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.

  • canadian1967

    But Frolik just played bad hockey last year. It looked like he lost a 1/2 step and was under too much pressure too soon and couldn’t make good decisions quick enough.
    If that continues at the start of the season he immediately becomes Brouwer 2.0.

    • Getpucksdeep

      He took a puck to the face and had a broken jaw. When he returned he had to wear a full cage. I don’t think he declined at all. By the time he returned the wheels were already falling. Backlund lost both 2nd line wingers during the last half of the year. Frolik isn’t gifted offensively however when he’s on the ice, he and his line have the puck a lot, meaning the opposition doesn’t. Great depth winger, glad we can keep him.

  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  • MDG1600

    No logic to saying that a LT deal for Hanifan makes it harder to sign Tkachuk. At the end of the day they both need to be signed so if you do a bridge with Hanifin then sign Tkachuk it is going to then be even harder to re-sign Hanifin after his bridge deal. Any way you slice it 2 or 3 years down the road the Flames need a current prospect to be playing on the cheap in the top 1/2 of the roster. UFA’s are not the long term solution to building the core of a Stanley Cup contender.

  • 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…

  • The Fall

    If Ryan is a sheltered offensive centre (who may struggle without Skinner), why saddle him with Bennet and Frolik?
    Keeping Frolik with Backs in a 2A line role but reducing the dependency on them to take every D zone start should help Fro bounce back. And giving Ryan a couple snipers as a 2B second line could keep him rolling.

    I’d prefer to see a more balanced TOI throughout the top 9.

    • Getpucksdeep

      I hope that the balance comes from the competition for spots. I think we’ll have a true 1st line, a true 2nd line anchored by Byng and 2 x 3rd lines that are interchangeable. Even with injuries they should be able to roll 4 lines all year and by spring we’ll know if guys like Bennett and Jankowski will have taken the next step.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      Yeah it’s interesting. I think Frolik could work well with Ryan on a line, but Bennett? And then breaking up backs and fro? I’m still gunning for a 2a of Chuck-Janko-Neal…but it will be interesting for sure to see what happens with these lines…

  • 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)?

          • 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.

          • 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…


          • 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

          • 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

        • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Getpucksdeep

    FWIW Hockeybuzz update says Ottawa and Calgary still talking about Karlsson! Could Tre convince Stone to go to Ottawa? As some have mentioned Bennett, with 1 year left but still an RFA, would have to be part of it. I suppose if Treliving could pull it off without too much pain it would be a coup of sorts.

        • Off the wall

          So we are taking about signing Hanifin to either:
          1. A bridge deal to take care of Byng’s contract
          2. Long term and hope that Treliving can get him to sign for a reasonable cap hit

          Where are we getting this magic money from to sign Karlsson?
          I doubt very much Treliving is going after him, especially with all the moves he’s made.

          $2M in the bank after signing Hanifin, surely doesn’t speak of anything remotely close to going after Karlsson…

    • Snitch

      First of all, the guy running that site has NEVER gotten a rumour right in his life. Secondly, EK is going to cost a boatload of players, prospects and picks. Thirdly, EK wants a pile of money and appears to want play in Tampa. Fourth, EK isn’t that great defensively. We should just stay away! What we need is a goalie.

        • JoelOttosJock

          I think adding Karlsson would weaken our d core. As another poster posted on another thread, every highlight goal scored against Ottawa, seemed to have Karlsson not only on the ice, but usually the direct cause of the goal against. I would rather see the Flames target Cody Ceci if they are planning on going after an Ottawa defender.

          • Jagrrrrr, baby. Yeah.

            EK is great offensively and pretty good defensively. The opposite of Gio who is great defensively and pretty good offensively. If they were the same age I’d rather have Gio, but given that EK is ~7 years younger I’d rather have him right now. Also, he’d be a great replacement for Dougie.
            Ceci has been buried in the D zone against top competition, and has not thrived in that area at all. I don’t want him as a Flame.

          • HOCKEY83

            If it truly were a thing…which it’s not…I would prefer they took Gio’s contract away in place of Karlsson but there’s no way Gio or Brodie would choose to be traded to Ottawa and don’t think even Stone would choose to go play in that mess regardless of his brother being there. There’s no room for Karlsson with his one year remaining salary at 6.5 let alone the 11+ mil for 10 years that he wants after this season.

        • supra steve

          Cause, when you add an all world player, the other club doesn’t often ask for or get a “future core” piece in return?
          If we don’t really want to add Karlsson, that’s fine…but this “OK, we’ll take him off your hands for this grab bag full of tweeners plus Mark Stone’s brother, plus a very good lefty who prefers the right side” stuff is just deluded. If that’s the actual price of adding Erik Karlsson, then there are 29 other clubs that will make a better offer than you are advocating.

