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FlamesNation mailbag: After the draft

If you had the Calgary Flames pegged as going into the draft, only using the five picks they had, and then leaving with some nice boys, congratulations on your insider scoop. For those of you with some questions lingering, we’re here for you.

That would be decidedly not fun. There aren’t many worse ways to start off Matthew Tkachuk’s new contract. Sam Bennett and Tkachuk clearly have some off-ice chemistry and it would be fun to see it develop into some on-ice productivity, but throwing an anchor on to their line when the Flames have better, cheaper options internally would raise some red flags. The Flames can’t offload James Neal, it’s not like they’re actively seeking more of the same, if not someone who has declined much more rapidly. Plus, we’d have to cheer for Corey Perry. It was difficult enough doing that when he was on Team Canada. No, thank you.

Hindsight always looks much better, but this question makes it sound like Micheal Ferland was traded so that James Neal could be brought on. This was not the case, and the only player we can really attribute leaving to Neal is Troy Brouwer, thanks to ownership okaying the buyout. There’s a chance that Neal could still rebound, and also he’s not the worst contract for the Flames right now. Also, if you don’t think some teams with bad ownership will absolutely spend close to as much on Ferland as the Flames did on Neal, you have a lot more faith in NHL general managers than they deserve. Ferland is very good and I personally miss him very much, but someone is going to overpay for him because that’s how free agency works.

Not particularly, especially if we think about the trade at the time. Sure, Elias Lindholm’s breakout season was amazing, but that was a gamble made by the Flames, and not a sure thing. It shouldn’t be factored into whether or not it was a good price at the time of the trade. Adam Fox had a lot more value at the time, and he could still blossom into a great pickup for the New York Rangers. Just because the Flames knew they couldn’t sign him doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have tried to milk some more value out of him. Think back to when Dion Phaneuf had to be traded from the Flames. Darryl Sutter took basically the first available package for him because he had to go, which was an irresponsible maneuver. Just because Phaneuf fell off a cliff and Matt Stajan ended up staying with either team the longest doesn’t mean that the trade was an absolutely awful one at the time. Just because trades work out differently years down the road doesn’t mean that prices become better or worse, they just become easier to swallow.

FlamesNation is decidedly Team Young and Fresh, not Team Follow Back.

I’m willing to bet money that there were several defenders that the Flames coveted from the draft, but there’s only so much you can do when you have draft picks in five of the seven rounds. Yes, the run of forwards that Brad Treliving and Co. drafted between Juuso Valimaki and Dustin Wolf was a rather long one, but that doesn’t mean that the Flames were exclusively scouting forwards during that time. They just drafted who they felt was the best pick at the time.

Everything is possible in this life.

      • Kevin R

        I 4th this. & I get roasted when I suggest this but to me, I would package Neal & Kyllington to Ottawa for Anderson & fine maybe we can get Dorian to throw in a 2020 2nd round pick. Why would I give up Kyllington? Because I dont think Neal is going to rebound & this is going to be an immovable contract. We get a credible 1B to back up Rittch & we wind up having almost 17.0 mill cap space to resign Chucky, Benny, Rittch & Magpie. We will even have money to dabble a bit, whether we bring in an upgrade in a Brodie deal or we wait for some of these older UFA’s who are getting cap crunched out & we score a bargain basement deal on a guy like Simmonds to add grit to a 3rd line & PP. Also, with Valamaki, Hanifin & Andersen, we dont have too much room to protect too many D at the expansion draft. Roast away but the cost to dump 4 more years of Neal is going to leave an after taste similar to the Leafs having to furball a 1st rounder to move 1 year of 6.25 mill.

        • SeanCharles

          I wish everyone would stop suggesting the trading of Kylington.

          We need to offload Brodie and Stone is not part of the plans.

          Who does that leave?: Gio, Hamonic, Hanifin, Andersson, Valimaki, Kylington and Yelesin (hasn’t proven anything at the NHL level).

          Keep him. We have 2 full seasons of development and showing his worth before expansion.

          Why are we not hanging onto these cheap and NHL capable dmen?

