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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

With new coach in place, Treliving’s work just beginning

Bill Peters is Calgary’s new head coach, which puts to bed one major offseason question. However, if the Flames are hoping a coaching change is the magic elixir to cure all that ailed them last season, they’re almost certainly fooling themselves. Calgary has a lot to address this summer and, with Peters in place, general manager Brad Treliving can truly get to work.

When we analyzed this season’s failure late last month, we came up with five top culprits: a horrid powerplay, a dismal home record, scoring depth, game management, and bad luck. Coaching can be attributed to a few of those areas, at least loosely, while the luck factor is largely beyond anyone’s control. What’s left is this team’s roster construction, which is Treliving’s chief responsibility.

FORWARD DEPTH

Let’s face it: the Flames were way too top heavy this season, which is something we were all worried about going in. Calgary got great production from their top line and, thanks in large part to Matthew Tkachuk, pretty solid work from their second trio. From there, things dropped right off a cliff as evidenced by looking at this team’s goal breakdown.

Grouping GF G%
Gaudreau-Monahan-Ferland 76 35.2
Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik 48 22.2
Bottom six 52 24.1
Defencemen 40 18.5

The Flames had 17 (!) “bottom six” forwards play at least one game this season, combining for 52 goals. Mark Jankowski had 17 of those, including four in Calgary’s season finale win over Vegas, while Sam Bennett had 11. That means 15 other forwards combined for 24 goals, or 1.6 per person. That is horrifying.

To make matters worse, about a quarter of the bottom six goals in the chart above came once the Flames were without Monahan and Tkachuk to end the season. When Calgary was relatively healthy up front, their mishmash third and fourth lines contributed at an even more negligible level.

All of this leads to a very simple, but crucial, conclusion: the Flames need to significantly upgrade and/or add to their group of forwards this offseason. Chris Stewart and Nick Shore were low risk acquisitions at the trade deadline, which is fine, but Treliving needs to make a bigger splash for Calgary to take a step forward.

So what might that splash look like? Well, this year’s crop of unrestricted free agents has some interesting names, albeit with the ever-present risk of overspending. James Neal, James van Riemsdyk, Evander Kane, David Perron, and Paul Stastny are all pending UFAs and each would fit nicely on the Flames, at least from a hockey perspective. It’s a whole different story from a cap standpoint, as all five players are likely set to cash in.

You can bet Calgary will also go hard after John Tavares if he hits free agency, along with about 15 other teams. We’ll go more in depth on this in the near future, but I’ll say this: Tavares and the Flames is unlikely, but not totally out of the question. He’s very close with Travis Hamonic and would have the chance to be paired with someone like Gaudreau or Tkachuk, both positive selling factors. Landing a player like Tavares would open up so many options for Calgary, but we’ll cease with the daydreaming for the time being.

Treliving’s most likely road to travel is the trade route, which he’s never been shy about doing. Hamonic, Dougie Hamilton, and Mike Smith have all come over in significant trades over the last three years, so nabbing an impact forward isn’t out of the question by any means.

Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to who that forward might be, though. Names like Ryan O’Reilly, William Nylander, Wayne Simmonds, and Mike Hoffman, among many others, have circulated at different times over the last few months. But we don’t know if those names are actually available, the same way we have no clue what other big names could be out there. Was anyone waiting for Hamilton to be traded in June 2015?

THE BLUELINE

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

With Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton, the Flames boasted one of the NHL’s top defence pairings for a second straight season. Unfortunately, as outlined last month, an expensive and highly touted second pairing just didn’t work out as planned this year.

Hamonic and TJ Brodie struggled mightily in their first year together. From a coaching perspective, it seemed like Glen Gulutzan and company were trying to jam a square peg through a round hole by keeping Brodie and Hamonic attached at the hip. To make matters worse, the second pairing averaged more raw, and more difficult, five-on-five ice time than what Giordano and Hamilton saw. That just didn’t make any sense knowing the performance levels of both pairings.

So what does Treliving do this summer? Hamonic had his struggles in year one with Calgary, but I’m curious how he might perform with a new partner. With a cap friendly $3.857 million hit for two more years, Hamonic is easy to fit from a salary standpoint. Unfortunately, the price paid to get him includes three top 90 picks, including a first rounder that isn’t lottery protected.

How would Hamonic look with, say, Brett Kulak, though? And would Treliving shop a player like Brodie this summer, knowing how steadily he’s declined over the last three years? While Brodie is likely not enough to net a top forward in return, a package with him involved might be able to assist the Flames in addressing their biggest area of need.

Michael Stone has two more years at $3.5 million per, which is too much for a player clearly best suited for the third pairing. I’m with many who believe Rasmus Andersson is likely an upgrade on Stone, which means trading the latter opens up a spot for the 2015 second round pick. Stone likely wouldn’t get a lot in return, but clearing his salary and a slot for Andersson would make even a late round pick worth it.

