Calgary Flames 2024 free agency preview – forwards

Photo credit:© Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
23 days ago
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The Calgary Flames head into NHL unrestricted free agency ready to spend some of their $28,999,167 of cap space. The Flames need to spend $5,999,167 to get to the cap floor.
In years past, it would be fair for fans to worry about how the team is going to spend their money in free agency. But the good news is that Craig Conroy has publicly stated that he and his management group have no intention of signing any free agents to long term contracts, meaning 6- or 7-year deals. Even the chances of seeing a four- or five-year deal is low, but not out of the realm of possibility.
The Flames currently have twelve forwards that could start in the NHL next season.
As you can see, there aren’t a lot of spots open in the Flames lineup. They have a lot of veteran players in the top nine and they want to leave some spaces open for younger players. But the thing to keep in mind is that they are going to need extra bodies in case of injuries and potential trades. Because of that there is still room to add a body or two.

Potential needs

Middle six center: The Flames could use some insurance down the middle if they want to keep Yegor Sharangovich on the wing and not rush Connor Zary.
Top nine winger: If the Flames don’t acquire a center, look for them to add a veteran winger or take a flyer on a project type player with upside.
Depth forward with size/toughness: The Flames can’t go into next season without addressing the lack of toughness in their lineup or they run the risk of getting pushed around in a rebuilding season which is not ideal.
Let’s take a look at some of the names in the free agent market that fit these descriptions.
Please note this article does not include players who are not qualified by their teams or bought out today. 

Middle six centre

Finding a middle six centre on the free agent market is going to be difficult because there aren’t many of them available and there are a lot of other teams looking for the same type of player. The Flames are going to have to offer a lot of money on a short-term deal to convince some of these players to sign with them.

Sean Monahan – C – 29 years old – 6’2″, 202 pounds – 83 GP – 26G – 33A – 59P

Sean Monahan has come a long way since being traded by the Calgary Flames back in the summer of 2022. He has fully healed from his multitude of injuries and showed last season that he can still play in the NHL at a high level.
Monahan is the best player out of this group of centres and he is going to cost the most both in term and dollars.
Flames contract projection: 4 years, $5.25 million AAV

Jack Roslovic – C/RW – 27 years old – 6’1″, 198 pounds – 59 GP – 9G – 22A – 31P

There is no denying that Jack Roslovic is a talented player. But he’s had a hard time putting it all together consistently over his career. At his best, Roslovic is a speedy centre that could put up 20 goals and 20 assists. But he comes with defensive deficiencies that might wear thin on the Flames coaching staff.
Flames contract projection: 2 years, $4.75 million AAV

Adam Henrique – C – 34 years old – 6’0″, 195 pounds – 82 GP – 24G – 27A – 51P

Adam Henrique is the kind of centre the Flames would love to add. A reliable veteran who can play in the middle six, be trustworthy in his own end, play on the PK and chip in some offence.
I doubt Henrique wants to come to a rebuilding team like the Flames at this point of his career. But money talks.
Flames contract projection: 2 years, $5 million AAV

Alex Wennberg – C – 29 years old – 6’2, 190 pounds – 79 GP – 10G – 20A – 30P

Alex Wennberg has the potential to be a good fit with the Calgary Flames. He is a versatile forward who can play center and the wing. He can be relied on defensively and can show flashes of high-end skill. He is not a player you want to give a lot of term to. But having him on a short term deal for a high AAV could make some sense.
Flames contract projection: 2 years, $4.9 million AAV
Honorable mention: Yakov Trenin

Top nine winger

There is an abundance of top nine wingers the Flames could target in free agency on a short term, high AAV contract.

Jake DeBrusk – 27 years old – 6’1″, 198 pounds – 80 GP – 19G – 21A – 40P

Jake DeBrusk might be the one player in this article who I could see the Flames signing to a five-year contract because of his age and production over his career. DeBrusk is a solid top six winger who has scored at a 20-goal pace for five of his seven seasons in the NHL. He could be a solid veteran player to add to a team that is adding youth to the lineup over the next few years.
I personally don’t think the Flames should be signing anyone to a long-term deal right now. But multiple insiders have connected DeBrusk to the Flames so where there’s smoke there’s fire.
Flames contract projection: 5 years, $5.75 million AAV

Anthony Duclair – 28 years old – 5’11”, 197 pounds – 73 GP – 24G – 18A – 42P

Craig Conroy has mentioned multiple times this off-season that the Flames are going to look to add a player to help Jonathan Huberdeau. Who better than Huberdeau’s second most common linemate at 5-on-5 in his historic 115-point season? The Flames aren’t in a position to be trading valuable assets to get Huberdeau going. So signing a guy like Duclair as a free agent probably makes the most sense.
Flames contract projection: 3 years, $4.95 million AAV

Jason Zucker – 32 years old – 5’11”, 192 pounds – 79 GP – 14 G – 18A – 32P

Jason Zucker has been a solid top nine winger in the NHL for a long time. He is the type of veteran the Flames might want to bring in to help guide younger players and bring a winning mindset to the dressing room. He can chip in with 12-15 goals and play a responsible 200 foot game.
The Flames tried to acquire Zucker at the 2019 trade deadline, but the deal fell apart at the last second.
Flames contract projection: 2 years, $3.5 million AAV
Honorable mentions: Michael Amadio, Alex Barabanov, Warren Foegele, Anthony Mantha, Stefan Noesen, Victor Olofsson, Tanner Pearson, David Perron, Kiefer Sherwood, Jakub Vrana, James Van Reimsdyk

Depth forward with size/toughness

There are some options out there for teams looking to add a little bite to their forward group. Last week I wrote about two of those players in Ryan Lomberg and Austin Watson. Here are a couple other guys the Flames might consider as a depth forward.

Sammy Blais – 28 years old – 6’2″, 206 pounds – 53 GP – 1G – 6A – 7P

If you want a wrecking ball on your 4th line, then Sammy Blais is your guy. Blais was 4th in the NHL in hits/60 last season among forwards who played at least 200 minutes at 5-on-5. He’s 6th in the same stat over the last three seasons. The Flames need more physicality and aggressive forecheckers to go along with Martin Pospisil. Blais can bring that to the table.
Flames contract projection: 2 years, $1.5 million AAV
Honorable mentions: Sam Carrick, Cal Clutterbuck, Brandon Duhaime, AJ Greer, Riley Tufte

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