FlamesNation mailbag: The final pieces of business

Well, one of the major pieces of business everyone wanted (but few dreamed, myself included) finally happened, leaving the Flames with one final RFA deal before they bolt off to China in just about five weeks’ time. Let us go boldly into the post-Brouwer era of the Calgary Flames.

Moving Michael Frolik would be a bad idea for a myriad of reasons.

First off, yes he did have a bad season, but it’s an aberration. His shooting percentage cratered (as well as his linemates’), and his on-ice SV% did, too. Time and time again, those numbers tend to be susceptible to random variation and aren’t indicative of a player’s quality. By almost every other analytic measure, Frolik was the same player last year as he’s been for most of his NHL career.

Ergo, he’s the most likely bounce back candidate this year. He’s now third on the RW depth chart behind James Neal and Elias Lindholm and will probably play a more sheltered role, which could be helpful for Frolik finding his mojo again. He’s always been a volume shooter (his 9.12 shots per 60 at 5v5 led the team), so perhaps more offensive zone time with a hopeful shooting percentage bounceback will do wonders for the team.

Frolik is also one of the actual quality right wingers on this team. Behind him are Austin Czarnik (unproven), Curtis Lazar (bad), Garnet Hathaway (tough guy) and Spencer Foo (also unproven). There’s a significant dropoff after his spot on the depth chart, so trading him away is just going to create more problems. Even at his worst last season, he wasn’t as bad as the rest of these names.

Perhaps if Frolik doesn’t bounce back and his struggles reveal themselves to be age related (he’s 30) you explore a trade. But there’s no harm holding on for this season and affording him the opportunity to get back on his feet.

If you missed it, Ari’s article way back when has a lot of information on what Austin Czarnik is and how he’s performed across various leagues. It’s going to do a lot of the heavy lifting for this answer.

Basically, having Czarnik can’t hurt. He’s a player who’s been on the verge of cracking the NHL but has been stuck in the pretty deep Bruins organization for his entire career. His AHL numbers aren’t exciting, but he’s a player who will likely be a productive fourth liner. If the hyperbole is true (while I was writing this, a Bruins fan chimed in to offer his analysis of Czarnik) and he is a budding Jonathan Marchessault as many say, it’s nothing but a major win for the Flames. But realistically, he’s going to be a 25-point guy on the fourth line. I’m not even sure if the 2017-18 Flames fourth line put up 25 points, so already a major upgrade.

Let’s focus on the Heat primarily, because I have no clue what’s going to happen with KC and the only Flames prospects there are two goalies (who are both afterthoughts, unfortunately). With that said, let’s look:

Returning In Out Maybes
D Josh Healey F Dillon Dube (draft) C Marek Hrivik (KHL) RW Spencer Foo
LW/RW Hunter Shinkaruk RW Matthew Phillips (draft) LW/C Brett Findlay (Austria) LW Andrew Mangiapane
F Brett Pollock C/RW Glenn Gawdin (UFA) RW/C Darren Nowick (Sweden) LW Morgan Klimchuk
LW Ryan Lomberg C Alan Quine (UFA) RW Garnet Hathaway (grad) RW Curtis Lazar
LW/RW Buddy Robinson (UFA) RW/LW Emile Poirier (unqualified) C Mike McMurtry (ECHL)
C Tyler Graovac (UFA) RW Austin Carroll (unqualified) D Adam Ollas Mattsson
LW/RW Yasin Ehliz (Germany) C Colin Smith (Germany) D Rasmus Andersson
D Marcus Hogstrom (Sweden) LW Tanner Glass (UFA) D Oliver Kylington
G Tyler Parsons (ECHL) LW Luke Gazdic (UFA) D Juuso Valimaki
C Rod Pelley (Denmark) D Dalton Prout
D Oleg Yevenko (KHL) D Colby Robak (unsigned)
D Tyler Wotherspoon (UFA) G Jon Gillies
D Cody Goloubef (UFA) G David Rittich

In the first column, we have the players who will definitely be spending all of next year in the AHL, none of them particularly special. Healey should probably be a third pairing minutes muncher this year. Pollock arguably has the highest upside of the remaining forwards given his jump from the ECHL to the AHL last season, but probably nothing exciting. Basically, all the Heat know they have for now are their middle sixers.

