FlamesNation Mailbag: The offseason begins

Congrats to Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on winning the Stanley Cup. Now how do the Flames get there?

Housekeeping: You can now submit your questions via email at [email protected] for those Twitter-less folks.

It has to be buying out Troy Brouwer, no? That can start happening in four days.

This year makes the most sense to execute the Bryout. If they buy him out this year, the team will only have to pay him $6M as opposed to $7.5M if they bought him out next year and $9M if they stuck through the duration of the contract. Some might fret over the notion of having $1.5M on the cap for two extra years, but that’s pennies considering how much the cap jumps per year (it’s expected to jump up $5M this year, which is an exception, but if the cap goes up its usual $2M per yer, it is offset).

An honest evaluation of Brouwer is that he’s a perfectly fine fourth liner. But you can find many of those for under the $3M in savings the Bryout will give you, which makes it a feasible option. Given that you have players like Dillon Dube, Spencer Foo, Andrew Mangiapane, and Morgan Klimchuk (among others) who will be in a fight for those spots and can likely offer you more than 33-year-old Brouwer can, it just makes sense.

If the Bryout doesn’t happen, they’re probably setting up a trade involving a defenceman for a high-end forward. I imagine it will happen around draft time.

Micheal Ferland is probably a good chip to cash out on. He’s reaped the benefits of first line play, picking up 21 goals and 40 points this season, both career highs.

But those who watched the Flames this year will know that he’s not exactly a first line solution. His play was inconsistent and he’s just not at the level of his two linemates. When he’s on, he’s on. He is more often times not on. Ferland’s likely not going to shoot above 15% for a third year in a row (just like he wasn’t going to continue shooting under 5% his first two seasons in Calgary), so if you can get a decent return for him, maybe a high pick or a promising prospect, you’re being smart.

I think the team holds off on trading him because he’s a fan favourite and also an insurance policy. Nabbing a top six RW is easier said than done, and if you ship off Ferland you will have absolutely no one to fill that void should a trade not materialize, which is less than what you started with. Even if they find that elusive RW, they can shuffle him down the lineup and perhaps provide a scoring edge to the third line. That’s a better idea.

No and no.

The Lightning have Yanni Gourde (5’9, 64 points), Brayden Point (5’10, 66 points), and Tyler Johnson (5’8, 50 points) in their lineup. Nikita Kucherov also falls below six feet (5’11) and put up 100 points. That’s four NHL tiny players in their lineup who are incredibly productive. It’s not as if they’re surrounded by bigger guys either: the biggest Lightning top six forward is Steven Stamkos, who is 6’1, which is also league average.

Our pal Byron Bader did a look into the correlation between height and scoring. Short players tend to succeed in the NHL just as much as tall players do, even though the NHL does not value them as such. Perhaps Tampa has found a market inefficiency there (none of their forwards were over 6’1) and exploited it to the tune of a Conference Finals appearance.

So don’t be scared of short players. If they’re productive, they’re productive. Bring them in on the basis of what they can do, and not how tall they are.

Even if we all put aside our personal disgust for Corey Perry, a trade doesn’t make sense. Perry is 33 and quite clearly trending downhill even while playing with the best in Anaheim. Even if you can swing another high paid RW Anaheim’s way, you’re still on the hook for Perry’s $8.625M contract with three years remaining. That’s going to be toxic in no short time. If they can find an elite RW that is a major pain in the ass and can put up scoring numbers (as much as I disagree with it, a Tkachuk-Perry pairing would infuriate the hell out of opponents so I’m all for it from that perspective), go for it, but Perry is not going to be that guy over the next three years.

If Alex Galchenyuk is available, that’s something worth looking at. Montreal seems to have no clue what to do with him and it’s quite clearly impacted his on-ice results. Perhaps he actually is going backwards (two straight years of negative -2% corsi rel), or perhaps it’s Montreal’s screwy experiments to find out if he’s a centre or a wing. Habs fans say he’s pretty lethal on the right wing and more of a playmaker on the left, so perhaps it’s time to free him in Calgary. If they continue treating him like a fourth line winger and pushing him down the rotation, perhaps he comes for cheap.

(On the elite RW who is also a pain in the ass but also not mentioned in Brad’s question: how about Brendan Gallagher from Montreal instead of Galchenyuk?)

The safest selection of the three is Nino Niederreiter. El Nino doesn’t put up a boatload of points, but he’s been a reliable producer for the Wild with limited ice time (seventh among forwards in average TOI at all situations and 5v5). Despite leading Wild forwards in CF% and CF rel%, he is buried on the roster and his production suffers for it. Perhaps he can be had for cheap and then flourish in a top six role.

