Because we didn’t get that many questions.
Who are Flames most worried about losing in Seattle expansion draft? Or is too early to be thinking about this?
— Charlieyyc (@Charlieyyc1) May 18, 2019
Like what @Charlieyyc1 asked but opposite: Is there any bad Flames contact Seattle might take off Treliving's hands?
— Ian (@ianberg) May 18, 2019
Well, it is indeed too early to think about this stuff. The roster is going to change a bit from now until 2021, so everything that I’m writing now could be incredibly dated by the time we reach 2021. Knowing Brad Treliving, it could be dated by this year’s draft weekend.
But let’s just make some assumptions so we can answer the questions:
- The Flames don’t trade any of their players signed beyond 2021. This is Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm, James Neal, Mikael Backlund, Derek Ryan (UFA 2021, so still eligible to be selected but wouldn’t count for exposure requirements), Dillon Dube, Mark Giordano, Noah Hanifin, Juuso Valimaki, and Matthew Phillips.
- We’ll also assume they sign 2019 RFAs Matthew Tkachuk, David Rittich, Sam Bennett, and Andrew Mangiapane, and 2020 RFAs Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington, Mark Jankowski, Tyler Parsons, and Glenn Gawdin. The rest of the prospect pool is either exempt (two years or fewer in the NHL/AHL) or probably won’t be signed.
- They’ll also probably add a forward that will be signed beyond 2021 and can be exposed. There’s rumours out there, but nothing confirmed yet, so we’ll call him Zason Jucker for the time being.
Based on these assumptions, we have our groundwork.
Gaudreau, Monahan, Lindholm, and Tkachuk are certainly protected. Based on how well they’re performing as they get into their 30s, Backlund and Zason Jucker could be protection worthy also. Ryan could be the seventh forward protected, providing he continues to be a 30-40 point C, but he’ll have to hold off just in case Bennett finally breaks through. I don’t think Neal will be able to redeem himself, so he’s exposed. Jankowski, Mangiapane, Phillips, and Gawdin may put up cases to be protected, but that’s one of those things we won’t figure out until 2021.
So there’s no worry on the forwards end. The Flames will be able to protect their essential players and expose a bad contract or two (kudos to Treliving for not handing out NMCs). There might be a promising youngster that could be selected, but it’s small potatoes compared to what they’re protecting. There’s also two upcoming drafts of exempt players, so it’s not as if they can’t easily replace them.
Defence is tougher, and where the Flames might get hurt in 2021. It would be very hard to leave Giordano exposed, but given his age and the need to protect players like Hanifin, Valimaki, Andersson, and Kylington, the Flames might have to make a decision. I don’t think there’s any situation where Giordano gets exposed, but that leaves one of their up-and-coming elite defenceman exposed.
Where do u see Dillon Dube on the Flames next year? And at what position?
— Mitchell Bader (@bader_mitchell) May 18, 2019
I think he’s made the Flames next season. Dube’s NHL stint was rough, physically at times, but overall it wasn’t that bad. His AHL time didn’t leave any questions about where he belongs.
What position he’ll play is an interesting question. He’s listed as a C, but he’s rarely played that at the professional level. Based on game day data, he only played there four times this season, exclusively within the first ten games of the year when the team was figuring things out. Dube started as a LW 13 times this season, and that’s where he would start from October onwards.
But necessity might dictate that he gets some RW time. The Flames are pretty loaded at LW, with Gaudreau, Tkachuk, Bennett, and Mangiapane currently occupying those spots. The RW is struggling, with Lindholm, Michael Frolik/Zason Jucker, Neal, Garnet Hathaway, and Austin Czarnik. Hathaway may not be with the team next season, so that could potentially be the open spot for Dube.
Do you see Brodie in a Flames uni next year
— Calgary Flames Coverage (@Flames_Coverage) May 18, 2019
To put an arbitrary number to it, I’ll say there’s a 70% chance TJ Brodie remains a Flame next season.
The issue, as it is with trading any key piece of the roster, is who do you replace them with? Andersson has been touted as the future #1 RHD, a projection that is certainly not far off, but to bet that he’ll be there by October is a pretty huge leap. The team probably wants a fail-safe in case he isn’t ready. As the roster stands right now, they don’t have that.
