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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.

  • MDG1600

    I don’t feel that Smiths’ playoff performance should erase the fact that he was a well below average goalie in the regular season. If the Flames had gone deeper in the playoffs I can’t imagine Smith was going maintain his strong play and he likely would have started to regress to what we saw in the regular season – the larger sample size rules. At 38, he is likely to be worse next year. Please don’t re-sign Smith. At least with Talbot a credible argument can be made that he can be better.

    • wot96

      Smith has made good money and like every aging veteran without one. If he thinks the Flames are a contender then maybe he takes a low price in order to have a shot assuming he can’t get a better or similar offer from a team he thinks is a more likely future champion.

      The only reason to go with Smith is if he was prepared to take a truly low, low, number in order to stay with the Flames. I doubt he would unless there really are no other offers.

      • The Beej

        I dont know about that. I think Talbot is an option. Edmonton is not kind to the stats of any goaltender.

        Could see Talbot taking a big pay cut to play behind our defence for a year.

        Is there risk? Sure. But almost any other option is just as iffy. At least Talbot has had some above average seasons in recent memory.

        Think about it. Anybody we would bring in for a 1B role is gonna be iffy. Mrazek has had garbage seasons. Kinkaid… good and bad… Smith… iffy. There is no slam dunk in our price range. It is even tough to rank these guys. One of the toughest pieces of business for tre to be sure.

        I just like it because if Talbot turns out to be a Dubnyk.. could really stick it to Edm.

    • Budgie

      Smith could end up in Europe, he is a competitive guy, he stood up in the playoffs, he gained respect and he does pass up for breakouts slightly more than turn-overs. 38 yrs. old? Hard sell but he might lower his salary expectations.

  • SeanCharles

    Man I just want something to happen.

    This offseason has been frustrating so far with how stalled the trade market is.

    Jonesing for Frolik and Brodie trades at the very least.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Nighteyes

    Everyone needs to relax, the off season has just barely begun and everyone thinks BT is a failure and hasn’t done anything. Give it some time, there’s a lot of moving parts.

    Also, I’m not sure about this obsession with needing toughness and grit. Colorado didn’t beat us because of toughness or grit, they had superior possession, speed and tenacity. Flames need to be better at hockey not being tough.

    • Skylardog

      “Colorado didn’t beat us because of toughness or grit, they had superior possession, speed and tenacity. Flames need to be better at hockey not being tough.”

      This ^

      However I have a very different view on Tre. The moving parts have seized up.

      • Rockmorton65

        I would be more critical of Tre if there was a whirlwind of trades at the draft til now. But there hasn’t been anything.

        Between the uncertainty about what the cap was going to be and the logjam of RFA’s, its no wonder there hasn’t been more action.

        There also seems to have been a shift this offseason where cap space appears to have more value than draft picks. The Leafs had to give up a first to get rid of one year of Marleau. Nashville got peanuts for Subban. What chance does BT have in dumping four years of Neal?

        Once the free agents start signing, I think we’ll see the likes of Brodie & Frolik start moving. Unfortunately, with so many other possible options, Brodie & Frolik aren’t the most valuable commodities on the market. If we’re here in mid August with the same roster, I’ll join you in criticizing Tre.

    • Budgie

      Look at all the top teams eliminated in the playoffs, Tampa, Calgary, and Toronto all need to fine tune. St Louis comes from the bottom to the top because of Binnington’s play and coaching, ex. Flame Berube. Never under estimate a hot goalie, Colorado beat us because of jump, checking, and a hot goalie. I agree with your comment.

        • Budgie

          Berube came out of nowhere, I remember the “Chief’ was the only player that stuck from the infamous Toronto trade, Riseborough traded with his old boss Cliff Fletcher and was fleeced, by Calgary’s old GM-I loved Riseborough as a player no disrespect

    • oilcanboyd

      Yep, it is still June on my calendar! Don’t get your panties in a knot. A lot of in-action caused by lots of teams being up against the cap or over the new cap.