This is a million dollar question and the honest answer is: I don’t know!

To begin, let’s do a brief-ish recap of the Stanley Cup Final:

The Ovechkin era in Washington took 13 years to deliver a cup, and it wasn’t even with their strongest roster ever (the 2009-10 Caps had seven 50-point scorers and won 54 games en route to losing in the first round to a Montreal team with a losing record). Even more astounding is that the Caps were a cap disaster before the season started, having to fill out their roster with players like Alex Chiasson, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Chandler Stephenson for around $600K a pop just so they could ice a full lineup. Given the overall strength of the East (including Tampa and Pittsburgh loading up for deep runs), you could probably write Ovi and co. off. If there was one Caps team that wasn’t going to win the Cup, this was it.

But that’s how the playoffs are sometimes: unpredictable. You could see that in Washington’s opponent, the Vegas Golden Knights. You’ve heard the story before, but a rag tag group of guys put it all together for a wild ride to the final and looked actually unstoppable while doing it. Then their .950 goalie (who was having a career year at 33) suddenly became a .850 goalie and their 40-goal scorer stopped scoring. A decent amount of Vegas’ success this year was the result of good fortune, and it was bound to one day go against them, but to have it all fall apart when it mattered most was purely awful luck.

There’s a certain amount of randomness in the playoffs that makes winning that much more difficult. Boiling down a team’s success and dominance over 82 games to just four or seven at a time is throwing all the traditional odds out the window and putting it all up to who gets hot at the right time. Case in point: since the 2005-06 lockout, only three Presidents’ Trophy winners have advanced to the finals and only two have won the Cup. Compare that to the four winners who have lost in the first round.

I think the reason why the Caps won the cup this year is because they stuck with it after a while, never blowing up their team even when everyone else said they should (you can find “trade Ovechkin” suggestions every year the Caps crashed and burned in the playoffs). Eventually, everything just went in their favour as opposed to the years where everything went against them.

To bring this back to the Flames, they have the pieces in place to become a more dominant team. They’re in good position with Johnny Gaudreau and a large part of their core players locked down for a long time. They will also have a healthy influx of prospects who can provide quality depth in the immediate future and hopefully become complimentary pieces a bit down the line. That’s better than what the Caps entered the season with.

The key is patience. You shouldn’t trade a great player just because things went wrong, and you shouldn’t shake things up for the sake of it. If you continue icing a playoff roster year in, year out, you will eventually succeed. I can’t say if they will win a Stanley Cup, that’s out of my hands. But they’re currently in a good position to make the playoffs and go deep for the next few years and maybe they get lucky somewhere along the way.


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  • WildfireOne

    Goaltenders are as important as quarterbacks. Neither guarantees a championship, but they give you a stronger opportunity than any other position.

    Smart asset allocation dictates you don’t put all your eggs in one basket, so I really hope we can pry Grubauer or someone similar out of somewhere….

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      To WASH:
      Brodie $4.65m x 2 years
      Brouwer ($2m retained) $2.5m x 2 years

      To CGY:
      Rights to Grubauer
      Brook Orpik $5.5m x 1 year
      Burakovsky $3m x 1 year

      Gives them flexibility in re-signing Wilson and Carlson. Orpik for Brouwer is immediate cap savings (net $3m), but they take on an additional year.
      So, the deal is readlly rights to Grubauer and Burakovsky for Brodie.

      • Hockeysense9393

        Flames may need to throw in a sweetener to counter Burakovsky’s age (23), scoring prowess (50ish point% career), and now a cup winner? Not to mention that he’s injury prone and a left handed LW (red flag on the Flames side)? At first glance I was thinking ok, but then weighing out the whole? I think both sides would be having reserves on that type of deal.

        • FlamesFanOtherCity

          Trading Brodie for rights to Grubauer doesn’t get you a Brodie. Burakowsky is a career 50% points per game guy, yes, but he hasn’t scored more than 17 goals in his best season. On a team that scores tons. Brodie is only a few years older and is worth more than that in the trade market.

          • Hockeysense9393

            Fair enough…but 23? …and say his injuries stop? This kid could easily be a 50-60+ point player? With teams always putting a higher trajectory on their own cultivation…I just think it would take more then a downward Brodie to pry him away. Never mind adding a Grubauer that is a hot commodity in the league as it stands. Remember…the Caps would very well be a non-factor at this moment without him as a backup…and a lot of other teams see that. Holtby took over, but he got them there.