          • Jeremy

            There is another important part of the trade Kyllington that everyone is overlooking.
            In 2 years we can protect 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goalie.
            Jonny, Money, Backs, Benny,Chucky, Lindholm and Dube.
            Hannafin, Andersson, Valamaki.
            No place for Kyllington or Gio.
            One of them is likely gone.
            So get something for the kid is my opinion.

          • Albertabeef

            Ya Jeremy but we can make deals like throw them a draft pick to take Neal in the expansion draft. Deals can always be made. We got lucky with Vegas and them taking a UFA we were not planning to re-sign. Anything is possible.

        • MDG1600

          Kevin R – I would do your suggested trade in a heartbeat but I can’t see Ottawa going for it. When it comes to offloading Neal everyone is going to throw Calgary and anchor – not a life preserver…

        • HOCKEY83

          Picking up old burnt out 38 year old no talent anderson just to get rid of Neal and add Kyllington to boot…as I said yesterday when you posted this …this is a punishment not a salary dump. Funny you think he would throw in a pick when in fact he doesn’t need this deal. he’s also be asking for the flames first over all pick. Anderson…credible…That’s funny.One of the worst goalies in the NHL over the last 2 years…might as well offer smith a new contract. All of this just to gain 1 million towards the cap. How do you figure the flames gain 4 mil in that deal.

    • FLT

      Stone is the only realistic possibility. As mentioned in the article , Neal had a disastrous year but at least he has a chance of rebounding. Expecting anything productive out of Stone seems irrational.

      OR I guess it could be Troy Brouwer’s contract…if that counts?

      • MDG1600

        I actually disagree with this – Stone was injured all last year and the year prior he added more value to the d corp than Neal ever did to the forward group. I get that Stone is a bit slow for todays game but he is actually decent on the PK , plays physical and everyone forgets he has a real cannon for a shot. He is also 2 or 3 years younger than Neal.

      • HOCKEY83

        What’s your proof that there is no possible way that Stone could be productive. Why doesn’t Stone have an equal chance to rebound over Neal. Stone was injured last season. What was Neal’s excuse. Stone is one of the flames top hitting players on the team. It was a big mistake not playing him in the playoffs last season.The Flames have one of the softest D corps in the league as far as hits go when Stone is not playing. I hope we see him next season.

    • Luter 1

      First thing I thought after reading this plus this plug is not rebounding unless he’s willing to play his heart out on the third line, which I have no confidence he is willing to do. Worst contract, attitude and player on the team.

  • wot96

    Dunno about the middle three picks but I like the first and the seventh round picks the Flames made.

    Just say no to Perry. I couldn’t cheer for him even as a Flame.

  • redwhiteblack

    “…throwing an anchor on to their line..” Re Perry’s underlying numbers bad?

    “I am the pesky in your face player who goes to the dirty areas to score. That’s who I am” said Perry. I get that reclamation projects are usually a bad investment, but no one else on this team has that as their mission statement.

    • Baalzamon

      Nikolayev was widely considered (rightly or wrongly) a first round talent so I’d say getting him in the third round is pretty good. Feuk is a decent bet the Flames have made a couple times to mixed results (fits the same archetype as Lindstrom and Sveningsson). Nodler is whatever, but he’s probably the best 5th round pick the Flames have made in some time (for some reason the Flames habitually make poor choices in the 5th round).
      Honestly this draft class looks pretty good as of draft weekend. Obviously they’re not all going to work out, but there isn’t a Zach Fischer or Mitchell Mattson you can point at and say “that was a bad pick”

    • Budgie

      I think Perry will end up being signed for too much money, he might be hurt if Anaheim bought him out. Could be underlying medical issues. I wonder why a top 6 player in Anaheim was dropped so abruptly, perhaps they are in on a free agent like Ducshene

        • Budgie

          That makes sense, he is 34 and makes over 8 million, he was hurt with a knee injury and had surgery, out 5 months, Anaheim may have had enough of paying him 8 million and may get re-injured easily, knees are like that, they swell even after successful surgery

      • HOCKEY83

        He’s old and they need cap space to sign their younger players. Who would you give up old useless Perry or old still in the game getzlaf. Not a hard choice. I could see a team like edmonton taking a flyer on Perry. He’s getting paid by anaheim so he will sign for a mil anywhere and edmonton needs cheap up front skill if they can get it even if it is perry

  • Off the wall

    My solution to the Flames?
    Gaudreau must change his jersey number. 13 is bad luck.
    Since he had 99 points, I suggest he changes it to…

    Can we piss off the Oilers more?!

