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FlamesNation Mailbag: Fun-lympics

The Summer Olympics have come and gone, and next up for the Olympic cycle is the 2022 games in Beijing… in February. As life continues to whoosh by at break-neck speed, let’s ponder life’s mysteries in the most fun way possible: the weekly FlamesNation mailbag.

Let’s get at it!

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Scouting pal Tony Ferrari, formerly of Dobber Prospects, described Heineman earlier this year in this manner:

Heineman is a very good shooter and he brings a high-level motor with a willingness to bang along the boards. A quality addition to the Calgary prospect pool who could turn into what Bennett had become with a better shot.

Some scouts have compared Heineman’s overall projection as a player similar to Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman. Heineman has already played a season and change in the Swedish Hockey League, and he represented the Tre Kronor at the World Juniors. Based on what we’ve seen from him at the SHL level, he projects well to be (at least) a useful complimentary piece at the NHL level just because of his motor alone.

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Flames general manager Brad Treliving has two seasons left on his current contract, which ends at the end of the 2022-23 season (as does Darryl Sutter’s). At this point, I’m reasonably confident that Treliving will be around until (at least) the end of his contract. That said, if the team doesn’t look like it’s making progress – or has made progress over the past few seasons – then they might be looking in another direction.

But it’s way, way too early to make projections about a GM changeover and potential successors.

Assuming no trades or free agent signings:

Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Mangiapane – Monahan – Coleman
Dube – Backlund – Pitlick
Lucic – Gawdin – Lewis
(Extra: Ritchie)

Hanifin – Tanev
Zadorov – Andersson
Valimaki – Kylington
(Extra: Welinski)

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Markstrom
Vladar

My guess right now is we see another defenseman signed to bump Kylington down to the seventh spot (or the AHL). One of Kylington or Welinski will likely be the extra blueliner.

Let’s do this rapid fire:

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  1. Of Pelletier, Zary or Coronato, I would suspect the Flames would be most likely to part with Pelletier, as he’s the oldest of the three and arguably has the least pure offensive upside. That said, the club thinks very highly of all three of them and are in no hurry to ship any of them out.
  2. A team acquiring Tkachuk right now would get two years of player control before unrestricted free agency kicks in. Based on that, I would estimate he’d land them a first round pick and a pretty good prospect from whoever he’s traded to.
  3. My personal confidence on Gaudreau re-signing is 8.5 out of 10.

I personally don’t think the Flames are one player away from a Stanley Cup, and so I’m not a huge fan of mortgaging the future in order to get the team over the top.

Teams that are successful – looking at you, Tampa Bay – tend to build from within and use guys like Blake Coleman to fill in the gaps of the lineup, and so hording young players and draft picks is my preferred method until a critical mass of young pieces exists, at which point teams are able to move out those pieces for things they haven’t been able to grow internally without really hurting their pipeline. The Flames have done this with some success with “hockey trades” that landed them Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm, but packaging first and second round selections hasn’t resulted in a lot of trade success lately.

 

I would imagine the Flames go without a full-time captain for 2021-22 – a first in franchise history – and operate with three alternates for every game: Chris Tanev, Sean Monahan, and the third rotating between Mikael Backlund and Matthew Tkachuk.

The only rumours that don’t suck:

With their current roster, I would say the Flames finish behind Vegas and Edmonton in the Pacific Division. They probably finish ahead of Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose. So that probably means they’re battling Seattle and Vancouver for the last divisional spot and/or a wild-card playoff berth.

We’ve profiled Sami Vatanen recently, and he’s a free agent defender who would be a reliable two-way presence on the right side and could mentor young Juuso Valimaki. That would give the Flames a nice right-left balance on all three pairs with a young guy and an older guy: Hanifin with Tanev, Andersson with Zadorov, and Valimaki with Vatanen.

More rapid-fire!

  1. The Flames have reportedly been shopping Monahan for the last two off-seasons with no success. The challenge may be Monahan’s consistency and injury history, which may be inter-related.
  2. I would guess Gaudreau’s extension would be long-term – somewhere between six and eight seasons – and a cap hit somewhere around $8.5 million. I have no inside information, but this is a guess based on other recent contracts signed by wingers.
  3. At this point, Noah Hanifin is probably the team’s de facto #1 defenseman.
  4. Elias Lindholm is really a centre. Really.

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