    • Mickey O

      Now that Louis P. Lamoriello is running the NYI, he’ll be going hard after Grubauer. That’s his m.o. He’s correctly figured out over the years that you can’t win without getting a stud goalie that at least gives you a chance to win.

  • The Fall

    Trading for Perry is like throwing your biggest enemy a life raft while insisting to take their biggest anchor, even though your both drowning in the same water.

    • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

      So let’s talk about which is the lesser of 2 evils … would you trade Troy Brouwer for Corey Perry straight up? We win on the player front … they win on the cap front.

      Personally I wouldn’t. The Bryout seems to be the most attractive option

    • Kevin R

      The cap is a big issue but even last year where he had what many Anaheim fans call a down year he scored 17 times & 49 points in 71 games. That would put him 3 rd on our team tied with Tkachuk. More points than Backlund & Ferland as well. I think we are all realizing getting a top 6 RW is lottougher & the assets are significant. Unfortunately we dont have that many to spare. So if we could get a nasty, scoring RW like Perry for Brouwer & maybe even get Anaheim to absorb some salary I would do it in a heartbeat.

      If we could move Brodie for Gallagher, then you have Monahan/Gaudreau/Perry
      as your top 9.

      • Kevin R

        Also I hear Kovalchuk on a 2-3 year deal could be an option for that RW. Well he’s 35 years & I would take a 33 year old Perry for 3 more years over Kovalchuk.

      • Off the wall

        I like you Kevin.
        Please no crazy talk on Monday morning , my mind can’t handle it.

        Perry is a weasel, I enjoy hating him. I may have issues with that, granted, but the next thing you know Kessler’s name will come up to join him on our roster.

        Then I will lose my mind and go screaming into traffic and be hit by a vehicle, ALL because of this crazy talk!

        • Kevin R

          LOL OTW! You know, the league is full of players we cant stand but when they are pi$$ing other fan bases off playing on your team, it isnt quite so bad. I hate Perry as much as you but if he crashed nets & hit players that have been doing it to our nice guys, well I think I could stomach him for a few years. Hate him or not, he’s a talented smart hockey player. How many fan bases you think are very fond of Tkachuk.
          They hate him but they all want one of him.

          • Off the wall

            I gotta tell ya a story about when I was a garbage man for the City of Calgary, long ago.
            Puts things into perspective for me.

            We use to work in tandems, one drives the truck the other throws garbage for 30 minutes ( like a possessed Tasmanian devil) then we’d switch off.

            Well one day the fellow I was working with, noticed I was taking longer than usual at this one residence. So he got out of the truck to see if something happened to me.

            I came across a ton of styrofoam and for some unknown reason to me, I can’t handle the sound styrofoam makes when touched. It makes me spit like a lama. No joke!

            He couldn’t believe his eyes, here I was gingerly placing the styrofoam into the hopper, while spitting every time I touched it.
            He fell on his a$$, laughing so hard. I can’t imagine what it looked like, but it has to be the weirdest thing he’d ever saw.

            I told him if he told anyone, he was next in line for the hopper.
            He didn’t tell anyone, ( I wonder why, cuz we were all pranksters) no he waited until I was alone and saved a lovely piece of styrofoam for later in the day.
            He rubbed it together between both hands, while I covered my ears and spat each time it made a noise. He had me dancing and spitting like a circus clown and enjoyed ever moment of it. What a wicked bugger. Though, I would have done the same.

            My point is this. Perry is my styrofoam, I hate him as much as I hate styrofoam.
            Say his name and I spit….

          • Kevin R

            haha OTW! How long ago were you slugging garbage? I actually worked on the garbage trucks every summer & that paid my way through University from 1977-1982. I worked at all 3 sites & could tell you a few stories. Loved it on a hot day & some old timer wanted us to throw a bunch of extra bundled branches he had piled up. He had 3 ice cold beers all the time & that beer just went down like ice water in the 30 degree temps. Too funny. That job kept me in the best shape of my life, actually worked with a few junior hockey players that took summer jobs doing that because of how physically demanding it was.

          • Cfan in Van

            OTW, do you also hate the sound or texture of cotton balls being rubbed together? My GF of 11 years is exactly the same with both styrofoam and cotton, and it’s the weirdest thing. So sensitive to these two noises/feelings that I’m blown away by it.

          • Off the wall

            Haha Kevin, too funny!
            I worked at two sites, though mostly at the 68street one.

