FlamesNation Mailbag: Already the middle of August
Photo credit:Mike Gould
By Ryan Pike9 months ago
It’s mid-August, pals, and we have roughly a month remaining until summer ends and prospect camp begins.
With the clock running down on summer, let’s check in with the mailbag.
Of the three, I think Noah Hanifin is the least likely to be moved. He’s awesome and his current deal expires roughly when the salary cap is expected to make a jump. Unless you think you won’t be able to retain him long-term, you hold onto him. Oliver Kylington is good, young, inexpensive and signed for three seasons. Unless somebody makes a hum-dinger of an offer, he’s somebody worth holding onto. Juuso Valimaki is the most likely to be moved, simply because he feels like the odd man out lineup-wise and if he’s in the AHL, he still carries an NHL cap hit ($425,000) and so the Flames have an incentive to move him elsewhere if they can.
I’m a big fan of the two Ontario Hockey League prospects likely going to the tournament, Jack Beck and Rory Kerins. Beck battled some nasty injuries last season but emerged as a goal-scoring force for the Ottawa 67’s nonetheless. And Kerins was one of the top offensive players in the OHL and then didn’t look out of place during a few appearances with Stockton in the AHL playoffs.
Juuso Valimaki faces an uphill battle to make the NHL roster. But he’s also talented and competitive, and so the right strategy heading into camp may be leaning into the system. Encourage him to try to steal a job. Encourage him to battle. Heck, tell him that if he wants to be an NHL player, he has to make it difficult for the Flames to send him down or for a team that sees him on the waiver wire to resist taking him. If Valimaki wants to be an NHLer, it’s up to him to prove to the 32 NHL clubs – including Calgary – that he can be one.
From a Flames perspective, maybe you’re hoping a team lower down on the waiver priority list sees Valimaki’s pre-season performances and offers a trade rather than rolling the dice on him falling to them in the waiver process. If the Flames do lose him for nothing on waivers, they still gain cap relief, so there’s still an upside to the situation possible.
Dillon Dube has played centre from time to time at the NHL level, and did so occasionally in the AHL and WHL, too. The big challenge for him is this: he needs a consistent role. He’s been a regular winger and only a stop-gap centre as a pro, so if the intention is to move him full-time to centre, they have to fully commit to it rather than risk turning him into another Sam Bennett with an inconsistent development path.
Perhaps. He’s a fourth liner with a big cap hit, but since he’s already been paid his signing bonus his cash outlay for the coming season when you factor in escrow is just $875,000. If you’re a young team that needs to get to the cap floor, Lucic might be valuable. If there’s a return back in a swap, it would probably be a late round pick or something like that.
I would pick it up and put it on a different plate and save it for yourself. That’s assuming you like your in-laws and don’t want to feed them things you dropped on your patio.
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