          • BendingCorners

            With Dorion it’s hard to tell, but so far his trades have been for players that cost less rather than for futures. If that continues then Karlsson for Brodie and Stone is the kind of trade he would make, if Treliving also took back another salary (Ceci? Yuck) so Dorion’s total payroll went down. I would love to see Karlsson in Flames silks but I don’t see a way to do it under the cap. Plus of course Karlsson would have to want to come to Calgary. Sadly I don’t believe it will happen.

    • Bob Hartley

      Haven’t you been reading the articles? Flames are in cap trouble. Next year it gets worse with Chucky needing a contract and ONLY Smith coming off the books. How could the flames all of a sudden find 12
      Million in cap space for Karlsson? This would mean one of Johnny, Mony or Chucky would have to be going back the other way. And some.

  • BendingCorners

    The bottom six this year will be fine. With Bennett, Frolik, Jankowski and Ryan the team has four 3rd line players. With Czarnik, Foo, Mangiapane and whoever else (Shore maybe?) they have four good 4th liners. Plenty of depth and good options when a top six forward is injured.
    Key question: Are the top six good enough to win a Cup? Yes? No?

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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).

  • 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!

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      Was thinking the other day how I think Kulak still has a higher ceiling than folks are giving him credit for. I’d still like to see him in the lineup. Maybe him Andersson and Stone can switch up for the 3rd pairing.

      With all of our great defence, I just don’t see a need for prout outside of a game here and there for toughness/the oilers

      • HOCKEY83

        At 22 years old this season I don’t believe the Flames are looking at placing Andersson full time in the line up. I think he’ll only see ice time if someone gets injured. But I do agree with you that Kulak has a higher ceiling than what he gets credit for. Stone or Kulak could still be involved in a trade before the season starts…so anything can happen. Stone and Kulak are a damn good third pairing.

    • BendingCorners

      It does to me. Unless Andersson somehow makes a mess of things in training camp, he should be in the regular lineup. I’ve been assuming all along that Prout would be in Stockton.

  • Styxx

    Re Ottawa
    Erik Karlsson and White or Chlapik FOR Brodie, Stone and Bennett or Frolik, plus a 2nd if EK re-signs


    • Kevin R

      Problem with this is that Ottawa would be adding 3.5Mill to their cap more & 6.0mill more if it were Frolik. They only have 6.0 mill of cap space left & they not wanting to spend to the cap under Melnyk. It would have to be Bennett & Brodie & probably a good prospect like Kylington + we would have to relinquish our 2019 1st + a conditional pick if we resign EK. At least the salary $$$s would be about even.For that package Brady Tkachuk better be coming back with EK or I hang up.

      • Styxx

        Believe the difference is $2.3M or $4.6M. That said expected future cost is far heavier on the Flames side.

        From an Ottawa perspective all 3 are cost-controlled, with Brodie & Stone for 2 years.

        I view the trade as Ottawa retaining either one of their two stars…Karlsson or Stone, with Stone the liklier candidate to stay, especially if his brother is on the team. This is one of the sole reasons why Ottawa may prefer to do a deal with Calgary, forcing Mark to leave his brother next year.

        So a top 4 and 3rd pairing defencemen, plus a 4th overall pick for a $11M salary dump and a young unproven 1st or 2nd rounder. Mix’n match other minor pieces and it may be a deal. Issue is whether we are prepared to give our 1st and I would be extremely hesitant as our 2019 picks and prospect pool are already very slim.

        • Kevin R

          Yeah I know, I am more intrigued that the talks are with Ottawa but really dont want to give up the futures to get EK. Just as soon pass, but Dorian is a goof & if we can can get a great deal, it would be like ok, pinch me LOL

        • Trevy

          I don’t think anyone really read the whole Eklund blog regarding the Karlsson rumours. He’s saying that Ott is now resorting to shopping Karlsson as a rental. Using this tactic, he’s trying to cause a bit of a bidding war, since any team that wants him long term, wants to obviously trade on the condition of him signing long term. Everyone knows Tampa has the best shot at getting EK as a free agent after this season, so teams are now offering trades based on a rental. This is why Treliving is looking into it like everyone else cause he comes pretty cheap for his remaining year. Realistically, there’s no way we can afford to sign an $11million dman after this season with the financial constraints we are going to face

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    People don’t want to just let me live on this blog, and there’s been reposting of past comments. Fine. I’m in.

    Here’s one that Walter made that was defended by OTW, [email protected] and Stajan’s final contract and not deleted by the writer’s here!