            Those were the days when we’d slug everything into the hoppers.
            I remember one time I was working with a macho man, he decided he was going to pick up a washer and throw it in the truck. I got out of the truck and told him, “you dum dum, what the heck are you doing?”
            (Not exactly those words)

            He didn’t listen to me, cycled the rams, while standing behind the hopper (always a bad idea) and the greasy dog poo that was hidden in the washer, sprayed him from head to toe in dog dung!!

            I phoned the foreman to come get him, I wasn’t taken him back to the shop , looking and smelling like that!

            Sometimes too much braun and not enough brain.

            I lasted 5 years, until I was 38, I believe.
            I loved the exercise and yes plenty of junior players joined the ranks as well.

            I have WAY too many stories to tell about throwing garbage, so don’t get me started.

            And yes, cotton balls do the same thing to me… (spits)

          • Kevin R

            Personally, I would rather keep Dougie but word is Tre really defends/likes Brodie & I honestly think there is a better chance for the right price to trade Dougie before Brodie. Reinhart is a RW & his numbers have translated better than Bennetts & RoR would be a huge add to get that 2nd scoring line with Tkachuk. The #32 is almost like a 1st rounder.
            But yeah I would rather keep Hamilton & see what Bennett can do under a new coach. But Hamilton’s name keeps coming up for a reason, like it or not.

          • Baalzamon

            Hamilton’s name comes up because nearly every team in the league needs him, not because the Flames are looking, or even willing, to move him. The “trade bait” article on TSN last week listed Hamilton and specifically said that Treliving had no interest in moving him… but the Flames keep getting calls.

            OF COURSE they keep getting calls. He’s a really, really good player.

          • Hockeysense9393

            Ok so Dougie doesn’t hit and tends to go around traffic instead of through it. He knows how to pass and get the puck out of the zone… his vision is above average and he hits the net (more then most D in the league). He should and will (come on Peters) be considered a PP specialist. He has above average skating ability which is key for his size (height) is it not? Why on earth do we need this defenceman mucking in the corners when he’s flying up ice after a crisp first pass and setting up in the offensive zone? Already at his age, he’s one of the best Corsi/Fenwick, offensive generating, shooting, passing, forward motion defencemen in the league. And some fans want to trade him cuz he doesn’t hit?? It boggles my mind…

          • piscera.infada

            “…but Brodie can slide in there and replace Hamilton… even though he’s older and not as good… plus, need to make room for all these top-pairing prospects that are absolutely ready… and Dougie is ‘soft’… and the best NHL teams routinely trade their best defensemen for wingers…”

            Did I do that right?

          • JoelOttosJock

            Brodie replace Hamilton? No dice! Talking about how Hamilton is soft and weak in the dzone..Brodie is softer than my liquid squirts after a night at the old 25cent draught nights at cowboys! Also Brodie in my opinion is the weakest dzone dman on the Flames.

          • Fat Tony

            Much much easier to replace Brodie than it is Hamilton. We actually have guys ready to take on that role. But we don’t have a guy who can take Hamilton’s 1st line spot and I don’t trust Brodie with the task anymore

  • Flamethrower

    Brouwer needs to be gone from this team! I don’t really care how it happens just get it done. Buyout, packaged trade, or shot to the moon on a rocket it doesn’t really matter.

    Hands of stone and wanna be tough guy Hathaway is another player just taking up space.

    I’m not an advocate for buyouts but Brouwers contract is an albatross hanging around the clubs neck and should be felt with accordingly. I know this easy to say when dealing with someone else’s money but hey that’s the business. Maybe a good lesson for Tre and company about research and not knee jerk UFA signings.

    If trades are to be made over compensating a team has been a problem for our GM.
    By giving away draft picks and prospects hurts your team development down the road…the great teams build from within. Don’t get fleeced!

    Sorry concussion brain here and went off topic so I had better leave at that.

    • Off the wall

      Lol, at least you made me laugh.
      Somehow I imagined Brouwer listening to the countdown, while the boosters lit up, only to hear Brouwer say, “ I’ll recind my M- NTC, let me out!”

    • T&A4Flames

      I doubt signing Brouwer was a knee jerk signing. At the time, Tre was lauded for the signing with media stating it as a (relative to UFA market) bargain signing. It just didn’t work out.

  • buts

    BT is going to trade 1 and possibly 2 of our starting 4 D for a top 6 forward and some draft picks. Question is who is it going to be? We have the replacements. A big shakeup is needed after last season.

    • Stockton's Finest

      But Rebar needs to know what is in the kitchen before he goes to the market. I am all for one of Brodie/Stone filling out a change if address card, but let the man do his due diligence before he jettisons anyone not named Brouwer.