  • Vernon30

    Smith still believes he can start. He probably will want more money than Talbot. Dell is intriguing, but coming in off of a bad year. Dell for Neil! Lol, OF course that wouldn’t happen…What becomes of Gilles, if another goalie enters the system? Zag and Parsons in the A….

    • Kevin R

      Thank goodness Elliott signed in Philly, 1 year deal @ 2.0mill. Sounds like a similar deal for Talbot would be about right. I would love to try Mzarek but he will command 4.0-5.0 mill per. We cant afford that & expect to hang on to Rittch. I think Rittch is our guy for the next 3-4 years while we wait for Parsons & Wolf to prove they are ready for #1 NHL roles. If we can keep our 1A & 1B goalies under 5.0 mill combined our cap will get simpler.

    • Kevin R

      Now Sportsnet are saying Bennett is one of the top 5 players to get offer sheeted because Flames only have 12.9 mill. Where are they getting this stuff from. We have 9 forwards signed already in Gaudreau,Monahan,Neal,Backlund,Lindholm,Frolik,Ryan,Janko,Czarnik totalling $39,425,000.00.

      We have 5 D signed in Gio, Brodie,Hamonic,Hanifin, Stone totalling $23,707,143.00

      No goalies signed. Brouwer hit of $1,500,000.00. Total salary committed on 14 players is $64,632,543.00. Leaving $16,867,457 to complete roster.

      So we need 2 goalies, say Rittch-$3.0 mill & Talbot $2.0 =$5,000,000.00

      Leaves $11,867,457.00 for 4 forwards & 2 D:

      Ras Andersen $755,833 & Valamaki $894,166 = $1,649,999
      So now we need 4 forwards with $10,217,458.00

      Magpie $900K
      Dube $778K

      Leaves $8,500,000 approx for Tkachuk & Bennett

      Even if someone offer sheeted Benny at $4.2, for a 2nd rounder it’s a no-brainer to match & would have to be at least a 5 year deal or why would Benny sign it? If they go over then the return is a 1st & 3rd. Thats a tougher call to take the picks.
      Not worried about Tkachuk, a Stone buyout & even a Frolik buyout are better options to get cap space than to lose Bennett for a 2nd rounder.

      I did find going through this exercise that signing a Mzarek or Varlamov or Lehner is not feasible & well Bobrovski is just a pipe dream. Maybe worth one of the FN writers to get into Flames cap more detailed.

      • supra steve

        Capfriendly says Flames have $12,958,292 in cap space. I don’t know all the details, but they generally know what they are talking about when it comes to NHL salary cap issues.

        • freethe flames

          Which if you buy out Stone and add his $2.33m you have @$15.2m which should be enough to get Tkachuk, Bennett, Rittich, Mangiapane and one other small fish signed. Which is why it would be nice to move Frolik and TJ with little cap coming back so you can at least consider adding a forward upfront and upgrade in net over Gilles.

        • Kevin R

          Well I guess it depends who they include in their numbers. If they have Gilles in there, well that isnt exactly correct then, because Gilles may be on a 1 way deal but they can send him to Stockton & have zero impact to our cap at his salary. He just gets paid very well to let goals in down in Stockton.

          • BendingCorners

            @ Kevin – CF counts everybody that finished the year on the roster. They are already counting Dube, Valimaki, Andersson and Kylington., as well as Gillies.
            Waiving Gillies is a risk since he is not waiver exempt, but if you send both him and Kylington to Stockton your numbers reconcile.
            I don’t think 8.5 for Tkachuk and Bennett will be enough; 7.9+2.8 = 10.7. The other 2.2 would have to come from a Stone buyout or from a salary dump.