  • SeanCharles

    Seems like the Flames did pretty well for what picks they had..

    I dont disagree with the strategy but it is disappointing to see the forwards we drafted are primarily LHed.

    Definatly draft best player available but mang we are loaded with lefthanded forwards.

    Seems like Wolf was a great add for a 7th.

  • Kevin R

    Nathan I cant disagree with you more about that trade opinion. Flames stole this one even more given what is happening with RFA’s contracts. To get not one but two 5th OA with the pedigree & ceilings we got & both were 23 & younger & to get them signed to 6 year extensions for under 5.0 mill per is huge. When I see Hayes getting 7.1 mill for 7 years, boy did we score.
    If the RFA contract explosion landscape happened last summer, no way Tre could have even considered signing Neal. Sorry, I have very very low expectations Neal is going to rebound. This will be acid reflux filled next 4 years when we mention his contract.

    • FLT

      I think Nathan’s assessment was solely from the perspective of valuing the trade at the time, regardless of anything that happened afterward.

      Fox telling the Flames he wouldn’t sign makes that trade tough to assess – arguably a prospect of his caliber should have got more of a return, but refusing to sign reduces his value. Whether his decision/preference was common knowledge throughout the league, and how much that affected his value, is something that we don’t know from the outside looking in.

      • Kevin R

        Isnt that kind of his basis of opinion though is that Carolina got a 2nd & 3rd for Fox after the fact. Carolina must of had an inclining of what Hanifin & Lindholm would have signed for. What we got for extensions way out weighs that 2nd & 3rd Carolina got for Fox IMO.

      • HOCKEY83

        At the time the flames got 2 young fifth overall prospects already playing in the NHL for a 9th overall top D and a 133rd overall just ok forward plus a 66th overall decent college player who hasn’t proven a thing yet in the NHL. Flames won that trade from the get go. All it is is Nathan’s own opinion of the deal. doesn’t mean he’s right. Lindholm alone almost tied Hamilton and ferland’s season totals for last season. they got 79 he got 78. Hanifan was gravy.

    • Off the wall

      Here’s a list for ya Kevin. I might have tried these..
      omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid)
      lansoprazole (Prevacid)
      rabeprazole (Aciphex)
      pantoprazole (Protonix)
      esomeprazole (Nexium)
      dexlansoprazole (Dexilant)

      If that doesn’t work, then buy Pepto in a Keg! Why is it pink?

    • Albertabeef

      If you look at that trade just as draft values we got a steal of a deal. We gave up 9th overall, 66th and 133rd for two #5th’s. Any GM would love a draft day steal like that(if it were).

    • deantheraven

      I think the current cooling trend in the trade winds reflects GM’s and owners tightening up. Don’t be surprised if this year’s UFA contracts are a tad more reasonable than in past years.
      Panarin, Duchene, Pavelski. Anders Lee and Nyquist top the list of UFA forwards available. Panarin is the only one to score >70 points and be under 28. Nobody worth more than 5-6 mil.
      RFA’s seem to be where the trend is nearing a peak and that’s likely due to the compensation required to pry one away from his rights holders.
      My guess is the next “big shocking number” is an RFA, not a UFA. The league is moving in a younger and cheaper direction for the next CBA.

      • HOCKEY83

        It’s nice to say what you think they should be worth but you can’t truly believe Panarin Bobrovsky duchene. Guys like these are getting between 8-10 for sure

  • Just.Visiting

    I’ve always wondered if Fox had been in discussion as part of the Hamonic trade given that he’s from New York State and whether that would have let the Flames keep their two second that they included in the deal.

    It was a very deep draft this year and a lot of variance in opinion on the potential of players in the 20-65 area.

    I was particularly surprised that Leason fell as far as he did, and would have liked the Flames to have had a second round pick for him, as he is more mature and checks some boxes the Flames need.

    • cjc

      It would be awesome to see Andersson extended long term before he goes RFA next year, but it’s probably not going to happen. Has Treliving ever extended an RFA before their contract expired? The good news is that there should be >11 million in defenseman salary coming off the cap next year.