  • Hockeysense9393

    It’s funny how teams try to reach that very next notch with a good player or two (on paper), especially at the trade deadline…only to not find the real fit. Then a team is forced by circumstance to go with their standbyes and some character rag tags to reach that pinnacle. It seems to give them something to prove and more focus to do it? This year with the Caps…players like Ovi and Backs were the driving forces I think cuz they were reserved to the fact that this is the team to pull forward. They weren’t banking on accolades to take them to the promise land…they knew that the team (they were handed) needed to focus on the work to get this done. The one year in a long while, where they weren’t expected to do so much. It’s funny how that fuels a team drive mentality? Certain players start playing for each other, instead of just for certain heights of expectation, glory, or even goals. Vegas proved that as well. Luck always plays a part, but it’s how you approach it as a team to create and believe in that luck…that truly counts. When Ovi smashed his stick on the net in game 4 against Tampa? That’s when I knew this was going to turn out different this year. Enough of this!?! The Flames need to stop bringing in nice guys and start bringing in players that say the same. Enough of this…just happy to be here attitude!

  • Off the wall

    Let’s talk crazy, if that’s our theme this morning!

    Let’s jettison all our 4th liners and replace every single one of them.

    No more Brouwer, Stewart, Stajan Glass, Hathaway, Lazar , Shore or Hrivik.

    Replace with prospects and watch us get instantly better and faster.
    It’s like adding boiling water to ramen noodles, it’s magic!

      • Hockeysense9393

        A young 2 way right handed centreman…Just what the doctor ordered? He looked competent, engaged, and one of the better players down the stretch? I think he has a chance to become a fan favourite.

      • Sea of Redd

        Shore is a fine option. But someone like Dube has way more up side. I can’t see how a young line of Mangi, Dube, Foo could be any worst than any combination of the forth line from last year.

          • cjc

            Lazar and Bennett made the league when they were 19. Mangiapane is 22, Foo is 24 and Dube will be 20. Perhaps Dube, but Mangiapane and Foo could not be considered “rushed”

        • piscera.infada

          Yeah, I don’t think Dube is making the team next year. By all means, if he leaves you no choice, then sure. It’s not something to bank on. Shore is on the roster, and there’s no reason to jettison him.

          People constantly want to talk about “depth”–and “good depth” at that. Shore is “good depth”, right-handed, and relatively young. He won’t blow the doors off with a bunch of points, but his underlyings show there’s definitely something to work with there.

          • cjc

            Why couldn’t Dube make it? It’s one thing if management insists he play in the minors first, but whether he is actually ready is another question. He was one of the last cuts last year and had a strong WHL season, and was good in his brief AHL stint.

          • JMK

            I agree cjc, even though I’d prefer Dube got some top line minutes in the AHL to start the year, I certainly don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibilities to see him in NHL, but depends a lot of clearing out dead weight in the forwards I think.

            4 points in 6 games in his AHL stint, similar to Jankowski’s 6 points in 8. I could see Dube being a PPG player in the AHL next year but as I said could also see him alongside Backlund and Frolik on a shutdown line.

          • piscera.infada

            I never said “he can’t make it”. I said, don’t bank on him making it–ie. don’t jettison Shore “because Dube”. Moreover, as Baalzamon said, Shore would make a very good 13th forward. “Depth”, right?

  • redwhiteblack

    We need a top 6 RW. We also would benefit from a better bottom 6. We had no production from that part of the line up almost every game. WE need one or two of Foo, Mangy, Dube, Phillips to make the team and help with that. We need Bennett and Janko to produce more and consistently. Backs and Frolic need to be healthy produce more also. We would be much better with production from 3 lines.

  • HAL MacInnis

    I’d like the A’s taken off Monahan and Brouwer, and about 20 games in, let the players vote anonymously for who the real leaders on the team are. New coach, clean slate. I think it would really open the eyes of these millennials with the “always earned, never given” mantra. Plus, I think we will see a elevated level of compete on and off the ice for those who are actually interested in earning the A.

    • Hockeysense9393

      Brouwer ok I get it. He was even quoted as saying that he wasn’t happy about his deployment and use. Not an “A” leader by any stretch. Monny? Career year while playing through injuries (count 4 surgeries) and still able to produce while practically unable to hold a stick, never mind keeping it secret and working his butt off to try and help his team succeed before finally being taken out of the lineup. That doesn’t deserve SOME recognition? Just because us fans didn’t hear about what he was going through…you better believe he teammates did. That’s not a leader??