      • freethe flames

        Kevin R: According to capfriendly we have 10 forwards signed,8 d and 1 goalie signed with $12.9m in cap space. Darren Haynes who I usually agree with was speculating on the Fan this morning that he thinks Bennetts ask is going to be around $4m which when I heard it made me almost crash my car. I asked this the other day; how far would the Flames be prepared to match a Bennett offer sheet. A $4.227 gets a second in return any thing above is I believe a 1st a 3rd. Bennett has arbitration rights and it could make his salary jump. But IMO anything over $2.75m is an overpay.
        Haynes also talked about Rittich around $3.5m which again should be the max the Flames pay.

        • buts

          I like Bennet… but Bennett is not worth more than 2.5 to 2.9 max. He’s a 3rd to 4th liner unless he can prove otherwise. You can’t pay your bottom 6 too much and if he wants 4 mill you have to move him.

        • Kevin R

          If you can get Bennett on a 5-6 year deal for under 4.0 per, I would do it. Too many idiot GM’s paying the likes of Hayes 7.1 mill for 1 year over 50 points. Benny hasnt broken out yet but he could. I think the Flames should be playing him with Tkachuk & another high end player. We really need to see if we can get that breakout. Should have happened last year. But solid 3rd line guys are going to get 4.0 mill in this league. Reaves got 3.0 mill last year & I think everyone would agree we would take Benny over him all day long. Otherwise, if we arent even going to try to capitalize on Bennett’s hopeful ceiling, then Tre should package him up with the likes of Brodie to the Canadiens & try to get Gallaghr or perhaps Drouin may be available for that package. Maybe the Sabres would cough up Middlestadt & a few 2nd round picks for Bennett & Brodie.
          Either we are in or we’re not & should be maximizing value. Not waiting for an offer sheet or arbitrator to dictate what we do.

  • withachance

    Everyone needs to calm down. There’s 3 months until the puck drop, 2 months until pre-season and training camp. Trades and moves take time and there’s so many people involved.

    It’s not a video game just relax. Moves will be made when they’re made. The disappointing playoffs really made everyone forget about the best season this organization has had in 30 years…..

    If I didnt know better this team just missed the playoffs with a team full of plugs and is rebuilding. Jesus

    • Off the wall

      Isn’t that how we got into this mess? By relaxing in the playoffs?

      Besides, relaxing is overrated😉

      I won’t relax until we have a playoff team that can compete in the postseason…

      • withachance

        Mess? I wouldnt define this organization as a mess. Oilers are a mess. The Sens are a mess, so is that Arizona ownership situation. Florida’s been a mess for years, and who knows what Benning is doing over there in Vancouver.

        But the Flames are a mess??? Not even close imho

        • Off the wall

          I don’t define mess’ the same way you do Chance.
          If we don’t get a decent goalie, or get a top 6 RW, we’re not going to make the playoffs this year… scoff but see me (later) after the season is over.

          I define my thoughts based on postseason success. We haven’t had any since 2004.

          107 points didn’t make any difference in the playoffs!

          • withachance

            I think Rittich will this team’s starter and he’ll run with it. He just needs a chance for extended starts. I agree on the need for a top 6 player (center or RW).

            Cant agree on not making the playoffs if they dont make adjustments. They definitely wont make a playoff run but going from conference winners to 9th is way too knee-jerky for me.

            I just think the 4 bad games has really made people blind to the overall state of this team. We’ll see at the end of the season

          • Kevin R

            OTW I think in all fairness you need to broaden your scope of evaluation on the team. Then I guess 30 other teams suck & need to dismantle everything because of the lack of success in the post season

  • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    The whole problem here is Tkachuk, let someone offer him 8.5 million, probably a team with lots of cap space, lousy team, get there 2 first rounders, second and third. I honestly don’t think he’s worth anymore than 7 million.
    Result is, lot’s of cap space to pickup a quality player and the future looks bright. I’d hate to see the Flames blow the budget on one player.

      • Jimmyhaggis

        Dzingel, Lee, Duchene, Nyquist. Point is, you also get 2 firsts, second and third. You sign Tkachuk for 8.5 million you may loose Bennett, your hands are tied.