  • Budgie

    Neal-5.75 mil (four yrs.) Brodie 4.65, Stone 3.5, Frolik 4.3=18.2 million

    Cap Space is needed- to sign Rittich, Bennett, Hathaway, Mangiapanne,Tkachuk and a new Goalie. Andersson should also be re-signed now. New prospects have to be signed to contracts.

    Calgary needs to move the big 4 Cap Eaters for 18.2 million Cap Space

    Dube and Valamaki can come up to replace Frolik and Brodie
    Kylington and Fatenburgh are depth signings-Prout?

    Tkachuk-6 mill? I’d prefer 5 mill over 8yrs.
    There is definitely going to be some trades to deal with the Cap issue

    • Trevy

      Wow, that would be ideal in a perfect hockey world. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but Frolik on his own probably won’t fetch a whole lot and would need a sweetener. Hence the failed Zucker trade. Brodie will fetch something on his own merit. Stone will be a buyout in the best case scenario. Neal will never be traded unless we package him up with a big sweetener, see Marleau trade. This is a big, big year for Neal as his trade value right now is very low, so now you keep him and hope it was a one off and he bounces back this season so his value now goes up a bit. Then try again, if it doesn’t, then we have our own Lucic if not already. Tkachuk at that salary will never, ever happen. Think more in the high 7 to mid 8 range, even on a short deal. Tre has his work cut out for him and I’m really curious how he’s going to maneuver out of this one, based on what we’ve seen at the draft interns of trades and the new salary cap

      • cjc

        And look at the Marleau trade – a lottery protected first rounder is what it cost. If Carolina doesn’t buy him out, they still only have to pay him for a year.

        What would you have to sacrifice to move Neal who was 1-Less productive than Marleau last year; 2-signed for four more years instead of one; 3-only costs 500K less than Marleau.

    • cjc

      “I’d prefer 5 mill over 8yrs”

      Did you mean 8 million over 5? There is no way he comes in with a salary with an AAV less than 7 mil.

      They will not be able to move Neal or Stone. I don’t think they’ll move Brodie – they haven’t done it yet and he is still good value at 4.65. Frolik might get traded yet.

      • Budgie

        Tkachuk is a great player with a future I agree he will likely get 6, Gadreau gets 6.75, and I doubt Tkachuk would be worth more than Gadreau. Personally I would like to see a long term at 5 million with incentives, Backlund’s salary is the comparison I use.

        • Cfan in Van

          Budgie, a couple fundimental aspects of NHL contracts you’re not getting here. This contract isn’t about paying Tkachuk for his production last year, it’s about projecting his value over the span of the contract (based on his age/trajectory). Backlund has peaked, so what we’re paying him doesn’t apply to Tkachuk’s trajectory. Gaudreau signed right before the 16/17 season, and we payed him 9.2% of the salary cap at the time. With the cap at 81.5M this year, that would make a $7.5M salary. 5M is ludicrous.

          • Budgie

            I understand, Tkachuk will likely get 6.75, same as Johnny Hockey but I don’t think a long term 5 million a year contract is ludicrous especially if its 8 yrs the max allowed, he will likely get a 2 or 3 yr. bridge deal with incentives. The risk is Tkachuk could end up getting huge money after the bridge deal and the long term deal banks on Tkachuk being a long-term producer and healthy. Both have risks. A bridge deal would be likely with Cap issues. Calgary has almost 13 million in projected Cap Space, a couple of moves would free up more-say Brodie, and Frolik-there is another 8 million. I like both players but Dube and Valamaki can step in.

        • deantheraven

          There’s that ‘I’-word again. I really wish they could restructure contracts to allow teams to pay young players for current performance, not past success or future possibilities. I count 4 current Flames players who had career years in non-contract years: Johnny, Monny, Lindy and Gio. Those are your keepers.

        • HOCKEY83

          What incentives? There is no performance money allowed at his age. Gaudreau is worth more than gaudreau gets paid. Unfortunate for him he signed 3 years ago. No different than Mackinnon and Rantanen. Rantanen is going to get way more than Mackinnon. 7 For tkachuk long term would be a great deal if they can do it.