        • Hockeysense9393

          Sorry HAL…I misunderstood your post then. — I’d like the A’s taken off Monahan and Brouwer, and about 20 games in, let the players vote anonymously for who the real leaders on the team are.— I was just defending the Monnytone leader (by example) lol

          • HAL MacInnis

            Yeah. I’m just talking clean slate. Fresh start. Give the boys something to prove to themselves and the other players and staff. I think it would be a great way to kick off the new season.

    • wot96

      Not sure that would make one iota of difference. In any event, if Monahan had four surgeries including one on his wrist so that he can actually hold his stick with some strength, don’t you think the players would notice and accept that as a form of leadership?

      Pretty sure most of those injuries would have the rest of us sitting on the end of our bed crying. Monahan is a perfectly fine leader; he just isn’t overtly exuberant like, say Ovi.

  • redwhiteblack

    We need a top 6 RW. We also would benefit from a better bottom 6. We had no production from that part of the line up almost every game. We need one or two of Foo, Mangy, Dube, Phillips to make the team and help with that. We need Bennett and Janko to produce more and consistently. Backs and Frolic need (to be healthy) and produce more also. We would be much better with production from 3 lines.

    • cjc

      It’s fair to say Backlund and Frolik need to produce more, but both were snakebitten (Backlund shot 6.5%, Frolik 6%) so expect Backlund back in the 50-55 point range and Frolik in the 35-40 range. These guys do all the heavy lifting, and if they were given the easy starts and matchups their numbers would be better.

      • everton fc

        Frolik should be moved to the 3rd line/RW, Jankowski centering, Bennett LW. (Imagine Mangiapane/Hathaway-Dube/Shore-Foo, as the 4th line??)

        If we get a top 6 RW, then you have a Top 6 of Gaudreau/Monahan/Tkachuk/Ferland/Backlund…??? Just thinking out loud here…

  • cjc

    I am 100% behind the buy out Brouwer now plan. However, if they want to avoid cap problems, the key is to not make another ill-advised signing in its place. If Treliving goes out and pays big money for an aging UFA, or takes on a bad contract in trade, it is pointless. They bought out Raymond’s contract, only to bring in Brouwer. Never make the same mistake twice.

  • SouthernFlame

    I love these articles and love the comments even more, with that said I would like to put in my one cent. Why not trade Hamilton for a top forward and then some? Bring Brodie back up with Gio (I believe I read an article saying that Brodie put up his best numbers with Gio) have Kulak with Hamonic ( I believe I read the same thing about Kulak being with Hamonic) then Ras with Stone?
    Make it a package deal so whoever wants Hamilton they also have to take Brouwer.

    • Fat Tony

      I’m a strong believer that other than Hamilton, Brodie and a very good prospect in an Adam Fox should get you a similer return. As much as we would all like to see Brouwer off this roster, I think we all know that with the new coaching staff, they intend on giving him another shot in earning that contract.

  • Mickey O

    About Ferland: “When he’s on, he’s on. He is more often times not on.”

    How much of that was that he was playing hurt though? When he’s on – he’s dominant. At the trade deadline, Treliving said that he isn’t the third wheel on the top line, and that they are not looking to upgrade at that position. Ferland was well on his way to being a 30 goal scorer last season, and a year away from getting a big raise. Then something happened and fans still don’t really know why he was scratched with an injury.

    I’m glad that the author decided that trading Ferland would be a bad option, but it was hardly a glowing endorsement, more like the team has very few RHS players so they should hold on to him.

    The Flames’ top 8 forwards are all LHS, that ultimately isn’t going to work. Any talk of trade targets that involves picking up another left-handed forward seems to be missing the mark.

    • Nighteyes

      I love Ferland, don’t get me wrong. He has a wicked shot and can be a perennial 20-30 goal scorer. However, I do think that he has consistency problem, undisclosed injuries not withstanding. Imo from watching him, I feel like he has limited IQ. He’s a good trigger man and has a great physical presence, but sometimes on a rush or along the boards the plays seems to die on his stick and or he fumbles/kills situations where I feel there was an obvious scoring chance available. It often seems like Johnny can be a little too quick/clever for him sometimes and he’s not in the right place at the right time that Monny often finds himself in. I think Ferland’s ideal role is 2nd or third line scoring winger.

      • rusty_shakleforde

        I think Ferland has really good hockey IQ. Did you see some of the passes he was making? Some of the sweetest highlight real plays from the top line were just as much a Ferland thing as a JG and Mony thing, sometimes more so just Ferland. He doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. Plus, I think it would be fair to give him another season in a scoring role before saying he’s inconsistent

        • Mickey O

          Ferland made two no-look passes that were things of beauty last season. I agree, there’s nothing wrong with Ferland’s level of thinking the game. If anything Johnny was looking for Monahan too much at the detriment of using the other winger.