        • withachance

          Duchene is getting 9M at least. Nyquist and Lee are both older and will command anywhere from 6 – 7M in the UFA market, so you get essentially 2M in savings to get a much older player that’s probably worse than Tkachuk. Dzingel is interesting but again, good not great.

          Only Duchene is better than Tkachuk and he’s monumentally more expensive than 7M

        • Kevin R

          If we get an offer sheet for only 8.5 for Tkachuk you match it & run. It wont cost you Bennett as there are lots of options for Tre to juggle the math before the season starts, including buyouts.

    • BendingCorners

      It would be better than that. consider an offer of 8.5×7=59.5.
      AAV for offer sheets is calculated on total$ / 5 (or less if the offer is for less than 5 years). 59.5 / 5 = 11.9 so the return would be 4 firsts.

  • everton fc

    I like the idea of Mrazek – two Czech goalies who may even know each other, 1/1a. I could live with that. But what will Mzarek cost? That’s a critical part of the discussion.

    No to Talbot. No to McElhinney. No to Smith. Maybe, in Reimer, but w/Luongo calling it quits, and Bobvroksy on the way (most likely), Reimer’s an ideal #2, for Florida – they only have one other possibly capable goalie, in their system.

  • Jobu

    If nothing gets done this off-season we wont be the only team in that department.

    The cap issues this off-season has created will hopefully smarten GM’s up and stop giving out overpays to players.

  • deantheraven

    I don’t think either Talbot or Smith see themselves as a back up next season, they’re looking for a Q!b at minimum. I don’t know if that’s what Tre will selling them on, but I for one don’t like the idea of either of them playing more than 20 games. The hope is that Rittich is the New Hope. If he is, my bet is Tre figures Gillies would serve the same results as either of the old fellers at less than half the hit.
    Tre will hang the first half of the season on Ritter and Gillies.

    • cberg

      I agree and believe that’s the prudent thing to do. This team is good enough to win with meh goaltending, which is possible but not a given. If it happens they have several AHL options to try and at last resort, check the market around TDL.

    • FlamesRule

      Totally agree. Time to give Gilles his shot and if he fails miserably, waive him. I think the waiver wire could be our friend this year for players coming in and out.

  • Garry T

    Question re: Tkachuk. What is our power position in terms of an RFA?
    1. How long is the RFA term starting now?
    2. He has been offered an extension to hold his rights. So he earned X last year incl. bonuses. What if we have him for 3 years whether he likes it or not. Pay him the max we have to under the terms of RFA rules for the max period you can hold him and then with 1.5 years to go, sell him to the highest bidder. Or,, do that now!

    • freethe flames

      He is eligible to an offer sheet; which we can either match or take the compensation. The offer sheet if it used basically makes him a FA with compenation. The question is what are you prepared to match? The same goes for Bennett; if a team loves the playoff Bennett and thinks he can bring that every night then they might offer him more than we can afford and not enough compensation for us. Anything less than$4,227 and we get a second which is poor compensation IMO anything above said number means a 1st and 3rd which would be good compensation.

  • 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.

  • MiamiRedhawks

    1) Trade Gillies for Jarry.
    2) Resign Smith
    3) Keep Gameplan A(aka the flames superfast attack and predictable 18-19 season play) using the strengths of Gaudreau and his speed and Smith’s puck handling.
    4) Have gameplan B using Rittich and Neals strengths. Open up the ice in the middle.
    Flames last year reminded me of the days of the read option QB. Great until it was figured out. Based off the playoffs, flames keep the same plan, they will be easy to beat simply by log jamming your own blue line.

  • Em Durp Em Hrudey

    No secret I am still a fan of Smith. Would piss me off if he signs with Edmonton. On to depth. Would you take a stab at Brandon Tanev? I like his game.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    if we looking for Playoff Grit Vegas it like $7million over the cap..BT could try and go for Reaves again + could get maybe 5th round pick for them for $ dump we send Hathaway over to Vegas …
    Trade checks some boxes for us Grit . shows up for playoff. and more picks never hurt the farm team .


  • 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