    • cjc

      Doesn’t fix Toronto’s cap issues, or Calgary’s. None of those players will become the star that Nylander is. However, it’s probably the least insane proposal being thrown out here.

      • everton fc

        Kylingon and Jankowski don’t hurt the Leafs, capwise. Adding Bennett, to me, is too much. The Leafs are somewhat screwed. I don’t see them in the driver’s seat, on any moves.

  • Derzie

    We need more a-holes. We are flush with nice guys. When a name comes up (like Perry), my first reaction is ‘for the love of all that is holy, no!’

    Maybe I’m wrong on this. No one is handing out Brad Marchands or the heavy forwards that the Blues have. We tried to get Ryan O’Reilly and almost lost the farm doing it. He’s what we needed though so kudos to Feaster & Weisbrod. We need some guys that drive through Timmie’s walls. Are on ‘most hated players’ lists (although O’Reilly seems like a real solid human). Like Perry but with some more in the tank. We need some (but not too many) arrogant jerks or we won’t get to the promised land. Chucky is a lite-version of a jerk. More about skill and getting people riled up than following through on the physical side.

  • sRo

    I have a comment, and it’s not going to be a popular one. Neal was signed to that contract to be the winger who could finish when Gaudreau set him up. He was a consistent 20-30 goal scorer. He can finish, that’s it. They also made the trade for Lindholm. Suddenly he exploded and that line had to be kept together. No complaints about that. Now, everyone complains that Neal was a waste. What did you expect? They play him on a checking line. He can’t skate, can’t defend. Why was everyone surprised that he wouldn’t do anything? I’m sorry, this totally is the fault of management. Why would give that contract to such a one dimensional player? If thing didn’t work out on the first line, you’re screwed. Where do you play him? Lindholm absolutely earned that spot. What was Peters supposed to do? 100% Treliving’s fault.

    • Trevy

      While that is true, it now is what it is. Primarily a failed attempt at Neal maintaining a top six forward. At this point, based on your comments, I would play him mainly on the power play. He’s not going to carry the play, but surely over 10 yrs of scoring that many goals, he can start popping in a few on the pp where he won’t have to skate as much. Maybe that’ll stir his confidence back to life and then take it from there

      • HOCKEY83

        Not only that his timimg was way off last season. You can’t say he didn’t have a ton of chances he whiffed on. Either it was just an off year and didn’t really have the time to train as he said after a long playoff run the season before or he truly is done in the NHL. We shall see this coming season.

    • Luter 1

      Sorry but his hands followed his legs and they are both gone. No way he’s top 6 and Tre brought him in to also add some abrasiveness which he refused to provide. Off to Siberia with him I say.

  • BendingCorners

    I wonder what Neal is doing this summer and how closely the Flames are monitoring his progress. If he isn’t using a skating coach, a checking coach, a cardio coach and a hand-speed coach (squash, raquetball, karate) then he isn’t bouncing back. If the Flames are watching and don’t like what they see, do they bite the bullet this summer? The team isn’t going deep in the playoffs without an upgrade, and if Neal bouncing back is not that upgrade, he will be an anchor that stops their forward progress.

    • freethe flames

      Simply put the GM’s giving term and huge money to almost any 30+ UFA has got to stop. There will always be exceptions to the rule. You can give a guy big money but not term.

      • HOCKEY83

        It won’t stop. there will always be someone who can afford to offer more just to get the player. Cash is king. Most players don’t care where they play if someone is offering ridiculous money.

        • withachance

          This. You cant just say you can never offer term to any 30+ UFA, because that means you will never, ever get a meaningful veteran again via free agency. They want term, and if you dont give it to them, some other team will.

  • Ramskull

    I still don’t get the love for Adam Fox. He hasn’t played a minute of pro hockey and played in a league that’s built for the 5’10 USNDP d-man. There’s very few sub 6 foot minute munching d-men in the league and even fewer that you’d consider elite . Bigger is still better. The idea that a player that refuses to sign with you has the same market value as a player under contract is really silly.

      • Ramskull

        That’s true but also irrelevant since a players value in June 2018 is not the same as their value a season later. It’s like saying if Ferly doesn’t sign with them then the trade was really Hamilton and 2 2nd rounders for a 1st line RW and 2nd Pair d-man. It’s just really silly.