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31 Thoughts: Frolik trade possibilities, plus Flames goaltending options

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman released the final edition of his 31 Thoughts column for the 2018-19 season on Wednesday morning. In it, Friedman discusses two topics of interest to the Calgary Flames: the future of Michael Frolik and a potential second goaltender to play in tandem with David Rittich.

7. Calgary was looking at options for Michael Frolik. That could happen before July 1. New Jersey is a possibility.

Frolik was seemingly on the outs last season, as indicated by his inconsistent usage by head coach Bill Peters in favour of younger players and a public Twitter campaign by agent Allan Walsh to get Frolik more ice time. Heading into the final season of his current deal with a $4.3 million cap hit, Frolik is still a fairly useful two-way player. The Devils have oodles of cap space and multiple fourth round picks in the 2020 NHL Draft, so there may be a fit there.

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15. The goalie carousel: San Jose would like to move Aaron Dell, who has a $1.9 million cap hit and $1.6 million in cash. It’s believed the Sharks tried to make it part of the Patrick Marleau trade, which complicated things for an extra 12 hours or so. Mike Smith’s been tied to Calgary (along with Cam Talbot), Carolina and Edmonton. There been a bit of linkage with the Oilers: Petr Mrazek; Semyon Varlamov, too, but his price is high. Heard some talk of James Reimer, but that’s cooled. Curtis McElhinney was hoping for a two-year deal, and may get it.

Smith and Talbot are the names most commonly linked to the netminding job in Calgary, which makes sense given that David Rittich is still a relatively inexperienced NHL goaltender. Despite some struggles over his tenure, Smith was strong early in his first season and late this past season. Rather than gamble on Talbot, the Flames may opt for the proverbial “devil they know” in net. On the other hand, Tablot’s numbers cratered over the past two seasons on a defensively dicey Edmonton Oilers club and he may be more willing than Smith to take a low-ball contract for a season and bet on himself with an eye towards cashing in the following summer.

  • buts

    This team has no cap space, needs a lot of grit and toughness and BT has done nothing. He could have got a big return for the guys he’s trying to move now at the TDL but like all GM’s who don’t know how to maximize a assetthe waited….. I really have to question what’s going on. In my books BT will be judged on what he does this summer….I’m worried.

    • Skylardog

      Summarizes my thoughts since the TDL. I still have not calmed down since the do nothing deadline where any foresight would have had us unloading cap space when the market was on fire.

      This is quickly becoming a difficult situation to improve the team going forward.

      • The Beej

        What are you talking about Skylar? At the deadline you were saying we should have gone all in and added players.

        If we had… lets say for example… made the Zucker trade the cap situation would be even worse.

        You call Tre out for not adding at the deadline… now you are calling him out for not dumping salary.

        Those are two fairly opposite things. You cant really have it both ways if you are going to criticize the man who has the job.

        You seem to criticize Tre a lot and to be fair you have a lot of interesting original ideas. I just dont see any consistent line coming from you regarding moves we could make or a consistent direction. But it is fun to play GM and spitball I guess.

        • Skylardog

          I called for Frolik to go for a pick – named the team even, then Minny sent Coyle to Boston 5 days before the deadline.

          I called for a top 6 forward then, said not Stone at the TDL. (I wanted Stone long before that then when the price and cap hit would have been ok)
          I suggested Zib for Janko, a first and a prospect. Janko and Fro would have created enough cap space for Zib.

          I suggested Brodie out then, but not to push too hard.

          Everything I said was TOTALLY with the cap in mind. Remember, I saw the cap issues in December an in January suggested they bridge Tkachuk then to a 1 year deal at $5 or $6 mill with a guarantee of an $8.5 signed as soon as we could ink the deal (Jan 1 or something like that as per the CBA). I said then that by doing that, we could get Stone, Brodie, Czar, and if still here Frolik off the books making a deal in 2020 for Tkachuk at $8.5 x 8 done (or something close to that).

          Unlike most, including Tre, I saw the TDL as a chance to dump salary and get a decent return. Argued it on here at length. But by waiting until now, all the guys that are older, with expiring contracts, are worth nothing. Those guys, like Frolik, and now Brodie, are rentals, that’s all. They get traded at the TDL, not in the summer. I told you that in February.

          Every deal I talked about back in Feb had a bit on how to make it work within the cap.

          As for consistency, I am nothing but that. You just don’t see what I am saying if you think otherwise.

  • Derzie

    There are teams out there swinging for the fences by going after “in their prime now” players. All the Flames chatter is centered around also-rans and has beens. The same thing happened at the deadline. We should have moved heaven & earth to get Mark Stone. He’s a proven winner and had an amazing playoff for Vegas. All this talk of keep prospects is weak. You have to pay to play. You don’t get Stone without losing something you really want. We need a goalie and Bob & Lehner are out there. Are we linked to them? Nope. Mike Smith & Cam Talbot. That’s garbage. Like shuffling pieces of broken glass around hoping it forms into something useful (like a cup). Baah. Aim higher or we are going the square root of nowhere.

