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FlamesNation Mailbag: A very eventful fortnight

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
A lot has happened related to the Calgary Flames over the past two weeks. And all due respect to him, we’re not referring to the Flames signing Kevin Rooney. Rather, I’m sure everybody is more caught up in the comings and goings of 100-point players these days.
As we tidy up after all the chaos, let’s check out the mailbag.
Oliver Kylington is currently awaiting an arbitration case, but besides him, the Flames have nine other defenders on one-way NHL deals: Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, MacKenzie Weegar, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Nicolas Meloche, Dennis Gilbert, Connor Mackey and Juuso Valimaki. And yeah, Michael Stone was the Flames’ representative at the Stampede Parade. That’s no guarantee that he signs, but he was quite good for them last season and it would be fairly weird if he wasn’t strongly considered for a gig.
That’s a ton of blueliners.
As for who gets traded, I don’t know if the Flames are going to immediately go out and move somebody, as they really value depth and one of the reasons the Flames hit the ditch against Edmonton in the second round of the playoffs was not having enough defensive depth (to the point where Tanev, Zadorov and Kylington were playing through some tough injuries).
If you’re the Flames, going into camp with a bunch of depth might be beneficial; the other NHL clubs will have a better sense of their own depth during camp, and if the Flames have a bunch of players having strong camps, it might do more to spur trade talks than Brad Treliving cold-calling 31 other GMs offering up his surplus blueliners.
It seems unlikely that everybody sneaks through waivers, though, and I would put Juuso Valimaki at the top of the list to be moved if only because it would give the Flames some cap relief and him a fresh start.
My best guesses:
  • Noah Hanifin & Rasmus Andersson
  • MacKenzie Weegar & Chris Tanev
  • Nikita Zadorov & Oliver Kylington
That said, I expect a lot of mixing and matching during training camp and early in the regular season.
Maybe? I think the Flames really like their defensive depth right now, but they would acknowledge that they could use some help at forward. The answer probably hinges on the price tag: if they can get somebody good and cost-controlled, I think they strongly consider moving a defender.
Jonathan Huberdeau’s next deal probably sits in the $8.5 to $9 million range, while MacKenzie Weegar’s next deal probably starts in the $6 million range. But both numbers could creep up with a strong final season under their current deals.
I would say that forward depth, in general, would be the concern at the NHL level right now. I suspect the Flames will be exploring any available avenues to upgrade their club, but it’s hard to say whether free agency or a trade is more likely until the new deals for Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington are figured out.
Yes, he is. I’m told he should be fully ready for the start of training camp in September.
It would depend on the price tag. But I’ll say this: Mikael Backlund’s so good at the defensive side of the game and touches so many things in that respect that it would be really tough to replace him without grabbing somebody with a similar skill-set somewhere.
Adam Ruzicka is definitely a good option at 3C moving forward, but it’s way too early to say he’s the solution.
I would imagine Milan Lucic might entertain going somewhere warmer and/or closer to California, so perhaps somewhere like Anaheim or Seattle might be a viable option in terms of a potential trade. (But I wouldn’t bet on it happening.)
I would imagine Darryl Sutter chatted with Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk regarding their respective futures in Calgary during exit meetings, and I would be shocked if Brad Treliving wasn’t chatting with Sutter during the whole process, but I don’t think Treliving would get his coach to twist anybody’s arms during the free agency/trade process.
If both of them don’t sign, then it depends on what assets the Flames get for the two players. (If nothing, it’s a loss.) If one of them signs long-term, it feels pretty close to a win. If both of them sign long-term, it’s a definite win.
It’s basically the UFA/RFA distinction. Because Matthew Tkachuk was Flames property (for at least another year) and gave the Flames a bit of notice, a sign-and-trade became a viable option. Florida got the player a year early (e.g., they didn’t have to wait a year to get him in free agency) and got some cap relief via the trade, too, so the incentives for everybody involved lined up really nicely.
For Johnny Gaudreau, the Flames didn’t have a ton of ability to swing a trade even if Gaudreau gave them a ton of notice because the teams who could’ve traded for him had an incentive just to wait to get him in free agency for free without losing assets. I don’t think it was an unwillingness for Treliving to swap Gaudreau’s rights, but rather the lack of a market for those rights and a lack of time to drum up a market for those rights.

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