Last week, the New Jersey Devils came through town to play the Calgary Flames. A lot of the chatter before, during and after the game was centered on winger Taylor Hall, who’s set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
Sportsnet’s Rory Boylen posited a handful of teams that could land Hall this summer, including the Flames.
Here’s some of Boylen’s take:
Here’s a wild and crazy idea that would take the Battle of Alberta to new heights in the modern age.
Projected to have more than $22 million of cap space, the Flames do have some contracts of their own to take care of, including four important defencemen. Those deals will eat up most of that money. But, assuming Michael Frolik won’t be back, could sending out Sam Bennett’s money clear enough room? Or maybe you don’t re-sign TJ Brodie.
Calgary’s top line has been hot and cold so far, but was a strength in their run to the Pacific Division title last season. It’s the offence behind it that’s sometimes lacking. Again, adding Hall would round out a terrific top six.
Now, it’s true that the Flames do have $22 million worth of cap space for next season – per PuckPedia and other fine purveyors of cap intel. That said, the $22 million in cap space is only accounting for eight forwards (Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Milan Lucic, Elias Lindholm, Derek Ryan and Sam Bennett), three defensemen (Mark Giordano, Noah Hanifin and Juuso Valimaki) and a goalie (David Rittich).
Taylor Hall springs Jack Hughes and the rookie undresses a Flames defender and David Rittich. Gorgeous goal. #Flames trail 1-0.
— Ryan Pike (@RyanNPike) November 8, 2019
Restricted free agents Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane, Tobias Rieder and Rasmus Andersson will need to be re-signed or replaced – Mangiapane and Andersson will probably get hefty bumps in salary. And while a few of the pending unrestricted free agents – Michael Frolik, Austin Czarnik, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Michael Stone and Cam Talbot – will leave on July 1, it’s not like the Flames have a ton of less expensive internal options to replace them. (You can make good cases for Dillon Dube, Glenn Gawdin, Matthew Phillips and Oliver Kylington, but the list gets real thin after that.)
Aside from a major trade to free up cap space – which Boylen does suggest – it’s really difficult to imagine a situation where the Flames have the cap space to lock up Hall for a long term deal.