Let’s talk additions, which are the exciting part. The Heat are getting three of the top 10 WHL forwards next year, and perhaps one of the WHL’s best defencemen depending on how training camp shakes down, so they should have some exciting talent. Hogstrom was apparently the SHL’s best defenceman and Ehliz was one of the better DEL forwards, so there’s a lot of prospective talent coming in.

Of known AHL assets, Quine and Robinson are both pretty sturdy AHLers. Robinson hit 53 points last year, while Quine has mostly been a point-per-game AHLer, albeit having not played full time in that league for two years. Graovac has had bursts of alright-ness, and projects to be a bottom six centre in Stockton. Parsons is also likely coming up, so there’s another high ceiling prospect in the organization.

Does it offset the roster losses? I would say yes. Dube, Gawdin, and Phillips are certainly upgrades on departing CHLers Carroll and Poirier. Losing Yevenko, Glass, Pelley, and Gazdic isn’t much of a big deal: all four are one-dimensional goons. Graovac, Robinson, and Quine are all about the same as Smith, Nowick, and Findlay, so lateral moves on those fronts. The real large losses are Wotherspoon, Hrivik, and Hathaway, and it’s up to the aforementioned CHL graduates to fill those spots up.

A lot of Stockton’s season will depend on who makes the Flames out of camp. There might be a forward spot open on the big roster, and perhaps a 13/14 F spot, but the defence is looking pretty tight right now. I think Mangiapane has the best chance at getting a job out of camp, which would take away Stockton’s most dominant player, but they would get stuck with Foo and Klimchuk, which isn’t that bad. If there’s no space for Andersson, Kylington, and Valimaki in the NHL, the Heat will be very happy. Getting one of Gillies or Rittich back is also going to be helpful for the team, so they’re likely going to be loaded from back to front.

Overall, there’s a lot to like if you’re a Stockton fan. There’s a healthy amount of talent being injected into the system and with the increased NHL depth, the best of the Heat will have a hard time cracking the lineup. Having multiple players that could arguably be in the NHL is good for AHL and NHL fans alike. Everything depends on injuries, but the Heat will be a force to be reckoned with come October.

Kylington will probably make some serious noise at camp this year.

He’s consistently improving year after year (he’s only 21) and has established himself as one of the best 5v5 producers among AHL defencemen. His defensive game gets flak, but he’s quietly made improvements in that regard, too. His physical tools (he can skate) are coming along quite nicely, and his decision making is also rounding out. Not quite a finished product, but much closer than people are willing to give him credit for.

And if it comes down to Valimaki versus Kylington for Brett Kulak’s spot, the contract situation gives Kylington a bit of an advantage. Valimaki’s contract can still slide if he’s in the AHL, so playing him there gives the Flames an extra ELC year (and buys him protection from a looming 2020 Seattle expansion draft). Kylington’s contract is already running, so you might as well make use of it.

I really wouldn’t worry about demotivation. He signed a five-year ELC, so I’m sure it’s been explained to him that his development is a work in progress.

A bridge deal and a long-term extension are certainly both still on the table. Two major deals involving defencemen coming off their ELCs were signed this week: Brandon Montour received $3.387M AAV for two years and Brady Skjei received $5.25M over six years. Those two contracts are the frameworks for the eventual Noah Hanifin deal.

The Bryout opened up the possibility of a Skjei-type deal happening. The Flames would still have around $2M in cap space for the year should that deal happen. Treliving has been good with driving RFA numbers down (managed to get Elias Lindholm under the reported $5M ask he had in Carolina), so perhaps there’s a few more pennies to be saved.

But I think the Bryout was a two birds, one stone move. You can certainly fork over more money to Hanifin while he adds a few more years to the deal, but what’s most important is that it’s opened up more space for the upcoming Matthew Tkachuk extension. A Skjei deal would make a Tkachuk extension much, much harder, as the only major deal coming off the books next year is Mike Smith’s. You essentially have to re-up Sam Bennett, Tkachuk, maybe Kulak, and find a goalie for about $9M-$10M in cap space. A pretty tough ask.

So maybe a Montour-type bridge deal is still what the Flames are hammering out. If he gets two years, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Michael Stone, and Frolik will be off the books too, and you can afford to really pay Hanifin his money.

We ran the numbers, and they say Mikael Backlund.