Calgary entered the 2017-18 season believing their blueline was their biggest area of strength. While it didn’t work out that way, the Flames still have good depth on the backend. As such, I think this area really could be a strength for Calgary next season, but Treliving needs to make a couple important moves to allow it.

GOALTENDING

Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

If Calgary wants to bounce back next season, they’re going to need consistent goaltending the entire way through. Much like what we’ve seen so often in recent years, 2017-18 saw wild swings between the pipes. In the end, poor goaltending at the most important juncture really cost the Flames, as we take a look at the season in segments.

Period GP Record SV%
Mike Smith pre-break (Oct. 4 – Jan. 25) 41 20-13-6 0.926
Mike Smith post-break (Jan. 30 – Feb. 11) 6 3-3-0 0.892
Smith injury with Rittich/Gillies (Feb. 13 – March 9) 13 5-6-2 0.895
Mike Smith post-injury (March 11 – March 26) 7 1-6-0 0.867

Right up until their five-day break in late January, Smith was giving Calgary some of the league’s best goaltending. Something changed upon the team’s return to action on Jan. 30, though. In their final 28 meaningful games (right up to being officially eliminated on March 26), the Flames had the NHL’s worst team save percentage at 0.883.

So, as much as goaltending helped buoy Calgary during the first four months of the season, it also helped rapidly sink them over the final two months. The team didn’t have an answer when their number one went down for 13 games, and Smith struggled mightily upon his return. Treliving has a difficult task to set his team up properly in net for next season.

David Rittich looked like a competent NHL backup for a good chunk of the season and had many excited. After Smith’s injury, though, Rittich was unable to carry the ball as a temporary everyday starter. Can he be that same effective backup next season? And will this year’s experience help him if Smith goes down again next season?

I honestly don’t know the answer to those questions, which is why Treliving’s goaltending task is troublesome. Smith has missed significant time due to injury the last three seasons and will be 36 and 37 next season. Regardless of health, the Flames aren’t going to return to the playoffs with inconsistent goaltending as outlined above.

  • Vernon30

    What do we do about the goaltending? Looks like really only option is to roll with Smith and either Gilles or Rittich, since we don’t have picks to use as assets in a trade for a 1B or backup. Im not sure about risking it.

    • Jessemadnote

      I would be looking at Robin Lehner, I think he’ll be available and decently priced. 26 years old, best save percentage seasons: .936, .924, .920. He’s only a year older than RIttich and has mega experience.

    • stuhfan

      Bobrovsky had another sub-par playoff but has been consistently vezina-calibre during the regular season for several years – what are the chances he could be pried out of Columbus while they still have the sour taste of a(nother) round 1 exit in their mouths?

    • Afterburn

      I’d like to try to get Holtby out of Washington. Local kid and still fairly young. Would be willing to give Brodie and possibly Ferland and Gillies/Parsons. Wilson would be a very attractive piece for the Flames. He takes the odd bad penalty but plays his ass off every shift. Washington had cap issues and have a few players to resign next season.
      Thoughts??

      • Hockeysense9393

        I was thinking even last week that it may have been possible to convince Washington to part with Holtby, maybe if the return was beneficial for them? They are most likely losing Carlson to UFA…so a 2nd pairing defenceman and a prospect may have possibly done it? But the farther Washington goes with him in net? I’m really not confident that they will want to give him up now.

  • Parallex

    Yeah the needs are pretty clear 1 top six quality forward (preferably one the shoots righthanded)… gotta be careful though, not being caeful lands you a 4.5M fourth line Troy Brouwer.

  • BendingCorners

    Maybe trade Brodie and Stone for Eberle and Ho-Sang (park him in Stockton) then sign Ian Cole and hope Foo works out. Not sure which backup goalie to target but some RHS talent up front and some snarl on D would go a long way toward fixing the Flames’ problems.

  • RKD

    My wish list: a top 3 RW, maybe another top C who is really solid at faceoffs, Andersson and Valimaki/Kylington in the lineup, a backup goaltender to take some workload off of Smith. Guys like Dube and Mangipane in the lineup.

  • Cheeky

    My preference is Wayne Simmonds (philly). Not sure what it would take to aquire but maybe a package involving Brodie and Bennett (can’t see Benny style meshing with Peters style, I hate to say it as I’m a fan but it may be time to move on)…

      • Cheeky

        @jesse – that’s the whole point. Benny probably won’t change (it would be awesome if he did), but I don’t see him as a possession style guy. He is a bang and crash, stand in front of net. His value is decreasing and if he has another poor season similar to last, we won’t get much if we try to trade then. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Benny fan and would love to see him prosper but he was ineffective under GG and Peters holds those that take penalties accountable. My proposal wasn’t just Simmonds straight up for those 2 – Philly would need to add…

        • TriPPiNvdUb

          M. Backlund, Sean Couturier, Brayden Schenn, Kyle Turris, ect…all players that didn’t start to really find their game till they turned 23-24 and now we would love to have any of them on the flames, there are countless examples of players who struggle in the early part of their careers for varying reasons. It’s far to soon to give up on Bennett, at some point he is going to put it all together and become an every night impact player, I’d rather suffer thorough the growing pains and show patients over seeing him reach his potential on another club.

