It’s no secret that the Calgary Flames didn’t measure up in the 2019-20 season. Their first round playoff exit was followed by a lot of soul-search and analysis by management, culminating with Geoff Ward’s hiring as head coach on Monday.
Sticking with the same coach makes it seem likely that the Flames will be making some roster changes, which is probably why they’ve been connected to a lot of major players in recent trade rumours.
The Flames need a goalie
David Rittich is under contract for 2020-21. But there’s all sorts of chatter regarding the other goaltending spot.
Vancouver sports radio discussions this week connected the Flames with pending Canucks UFA Jacob Markstrom. The Canucks and agent Pat Morris – Sean Monahan’s representative, too – are reportedly far apart from a deal. Markstrom walking to Calgary would allow the Canucks to protect the impressive Thatcher Demko in the expansion draft, but it would put a strong goaltender in the hands of arguably their main rival.
Meanwhile, the persistent chatter connecting Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper to Calgary won’t quiet down. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman mentioned it last week and 630 CHED’s Bob Stauffer has mentioned it on Edmonton airwaves this week as well. Kuemper has two seasons left on his deal with a $4.5 million cap hit.
Meanwhile, Sportsnet’s Luke Fox has connected the Flames with Pittsburgh’s Matt Murray, who Brad Treliving reportedly kicked tires on back in 2016. Murray is a pending RFA with arbitration rights, which kinda explains why the Penguins might want to divest themselves – well that and expansion considerations.
The Flames are also likely still interested in the services of Cam Talbot, who was great in the playoffs aside from that one game where he was less than great.
A Dumba homecoming?
— Sportsnet 960 (@Sportsnet960) September 16, 2020
The Flames have three top four defenders under contract for a little while: Mark Giordano, Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson. That’s two lefties and a rightie. (Travis Hamonic and TJ Brodie are both pending UFAs.) There’s chatter that the Minnesota Wild are looking to shake things up, which has led to speculation that not only could right-handed defender Matt Dumba be moved, but he could become a Flame.
The fit seems obvious, as he’s from Calgary and is represented by Craig Oster (who also reps Matthew Tkachuk, Rittich, Michael Stone, Dillon Dube, Adam Ruzicka and Glenn Gawdin). It’s not like he wouldn’t be able to find out what the team is like or if it’s a good fit for him.
Dumba has three years left with a $6 million cap hit. Given his cap hit and the Flames’ tight cap situation, some big money would likely need to go to Minnesota to make things work.
The Flames haven’t chatted with Gustafsson (yet)
There haven't been any contract talks between the #Flames and D Erik Gustafsson. As of now, the 28-year-old is planning on testing the UFA market next month.
— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) September 14, 2020
A Gustafsson would be a nice luxury for the Flames to have, as our Pat Steinberg discussed last week. But it sure sounds like the Flames are trying to figure out the big pieces – their goaltending and their top defensive groups – before taking care of luxuries like a power play specialist.