FlamesNation Mailbag: Closing out August

Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
We’re into the final week of August, pals, and everyone in the hockey world is trying to squeeze out one last ounce of vacation before diving head-long into the grind that is the hockey season. As we prepare for the inevitable dive into the deep end, let’s check in with the mailbag.
For Michael Stone and Brett Ritchie, it’s hard to say what they’re doing. They both likely have options outside of Calgary to consider, but considering how well they fit their roles as the extra defender and forward respectively, perhaps they’re waiting for camp to begin to solidify their 2022-23 plans.
For right wing? The easiest thing to do is make a signing like Evan Rodrigues.
The big question with Dillon Dube heading into the season is this: what is he?
So far in his pro career, he’s been a slightly less good version of Andrew Mangiapane. You can look at everything Dube’s good at and compare him to #88, and you can make a pretty good case that Mangiapane is better at that particular thing. If Dube’s going to carve out a niche on the team, he needs to figure out what he brings to the table that nobody else does and find a way to emphasize those qualities.
Too much. He’s making $7 million, and the Flames would need to move out a high pick, a good prospect, and enough roster cap space to make such a trade viable. And then figure out how to afford Mathew Barzal long-term.
Just can’t see how it works.
Oliver Kylington is the young player on the blueline that has trade value. Right now, Juuso Valimaki is a waiver piece – and he’ll need a good camp to prove that he’s got NHL upside. But you’re probably looking at a money-in, money-out swap if you move Kylington for a forward, so you’re probably getting a third line body rather than a top six player based on the economics of it.
The Flames probably won’t carry eight defenders because then you have too many guys sitting idle – especially with the top six group looking so solidified, it would be tough to keep the extra players active and engaged in that situation.
I would suspect the Flames would look for a roster balancing move, or just send a player down through waivers to the Wranglers to get playing.
It was more a lack of defensive depth than Darryl Sutter getting out-coached. When Chris Tanev got hurt, and with Nikita Zadorov and Oliver Kylington already nursing injuries, it made it impossible to roll three pairs and four lines with the style and pace that the Flames needed to have to get past Edmonton.
It probably comes from Milan Lucic.
Right now Adam Ruzicka remains the last unsigned restricted free agent for the Flames, and I would suggest it’s probably because of questions (on both sides of the negotiation) about what Ruzicka is right now. Is he on the cusp of becoming a regular NHLer? Does he need to go back to the AHL for a bit more seasoning before he’s ready for everyday duty?
If there was a clear consensus on what Ruzicka is, he probably would’ve been signed by now.

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