          FLAMES fans have become spoiled, and rather annoying, it’s why I rarely ever participate in the conversation anymore. Expecting instant results from players and management. It’s a process, draft picks are a long game type investment and only in rare circumstances do you see the fruits of that investment in the first few years.

          • Cheeky

            For all of those mentioned above there are always the Yakupovs, Daigles and Pavel Brendls of the league. I’m hoping Benny is on your list rather than mine but like I said if he has another year similar to last…

    • Mickey O

      Watched a lot of Flyers games this year, but Simmonds is the kind of guy you don’t want. It is tough not to like the guy, a heart-and-soul player that brings it every game. He was never fast, but seemed to really slow down this year and rumour has it he’s been playing hurt. But he’ll be 30 in August and there are a lot of tough miles on that body.

      He’s a third line player now, and isn’t getting prime powerplay time. The Flyers should be looking at moving a forward or two to get some defensive help and settle things down in goal. Simmonds might be a player they try and move, but Calgary should stay clear in my opinion.

      • Cheeky

        See above. Peters is strict regarding dumb penalties (hopefully he helps Benny on that but I’m not holding my breath) and I see Benny as the hard forecheck bang crash style – dirty goals. He has skill but as a 4th overall I’m hoping for more than a 3rd liner. As Micky said if Simmonds is an older version then I’d rather stay with thw younger version. Maybe Peters can turn him into what we all hope he can be…

        • TriPPiNvdUb

          And why are you already telling the nation how Peters will handle the players on this team? Last week he was an unknown commodity but this week everyone is a Bill Peters expert?

          Did I miss something, have they been running a Hurricanes marathon from the last 4 years on the NHL network?

          • Cheeky

            Maybe it’s because of past presedence, maybe because it’s what all the Carolina outlets tell us about him or maybe it came straight from his mouth regarding his mentality towards lazy penalties but please be my guest and spout off on how you are the expert…

  • Off the wall

    I’m hoping this in the end of our 3M line. Peters seems to have a good bead on Tkachuk, referring to him as a rare commodity in today’s NHL.

    I can see Peters using Byng in a more offensive role, rather than trying to utilize him for shutdown purposes. At least that’s the impression I got.

    What we lacked was scoring. The top teams were able to score 40 more goals over the season.

    That’s where we need a bottom six that can assist in this area.
    I honestly don’t know what that looks like right now, perhaps Mangiapane ,Dube, and Phillips get a long look at training camp?

    I’m not as concerned about our D, I think Peters has a better vision of how to utilize them properly. He did after all have a really young defence in Carolina and has a penchant for getting the most out of them.

    Goaltending? Smith will bounce back, but it still doesn’t address our backup situation. Hopefully, we can get this rectified soon.

    It appears by comments from both Treliving and Peters that they are learning from their mistakes. From a professional perspective it speaks of modesty and honesty. I like that.

    Let’s hope this translates into a team that can be the same.

    • Kevin R

      Wonder if Elliott was brought in on a 1 year deal at 1.0mill to back up Smith. He’s no starter but more than capable of getting hot & playing a decent backup role. He’s a UFA & may embrace his role that he is not a #1 tender. Just spitballing.

    • BiggDogg

      What about a new 3M line? I think the top 6 would be interesting if the Flames swapped Ferland and Tkachuk. Tkachuk so obviously belongs on the top line, whereas Ferland would bring a physical presence to the new 3M line.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Many were so quick to dismiss moving Tkachuk to another line. I think you could do well with with the pairs of Gaudreau-Monahan (#1 offence) , Backlund-Frolik (top shutdown), Tkachuk-Janko (#2 offfence). Have Dube-Shore on the 4th line for speed and ability to take shutdown assignments. Jumping the gun a bit with Dube, but I just don;t see the value of a grinder 4th line. They will get caught out there against the top lines. If that’s the only place Brouwer will look good, then so be it. If not, there’s always Cali.

      On defense, I would like to see Brodie move back to RD and lose Stone. Even up the minutes on all three pairs and you can split up Brodie and Hamonic. Figure out who best compliments Brodie, and I don’t care if it’s a LHS on RD and a RHS on LD. As long as they work well as a pair. Brodie-Kulak, Hamonic-Andersson? Sure, if it works.

      Bottom line is that the problems can’t just be solved with moving players around. Stajan, Brouwer, Lazar, and Hathaway were role players. Can’t have role players playing every game. Each one of those guys could have played 40 less games and produced similar results. Personally, I hope that BT just ends the misery and buy out Brouwer. Peters was not about to say anything negative, so it can be sold as a cap-cutting measure, or a needing the right fit of players measure. Let’s face it, the GM has to be the bad guy, especially if Brouwer is well liked by players but felt to be a problem by management.

