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Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

A look ahead to next summer’s potential free agents

Folks, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving had a really productive few days this week. In addition to the club finally unveiling the Calgary Wranglers as their American Hockey League farm team, they also also re-signed a trio of restricted free agents in Andrew Mangiapane, Oliver Kylington and Martin Pospisil.

While Treliving’s to-do list for the 2022 off-season is getting quite small, he has a few items looming from his 2023 list already.

Presently, eight players will become unrestricted free agents on July 1, 2023, and this probably represents the most stressful work on Treliving’s plate. Headed to market next year, unless signed in the interim, are Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Milan Lucic, Sean Monahan, Trevor Lewis, Clark Bishop, Colton Poolman and Oscar Dansk.

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In addition to those eight, three more players could become Group 6 unrestricted free agents depending on how many NHL games they play in 2022-23. A player becomes a Group 6 UFA when their contract expires and they’re (a) 25 or older, (b) have completed three or more pro seasons under an NHL contract, and (c) have played less than 80 games for a skater or 28 games (with 30+ minutes in net) for a goaltender.

  • Matthew Phillips becomes a Group 6 UFA unless he plays 79 games.
  • Connor Mackey becomes a Group 6 UFA unless he plays 71 games.
  • Nicolas Meloche becomes a Group 6 UFA unless he plays 23 games.

It seems probable that all three of these players will become free agents.

Goaltender Dan Vladar needs to play three games to avoid becoming a Group 6 UFA, which seems incredibly likely. Heck, he might get that done within the first three weeks of the 2022-23 regular season.

Including Vladar, there are six players who could become restricted free agents next summer. In addition to Vladar, there’s Juuso Valimaki, Pospisil, Emilio Pettersen, Ben Jones and Walker Duehr. The situation for Valimaki will be interesting, considering his qualifying offer will be around $1.55 million (his current cap hit at the NHL level) and if he hasn’t proven that he can be a regular NHLer, perhaps the Flames might get a bit gun-shy regarding re-upping him at that number.

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In other words, Treliving and his team have done some fine work this past week. They deserve a break. But hopefully their break doesn’t last too long, because they have a lot of things to start working on (if they haven’t already).

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