    “No kidding; Fischer would be a great pick up! But he is not exactly seen as a bust now, is he?

    Why is it that every time a black player comes up for trade, he always has “personal issues”….?

    Are black hockey players a-holes?
    Or are we all a bunch of racist a-holes…?

    (Asking for a friend…)


    I mean, WOW.

    OTW, care to defend that AGAIN?

      • Off the wall

        Since you are asking a fair question, I’ll respond. Otherwise, I have no time for you.

        I’m going to put this in very SIMPLE terms BTF.

        You are entitled to your opinion.
        Full stop.
        When you drag others into your foray, you’re just asking for trouble. You have no idea whether that was a racist remark any more than I do. If you can read minds or the intention of another person, you would have the “right” to address that.
        I’m sure Walter in NO WAY meant it the way you interpreted it, but interpretations are subjective, aren’t they?

        WW was banned due to your interpretation and you don’t hear him crying, do you?

        If indeed, you really think WW is racist, then perhaps this isn’t the forum for you. Maybe you should be in politics. There’s lots of room for rich folk like you, who have agendas that fulfill their needs.

        Otherwise, just let it go.

        I won’t respond to any other questions, I made my point.
        Be a grown up and do yourself a favour and drop it. It will be better for your mental health and ours!


        • StajansFinalPaycheck 3.5

          Seriously wtf is wrong with this guy? I dont remember at anytime defending racist comments. BTF is what is refered to as a snowflake and is butt hurt with everything that is not as he feels it should be. Plus the screen name is Stajansfinalpaycheck not “contract” snowflake.

        • Off the wall

          It’s obvious that you’re upset BTF. So I’ll say this only once;

          “I’m sorry I upset you.”Please be a man and accept my apology.
          Let’s move on..

    • BendingCorners

      I think it was deleted, and WW’s posts were put on a time delay for a few weeks. The answers (“from a friend”) in sequence would have been … racism, no, somewhat.
      His observation was in any case objectively incorrect – Phaneuf and Hamilton are very obviously white, and were both shipped out under a cloud of aspersions about their attitude and character. To some extent so was Brett Hull, all those years ago. Managers trade away good players and cover it with smoke.
      Anyway, it’s August. Can we just relax and avoid serious subjects for a while? The Senators are good for a laugh, and the Stampeders are good for a cheer.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      Nah, people attack me and this is what happens when I’m fed up with it. From now on anyone who attacks me with a post that has nothing to do with hockey gets attacked back. If people want to smear sh!t all over the comments section of a blog I’m going to as well.

      Or the writer’s could step in because they know I’m not the cause of this and defend me like they should.

      But I think they share the same view as Walt and everyone else.

      • Off the wall

        I think it’s time for ALL of us to STOP this insanity!

        I’m the first one to say I haven’t been exemplary as a FN member.

        I’ve had my bad moments and I’ve been corrected —more than once. That’s fine, if I deserve it, I take the punishment.
        If someone wants to take a poke at me, that’s fine. I don’t get upset by it. But …others do get upset.

        And I don’t think it’s fair to be Bullying’ either. You may not think of it as bullying , however why are we so quick to jump on (one) a person?

        Taken from stop bullying;
        “Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose”
        That’s bullying by definition.

        We all love the same team, we are all are fans.We have different opinions, but the same hopes.

        Time for ALL of us to “smarten up” It starts with ME first!!

  • JoelOttosJock

    Gaudreau Bennett Neal
    Tkchuck Monahan Lindholm
    Mango Backlund Ryan
    Lazar Janko Czarnik
    Hathaway, Foo, or Dube could steal a spot. Trading Frolik opens a spot for Mango that isnt on the fourth line, and by playing with Backlund he will not have to be as defensively responsible.

  • Fan the Flames

    Ottawa has run out of dance partners. The are going to lose Stone and Karlsson next year for nothing . If they wait the value goes down more . I could see Mark Stone as a part of a deal to give them a RD back . Calgary would part with Bennett but never Tkachuk . If a trade is made it’s to take a run at the cup next year because Karlsson will go where the money is next summer.

  • Styxx

    What kind of deal would Treliving do to get Brady Tkachuk?

    Bennett and Michael Stone (to entice Mark Stone to sign next year) in return for Brady Tkachuk and a 3rd?

    • Jagrrrrr, baby. Yeah.

      Just a guess, but I think OTT is going to want to keep its future picks and good prospects. Their only hope right now is a rebuild based on prospects and drafting. They’re gonna want to gain picks, not give them up.
      But… I’m not Dorion or Melnyk, and who really knows what those dudes are up to.