It’s the end of August and the Calgary Flames have completed an eventful, draining month. They beat the Jets! They lost to Dallas! Matthew Tkachuk suffered from a concussion! Cam Talbot was great! A lot happened and now, we wait for an autumn of potential changes.
Onto the mailbag!
Do you think Taylor Hall will be a Flame this year?
— Mark Pomfret (@finleysp_mark) August 30, 2020
At this point, no. I don’t think the Flames make a big enough move before free agency opens to free up enough cap space to lure Hall here. Additionally, I’m not sure if Hall’s skill set – another smallish skilled winger! – would give the Flames what they would need to off-set whatever piece they’d need to move out in order to fit him in. (It would be, at best, a lateral move.)
If the Flames make a move, I think it’s a “hockey trade,” and not a trade to open up Hall cap space. A Hall signing seems almost too obvious.
Preference on a head coach? Stick with Ward or go after one of the big candidates in Gallant, Laviolette etc
— Pedro (@PedroinCalgary) August 30, 2020
We got about five head coach questions, so we’ll use Pedro’s as a catch-all for the category.
Elliotte Friedman indicated this week that we’ll get news on Geoff Ward’s fate this week or next week. My guess is the Flames stick with Ward. From an economics sense, the Flames probably made some kind of financial move to part ways with Bill Peters in November and Murray Edwards & Co. signed a big, big cheque when they partnered with the City of Calgary on a new barn. So while they’re very likely going to be spending to the cap again in 2020-21, money might be tight for the organization otherwise. Unless they’re absolutely sure the new coach would be a big upgrade, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to change things up.
Additionally, from a logistical standpoint, the Flames have had four different head coaches in six seasons of Brad Treliving as GM. Treliving noted that it wasn’t ideal (or intended) on the end-of-season media Zoom call, but it also doesn’t seem likely that changing up coaches would be high on his to-do list. (He’s had the benefit of a long job interview with Ward under less-than-ideal circumstances this season and may have insights into him that he wouldn’t have with outside coaches.) Think of it like this: he’s replaced the fan belt on his engine three times already and the engine isn’t working right yet, so why should he do it a fourth time. It seems more likely that he tries something else.
Is this team really a player or two from contending? Or are bigger changes required?
— Justin Temple (@JTech780) August 30, 2020
The feeling internally over the past couple seasons has been that the group is close, and getting the right complementary pieces and getting growth from their key internal prospects could help them take a big step. The same hope probably exists – growth from the likes of Rasmus Andersson, Dillon Dube, Sam Bennett, and Juuso Valimaki could be huge – but at this point maybe they’ll look for a hockey trade that swaps out a core piece for another potential core piece with a slightly different skill set.
In other words: it’s probably more a situation where playing style and fit is more of an issue than talent level. The team’s got plenty of talent already (and probably gets more as the kids mature and grow).
What’s a better 1st round draft pick target: potential top 6 forward; RH Dman; or project player to have go through the system 2-3 years.
— Adrian DeCorby (@decorbs) August 30, 2020
My preference would be the D-man, but that’s just me.
The Flames have used an approach over the past few seasons looking at offensive ceiling and it’s given them a few good success stories – Matthew Tkachuk, Dillon Dube, Juuso Valimaki and so on. In general, the Flames’ approach has been that they’re drafting for the long-term, not for immediate needs.
Consensus seems to be Bennett would be just outside the protected list for the expansion draft. It’d be such a shame to lose him, what kind of bribe would it take for Seattle to skip him?
— Quentin Matheson 🧢 (@quentinm) August 30, 2020
If I’m Kraken GM Ron Francis, the choice is probably taking Sam Bennett or taking Oliver Kylington right now. If I’m him, I’m asking for a second round pick (at least) to steer Seattle towards Kylington. If Bennett has a great 2020-21 season, that bribe might get closer to a first round pick.
Why will the Flames not acknowledge Theo Fleury. What is the beef between the two?
— Shane Conner (@bigdaddykool19) August 31, 2020
We’ve discussed this in the past, but there are likely some lingering hard feelings regarding some of Fleury’s comments about the Flames and his treatment by prior regimes. (His book wasn’t overly complimentary and subsequent comments in interviews were also less than flattering.) But Fleury has been involved on Flames TV segments and alumni events in recent years, so the relationship seems to be thawing a bit. The old saying goes that time heals all wounds, and we’ll see if that happens here. It’d be a shame if Fleury’s on-ice contributions with a Flames sweater on weren’t recognized before the Saddledome closes its doors in 2024.