather than a Dman, but that’s veering off-topic . . .

  • Just.Visiting

    Surprised they qualified Wotherspoon as he’s never really been shown much of an opportunity when brought up in the last few years. Agree on the Chiasson decision-the 4th line logjam dictates that. Perhaps look at him if Versteeg walks, but I’m comfortable with Janko and Lazar, etc.

  • C Watson

    I can see Bouma being this year’s Bollig. Buried in Stockton. I am fervently hoping that other than Versteeg, Treliving stays out of the free agent market and commits to some of the prospects, such as Jankowski, Mangiapanne, Lomberg, Kulak, Andersson and Wotherspoon.

    • Rockmorton65

      I agree with the prospect idea, but I can’t see the Flames bringing in more than two newbies at a time. One, maybe two on offense and one on defence. Just like you wouldn’t have two defensive prospects on the bottom pair, you wouldn’t have an entire 3/4 line on offence.

  • everton fc

    Chiasson’s exit means Versteeg can be re-signed. As for the guys in Stockton, the only forward truly ready are Jankowski and Hathaway. Shinkaruk hasn’t proven he can be consistent. Klimchuk may be a surprise, but he’ll need one more year in the “A” to prove consistency. Mangiapane may play up here, but not next season. Lomberg may get some minutes w/the big club based on speed and “truculence”.

    As for the defenders, Kulak will play here next season. If we don’t sign Stone, Andersson might. Ditto Wotherspoon, but as no more than a #7. Bartkowski will probably get that spot, however, which is discouraging. Kylington will get one more year in the “A” and then he should be ready. Still surprised we qualified Vey.

    • piscera.infada

      Someone brought the Vey thing up a few weeks ago. I believe he’s already committed to play in Europe. So, there’s no actual cap issue here for the Flames, but because they qualified him, Vey becomes a group 4 free agent (as a ‘defected’ player) and the Flames retain his rights, should he come back [NHL CBA 10.2(b)].

    • Kevin R

      Vegas is getting schooled. They made selections thinking they had value where in reality, they got sandbagged. I look at the returns for Methot, Schlemko & Trevor Van Reimsdyke & wow, pretty underwhelming. They still have way too many D & will get little return. Their forward group on their bottom two lines could be probably upgraded from the waiver wire in September. I have suddenly realized the Flames are gunning for a quicker playoff run so I agree with many posts that we have to be careful slotting in too many rookies. We need cap space. I am just throwing this out there but maybe we can pull off a deal like Bouma or Stajan (I honestly don’t think Brouwers contract is moveable but wow if we can slide him over to McPhee) & offer Chaisson for a player like Mcnabb for our bottom pairing. Him & Kulak would look like a decent bottom 10min per night pairing. I wouldn’t be opposed to signing Niemi to a 1 year 1.0-1.5 mill type of deal to back up Smith. We need cap space if this is a go all in year coming up & Vegas could be the solution to our cap space & bottom pairing D. My lord, they do need help on the forward side.

    • piscera.infada

      As I said above, and as was eluded to in the article:

      Someone brought the Vey thing up a few weeks ago. I believe he’s already committed to play in Europe. So, there’s no actual cap issue here for the Flames, but because they qualified him, Vey becomes a group 4 free agent (as a ‘defected’ player) and the Flames retain his rights, should he come back [NHL CBA 10.2(b)].

      The Flames retain his rights for two years by qualifying him. They also get right of first refusal should he be offer-sheeted (although, they get no compensation if they pass on matching). This basically just keeps his rights with the Flames should he find his game in the KHL over the next two years, and then decides he wants to come back. Admittedly not likely, but there is absolutely no downside here for the Flames.