      • The Doctor

        Stajan, Brouwer, Lazar and Hathaway can all go as far as I’m concerned.
        Stajan and Brouwer should go.
        Hathaway should not be anything more than a spare 13th forward. If Lazar doesn’t blow the doors off at training camp he should be dealt for whatever we can get.

  • MDG1600

    BT needs to improve the organizational ability to evaluate talent at the NHL level. The drafting doesn’t seem as big a problem as the NHL level Trades and Free agent signings. Brouwer isn’t the 20 goal scorer they thought. Hamonic is an OK defenceman but not the difference maker they paid for. Lazar didn’t have the upside they thought. Turns out Shinakaruk is worse than Granlund not better. Turns out Baertschi can be a 2 way player. Also turned out Lack, Elliott, C. Johnson couldn’t do the jobs they were brought in to do. Turns out none of the FA’s brought in to help score have really helped. These mistakes are killers

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      Yeah, Hindsight is a wonderful thing…
      The reality is Brouwer’s drop off since coming here is at insane levels,
      Hamonic was year 1 here, Lazar is still a question mark, lets see what these guys can do Not Under GG.
      Shinakaruk’s scoring has dropped off in the AHL but not as much as one would think and he hasn’t had a chance in the NHL to make any compatibles to Grandlund who was gifted a strong position on a weak Vancouver team(he also only had 12 points this year).
      Baertschi is also rumored to be on the Trade-bait board out of Vancouver, So not such a loss for someone who made it known he wanted Out of Calgary.
      Goalies are Voodoo and all of the above mentioned seem to be falling like a lead-balloons after statistically very successful seasons before being picked up by the Flames (Well, Not Lack ~>but GG’s guy).
      But lets just forget about Versteeg, Foo, Gawdin, Goloubef, Healey….

      • withachance

        This. So much this. Don’t understand how you can just list off a GM’s bad trades and not talk about the good ones. Every GM can be horrible if you only mention the god awful ones…

      • Baalzamon

        Baertschi is also rumored to be on the Trade-bait board out of Vancouver, So not such a loss for someone who made it known he wanted Out of Calgary.

        Also, anyone with two brain cells to rub together would take Rasmus Andersson over Baertschi.

      • MDG1600

        Not sure how you evaluate a GM other than with hindsight. You guys want to win a Stanley Cup in Calgary or not?? If it is going to happen the GM needs to do a better job than he has. Not sure why this is controversial.

      • KKisTHEproblem

        Disagree: all the “good ones” you point are not NHL players except Versteeg. All the “bad ones” MDG pointed out were NHL level deals. Night and day effect on the team. And we have no idea if any of your so called good ones will ever make it to the show. MDG is absolutely right. We have great amateur scouting as demonstrated by the drafting since BT arrived and he’s been good at pulling the trigger. But the NHL level deals have been awful in general. Lets go thru them: Brouwer, Hamonic (too expensive for what he is), Stone, Elliot, Lack, Lazar, Russel (in effect we got a 2nd for a guy the oilers signed to $4MM for 4 years, he was in demand at the time). The good Hamilton, Glencross, Shore. Way more bad than good.

    • TriPPiNvdUb

      I don’t think you can blame it on the evaluation process, IMO it’s more about who’s available when you go to market. When Brouwer was signed, many considered him “the best of the bunch” of available UFA’s. When Tre got here out right side would have problems competing in the A, since them he has added Frolik, Steeger and Brower. Go back and look at the other options available, what teams played for them and you will see he did the best with what he had.

      Adding quality players to your roster has never been harder in the NHL, and sometimes what you need (top line RW) just isn’t available.

      • KKisTHEproblem

        Most here thought brouwer was a mistake from the get go. This is where the NHL level scouting should have said terrible possession, can’t skate maybe can shoot a bit. BT should never have gone there

  • Garry T

    Van Riemsdyk, Monahan Gudreau
    Frolik Backlund Grabner
    Tkachuk Jankowski D Perron
    Klimchuk Shore and Foo
    Giordano and Brodie
    Hamilton and Hamonic
    Anderson and Kulak with number 7 being Wotherspoon

    Power play 1. First line plus Gio and Brodie
    2. Tkachuk Backlund Perron – Hamilton and Kulak

    Penalty Kill 1 Frolik Jankowski Grabner – Hamilton Kulak
    2 Tkachuk Shore Klimchuk – Anderson Hamonic

    Goaltenders Smith Bernier Bernier

    Different thi year

    Hard Forecheck starting O zone through Center Ice, then level anything crossing our blue line. Clearing blue paint a must. Then go with Peters systems.