The forward As were Sean Monahan and Brouwer, who both missed time with injury at points in the season. Monahan missed seven games after being shut down (and one before the bye week), so the A was handed off to Backlund for them. When Brouwer went down with injury, the A went to Backlund as well. So your answer is Backlund.

And I know it’s a different coach around, but it’s kind of hard not to give it to Backlund. He’s the team’s second longest tenured player behind Mark Giordano and has generally been considered a leader throughout these last few years. He’ll have the A this year, barring any surprises.

The handy SKATR Comparison tool is Nick’s toy of choice here. It basically condenses a player’s production through various metrics and measures them relative to the entire league.

Before we get to comparing, let’s answer the first question: Derek Ryan is one of, if not the, strangest NHLers around. He had a milquetoast WHL career, could only find pro work in the now-defunct United Hockey League, played CIS hockey for the University of Alberta, and then found work in Europe in Austria’s league. After plying his trade there, he got the attention of the Swedish league and spent one season there (leading the league in points) before making his way back to North America and the AHL. There, he worked his way up to being a 29-year-old rookie who played reliably and consistently in the bottom six. I can’t think of any NHLers with a career trajectory even close to that.

In Carolina, Ryan filled a need as a bottom sixer on a team that didn’t want to spend a lot of money. His rookie year was alright stuff for a third liner, but his second year is what made a reported 20 NHL teams interested in his services. Ryan jumped out to just under 40 points, posting eye-popping possession numbers for a guy in that role. Naturally, he’s drawn some comparison to Backlund, as both were analytical darlings in the bottom six.

And there’s some smoke to that. Peeking at the chart Nick provided, Ryan and Backlund are mostly similar in terms of results, but the contexts are very different. Ryan is a very sheltered player, seeing way less of the defensive zone, ice time, and competition that Backlund does (but also doesn’t get as high quality teammates). I think what this says about Ryan is what I’ve said in the previous paragraph: he’s one of the more productive players in the NHL, but almost exclusively in a depth role. If given Backlund’s workload, he’s probably not going to survive long as the 2C.

So then is Ryan likely the Flames’ third best centre? Here’s him compared to Mark Jankowski:

The usage context is about the same for Ryan and Jankowski. Both received a fair amount of sheltering, although Ryan got more icetime and higher quality teammates (though he did see slightly harder competition). The major difference is that Ryan blows Jankowski out of the water in most categories, save for individual goals and shooting.

For next season, Ryan probably starts as the 3C. Sorta because that’s what he’s paid to do, sorta because he’s a favourite of the coach, sorta because he’s thrived in a 3C role. He’ll probably see some struggles though, as he’s going from Jeff Skinner and Justin Williams to Sam Bennett and (likely) Michael Frolik as his wingers, but his short NHL career has demonstrated that he’s a pretty strong player as a 3C.

Note: This may be the last mailbag until September-ish because of all the news slowing down.

  • meat1

    The problem I see with the Gaudreau cheap shot issue is that it won’t ever be the other teams goon who does it (for one thing he won’t be on the ice while #13 is) and the code amongst goons seems to be that they don’t pick on other teams skill players. The cheap shot will likely come from a somewhat skilled player on the other team so Johnny is going to have to stand up for himself more and Monahan is going to have to toughen up a bit too. Whoever plays on their RW will need to chip in also. We truly don’t have a spot for a goon beyond a healthy scratched Prout from what I foresee.

    • supra steve

      And to add to that, what does Eric Staal do if confronted by Prout (or a Tanner Glass or Ryan Reaves)? Pretty sure he doesn’t drop the gloves and take his punishment, more likely he skates down the ice and scores.

  • MWflames

    I can’t even fathom how Karlsson to flames makes sense. From a value perspective, flames would be looking at a 1st rnd pick, probably stone and hamonic, probably our best prospect Valimaki, and another valuable asset likek mangi, dube, or parsons. Ottawa would push hard for Tkachuk (omg no).

    Flames would be depleted.

    That doesn’t even factor in the cap considerations, and Flames are tight against it as is. You can only give up that much if its a sign and trade, and idk how flames absorb EK’s future $11M contract and extend Tkachuk next year. Ottawa want out from Ryan’s huge contract too, and the flames most certainly cannot contemplate that one.

