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Flames Draft Day: The 2023 NHL Draft, Round 1 (5pm MT, SN)

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Photo credit:Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
9 months ago
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After a pandemic bumped the proceedings into October (in 2020) and subsequently July (in 2021 and 2022), the 2023 NHL Draft returns to late June! Round 1 unfolds on Wednesday evening from scenic Nashville, TN. The radio call is on Sportsnet 960 The Fan, while the TV broadcast is on Sportsnet’s national feed, both beginning at 5 p.m. MT. The Calgary Flames are poised to select 16th overall in what could be a really important few days for the club.
Here’s what you need to know as Round 1 looms.

Calgary’s picks

The Flames have six picks over the next two days as newly-minted general manager Craig Conroy oversees his first draft in the big chair:
  • 16th overall (1st round)
  • 48th overall (2nd round)
  • 80th overall (3rd round)
  • 112th overall (4th round)
  • 176th overall (6th round)
  • 208th overall (7th round)
Where did all their other picks go?
The Flames’ fifth-round pick went to Montreal as part of the Tyler Toffoli trade prior to the 2022 trade deadline.
The Flames’ third-round pick went to Seattle as part of the Calle Jarnkrok trade prior to the 2022 trade deadline, but that selection was re-acquired on Tuesday as part of the second Tyler Toffoli trade (after the pick made stops in Columbus and New Jersey).
Could the Flames trade for more picks? Maybe! Could they trade down to get more picks? Also maybe!

Calgary’s contracts

The Flames have 20 players who are both currently signed to one-way deals for 2023-24 and require waivers to be sent to the minors:
  1. F Jonathan Huberdeau – $10.5 million
  2. F Nazem Kadri – $7 million
  3. D MacKenzie Weegar – $6.25 million
  4. G Jacob Markstrom – $6 million
  5. F Andrew Mangiapane – $5.8 million
  6. F Mikael Backlund – $5.35 million
  7. D Noah Hanifin – $4.95 million
  8. F Blake Coleman – $4.9 million
  9. F Elias Lindholm – $4.85 million
  10. D Rasmus Andersson – $4.55 million
  11. D Chris Tanev – $4.5 million
  12. D Nikita Zadorov – $3.75 million
  13. F Yegor Sharangovich – $3.1 million
  14. D Oliver Kylington – $2.5 million
  15. F Dillon Dube – $2.3 million
  16. G Dan Vladar – $2.2 million
  17. F Kevin Rooney – $1.3 million*
  18. F Walker Duehr – $825,000
  19. F Adam Ruzicka – $762,500
  20. D Dennis Gilbert – $762,500
These 20 players account for $80.15 million in combined cap hits, which leaves the Flames with $1.35 million in cap space to fill two or three roster spots. The expectation is for Rooney to be buried in the AHL for the coming season, which would free up all but $150,000 of his cap hit and adjust the available space to $2.5 million (to fill three or four roster spots).
Main roster players who are pending unrestricted free agents include Milan Lucic, Trevor Lewis, Nick Ritchie, Troy Stecher and Michael Stone. They have no main roster players who are pending restricted free agents.
If you plug Jakob Pelletier ($863,333), Matt Coronato ($925,000) and a placeholder forward at a league minimum ($775,000) contract into the open roster spots, the Flames would be about $63,333 over the cap ceiling.

This and that

So, the Flames have two big things they’re dealing with right now:
  1. Elias Lindholm’s negotiations on a contract extension.
  2. The negotiations on the other five remaining potential 2024 unrestricted free agents (Backlund, Hanifin, Tanev, Zadorov and Kylington), which partially hinge on Lindholm’s situation.
If the Flames can lock in Lindholm long-term, they have a foundational piece they can continue to build around up front. If not, suddenly there’s a big hole in their top line and the follow-on impacts of that – players below Lindholm in the rotation getting pushed up above where their ideal placement would be – could create further challenges.
We’re in the middle of what should be a fascinating off-season in terms of re-sequencing contracts and attempting to shift the emphasis on the team from some of the older players towards some of the younger players.
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