          Ferland was always looking for a long stretch pass to spring JG as well. That might have been a partial reason why Gulutzan wasn’t sold on him. I get the impression that Rebar will take the shackles off the forwards and just let their skill and creativity shine through, instead of preaching any beloved system above all else.

    • Hockeysense9393

      Hear hear Mickey!! To many RHD (always hot) and not enough RHS forwards. Why is this so hard? Flames brass take chances on revitalization projects, but not with proven available players out there. BT has no problem with using futures to constantly shore up an already strong position, but he seems almost gun shy with making a big “forward” move. Definition of insanity? I don’t think so…but the “use strength to shore up weakness” isn’t in his equation. He just keeps hoping and hoping someone will awake… Minor league signings, European signings, and under the radar trade hopes? Make a move already! A freakn proven commodity in the top 6 forward position realm! Is this the year he tries the do or die attempt? The 2 players that make an impact up front? Stay tuned I guess….

    • everton fc

      Everyone here says we are “soft”. No one here wants guys like Chris Stewart, or Tanner Glass, on the roster.

      So why would you trade a guy who scored 21 goals, can arguable take on anyone i the league, need be, and not get whooped… But who is also has the discipline to stay out of the penalty box? Nate Thompson had a scrap w/Ferland two seasons ago. He said Ferland is one of the best in the league at fighting. Yet, he doesn’t have to.

      Ferland missed five games, last season. He’s played 70-plus, the past three seasons. He’s a warrior. Why would anyone here want to trade Ferland?

      I say here, again, Ferland tops his goal totals from last season, in 2018-19.

  • Mickey O

    “Do you still need to be surrounded by larger guys to be effective as a small speedy skater?”

    That was the second part of a mailbag question. Apologies ctibs, going to have to disagree with your response to this one as well. You ultimately need a blend of size and skill. Something like Winnipeg has, who should be contenders for years.

    Tampa Bay may have a team loaded with smaller, skilled forwards but what ultimately did them in was the physical play of Washington. Wilson, Oshie, and Smith-Pelly literally ran over Tampa Bay in the last couple of games. It isn’t as if Ovechkin is a shrinking violet out there either.

    Little Matthew Phillips has the most pure skill of any of the Flames prospects. He also plays way above his size and isn’t afraid of the dirty areas. This is a big if, but if he makes the team, a line of Bennett – Jankowski – Phillips could be dynamite. Bennett would go into hulk mode like he did against Trouba and Manson if anyone messed with Phillips.

    It amuses me that sites like CapFriendly still have Janko listed as 6’3, 185 lbs. That was in another lifetime. He’ll be playing at closer to 6’5, 250 lbs this year. He’s a big dude.

    The two biggest wild cards going forward are how fast Phillips and Valimaki can make the team. I dare say Valimaki could make the team tomorrow, which makes Brodie highly expendable. If Phillips can stick then we’re on to something.

    No real rumours out there, but have a gut feeling that Ryan Reaves will be someone that Treliving really makes a push for if Vegas doesn’t sign him. He’ll keep the flies off, as Babcock likes to say.

    • Strange that you did mention how Tampa’s season ended (which I would attribute to Brayden Holtby being a brick wall before I would talk about physicality) but didn’t mention how Winnipeg’s season ended. How did the 19th tallest team in the league beat the big bad Jets in five games? Would love to hear the reasoning for that one.

      • Mickey O

        Simple answer…Winnipeg wasn’t physical enough?!

        Washington gave the blueprint on how to beat Vegas. Clog up the neutral zone and don’t let them pick up any speed. Stack the blue line and make the Vegas forwards chip and chase. Hit them any chance you get. Winnipeg has the team to do that, but Maurice got out-coached, and out goaltended.

        Goaltending is always going to play a huge role in how far you can go and Fleury was all-world in the first 3 rounds, being the most studly against the ‘Peg.

        For Tampa to take the next step, I firmly believe that they have to get bigger somewhere in their line-up. On the proverbial piece of paper, the Flames do have a good blend of size and skill. Peters even mentioned in an interview that Winnipeg has the team make up that he’s looking to emulate.

        • That would be a compelling point if the Jets didn’t win the hitting battle in four of five games. How much physicality did they need to win? They were quite clearly following that blueprint to beat Vegas and wound up losing. Almost as if the two are unrelated to another.

          Also, Tampa’s been to the Cup finals and two ECFs in the past four years. I think they’re doing just fine without a behemoth forward.

