Calgary Flames’ best value contracts: 2022

Pat Steinberg
1 year ago
The trade deadline is behind us, the roster is set, and the Flames are more than 75% of the way through the 2021-22 season. That’s more than enough to hit send on our annual countdown of Calgary’s best value contracts. On the one hand, the top of this list was as easy to compile as it’s ever been. On the other, whittling it down to just five was difficult, because there were multiple players that were just on the outside.
You’ll notice some stark differences from this list compared to last year’s, which speaks mainly to how much better the Flames have been compared to that miserable 56-game campaign. The main thing you’ll notice is WAY more of Calgary’s top players hitting this year’s list compared to this top five from the season prior:
5. Josh Leivo
4. Noah Hanifin
3. Elias Lindholm
2. Chris Tanev
1. Andrew Mangiapane
Like…Leivo was decent enough in his role, but the fact he cracked a list like this shows you how many players drastically underperformed in 2020-21. And, in fairness, both Tanev and Hanifin are amongst the group finishing just outside the top five as both are having solid seasons.
A final disclaimer: the only real qualifier to this list is no entry level contracts.

5. Rasmus Andersson

I think many Flames fans felt like the six-year, $27.3 million contract Andersson signed in January 2020 would end up looking really good in short order. I believe we’re at that point. For a $4.55 million cap hit, Calgary is getting a top pairing defenceman at five-on-five who also quarterbacks the top power play unit and sees significant penalty kill time. Not bad.
Andersson is a top 30 blueliner in five-on-five points-per-60 minutes (1.14) and is even higher in assists-per-60 (1.02). Evolving Hockey’s goals against replacement/wins against replacement model loves Andersson, too, as he ranks in their top 20 in both categories. It feels like Andersson is just coming into his own, which should keep him on this list for quite a while.

4. Oliver Kylington

After barely playing last season, Kylington saw an opportunity early and took full advantage of it. An everyday NHL defenceman for the first time, Kylington is firmly entrenched in Calgary’s top four and is averaging 17:04 of five-on-five ice time per game. Counting $750,000 against the cap, Kylington was never going to be bad value…but what he’s doing this year is bonkers. Charted metrics courtesy Natural Stat Trick.
Kylington rates well in every on-ice category and is top two amongst Flames blueliners in every individual column, including number one in points-per-60. In fact, that five-on-five P/60 number is top 20 in the league for defencemen, while Evolving Hockey ranks him sixth in both GAR and WAR. Yes, Tanev is a huge help, and no one disputes that; but Kylington is more than holding his own in the top four and doing it at league minimum salary.

3. Andrew Mangiapane

Did you know only Filip Forsberg (2.02) and Auston Matthews (1.90) have higher five-on-five goals-per-60 rates than Mangiapane’s 1.56 this season? That in and of itself would automatically put him on this list knowing Mangiapane is in the final year of a two-year bridge contract that carries a $2.425 million AAV. But it goes far beyond that.
Once again, Mangiapane is one of Calgary’s most effective five-on-five players; he ranks second in on-ice shot share, second in expected goals, and leads the team with his high danger chance ratio. The dude is a bonafide player and doesn’t even get top power play minutes…yet. Mangiapane kills penalties, plays hard, and is an offensive driver. The fact he’s not sitting on top of this list for a second straight year speaks to what the two guys in front of him have done…

2. Johnny Gaudreau

You know who’s the most productive five-on-five player in the NHL this season? His last name isn’t MacKinnon, McDavid, Ovechkin, Matthews, Draisaitl, Marner, Rantanen, or Crosby. It’s Gaudreau. In the final season of his six-year pact, Johnny is giving the Flames incredible value in relation to his $6.75 million cap hit. It’s ridiculous.
Gaudreau’s five-on-five P/60 rate leads the league. So does his A/60 rate (the same is true for primary assists). On pace for 107 points overall, no one can drag Gaudreau for being a power play specialist or being sheltered. It just ain’t true. And if it wasn’t for his centre all season long, he’d be running away with number one…

1. Elias Lindholm

What more can be said about what this guy is doing for a $4.85 million cap hit? He’s the SEVENTH HIGHEST PAID FORWARD on the team. He should unquestionably be a Selke Trophy finalist and has a hell of a case to win the thing. He leads the team with 31 goals. And, most crucially, Lindholm has filled this team’s biggest void for more than two decades: a legitimate number one centre.
I have plenty of metrics and stats and numbers I could inundate you with…but why? If you’ve watched the Flames this year, you know how important Lindholm has been. He drives one of the NHL’s elite lines, is the trigger on Calgary’s top power play, and is their most important penalty killing forward. Lindholm is the most vital and complete forward on the team…and he counts less than $5 million against the cap.


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