Our pal Elliotte Friedman put together his latest edition of 31 Thoughts over at Sportsnet’s website. As you would expect, there were some Calgary Flames notes in there as well as an update on the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft.
6. In Calgary’s search for right-handed shooters, there were conversations with Nashville, but, obviously, nothing happened.
7. I’m not convinced there would have been a coaching change in Calgary if Darryl Sutter wasn’t available. He and the Flames discussed the possibility of a reunion a few times in the last couple of years, but the timing was never right. One was during Bill Peters’ removal, and the other was after the bubble, before Geoff Ward was formally hired. A coach being hired doesn’t always have say on term, but the Flames did ask what he desired in this particular case (two more years after this one). His first game behind the bench is scheduled to be Thursday against Montreal.
Their AHL team, Stockton, is 6-2 while playing in Canada this winter. Four players — forwards Adam Ruzicka, Matthew Phillips, Martin Pospisil and defenceman Alex Petrovic — are averaging a point per game. That doesn’t mean everything, but the Flames need a jolt. Tuesday on Hockey Central, GM Brad Treliving said priority is getting the NHLers going but, “I think everything’s always on the radar. You don’t discount anything.”
For the curious, Ruzicka and Phillips have been playing on a line together (with Connor Zary), while Martin Pospisil has been centering the third line between Emilio Pettersen and Dmitry Zavgorodniy, and Alex Petrovic is on a defensive pairing with Connor Mackey.
All of the four players mentioned by Friedman have fairly low cap hits: Ruzicka ($801,666), Phillips ($733,333), Pospisil ($796,667) and Petrovic ($700,000) could be accommodated fairly easily below the cap on short-term recalls, if the goal was to give the club a jolt.
And here’s Friedman on the 2021 NHL Draft:
13. As I write this, we are awaiting an announcement that the 2021 NHL Draft will not be moved from its original date in July. This will be of great disappointment to teams, eligible players and agents, who fought hard for a delay of six months to a year. In the end, I just don’t think, after everything NHL and NHLPA leadership’s been through, there was the will for another intense battle over how rights would be adjusted. The union submitted a list of 12 to 13 items that would need to be addressed.
If you actually get into the CBA – it’s great bed-time reading if your sleeping pills aren’t doing the trick – pretty much all the timing related to entry level players, drafted player rights and years of service is tied into a summer (June or July) draft and there were just too many things that would’ve needed adjusting.
This means that the upcoming draft will be chaos, as it’s arguably the draft class that NHL clubs know the least about, and there’s a big imbalance between leagues in terms of who’s been able to play, how much, and how much teams have been able to view players this season. It could be fascinating, and could make the second-time eligible player crop for 2022 – the players who were eligible for the upcoming draft but weren’t selected – a potential goldmine for a lot of teams.