    Adding EK would be HUGE. But this just doesn’t fit.

    How hilarious would be to watch edmonton fans have a fit over an EK acquisition though! forever failing to acquire useful defencemen!

    • Kevin R

      As a 1 year rental why not? If Brodie is one of the pieces going back, we are trading a future UFA in 2 years for a waaaaay better UFA in 1 year. Gio/Karlsson pairing would be quite amazing to watch. The issue is what kind of futures are you willing to part with & I think thats what a lot of teams are struggling with or EK would have been traded by now. I could part with Kylington & we have seen Tre roll the dice with trading 1st round picks.

      I checked out Ottawa’s cap & was shocked they only have just over 6.0 mill of cap space left. I just dont see Tre going that hard after a 1 year rental. I stand by my gut that the family have sent Tre an SOS to try & get Brady the f*** out of there. One thing I know is that Tre was pi$$ed enough to make wholesale changes to coaching, buying out wasted cap & roster spot, making significant moves to purge that dressing room. I would not be surprised to see him make another huge deal if he felt it made the team better. By the end of last March I felt totally disillusioned with the coaching & betrayed by many players. So as far as Im concerned, I hope Tre is having discussions with Ottawa & go do whatever you gotta do Tre!

  • Squishin

    I agree with the writers on Frolik. Everyone’s making him out to be terrible now that he’s had an offensive down-year. I think the value of a player (and of a player’s contract) is determined by more than offensive totals. Frolik is responsible defensively, fast enough to move around the ice easily, and he busts his @ss. Top of the team in fitness? Yes please. He’s a good professional (unlike Brouwer) and has a proper work ethic. What’s not to like? He’s an okay 2RW and a great 3RW, and he’ll be slotted in the latter position this year. I’m excited for it!

  • MDG1600

    I don’t mind Frolik but I have to say I hate the use of so-called advanced stats to shore up an argument. Could the low shooting% simply be because his line had trouble generating good scoring chances? And couldn’t the low on ice save% be because his line gave up higher quality scoring chances? I had a Statistics professor once who told me that stats are like prisoners – you can beat them until they tell you what you want to hear.

      • Off the wall

        Does anyone remember that Frolik was #1 in fitness testing last season?

        He’s a professional, I’m not concerned about him one bit.

        I really don’t understand the point that we should be moving- trading him.

        Brodie has a down year too, as did others under the tutelage of GG. Coaching makes a BIG difference!

        Let’s see our players under a better coaching system before passing judgment on them…

        • Brian McGrattan's Salute

          I’m also befuddled. He is a great player. Like I’ve said previously, the guy changes his gosh dang skates every six games! He will have a bounce back year.

          Is it patience that is the issue? Or that it will be a bit tricky placing him in the lineup? His salary? I get that he’s getting older, but I think we at least got a few more years of him.

          Not to mention that he will be able to play a damn good third line role, a line which we struggled mightily with last season in most categories (scoring, penalties, defense, energy, etc. etc.).

        • Sobueno

          Now that Brouwer is gone, it hasn’t taken very long to target Frolik as the next whipping boy apparently. If he’s the biggest complaint on the team this season, I think we’ll be in good shape.

    • Burnward

      He can’t shoot the puck. Not sure if he was injured last year. But he can’t shoot the puck.

      That shooting percentage will never go up if he keeps muffin’in it like last season.

      • MontanaMan

        I agree with Burnward. Frolik is a decent PKer but he is utterly useless in the offensive zone. He couldn’t break rice paper with his shot and he’s not a threat to score when he’s on the ice. If $4.3 million is good for a defensive forward, so be it, but I’d want some offence chipped in as well. On the topic of who wears the letters, its all about leadership not tenure. Gio deserves the C; A’s should go to Monahan, Hamonic and possibly Tkachuk.

  • Getpucksdeep

    With all the players trying to share 1 puck I don’t expect everyone to have career seasons. A few fearless predictions this early in august.
    Gaudreau hits 90 points
    Backlund has a career year for assists 40
    Monahan hits 40 goals
    Tkachuk hits 30 goals
    Neal brings his 20 goals plus and Lindholm will score 50 points
    5 x 20 goal scorers on this club: Monahan, Gaudreau, Neal, Tkachuk and ? one of Gio? Lindholm? Bennett? Jankowski? Dube? Foo? Backlund? Ryan?
    10 x 10 plus goal scorers like a couple of years ago.