    • everton fc

      I see Reeves signing with Winnipeg.

      He’s a Winnipeg lad. They are great. Very close. Why leave to come here?

      Of course, Vegas would be wise to consider keeping him.

  • freethe flames

    I just have to wade in on the Nick Shore discussion: he is an adequate 4th center; nothing in his 4 year NHL career suggests anything else. To read people say “that he is very good extra forward” or a “fine 4th center” suggests that he could step up and play 3rd line center if need be and nothing in his career suggests he has proven that. He is adequate and the moment the best RHC we have but if we want are team to compete then he has to be better or upgraded upon. The same can be said for Lazar or Hathaway; but so far they are replacement forwards.

    • everton fc

      In 64 games, Shore had 19 points. In 59 games, Hathaway had 13 points. In 65 games, Lazar had 12 points. Shore had 5 goals, Hathaway 4, Lazar 2.

      Lazar is the least, of this trio. In my opinion, one of the kids from the farm should push him out of the lineup. Shore may be a fine 4th line centre, but Hathaway’s a very useful, 4th line RW.

      We have Monahan, Backlund, Jankowski… Bennett, need be… On the roster, as centres. I guess Lazar, too. And of course, Shore. But Dube will be 20, when camp starts. Perhaps he makes Shore an “extra forward”? Needless to add here, I don’t see Lazar as a sure thing, when it comes to the opening day roster.

      • Stockton's Finest

        People are going to trash this, but do not discount Dube playing RW in Stockton this year. He ended the season there and looked good. All of his points were helpers, but he did circle the net in his 6 or so games here. Add a few pounds to him and he plays top line RW along side Mangiapane and Gawdin (or Smith if re-signed).

        • freethe flames

          Why trash this comment? My only concern is that they should give a look at center for two reasons; that’s what they drafted him as and the fact that the organization has very few centers. RW may be better position.

      • piscera.infada

        So basically when you say “the Flames need better depth”, you’re basically saying “the Flames need first line players who can play on the third and fourth lines”. On the face of it, Shore is a better fourth liner than the Flames have had on this roster for some time. He’s not the problem. He can play both centre and wing, he’s a right-hand shot, and I’d be more willing to move him up in a pinch than I would with a guy like Hathaway.

        But I mean, keep pounding that “depth” drum, while seemingly looking over any good depth the Flames might have.

  • The Beej

    While there may be a good argument for a Brouwer buy out this year I would bet against it for two reasons.

    1. We have to re-up Tkachuk next summer so the 3m we save in cap space is really only useful for this year. If you can find a clear FA upgrade for 3m on a 1 year deal go for it otherwise we need to save that cap space for Tkachuk and others. Spending to the cap this year might force cap space to be shed next summer if we need to free up more room. We have cap space right now so unless that 3m is going to a cant miss FA like JT or IK then it is not so worthwhile.

    2. Buyout this year means the penalty is 4 years. While a 1.5m penalty is not huge, it could potentially still cause problems in 2 or 3 years. I know there is pressure to win now but the best franchises never lose sight of the long term.

    So yeah… a buyout is unlikely this year. Not saying it wont happen or that it doesnt make sense and isnt justified, but the Flames will be looking at the contracts that come due in 2019. We have some space now so no real rush to buyout Brouwer…. Unless… a Real Big Fish wants to come play for the Flames.

    Not saying I think this is the correct course of action myself, but this is how the Flames are looking at things so I wouldnt expect a brouwer buy out this summer. Likely next summer.

  • TriPPiNvdUb

    1. Hoffman – #1 with a bullet…
    2. El Nino
    3. Sam Reinhart
    4. Charlie Coyle
    5. ROR
    6. Brandon Sadd
    7. Phil Kessel
    8. Alex Galchenyk

    That’s my list of who we should be targeting that may be available. Big no to Vanek, JVR and Bozak. If we are moving a dman then it NEEDS to be for someone who fits the age group or who’s contract expires before they head over the hill!

    • BlueMoonNigel

      While I agree with you that the Flames should be gunning for Reinhart, why the deuce would Buffalo unload a guy who is clearly an appreciating asset? Reinhart showed he could play bigger minutes against tougher opponents when Eichel was out last season.

      Just can’t see Buffalo dealing Reinhart to Cal for any of the Flames talent except for the guys who are needed here.

      If there was ever boat that was to whisk Reinhart down the Erie Canal it has since sailed without him aboard. He will be a key piece in the rebuilding of the Sabres and one of its leaders when the club once more becomes a powerhouse.