FlamesNation Mailbag: Counting down to training camp

Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
Intrepid FlamesNation managing editor Ryan Pike is in California this week, eating churros and riding the tea cups in preparation for the coming hockey season. But first: the weekly mailbag!
As of right now, MacKenzie Weegar has 121 points in 306 NHL games (0.395 points per game). He’s 28 right now. If he signed right now, his likely comparables are:
  • Ryan Pulock: 125 points in 290 games (0.431 points per game), who signed for eight years at $6.15 million AAV
  • Colton Parayko: 171 points in 418 games (0.409 points per game), who signed for eight years at $6.5 million AAV
  • Jonas Brodin: 146 points in 555 games (0.263 points per game), who signed for seven years at $6 million AAV
Weegar’s camp will try to argue that Brodin’s deal sets the floor and the conversation probably steers towards a Parayko-esque deal. If Weegar played another season, there runs the risk that he plays his cap hit higher or lower, which is probably why both sides have incentives to get a deal done and not let things drag into the season.
This feels like it ends up at a deal with a cap hit in the mid $6 million range over a term of seven or eight seasons.
Juuso Valimaki is in the final year of a deal that carries a $1.55 million cap hit. He’s going to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. I don’t think this is necessarily his last dance, but this camp is going to be really important for him to prove that there’s still tread left on the tires, so to speak. He was a highly touted prospect for a lot of reasons: his smarts, his mobility, his tenacity and is consistency. His injuries have perhaps hampered his mobility a tad, but his game (at least at the AHL level) seemed to lack the swagger and consistency that he once had.
Valimaki’s had a tough few seasons, but he’s still the guy that got the Flames (and many other teams) excited about his potential before his injuries. It’s up to show them – and the broader hockey world – that his potential is still there.
I would say “perhaps,” but I think the nice thing for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar and Nazem Kadri is that Darryl Sutter had a full camp with the Flames last fall and managed to lay a lot of foundation for how the team needs to play. That means that rather than integrate these guys mid-season, or integrate them into a group he’s figuring out, Sutter basically has all of training camp to slot these guys in and use his systems – and their new teammates – to reinforce systems, habits and tactics.
It’s all because of the fans. Without people getting excited (or angry) about the Flames and wanting to learn more about them, we would just be screaming into the void. We have a ton of fun and exciting things on tap for the coming season and we’re really excited to share them with all of you.

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