    Should be entertaing!

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    “The major difference is that Ryan blows Jankowski out of the water in most categories, save for individual goals and shooting.”

    Man, barring those pesky “goal” thingies The Derek Ryan almost had a clean sweep over Mark Jankowski in the analytics dept. Shoot!

    • Baalzamon

      Personally I think Jankowski and Ryan are in line for different roles. The way I see it the Flames have two offensive lines (Monahan and Jankowski) and two defensive lines (Backlund and Ryan). Yes, Ryan has been sheltered in the past, but in a secondary role I doubt he’d have an issue being utilized defensively (especially since he’ll probably be playing with Frolik).

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      I’m still on board for a second line with Janko, and generally am less of a stats person, but it does give me pause. I think its a good way to conceptualise the fact that Janko was a rookie last season, and all those little things/important things that aren’t goals, take time to learn. I am hoping that Janks can take a few steps this offseason, and dominate.

      Three big lads on the second line in Chuck-Janko-Neal? Size, skill, tenacity, drive. Can’t wait.

  • buts

    The elephant in the room is that there’s no proven backup goalie for Smith. A killer for the team if one isn’t found. Gillies and Rittich are not the answer.

  • Calgarycandle

    Still wondering who protects Johnny if there’s cheap shots? Prout can do the job IF a) he makes the team and B) is dressed. Hathaway is Chippy but last year showed he is not that great a fighter. Any thoughts?

      • Bob Hartley

        Ever since Lucic has got to EDM. Mcdavid has not missed a game. Remember the year before Lucic arrived everyone was taking a run at Connor or slashing Connor. When you have a guy or guys like this on your bench like edm does (kassian, maroon, nurse, Lucic) other teams check the lineup before a game. Don’t tell me they don’t think twice about how chippy they might play. Or think twice about taking a run at Connor. They know they will have to answer for it. Last couple of seasons it seems like teams don’t even thinks twice about slashing the sh!t out of Johnny or cross checking Mony. Not saying we need as many tough guys as EDM cause that has also made them slower. But a reaves would have been nice. You can’t except a 7d man like Prout to do all the fighting.

        • piscera.infada

          Funny, because all we’ve heard for the last two seasons out of Edmonton fans is how much McDavid gets slashed, tripped, and roughed up. It’s almost like every star player in the league gets the same treatment–as it has been for the entire history of the game.

          So, has McDavid not missed time since his rookie year because the Oilers’ lineup is tougher (retribution, yadda, yadda)? Or, is it because his major injury was more or less a freak accident, wherein he lost his balance while being hit and crashed into the boards with a player on top of him (something that, no going in the world was ever going to stop)?

          • Mickey O'Reaves

            I watched the Penguins in last year’s playoffs. I’ll go with Don Cherry on this one – Sid the Kid and Kessel were not happy campers. Crosby likely campaigned hard to get The Ryan Reaves, and then the team traded him away…


          • Bob Hartley

            So Piscera your telling me if Lucic or Kassian was on the flames that teams would still take vicious two handers at Johnny on a nightly basis? Or push Mony around? You protect your best assets. You don’t allow them to be treated that way on a nightly basis.

          • Trevy

            I was also on the Reeves bandwagon and thought it was all but a done deal, but once I found out what Vegas offered, I’m glad we passed. The man is a beast and would of definitely kept the goons to the north at bay, but the game has indeed changed and I for one am glad we didn’t overspend on a heavy weight. Don’t underestimate having a guy like Prout on the roster though. He was solid in Stockton and a great character player and team mate. If you dress him for those games that may require a little muscle at a fraction of the cost, then we’re going to be ok

          • Kevin R

            I will only agree that you are right up to when they changed rules to an instigator getting 5 & a game. I seem to think no one messed around with Gretz & Kurri when Semenko was in the line up & often playing on their wing

        • Still no edit button?

          Ummm not sure if you watched the last 2 games of BOA. Calgary took allot of shots and hits on mcdavid. No one stood up for him. They even talked about it at intermission.

          The dirty players now a days are the ones who don’t fight. Marchand, Kessler Etc. They just draw in ther other teams fighters and cause them penalties. Game has changed.

