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Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA Today Sports

The expansion draft implications of the Flames free agency moves

The Calgary Flames have made some moves this week to shake up their roster. With the dust settling, we can now get a sense of how these moves will impact the Flames at the end of the 2020-21 season when the Seattle Kraken join the league.

Let’s take a look at how the Flames fare as we gradually approach the 2021 Expansion Draft.

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Goalies

The Flames can protect up to one (1) goaltender and must expose at least one (1) goaltender who is either under contract for 2021-22 or a restricted free agent.

This is pretty simple. Jacob Markstrom has a no-move clause and will be protected unless, for some reason, he decides to waive his NMC. (He won’t, and they won’t ask him to because that would be illogical given he’s their top goalie and signed for many seasons.) Tyler Parsons will be exposed to fulfill the requirements.

(Exempt: Artyom Zagidulin and Dustin Wolf; Pending UFAs: David Rittich and Louis Domingue)

Defensemen

Presuming the Flames are protecting seven (7) forwards, then they can protect up to three (3) defensemen. They must expose one defenseman under contract for 2021-22 who either played in 40+ games in 2020-21 or played in 70+ games between 2019-20 and 2020-21. (Our assumption is that if the 2020-21 NHL season has fewer than 82 games then any games-played requirement will be pro-rated.)

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There are only five Flames that will probably meet the experience requirements: Mark Giordano, Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev and Oliver Kylington. Andersson and Hanifin are obvious locks. Unless Giordano’s game falls off a cliff, he’ll be protected over Tanev. In other words, expect Tanev and Kylington to be exposed.

(Exempt: Juuso Valimaki, Carl-Johan Lerby, Johannes Kinnvall, Connor Mackey and Colton Poolman; UFA: Alex Petrovic)

Forwards

The Flames can protect up to seven (7) forwards. They must expose two (2) forwards under contract for 2021-22 who either played in 40+ games in 2020-21 or played in 70+ games between 2019-20 and 2020-21.

The seven players who’ll probably be protected are Matthew Tkachuk, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Elias Lindholm, Dillon Dube and Andrew Mangiapane. That would leave Milan Lucic, Sam Bennett, Byron Froese, Matthew Phillips, Justin Kirkland and Glenn Gawdin exposed. (Again, if 2020-21 is shorter than 82 games this requirement will probably get pro-rated.)

Now, Lucic has a NMC, but it is assumed that (a) he’ll be asked to waive and (b) he’ll say sure, because his cap hit will be enough to scare Seattle away from taking him. Now, the Flames may get creative to try to keep Bennett around, and that could involve exposing Backlund, as Bennett is seven years younger than Backlund and Backlund’s cap hit may scare Seattle away from taking him. Much like the “Giordano or Tanev” decision on the blueline, that’ll be something to pay attention to during the 2020-21 season.

(Exempt: Emilio Pettersen, Jakob Pelletier, Eetu Tuulola, Adam Ruzicka, Martin Pospisil and Dmitry Zavgorodniy; UFAs: Derek Ryan, Buddy Robinson and Zac Rinaldo)

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Projected protection list

  • G Jacob Markstrom
  • D Mark Giordano
  • D Noah Hanifin
  • D Rasmus Andersson
  • F Matthew Tkachuk
  • F Sean Monahan
  • F Johnny Gaudreau
  • F Mikael Backlund
  • F Elias Lindholm
  • F Dillon Dube
  • F Andrew Mangiapane

Exposed: G Tyler Parsons, D Chris Tanev, D Oliver Kylington, F Milan Lucic, F Sam Bennett, F Byron Froese, F Matthew Phillips, F Justin Kirkland and F Glenn Gawdin (plus pending UFAs G David Rittich, D Alex Petrovic, F Derek Ryan, F Buddy Robinson and F Zac Rinaldo)