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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Don’t expect any moves until Micheal Ferland signs

The Calgary Flames have been one of the most active National Hockey League clubs this offseason. They made a couple of trades for goaltenders. They made a big trade at the draft for Travis Hamonic. They bought out Lance Bouma. You cannot argue that Brad Treliving hasn’t been busy. However, there hasn’t been very much news for the past few weeks. The lack of news has led to a bunch of chatter, linking the Flames to seemingly every available free agent under the sun.

For a few key reasons, don’t expect the Flames to make any moves until after Micheal Ferland’s next contract is signed later this month. (He has an arbitration hearing on July 22, so the latest he’ll have a contract worked out is July 24.)

Roster spots

If you sign a player, you have to put them somewhere. Right now, the Flames have most of their 2017-18 opening day roster spoken for. Goalies? They have two. Defensemen? They have five big guns, and then there are a couple of spots open (but Brett Kulak and Matt Bartkowski probably have the inside track on them). Forwards? Eight spots are locked down by players with contracts, while Sam Bennett, Ferland and possibly Curtis Lazar occupy another three spots. That leaves three jobs up for grabs, with several farmhands (and Freddie Hamilton) eyeing them. There’s close to no room at the proverbial inn.

Money

Depending on how you want to calculate it, the Flames have most of their money tied up for next season already. Looking at just NHL salaries and ignoring bonuses, the Flames have about $11.09 million left to spend… but that money has to cover Ferland, Bennett, Lazar, three forwards and two defensemen. Even if we presume that the restricted free agents all get signed for economical deals, having to sign two fairly big pieces in Ferland and Bennett and leave themselves some wiggle room to cover injuries or later additions doesn’t provide a lot of ability to throw money at a free agent right now.

Time

It’s July. The remaining free agents on the market all probably still have delusions of big paydays floating in their heads. Come August and September, when dreams of paycheques become the cold stark reality of PTOs, contract asks begin to come way, way down. Treliving got Kris Versteeg last fall at a steep discount because he waited. There will be discounts out there if management is patient enough to wait again.

  • Ole YELLEr

    It’s too bad Ferland is going to arbitration, otherwise I could hope for him to sign right before training camp to block any more acquisitions ;). I’d think they’d want to be pretty close to a deal with Bennett as well before they commit money elsewhere.

    I really hope Tspoon is in the mix for the 6/7 spot. I think both he and Kulak are old and experienced enough to sit as 7 d if need be. Plus it would free up minutes for Kylington and Healey in the AHL.

    • oilcanboyd

      It is not a certainty that Ferland is going to arbitration…both sides can come to an agreement before the arbitration hearing.
      TSpoon has the most experiencing “sitting” for the Flames. waiting for even a minor injury for a chance to play last year. I would prefer Kulak to make the team as a third pairing D-man than having him sitting wih the big club.

      • Ole YELLEr

        Yeah I know Ferland can sign early and I hope does. I’d prefer for him to sign for 3 to 4 years rather than 1 or 2 if he goes to arbitration.

        As for the D I would rather have both Kulak and TSpoon in the NHL than Bartowski and one of the aforementioned D. I think they all require waivers this season, while I’m pretty sure Bartowski and Wotherspoon would clear Kulak is iffy. So if Kulak struggles or Wotherspoon outperforms him I’d rather Kulak sit than risk losing him. I think most fans are pencilling Kulak in at 6d, but TSpoon might give him a run for his money. He’s been solid in the AHL for years and has a different skill set than Kulak which GG may value.

  • HOCKEY83

    9.8 mil at cap friendly. How are you figuring 11.9 mil Ryan. It’s as I’ve said before here. What are the flames going to carry…22 or 23 man roster? That means at cap friendly there are still 5 or 6 guys that are not included in the cap space. We know the big 3 who will for sure be on the opening night roster. Bennett, Lazar and Ferland. That’s 3. 2 more D whoever they’re going to be probably kulak and Bart. They only way the flames have room to pick up a free agent or make a trade for a skilled RW is to get rid of a signed roster spot and their salary. I believe trades and acquisitions are done for the year. This is the team they’ll be going with. The current roster plus Kulak and Foo or Jank.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      This is a good contract, but I would liked to have seen a 3 yr deal in the Kassian range 1.8-1.9 AAV. I have a feeling the team starts to up his minutes with some PP time and he will deliver making the next contract expensive.

      • TheoForever

        yeah, one more year would have been good even if it was 1.9 aav. On the positive side, more than double the goals of Kassian and 250k less, but of course you have to overpay in Edmonton for everything, Russell, Sekera, Lucic and on and on….

        • madjam

          But how does that compare to the 1.5M contract of P.Maroon instead of higher priced Kassian ? Maroon had 27 regular season goals alone and 8 points in playoffs , a lot more than all of Ferland’s points .

          • TheoForever

            It was explained that Maroon makes 2.1 million with 2 million aav, ducks retain 500k.
            If you going to troll please learn something about your own useless team. So, both make more.
            What I love about it is that Maroon is not renewing with Oil because his family will not move to your dump. Do you like that, how does it make you feel, are you sad now.

  • Fan the Flames

    Two years at 1.75 per year will be a good bridge to see if Ferlie can continue to progress in a bigger role . He is a younger version of Lucic but he skates better than Lucic and a fraction of the price . He also is very important that we get team toughness from a player that isn’t a waste of a sweater.