A quick 2021 free agency snapshot

Photo credit:Terrence Lee/USA Today Sports
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
The Calgary Flames have 45 players under active contracts right now, according to our friends at Puckpedia. If you’re hoping for off-season changes, you’re in luck: 26 of those 45 contracts are expiring this off-season.
In advance of the trade deadline, here’s a preview of the various free agents of various types.

10.2(c) RFAs

These are restricted free agents who haven’t played enough seasons to qualify for “real” restricted free agency, in that they’re not eligible to accept offer sheets.
Defenseman Juuso Valimaki is the lone 10.2(c) free agent. He’ll be qualified and re-signed.

RFAs without arbitration rights

Five players will be RFAs but haven’t met the experience requirements to qualify for arbitration: goaltender Tyler Parsons, defenseman Oliver Kylington, and forwards Dillon Dube, Glenn Gawdin and Matthew Phillips. Like with the previous category, it’s likely all these guys will be retained – four of these guys are good NHL depth, while Parsons is needed for expansion draft exposure requirements.

RFAs with arbitration rights

Here’s where things get interesting: RFAs who could file for salary arbitration. The nine guys that qualify are goaltender Artyom Zagidulin, defensemen Colton Poolman, Connor Mackey, Alexander Yelesin and C.J. Lerby, and forwards Sam Bennett, Dominik Simon, Justin Kirkland and Luke Philp.
A few of these guys are no-brainers to retain (Zagidulin, Poolman, Mackey, Lerby, Philp), some might be needed for expansion reasons (Bennett, Simon), and some are depth pieces that could block the progression of some younger prospects (Yelesin, Kirkland).


Finally, 11 players qualify for full unrestricted free agency: goaltenders David Rittich and Louis Domingue, defensemen Alex Petrovic, Michael Stone and Nikita Nesterov, and forwards Derek Ryan, Josh Leivo, Brett Ritchie, Joakim Nordstrom, Buddy Robinson and Zac Rinaldo. Rittich, Ryan and Leivo are useful NHL players, while everybody else are at least functional NHL depth options.
Which players should the Flames keep? Which should they let walk? Which should they try to trade before the trade deadline to recoup some assets? Sound off in the comments!

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