    What about the other forwards ….? Ferland / Mangiapane spares 1 and 2

    • BiggDogg

      JVR screams trap. Sure the guy scored 36 goals this year, but he is going to command 6.5 m a year, and after 2 seasons his deal will be looking as appealing as Andrew Ladd’s or David Backes’. Avoid JVR at all costs.

      • piscera.infada

        Yeah, need to stop with the JVR thing. Guy’s a powerplay specialist at this point. No more. In Toronto, he’s used at a fourth liner at 5v5. I’m not sure that changes here. He’s certainly not a first liner at 5v5.

        Dude can score though, for sure. Definitely not worth the 6 year contract at ~$6 million the so-called insiders (McKenzie) thinks he’ll command as a UFA.

    • Hockeysense9393

      Although it’s probably a huge consensus that Brodie should be put back on his “off” side with Gio? I can’t see any benefit by putting Hamilton on his “off” side. It would not work. I suggested earlier that maybe even put Andersson on the right side with Gio…if he turns out to be as good as people say? A lot of high end prospects are being put with a top line vet now a days. Ease him in sure…but could be fun to watch for the first few games, to see if that can secure some depth? Then why not Kulak with Hamonic and Brodie/Stone fighting for ice time either together, or against each other with callup tryouts like Wotherspoon (if he stays), Valimaki, or Kilington? That would probably get both their attentions right away…to clean it up. A couple names up front you mention are somewhat intriguing, but they’re are not coming cheap. Someone like Vanek would probably be more suited and affordable. We still need to temper our expectations with Foo quite yet, but he is progressing nicely. I could actually see Tkachuk moving up with Gaudreau-Monny…but we need to see if and when another body comes in. Gaudreau being more of a playmaker as apposed to shooter…why not get him to play make on the right side? Then Tkachuk can be that consummate LW lock hard ass with skill. There are sooo many things that can be tried…but for Christ sakes…try something!

      • Poho

        The dream to me, unrealistic as it might be, is to have Gio settle into the twilight years of his contract on the 2nd pairing with Brodie (still 1st PK unit and probably buried a bit w/r/t zone starts) and have one of the dynamic young left D prospects pair up with Hamilton for PP and offensive starts. That’s likely a couple years away though, if ever.

      • Rocket66

        Here’s my GM move if the year
        I trade gio to a contender team x
        Team x trades player to team y
        Team y gives me tkachuk
        I now make Matt the captain have his brother on the team and have some cash to spend from gio trade. Maybe not that simple but…..

        • FlamesFan27

          I’m not opposed to trading Gio for the right return – why not sell high. I said this about Iginla for 3 years before it was too late. But a prospect with the same last name as a player we love doesn’t do it for me. We would need a proven and relatively young forward for me to feel okay about this.

  • Lifesbetter

    Good article Pat
    I personally think Hamilton can get the Flames some of the pieces they’re wanting. Brodie fell off once he stopped playing with Geo. Hamilton is what 28 other team covet. Toronto may part with a potential top 6 skill right winger Kapanen, plus maybe another roster player (Andreas Johnson) would be my pick and in addition perhaps a first round pick. That’s just a TO scenario, what would others give us.

    The Flames could then take the first and a prospect (Adam Fox – NY native doubtful he signs here) to get O’Reilly out of Buffalo. Imagine Monahan, O’Reilly, Backlund as our top 3 centres. Add Kapanen and we have a top 9 that address the secondary scoring you refer to. What would this forward line up look like;
    Gaudreau, Monahan, Kapanen
    Tkachuk, O’Reilly, Ferland
    Bennett, Backlund, Frolic
    Johnson (TO) trade, Jankowski, Anybody BUT Brouwer

    In goal I think given the metrics that Bill Peters teams have in limiting shots on goal, that Smith & Rittich or Gillies GAA would improve as a result of the system. If they want Treliving can always pick up a veteran if the kids aren’t ready or trusted.

    Lastly the hole left by Hamilton can be filled by bringing up Anderson or Valamaki or getting a NHL veteran to bridge the gap until they are ready.

    I’m looking forward to see what the Flames do to gain that hate to lose culture they want and improve secondary scoring

    • Korcan

      I agree Hamilton is Calgary’s best trade chip out of players they would consider parting with, though i loathe the idea of trading him. The guy is still only 24 and has already played 6 seasons, increasing his goal output each and every year. He is almost guaranteed to score 20+ per for the forseeable future (especially now with Peters). He still has 3-4 more years before he reaches what is generally considered a defenseman’s prime years. IMO Calgary would be crazy to part with him, regardless how ‘soft’ or defensively unsound his game still is (remember, he’s still just 24). Those 20+ goals from the back end are the equivalent to 40+ from a forward — very few can accomplish it.

      I still think Brodie and Stone are the most likely to move on. Peters mentioned Brodie as being pretty good on his right side. If he recognizes that, we can be guaranteed many other coaches/GMs are thinking the same thing. He’s an elite skater who can log huge minutes and is more comfortable playing his right side, which is what most teams are looking for. They may see these past two years as an anomally, nothing more than a failed GG experiment. I think he alone could get Calgary Kapanen plus a pick, or posibly make him a key piece in a package deal for O’Rielly.