    • HOCKEY83

      so you’re ok with giving up at least 2 of your top six to acquire an overpaid 10 mil Bobber. That’s what it would take to create cap space for it. offer Marner 13 mil while your at it. The flames can get rid of the rest and just ice an AHL team like edmonton.

    • withachance

      Columbus aimed high with self rentals on key players. They are now rebuilding. VGK aimed high with Pacioretty and Stone and Statsny. They are now in cap hell. Ditto for the Leafs.

      You dont win without long term planning. Giving up stud assets for big money players is great and all that but that’s not how winners are built.

    • cberg

      THAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “REMAINING COMPETITIVE” AND “GOING FOR BROKE”. Ooopppps, CAPS! Going for broke is exciting but talk to the Blue Jackets or Vegas to see how that turned out. I will say, at least Vegas got Stone to re-up with them long-term.

    • Derzie

      All the replies to this (and trashes) call out poor management examples as some sort of proof we should not covet great players. It is not a 100-0 proposition.

      We need solid goaltending
      – Have we had a proper goaltender since Kipper? Nope.
      Do we have 1 or 2 playoff beasts on our team?
      – Nope. We do have some depth that maybe we could dip into a little to make our weaknesses better.

      Most trade talk on sites like these is “we need to get rid of our trash and bad deals, keep our studs, a get some great picks & assets in return”

      The reality is “no one wants your trash, you can’t keep your studs AND get something in return and GMs are allowed to sign players to contracts that go beyond their own contract so they don’t care as much as they should about bad deals”

      We had a real chance to get Stone if we gave up one of our grade-A D and some significant draft picks, that’s a deal that should be made. You have to break some eggs to make an omelette.

      The ceiling when signing has beens like Smith or Talbot is ‘competetive’
      The ceiling when signing stars like Stone or Panarin, Bobrovsky or Lehner, is Stanley Cup. Sign me up for this option please. Higher cost. Higher risk. Highest reward.

  • The'GREAT WW


    What’s a bigger deal for the Flames franchise?
    Mark Giordano winning the Norris in 2019

    Miikka Kiprusoff winning the Vezina in 2006

    Mikael Backlund hitting the net on two consecutive shots in 2013


  • Budgie

    Fact-Calgary finished 1st. in their Conference.
    Fact-Calgary was dominated by Colorado’s top line the playoffs
    Both Calgary and Colorado had solid goal-tending

    Calgary needs tweaking, not an overhaul-one Goaltender and one Forward that can score and be physical, like Hathaway but with more offense. Depth on Defense can see a trade that fills one of the holes, and another trade for a forward. Nevertheless, Dube can come up with Valamaki and the Flames are a very competitive team. If Neal and Frolik are traded without selling the farm Calgary has Cap Space for signing Tkachuk, Bennett, Hathaway, and Rittich.
    My only criticism is that Calgary tried to match top lines with Colorado when a shutdown checking line was needed. A two way forward with hitting power and size is needed. It is still a solid team with younger players, I think they will be a top team again next season.

      • Budgie

        In previous blogs I said it is time to trade Johnny or Sean, but in retrospect the salaries are upwards of 9 million for top scoring forwards, Gadreau and Monahan are a good value-personally I would like to see a trade of Gadreau if it netted a first rounder, a top prospect and a big forward who could score, like Calgary born Taylor Hall. It would likely be a straight across trade, but who knows, Hall and a prospect if they take Neal’s contract to.

  • drogon

    That whole RFA’s market went out of control with McDavid, Draisaitl & Matthews. They now have a strong leverage. This year is amplified with the high number of quality players. For BT, it’s an uncontrollable situation. He’ll probably wait on the sidelines until Monday when it all begins.
    Avalanche, Devils, Senators, Blue Jackets, Islanders have tons of cap space and could start to offer sheet on Monday. There’s a family connection with the Senators.
    That whole RFA’s market craziness could benefit to a player like Tkachuk who got lots of his points on the PP. It could even benefit to Bennett who did not hit 30 points.
    Tkachuk is a good player, IQ, skills but lack speed. He’s one of our 4 turtles with Monahan, Giordano and Neal. Turtles do well during the regular season but not so well with the playoffs high pace.
    In a normal RFA market, Tkachuk probably could not fetch more than $6.0M-$6.5M.

  • Off the wall

    Frolik to New Jersey?
    I thought we were going to at least get a 3rd round pick for him? Now it’s a 4th…

    Am I the only Flames fan who wants Petr Mrazek?