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FlamesNation Mailbag: Diving into the season’s final week

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
Friends, the Calgary Flames have played 80 games of their 2023-24 regular season. They have games on Tuesday and Thursday, and then their season will be complete.
As we await the final games of the campaign, let’s delve into the mailbag!
Via e-mail: “Honest opinion, do you think Jarome would really want Tij drafted by the Flames? In his current role with the Flames would he speak up one way or another or just let Connie cook?”
I’m obviously not hiding in the ceiling listening into any phone chats between Jarome Iginla and Craig Conroy. However, we know that the duo are close – Conroy was the one that recruited Iginla to be a special advisor – and that they’ve talked about working together for years. It’s reasonable to assume that they would have a conversation about one of Iginla’s sons being one of the top draft eligible players in the draft class.
I don’t know what Jarome’s opinion would be, because there’s recent examples of players going into organizations with family ties and it working really well – Josh Doan in Arizona – and some with it being a bit more challenging. We’ll be doing a few deep dives looking at the pros and cons of Tij Iginla in the coming weeks.
Under Conroy, as like under Brad Treliving, the Flames will set their draft order and draft their list. Their placement of Tij, and the rationale behind it, would be fascinating to hear.
Via e-mail: “If we were simply offered a 2024 first from NJ for Markstrom (zero retention) would we do it? It would be around the 11th spot and we could then get both a high end defense and forward prospect.”
That’s a great question.
Me, personally, I would do it. The Flames would get $6 million in salary cap relief immediately, open up a full-time NHL roster spot for Dustin Wolf, and get another first-round pick. My guess is the Flames have some internal modelling and valuations in terms of what they would accept for each of their particular assets, so it’s tough to say if they would do it. But it would easy to see what the value proposition would be for them in such a move.
If it were up to me, I think Dustin Wolf needs to be a full-time NHLer in 2023-24. He’s bounced up and down throughout this season and shown flashes of really strong play. But I think it would helpful to his development to give him some stability and allow him to build some momentum at the NHL level.
He’s done everything he can at the AHL level. It’s time to let him loose on the NHL and see what he can become.
We’ve also received a few comments and questions about the Wranglers’ upcoming post-season. First up: hey, how come only certain players on the Flames’ roster are eligible to go down to the AHL for the playoffs?
To be eligible to play in the AHL after the NHL’s trade deadline, a player has to be on an AHL roster as of the trade deadline. The reasoning is that the AHL doesn’t want NHL clubs parachuting down half of their rosters once they miss the playoffs. So between waiver statuses and the NHL’s weird “four regular recall” limit after the deadline, teams are limited in their ability to send players down at the end of their seasons.
The Flames only sent down Matt Coronato and Jakob Pelletier to keep them AHL eligible. And since then, Pelletier’s been sent down to the AHL and Dustin Wolf and Ilya Solovyov were called back up (and remain eligible to go back to the AHL at the end of this week). A bunch of current roster players have spent time in the AHL this season – Dryden Hunt, Connor Zary, Martin Pospisil, Kevin Rooney, Oliver Kylington and Walker Duehr – but because they weren’t on the AHL roster as of the trade deadline, their seasons will end on Thursday.
Next, what’s with the AHL’s best-of-three opening round? A few readers thought it was a bit odd that the Wranglers wouldn’t get any home games as the lower seed.
Due to that damn pandemic, the AHL had no full playoffs in 2020 or 2022. When a full Calder Cup playoffs returned in 2022, the league decided to get creative in terms of how to handle their various divisions being of different sizes.
For every division, a best-of-five Division Semi-Final round is played featuring four teams. However, every division now basically has a qualifying round (called the First Round officially) where varied number of best-of-three series are held so teams can play their way into the Division Semi-Finals. The Pacific Division gets really wacky, with three first round series featuring six teams, while the other four divisions feature two (Atlantic Division) or one series (Central and North Divisions).
In order to make travel less onerous during the First Round series (and keep costs down), the simple solution was that for most First Round series, all games are hosted in the higher-seeded team’s arena. (Some teams do alternate home games, but only usually in series between teams located very close to each other.) It’s kind of annoying to see teams qualify for the playoffs but get no home games out of it, but I do see the logic behind it.
Got a question for a future mailbag? Contact Ryan on Twitter/X at @RyanNPike or e-mail him at Ryan [at] TheNationNetwork.com! (Make sure you put Mailbag in the subject line!)

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