      Regardless, it’s going to be an interesting summer.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        The morning idiots described Billy as an intense individual who has been working hard at trying to dial it back. What happens when the tightly-wound-up Peters collides with the laid-back Hamilton? How will the introspective and deeply-sensitive Hamilton manage the gruff and plain-spoken Peters? I see Hamilton possibly taking a step back under Peters as the coach tries to wring all the talent out of him and Dougie pushes back against the badgering freak and his mind games. Not to say that the Flames should move Dougie this summer as it will be very interesting to see how Dougie responds to the new coach.

      • Mickey O

        Agree with you, Korcan. Peters is already gushing about Dougie Hamilton and said he’s playing the powerplay. Hamilton will get 55+ points when Peters uses him on the PP, and gives him the green light to always join the rush. Peters also said in that Fan960 interview that he wants all his defencemen to be able to kill penalties. Trading Dougie would be plain folly at this stage of his career.

  • MontanaMan

    FN – can we have an article on potential assistant coaches and who would fit best into the Flames organization? I’m wondering who Peters has worked with in the past that he may bring in or young, forward thinking coaches looking to break into the NHL. PP and PK specialists? Any thoughts?

  • freethe flames

    After BT signs his own RFA’s he will have about $8m left to add a top 6 forward, a depth center and decide what he needs to do in net.(it could be $11m if the cap goes to $78m) If he trades someone like Stone for draft picks he will have more cash. Can you supplement the core from FA; maybe not the top 6 guy but the depth center. Trading TJ should be able to get a secondary top 6 but he the corner piece of a trade for a legit top 6. We of course will only know who was available after someone is traded. I wonder who will shake loss when the offseason occurs and teams decide who they can afford to keep.

          • ThisBigMouthIsRight

            Here is a bit of it…
            Dane Mizutani of the Pioneer Press: Changes could be coming to the Wild this offseason.
            Zach Parise’s and Ryan Suter’s 13-year, $98 million contracts are unmovable.
            ~>After disappointing seasons for Charlie Coyle and Nino Niederreiter, their time with the Wild could be nearing the end.<~
            Will RFAs Jason Zucker and Matt Dumba get big contracts?
            Dan Mizutani of the Pioneer Press: It’s too early to say if the 41-year old Matt Cullen has played his final NHL game. He said he doesn’t have an answer just yet.

      • FLT

        If Nino is available the Flames and every other team in the league should be all over him. Big strong fast RW who is excellent defensively and score. Yes please.

  • everton fc

    We’re trying to be a team that’s competitive for the Cup every season – not competitive enough to make the playoffs. Why trade Hamilton? We don’t need to. We have a pretty good top 6, we are shedding some salary… We have a good defencive core IF Peters can get them to do what he needs them to do (GG could not). I think our needs are these:

    A backup/1A type goalie. Smith’s in his last year. Rittich is still unproven, though I like him and think a full camp w/starts will help him. Guys like Pickard and Lehner should be looked at.

    If Foo comes out of camp looking like an NHL RW, perhaps Bennett/Ferland-Jankowski-Foo becomes a line? Move Tkachuk on the RW/1st line, and go with Ferland/Bennett-Backlund-Frolik as another line. That’s three pretty decent lines. A 4th line shouldn’t make or break a team. Hathaway and Shore would be on my 4th line. Brouwer can be there, as well. Then you have Lazar as your extra forward. Or he shuffles in and out, with Hathaway. Mangiapane is the only forward on the farm who may be ready. I think Dube can make the team out of camp, which would adjust some of what I propose, above. Klimchuk can use one more year in the “A”. See if Shinkaruk can crack the lineup out of camp, or write him off.

    Peters will do much more with this group, than GG. A top 6 RW would be nice – then Foo can play 4th line RW, with Shore at centre, and either Brouwer or Hathaway on LW (if they can move or dump Brouwer, somehow. That would be some nice depth.

    Interesting that Peters mentioned wanting to have another centre. I think I heard him say that, which surprised me. Would that mean Monahan moves to wing? We shall see.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      There is truth in your statement despite its illogic. Even if Smitty is lights out next season, the Flames should be loathe to re-up the old fella, even year-to-year considering his age and recent history of injuries. It would not be a bad thing for the Flames to try and acquire a young vet who has the potential to step up to the starter’s role in 2019-2020.

  • Dunk

    My thoughts. I would see what we could get for Geo, Frolec, Backlund, Monahan. See what Hamilton could do as a forward. Bring up our young defenceman and go with them. Dump Brower. and Why does Treliving still have a job? get rid of him and make Burke earn his keep.