          • Brian Burkee

            Did you watch the 14 games of the BOA prior to the last 2 meaningless games of the year? Wasn’t even close. The games at the end of the year when both teams are out of it mean nothing. Even then Lucic got away with 3 right hooks on Smith.

            He fed him so many rights, Smith thought he was treaty.

        • The Fall

          The year before Lucic arrived, McD (18) skated the puck in 1 on 2, while shorthanded, with no support, and instead of dumping it in the corner, he tries to take the puck to the net and instead, skates into the end boards breaking his collar bone.

          …6 months later, they make that genius the captain.

      • ZZMiddle

        I have been reading FN for ages, but have never posted before. Have read so many uniformed posts here over the years, and just bit my tongue. But the above statement from Jagrrrr, baby has got me a little upset. Anyone who has ever played the game at a higher level than house league(jr.B, jr. A, Major Jr, ect) will tell you the fear of getting the crap beat out of you for cheap shots on the other team is real. You should see the smiles on players faces when they learn the team just brought in a tough guy. They love it. Ear to ear grins. Why? Because they just got more room to play. They feel safer, because they are safer. This is a truth of the game. Like it, dont like, its a truth. Been there, seen that. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to post folks. Now, back to being a quiet FN reader for me.

  • TheWheeze

    As far as parts of FN being worried about Gio’s age, don’t forget Chris Chelios played until he was 48. And Gio is cut from the same physical cloth. A bull. In shape. Has the DNA. I’m not worried the least bit

  • SgtRoadBlock

    if people say he lost a step and had a bad season cause he 30 ?? They maybe we sure worry to not to sign over 30 ufa for high cost long term deals….
    in the long run it holds the kids back for years or dump on the 4th line for 8mins a game…

  • everton fc

    Going after Karlsson is a Feaster move. In fact, I could see Feaster trying to get Bobby Ryan, if the Sens ate some cap. I hope BT doesn’t get suckered into a move for Karlsson. Or Ryan.

    Find a way to poach Brady from the Sens. Stone’s little brother wants out, as well. He’ll be the next to jump ship. So I can’t see our Stone wanting to go there. If we keep Stone, then Kulak may be an asset the Sens would want. Think cheap assets who can play now, when it come to the Sens. Anyone who gets Karlsson for a year will have to pay him ludicrous money, with term, next summer. We don’t need that kind of contract hanging over us like a millstone.

    I think our 1st in 2019 would be on the table, along w/a player like Kulak and/or Kylington, for Brady. I think Bennett being moved is too much for an unproven draft pick, regardless of where he was picked, and whose brother he is. The Sens will lose Brady, but there are probably a lot of teams Brady would play for (St. Louis?) if he can’t be a Flame. The Sens will look to maximize his value, obviously, for no way does he ever play in the capital city. I just can’t see it.

    Guys I’d be willing to move, for Brady (and I like Kulak);

    Ideally, Stone. But I can’t see him going there, unless his little brother says he’s committed to staying. I’d also consider Kulak, Kylington, maybe one of our young goalies (and I’d look to bring in someone like Pickard, as the replacement).

    • The GREAT WW

      My guess is that Ottawa will want a player who want to be there and are a feel good story; ie; players coming home…..

      I see 2 on the Flames that fit that bill (not including Stone);

      Bennett or Jankowski……they are both from around there and on decent contracts. They may actually be happy to be in Ottawa…..!!!!!!!!

      Who would you part with for Baby Byng?


  • FL?MES

    If Mike Smith is not re-signed next year his salary may be needed to find another starting goaltender unless Rittich or Gillies proves that they are capable. If one of these guys can earn the starting goalie spot then we could save some money on a show me deal for a season or two. Otherwise, I would guess that management is thinking ahead and have Smiths salary set aside just in case they need to go goalie shopping.

    • HOCKEY83

      Parsons will be in Stockton for a full season under this year and I think Smith would take a pay cut to extend his career one more season…cause no one else will be signing him at his age…which would give parsons an extra year in the AHL which would bring him to 23 years old at the start of the 20-21 season hopefully by that time he could be ready to play in the NHL if he works out like he’s supposed to but that still might be too early. That would be the cheapest way to go anyway. Matt Murray was outstanding in the AHL at 21. Let’s hope Parsons can pull that off. With the team they have in Stockton in front of them this season Gillies and Parsons should be able to gain the confidence to play great.

