FlamesNation mailbag: drafts, trades and contract extensions

Ryan Pike
1 year ago
The Calgary Flames are back at .500 and in the midst of many games against the Ottawa Senators. As we wait for tonight’s game, we delve back into our handy mailbag!
The trade deadline and opening of free agency are tied to the playing season in terms of their timing, so they won’t move. But there are a bunch of different scenarios being reportedly booted around regarding the annual entry draft:
  • Have the 2021 Draft as planned in July 2021: Probably not a viable option, given that the OHL still isn’t playing and a good chunk of the top prospects haven’t been playing regularly due to the pandemic.
  • Move the 2021 Draft to January 2022: Probably the best option, the idea behind this one would be that scouts can focus on the 2021 kids in the first half and the 2022 kids in the second half. There’s challenges, though, particularly related to how long player rights are held by drafting teams – the CBA is very specific, but everything’s tied to a June draft – so things would need to be ironed out.
  • Move the 2021 Draft to June 2022 (immediately before the 2022 Draft): The least popular and viable option, this one has all the CBA challenges plus the challenge of teams having to scout two draft classes simultaneously.
It could go either way.
The Flames have a stretch of a lot of home games in a hurry. Starting with Thursday’s visit from Ottawa, the Flames have 15 games in 28 days (nine at home) and aside from a three day gap next week, there’s not a lot of downtime for practices.
But downtime can be good or bad. For some teams, having practice time to tinker with systems can help. For some times, they just need to find their groove by playing games. Too much practice time can lead to paralysis by analysis, while some teams just need to play and not stew about parts of their game that aren’t going well.
I’ve been on record that I think Brad Treliving waits this situation out and then loses Sam Bennett to Seattle in the expansion draft. That said, if a really good offer comes around, they could pull the trigger. Similarly, if the team hits the ditch fully, all bets are off and perhaps Treliving moves Bennett earlier as the first domino to fall among several potential changes.
Forsberg is 26 years old and has a $6 million on a deal that expires after the 2021-22 season (at which point he becomes a free agent). If I’m Nashville, I’m asking for Johnny Gaudreau, who has a similar contract ($6.75 million) expiring at a similar time. If I’m Calgary, I probably ask for a high pick and/or a prospect thrown in for good measure.
Forsberg is a depreciating asset the closer he gets to free agency, but he’s a productive player that Nashville isn’t just going to be giving away, and the Flames would want to be opening up cap space via any trade they decide to make for the next while.
To answer the second part first: Jack Eichel would make the Flames better. He’s a high, high end player.
He’s also paid like one, carrying a $10 million cap hit on a deal that runs until 2025-26. Because of the flat salary cap that teams will be dealing with for awhile, this would need to be a money-in, money-out kind of trade.
The swap would probably need to include Sean Monahan, a first round pick, a top prospect (Dustin Wolf, Connor Zary or Jakob Pelletier) and… some combination of players that would add up to around $3.625 million to make the cap math work. Buffalo got a package for Ryan O’Reilly that included Patrick Berglund, Tage Thompson, Vladimir Sobotka, a first and a second rounder, and they’d probably go into any Eichel trade with a similar expectation (if not higher).
Extension talks can officially begin – and formal offers made – once these players begin the final seasons of their current contacts, so as of July 28.
Of the two, Mark Giordano is probably the easier to sign. As a player older than 35, Giordano can be signed to a one year extension with performance bonuses built in or to a multi-year deal without them. (But if he retires during a multi-year deal, his cap hit disappears.) So the Flames and Giordano’s camp have a lot of flexibility with which to manoeuvre through the autumn years of his career and the expected decline in his overall productivity.
We’ll get into what to expect from Johnny Gaudreau’s next deal later on, but it’ll be pricey.
Yes. I think Jakob Pelletier becomes a full-time NHLer soon than later, perhaps as soon as 2021-22. Connor Zary, Glenn Gawdin and Matthew Phillips are also right there, too.
Nope! He probably gets assigned to Stockton to play a ton of hockey once Derek Ryan gets back from his injury.
The Flames have a really nice crop of talented players but they just haven’t come together and gelled completely and the group as a whole still lacks a few components that Stanley Cup contending teams tend to have. So if you’re asking for one thing to be pointed at, it’s that the team doesn’t have all of the ingredients to make a sufficiently amazing cake right now.
“Failure” is pushing it, though, because the team has a lot of young pieces signed for awhile, so it seems possible that the club could pivot and find ways to build around their youngest core players.

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