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FlamesNation Mailbag: scrimmage time!

Folks, in a week the Calgary Flames will play in an actual hockey game against another NHL club. Sure, it’s exhibition against the Edmonton Oilers, but it’ll be a precursor to the post-season.

As we get amped up, let’s dive into the mailbag!

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Will Czarnik be on the Phase 4 roster? Almost certainly. He’s a right shot forward with a good amount of NHL experience, which makes him a valuable player to have around given the Flames have oodles of lefties and players with little-to-no experience in camp.

Will he play? He’ll probably need to shove his way past a few other bubble bodies, but we wouldn’t rule it out.

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Last word was the Flames touched based with all their pending UFAs over the past few weeks – e.g., once Return to Play was approved and the salary cap was set for 2019-20. The Flames has interest in bringing Brodie back but it will depend on price tag given the flat cap. He made $4.65 million this past season.

There have also been conversations with Talbot, who’s been a good fit in Calgary. But last word from the hockey insiders was Talbot was hoping for a situation where he can (a) be a starter and (b) maybe get a bit of a raise on his current $2.75 million salary. Will the Flames pay a premium to keep him around, or will they go to market yet again for another new goaltender?

Based on skates so far, it looks like the third pairing is set as Erik Gustafsson and Derek Forbort. The fourth pairing is Stone and Oliver Kylington, so likely Stone doesn’t see game action unless another right side defender goes down.

Derek Ryan between Milan Lucic and Dillon Dub was the Flames’ most consistently good line for roughly the entire season and I can’t see the coaching staff mucking around with that chemistry too much. That said, Bennett having a strong camp in Ryan’s absence could open the door for him nudging Mark Jankowski to the press box and supplanting his spot as fourth line center.

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Then again, Bennett hasn’t been an amazing center thus far in his career, so maybe he stays on the wing for now.

A lot of it depends on the pending free agents. Let’s just say TJ Brodie and Cam Talbot stick around at reasonable rates. Suddenly, you can probably look to open up some cap space elsewhere by perhaps moving on from somebody like Jankowski or Bennett (and giving spots to guys like Gawdin and Phillips). But if they’d rather throw cap space at upgrades up front, suddenly it’s harder financially to keep Brodie and maybe they lean on young defenders like Kylington, Mackey and Valimaki.

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Winnipeg’s never won anything in the NHL and their fanbase may be even more hard-done than Calgary’s has been. I mean, their team moved to Phoenix. Try to be nice.

Last but not least, here’s a wacky Japanese mascot to brighten your Tuesday.