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FlamesNation Roundtable: the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft

Friends, today is the first of several key days in the 2021 off-season. After today, the Seattle Kraken will have a roster full of players. And the Calgary Flames? Well, they’ll be down a player from their own roster due to the expansion draft.

To commemorate such an occasion, we assembled our writing team for a roundtable where we all gazed into our crystal balls to figure out what’s going to happen.

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Best case scenario, who do the Flames lose to Seattle?

Craig: The Flames lose Milan Lucic. Shedding the $5.25 million AAV they shell out to the big man plants a bit more money in their pockets to negotiate extensions with Andrew Mangiapane and Johnny Gaudreau, and unlike Mark Giordano, his departure leaves a gap easily pluggable by a developing player already in the system.

Mike G: Milan Lucic, for relatively obvious reasons. He’s an aging bottom-six forward making far too much money with no-movement and no-trade clauses on his contract. If Calgary could clear $5.25 million in cap space while keeping its captain and best two-way defender, it would be hard to call that anything but a massive win for the team. Lucic is a moderately effective player but he certainly isn’t worth his ticket and he could definitely be replaced.

Mike W: The Venn diagram of best case scenario and realistic likely do not overlap here but obviously the Flames would benefit greatly if they were relieved of Milan Lucic’s long and hefty contract.

Paige: They lose Louis Domingue. The Flames need a more consistent NHL caliber back-up this off-season anyways so they don’t lose much of anything with that selection. Especially with the lack of games and less than stellar performances they got out of him this season.

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Ryan: Add me to the Milan Lucic chorus. He’s been a great role player in the bottom six and a physical presence, but he’s making a couple million too much for the role he’s asked to play.

Shane: Absolute best case scenario for me would be based on impact vs. cap hit and that makes the answer obvious – Milan Lucic. I love Looch personally and I think he brings a great bottom six presence and fills his role quite nicely, but for what he brings to the table he is – in reality – too expensive. It would benefit the team most to have his cap hit off the books.

Worst case scenario, who do the Flames lose to Seattle?

Craig: The Flames lose Giordano. One of the most heartwarming stories in franchise history suffers a premature conclusion, and the Flames face pressure to use some of their precious off-season cap space to replace him externally with another competent and capable top-four defenceman.

Mike G: Probably Matthew Phillips or Oliver Kylington. Neither of them cost very much and they’re both promising young players. If Calgary is looking to gain some flexibility through the expansion draft, they won’t create any by losing either of these guys.

Mike W: The worst series of events would entail the Flames ultimately choosing to give up assets in order to prevent the selection of Mark Giordano. This sounds like it will not be the case but it is certainly not an avenue the Flames should walk down. Losing draft capital and a young skater such as Matthew Phillips or Oliver Kylington would be a poor decision to say the least.

Paige: They lose Matthew Phillips. Phillips hasn’t gotten a lot of chances with the Flames and is some ways overlooked by them. I fear Seattle sees the potential Calgary hasn’t unlocked yet.

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Ryan: There are really two “worst” cases. If they expend assets and don’t free up any cap space – as in shipping out assets to hold onto Giordano and lose a non-Lucic player – that’s the worst of both worlds. the other “worst” would be losing Giordano and having to fill a big hole on their roster.

Shane: The worst thing, based on who the Flames exposed, would be to lose promising prospect Matthew Phillips. Glenn Gawdin and Oliver Kylington would also be less than ideal, but i personally believe Phillips has the most talent of all three of them – so losing him would be the worst case in my books.

Who do you expect the Flames to lose to Seattle?

Craig: The Flames indeed bid goodbye to their beloved captain. Fans mourn what they’ve lost by spinning “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. on the turntable and pouring a shot of Nation Beer out onto the grass.

Mike G: Mark Giordano. If Frank Seravalli says it’s likely to happen, it’s happening. Giordano would be tough to lose, especially without getting any assets in return, but freeing up his $6.75 million salary cap allocation would be a huge deal for the Flames. Of course, effectively replacing him would be easier said than done

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Mike W: The Kraken have every reason in the world to select Mark Giordano. He’s still one of the best players available at his position, is still a top four defenseman in the NHL, and, perhaps most importantly for a management group coveting cap flexibility, only has a single year remaining on his contract. He’s an asset on the ice and would be an asset on the trade market even with his limited no trade clause. Plus, he’s a top notch human being.

Paige: Who do I think they’ll take? Hard not to say Giordano. That’s who I would take. There’s a reason fans are so sure he’s gone. I think he’s more of a foundational asset to the Kraken that Lucic could also provide, but not to the same level. They would be getting a lot of consistency and athleticism out of Gio for their first year in the league.

Ryan: I’m 80% sure that Seattle’s taking Mark Giordano. I don’t rule out Brad Treliving pulling off some GM wizard moves, but at this point the price may be too high to avoid losing their captain.

Shane: Based on all reporting it seems almost a sure fire bet for the Flames to lose their captain – Mark Giordano. Emotionally it may not seem right, but from a business perspective the team is doing the right thing. A first and a third to protect *any* 37-year-old player is too much and Seattle wouldn’t budge on their price. While sad it does present the Flames with an opportunity to use his $6.75 million to acquire more players, and with the flat cap market (hopefully) improve their team.

What do you think? Who will the Flames lose? Sound off in the comments!