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Photo Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Flames have some holes in their organizational depth chart

The Calgary Flames are in a pretty interesting place in their organizational progression. Over the past half-decade they’ve seen their drafting and development drastically improve, then they began to push their top prospects into the NHL where they became key pieces of the puzzle.

Now the Flames need to restock their cupboards a bit, as their organizational depth chart has a few holes in key places.

Here’s a quick snapshot of how things are looking at this point of the season.

(Players on expiring contracts marked with an asterisk.)

Goalies

NHL David Rittich
Cam Talbot*
AHL Jon Gillies*
Tyler Parsons*
Artyom Zagidulin*
ECHL Nick Schneider*
Junior Dustin Wolf

So here’s the deal with next season…

  • Rittich has a contract.
  • Wolf is unsigned (but won’t be eligible to go pro until 2021-22).
  • Everybody else is a pending free agent – Talbot a UFA, but Gillies, Parsons, Zagidulin and Schneider all potential RFAs.

The 2020-21 tandem looks to be Big Save Dave and… whoever impresses this season.

Defense

NHL Mark Giordano
TJ Brodie*
Noah Hanifin
Travis Hamonic*
Rasmus Andersson*
Oliver Kylington*
Michael Stone*
Juuso Valimaki (IR)
AHL Alexander Yelesin
Rinat Valiev*
Brandon Davidson*
Andrew Nielsen*
Europe Carl-Johan Lerby (Malmo, SHL)

The Flames really don’t have a lot of young defenders left in their system, as everyone has basically graduated. Brodie and Hamonic are pending UFAs, while Andersson and Kylington are pending RFAs. If Andersson inherits Brodie’s top pairing gig next season (or earlier), it’ll be interesting to see who will in turn graduate into Andersson’s spot. (Perhaps Yelesin?)

It’ll be interesting to see how Brad Treliving addresses the lack of minor league depth – aside from Yelesin and Lerby they all seem to lack upside – as well as the lack of right shot defenders.

Forwards

NHL Johnny Gaudreau
Sean Monahan
Elias Lindholm
Matthew Tkachuk
Mikael Backlund
Michael Frolik*
Sam Bennett
Andrew Mangiapane*
Derek Ryan
Milan Lucic
Mark Jankowski*
Tobias Rieder*
Austin Czarnik*
AHL Dillon Dube
Matthew Phillips
Alan Quine*
Byron Froese*
Glenn Gawdin*
Ryan Lomberg*
Justin Kirkland*
Adam Ruzicka
Eetu Tuulola
Martin Pospisil
Buddy Robinson*
Zac Rinaldo*
Luke Philp
Junior Jakob Pelletier (Moncton, QMJHL)
Dmitry Zavgorodniy (Rimouski, QMJHL)
Milos Roman (Vancouver, WHL)
College Emilio Pettersen (Denver, NCAA)
Josh Nodler (Michigan State, NCAA)
Mitchell Mattson (Michigan State, NCAA)
Demetrious Koumontzis (Arizona State, NCAA)
Europe Ilya Nikolayev (Loko, MHL)
Linus Lindstrom (Skelleftea, SHL)
Filip Sveningsson (Oskarshamn, SHL)

There’s a fairly decent succession plan for next season, with Frolik coming off the books (and potentially other depth forwards) which is likely to ease the current cap pressures and open up a full-time NHL gig for the likes of Dube (or Phillips or Gawdin or maybe even Pelletier).

Beyond the bonafide prospects, there’s a bit of a gap that’s being filled by the AHL tweeners who are ready to jump into the NHL in the interim as the longer term players like Tuulola, Pospisil and Ruzicka germinate. It’ll be curious to see if the Flames keep utilizing these short-term signings every season, but they’ve been pretty useful so far.

Pettersen is legit. One or two of the Europeans may be, too. They’re all probably a year or two away from going pro, though.