  • Hockeysense9393

    Some of the “top heavy” realization could wholly be contributed to GG’s player deployment…can’t it? He had a couple pairings up front (and back) that he just kept playing with over and over…well and over. He was not willing, or smart enough (frankly) to see a bigger picture. Like maybe securing more depth through the lineup by breaking up certain pairings. Monny-Gaudreau, Backlund-Frolik-Tkachuk, Bennett-Janko, Hamilton-Gio, Brodie-Hamonic…all season long. There was no trying to balance anything…and the rest of the players knew it. Award (carrot) is a big factor to playing more minutes? With better players? PP? Whatever. All these players, especially the ones coming up…basically knew they didn’t even have a chance to move around in the lineup, because of GG’s stubborn short sightedness. I think Peters has proven to be a pretty good line set up coach and even for line matches. This could actually be a huge breath of fresh air for certain players (maybe like Bennett), who really just want a chance. Right Mange? Right Kulak? Right….on and on…

  • oddclod

    The ODD Armchair GM

    With Brouwer preferably gone, the only exception I will tolerate keeping this guy is because they backed up the truck for Tavares or traded for a likely RW.

    As such:

    Tkachuck Tavares Bennett
    Gaudreau Monohan Foo
    Frolik Backlund Brouwer
    Mangiapane, Jankowski, Ferland

    Gio Hammy
    Kulak Brodie
    Hamonic Andersson

    Stone & Hathaway traded for picks, if Valimaki makes it out of camp we have trade bait in Kulak & Andersson for some depth. Sorry folks I’m not trading Brodie or Hamonic after a soft year under poor coaching. It’s grounds for termination and I like my armchair General manager duties.

    GFG

    • oddclod

      Rotate bennett, foo, mangiapane, ferland until it all sticks. Brouwer wasn’t bad with the Mikes as they can shelter him with their near perfect positioning. Too Jagr wasn’t 44 😉 We’d have a near 50 point guy to insert up and down the line up lol

      • oddclod

        (*Too bad Jags wasn’t 44) I forgot we have Phillips coming up. He’s an AHL body but who knows. I like the possibilties with Tavares on this squad. Get to work Hamonic!!

    • Chucky

      The worst thing that they could do is trade Brodie based on two poor years playing left defense. Put him on the right side and elevate his value if there needs to be space created, but I would favour trading Hamonic and Stone if Valimaki turns out to be ready for the NHL.

      • oddclod

        100 Agree with the Brodie sentiments. I haven’t seen enough of Hamonic under a good coach. Poor fella just trying to fit in and compromised with the square peg round hole pairing. I think there will be an upside. Hard to see him getting moved after trading a 1st unless it’s a top RW. Only time will tell!

    • Hockeysense9393

      I love it!! Rumours have it that Flames will be in the buying for Tavares…as will half the league, but oh can we dream. I like your moves and setups here…but it takes that piece to fall. Come on BT…make us proud again!!’

      • Hockeysense9393

        It’s kind of funny…but I don’t remember GG ever really trying that set (sheltering) with Brouwer lined up with our defense specialists. Even the point that Frolik probably would actually be better suited on the left side? Maybe for that chance to increase his shooting percentage a little bit? BT brought him in basically for the point that he is a “Swiss Army Knife” that can play anywhere. So maybe try him on his strong wing? Brouwer would probably, actually be happy playing with more established (higher end) vets like that as well…instead of constantly moping. This is actually becoming a little fun again…thinking of possibilities.

      • cberg

        Any moves that make the Gaudreau-Monahan pairing the second scoring line would be outstanding. That would put you in the same conversation as Pittsburg and Chicago, in its heyday. Extremely unlikely, but maybe Jankowski can continue his ascension and make another huge jump… also extremely unlikely. What we have to settle dreaming about when we miss the playoffs.

          • ThisBigMouthIsRight

            Carter is interesting but he is 33 and signed for another 4 years@ $5,272,727… No thanks to Perry/Getzlaf they are both in big time decline and Both are 32 with 3 more years @ $8,625,000 per year, plus, they’re both big A$$holes&egos.

          • Hockeysense9393

            Getzlaf is a fixture in Calgary and Anaheim will be looking for answers. They need to shed some of that truculence and Flames need to add a little. Hmmmm…

    • FL🔥MES

      How the hell can Brouwer be put on a shutdown line with Backs and Fro? Talk about a weak link when facing the oppositions best offence in our end.

      Herein lies our problem with Brouwer. He was gifted good linemates in St. Louis. He cannot drive a line and isn’t really good at anything. Unless he does something incredible this coming season, he is a liability and not an asset. It’s called addition by subtraction. Tre might have to put on his big boy pants and make a tough decision if the plan is to go for it next season.

  • FlamesFan27

    I hope that coaching can solve the defensive breakdown problems as well as the specialty teams. Tre needs to address the forward depth problem – while I hope that Bennett and Jankowski can take a step forward with a new environment, there is no guarantee. Goaltending is a potentially big issue though – I’m not nearly as optimistic on Smith as I was when they got him, and I have little faith in Rittich or Gillies to be anything close to a 1B.