  • Chucky

    Frolik and Ryan are competing for the third line right wing job. There is no doubt that the top 6 are Gaudreau, Monahan, Neal, Tkachuk, Backlund and Lindholm. The next four are Bennett, Jankowski, Ryan and Frolik. Then there is a collection of Hathaway, Lazar, Czarnik, Foo, Mangiapane and Dube.
    It makes a lot more sense to have Frolik or Ryan as the stabilizing force on the fourth line than Jankowski or Bennett.
    If the fourth line ends up as Lazar or Maniapanie, Dube and Frolik then the PK pairings are Jankowski \ Ryan and Frolik \ Lazar.
    If Dube does not show well in training camp the third line is Bennett, Jankoski and Frolik, with the fourth line with Ryan at centre between Lazar \ Mangiapanie and Czarnik \ Foo.
    Hathaway eats popcorn and the guys who don’t make it mature in Stockton.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      I agree that the top 6 appears to be pretty locked in (though I think Bennett or Janko could reasonably make the jump up there, too, if BP gets creative).

      But I think it will be very intriguing to see what happens with the bottom six, as you’re alluding to. It was interesting to see in this article the comparison between Ryan and Jankowski. On the one hand, Ryan seems like the better fit for 3C; on the other hand, however, we want to develop Jankowski. So I am not sure what happens there. Do we also want to keep Bennett and Jankowski together, to keep building chemistry (can we imagine how awesome it would be if those two kicked it up a gear together?? That is a great second line in a few years, maybe with a Mangiapane or a Phillips…). Does Jankowski’s development get hurt from playing on the forth line, or will playing against weaker opposition do well for him?

      I agree about a stabalising force on the forth line. A line of Mangiapane/Dube-Jankowski-Czarnik would be amazing, and really fun to watch, but they would essentially all be young rookies. Frolik would be a nice touch on that line, but so too would Ryan. I also like the idea of a 3rd line with Backs-Frolik on it.


      seems like a pretty slick lineup to me. I know these lineup things can get annoying, but I also think we need to keep in mind that we do not have to follow the same general structure/game style as GG did. This means we don’t need to have a structure like we had:

      Top scoring line
      Defense/possession line
      Checking line/offense sheltered scoring depth

      We can mix up that formula (and I hope BP does!). We could have

      Elite scoring/primary offense/PP
      Secondary offense/power forward/cycle (Anaheim/SJ style?)
      Defense/possession/faceoffs/clutch moments
      Energy/tertiary scoring/youngbloods/high competition for spots

      • Styxx

        Exactly my preferred line-up for the first 3 lines …balanced scoring, defence, some grit/tenacity.

        For the 4th line I have Mangiapane ahead of Dube unless camp determines otherwise. Either way the 4th line has good potential to surprise and earn more ice time for an even flatter 4 line rotation.

        Hathaway and Prout as extras, brought in as the match-ups determine.

      • Redleader

        Flames started last season Top 5 power rankings, Trevling has done a great Job on paper ,this roster looks poised for a playoff run , not just the addition s but that Johnny and Mony , Tkachuk, Bennett,Jankowski,Kulak , Anderson,Dube,Mangy etc are all still very young and on the Rise !! Except Flames to win so easy games ,hopefully no more 3 Rd period tie sit back and wait coaching crap etc . Stockton s roster/team will be fun to follow this season too.

  • BendingCorners

    @CT, I may have asked this before but it’s August and the sun is shining on my beautiful garden so my brain is in neutral. Now that Brouwer is gone, Stone appears to be the only remaining player that is overpaid for his role. Do you think Treliving will try to move him and are there any teams out there that might want him?

    • HOCKEY83

      You don’t think at 35 years old Gio isn’t overpaid for his role. He’s getting that 6.7 until he’s 38. He’s maybe got one more season to be tradable after that The Flames are stuck with that salary. Don’t get me wrong Gio is the man and spent most of last season skating back because Hammy was constantly caught out of position but he is getting long in the tooth. I would be ok if there was some sort of a trade for Gio out there before it’s too late.

  • oddclod

    Bing finna play in Calgary, they will ask for Valimaki. Sorry a late first and Bennett ain’t gonna cut it. I say no. We got the offensive Tkachuck. Count your blessings.