The free agent RHD market is either too expensive, too old, or just bad, so nothing doing there. The trade market is unpredictable, but I feel teams aren’t willing to do a straight swap of first pairing defencemen. The point of trading Brodie is to address weaknesses in the forward unit while allowing younger players to fill his spot on the back end. The Flames can live with Brodie on the first pairing if a trade like that doesn’t materialize. Trading him for another defenceman doesn’t really fix the logjam on defence, and I can’t imagine there’s a team that would trade a younger, similar defenceman for an older one on an expiring contract.
The 30% is if they can swing a deal for a top six forward or a reliable goalie. If they can make a deal where they offset the loss of Brodie and emerge as clear winners, he’s a goner.
Can the Flames offer anything Maple Leafs might want for Kapanen? This year's 1st rounder and Hamonic?
— kingcambie (@kingcambie) May 19, 2019
I wouldn’t trade that for Kasperi Kapanen.
The kid has some talent; he’s fast and a good PKer. But he’s had one pretty good NHL season, and he got to spend the majority of it with Auston Matthews as his centre, something that frustrated Leafs fans because Kapanen was an incredibly streaky player (10 goals in the first month and a half of the season, 10 over the rest of the season despite playing with Matthews). That raises a few red flags, as Calgary does not have Auston Matthews, or the patience for someone who can’t consistently contribute.
Kapanen’s underlying numbers are decent enough to suggest that he would work in Calgary, but remember that he’s an average player who works best as a complimentary piece. The Flames could use that, but that’s not something worth paying up for. If Toronto needs to move out Kapanen to survive cap hell, then Toronto is in a position of weakness here.
Which players currently on the team do you not see returning next season?
— Calgaryfan (@Ogie488) May 19, 2019
Mike Smith is probably gone, but he’s still in their back pocket as a goalie option in case they can’t find another goalie. Garnet Hathaway is in the same boat. The team did just go a whole season with those two, so they’re players they know and players who could come cheap enough, but they’re still definitely replaceable. If those two manage to escape the off-season without someone signing them, and the Flames still have enough cap room remaining, I could see them back.
If you would like a non-boring answer, I could see Austin Czarnik, Sam Bennett, and/or Mark Jankowski wearing different jerseys to start the season. Czarnik didn’t really fit in with the roster, and if there were 19 other teams looking at him last season, a deal could be made. Bennett has been stuck in neutral for the past three years and could be sold as someone who needs a change of scenery, which could reap a few decent assets. Jankowski has been usurped by Ryan as the 3C in most areas of the game and could probably fetch an interesting return as a young-ish guy. I’m not completely sold that the Flames move on from any of these players, but I’m not counting it out.
The Flames are probably stuck with Neal for at least next season, in case you’re wondering. Again, the market is unpredictable, but I think the Flames are at peace with him being on the roster for 2019-20.
Will Foo ever come up
— Ethan (@wfniw) May 18, 2019
No, he’s done.
Spencer Foo’s college career and his professional career were very different. In college, he showed that he could be an offensive playmaker, even in the years where he didn’t have eye popping numbers. At Union College, Foo was one of the best primary contributors all three seasons, and when he finally received the ice time he deserved, he exploded.
In Stockton, he couldn’t find that same gear. He was a top six option both years but rarely did anything with it. He’s a good power play player at the AHL level, but not at much else. Those players are a dime a dozen, and the Flames want to keep as many spots open for younger prospects.
Would the Flames trade their 26th pick with a team with a team in the top 5 picks, along with a roster player/prospect? And what you give up? Czarnik?
— jake (@jakethesnail) May 19, 2019
I think trading into the top five is an impossibility.
You have New Jersey and the Rangers with the first two picks, who aren’t going to move down from Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko. There’s very little you can offer these two teams to step away from players who could be elite players on their ELCs.
Picks three and four are Chicago and Colorado, who are lucky to have those picks and probably won’t move either. Even though there’s a bit of a gap in talent between second and third overall, the Blackhawks and Avs are still going to wind up with great players who will come cheap. For teams that are in the playoff mix, adding some of those is never a bad idea. You’d really have to offer a lot to get them to move down, and if so, what’s the point for the Flames. Move NHL assets for a guy who might replace him in two or three years? Fifth overall is the Kings, who need any help they can get and are certainly not moving.
Trading into the six through 10 range isn’t all that appealing given the cost. I’m sure that teams wouldn’t mind moving down, especially if it comes with an NHL asset, but the payoff really isn’t worth it. If the Flames trade their first round pick, it’s likely for a player already in the NHL.