    In summary, they still have quite a way to go to be a real contender in my opinion. But, the problems are not insurmountable.

  • Flamesfan4life

    How good would Tavares look on this team?? Tavares, Monahan,Backlund and Jankowski down the middle…that’s almost 100 goals worth of offence.

    Johnny-Tavares-Bennet
    Tkachuk-Monahan-Foo??
    Versteeg-Backlund-Frolik
    Lazar/Mangipane/Dube-Janko-Brower

    Package up any combination of Hamonic, Ferland, Stone, Fox, draft picks for Karlsson

    Karlsson-Hamilton
    Gio-Brodie
    Kulak-Anderson

      • Hockeysense9393

        With the salaries coming off the books, cap going up, and truly movable pieces (Stone for a 7th rounder) if that’s what it takes to make room? If the Flames could possibly get Tavares to sign for 10 million a season for the next 7 years? You better believe they would do everything in their power to fit him in. I don’t think BT would even blink.

          • Derzie

            Yup. BT sewered any chance we had at getting big names by making Gio the internal cap. If they paid Tavares, guys like Johnny & Sean would be pretty miffed that they took one for the team and the newcomer gets paid. Kind of like putting a waiver wire pickup on the first line: not a morale booster move.

          • Hockeysense9393

            Tavares is an “elite” player in this league that actually commands that kind of pay. There is a difference between a young player making a name and an established super-star. If Gaudreau keeps doing what he does all the way till his contract is up…you don’t think that BT would be offering more then a “media Invented” cap ceiling of 6.75 mil or whatever it is? He has never said that he has a player cap. No GM in their right mind would ever say that have a cap ceiling for a player. Just for the possibility of say a player like Tavares being available. Come on…think about it.

          • Hockeysense9393

            You don’t think signing Tavares or a player like him would be a morale boost? Come on! It would be the biggest!! It means he is truly commited to winning. These players aren’t stupid. They are young…they know that they are getting their pay day down the road. Tavares has put in his time hasn’t he? These players respect each…like come on.

          • Hockeysense9393

            Gaudreau and Monny both signed their first real contracts. Both are barely even starting their careers. Gio signed a good end of career type contract with full respect on both parties. That has absolutely nothing to do with signing a superstar in his prime to a league mandated contract for said player of his caliber. There is no such thing as an internal cap for players..!? If a GM ever said that…they would be out of a job in a heartbeat. You think that if Karlsson said he would play in Calgary for 7.5 million a season, that BT would say…”sorry, that would be nice…but I have an internal cap here, and I don’t want to upset a couple players that are not even in their prime, or fading out of their prime”. NO!! Please stop listening to these silly media pundits that think they know it all. It has nothing to do with actual hockey and the business. Think of the actual picture here.

  • OKG

    While goaltending slipped, I think it was indicative of a larger problem in simply defending that the team had later in the year. The backchecking and attention to detail just fell off the map. On the flip side of that was early in the year where the team had the backchecking and attention to detail but breakouts and gap control were a major issue.

    Nothing ever fired on all cylinders defensively and it cost us goals against that the goalies had no control over. Yes, the goalies could also have been better too.

    Forward depth is tough to guage. I do think it’s worrysome that a guy like Lazar is not a threat to score double digit goals in a season. But on the flip side Bennett probably should have had 18+ goals last year and seemed to be in a never-ending slump all year and Versteeg had a nightmare of a season which really ate into so-called depth. I think it’s a lot more likely Bennett bounces back and whoever fills Versteeg’s spot (including Versteeg himself) has a good year than the team needing huge changes in the bottom six. Shore is a good addition and Peters actually has a history of utilizing kids offensively, which might bode well for Mangiapane, Foo, and even Jankowski who underperformed last year. The biggest hit to our depth last year though was the inactivity of our defense in joining the cycle and the rush. Easy to score when TJ Brodie is setting you up with a backdoor tap in with a tape to tape backhand pass. Not so easy when TJ Brodie is shooting a prayer from the blue line hoping for a miraculous tip.

    Really a lot of the above issues can be rooted in coaching. As much as Tre says the blame can’t all fall on coaching – there is serious risk in overreacting to last year.

    • OKG

      I mean hell even Troy Brouwer has to be thinking that maybe he’ll be used on the PP in a role similar to what he had in Washington and St. Louis rather than the role he had in Calgary. Make no mistake I think Troy is a one trick pony but we never even used the one trick under Gulutzan.

      • FL🔥MES

        Troy has really sucked so far. I am not optimistic and have no appetite for him being deployed on the PP. The question is: is Troy contributing to more goals for than against? He didn’t outscore me by much last season.

    • FL🔥MES

      The question about versteeg is do you bring him back or focus your efforts on developing a prospect? Mind you, I guess if Versteeg is injured half the year you’re developing prospects…