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FlamesNation Mailbag: Closing out the long weekend with reader questions about the draft and the off-season

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
24 days ago
It’s the Victoria Day weekend, folks, and that means we’re slowly but surely creeping closer and closer to the 2024 NHL Draft. As you would expect, our great readers have sent in many questions about the upcoming draft class and the Flames’ off-season.
Let’s dive in!
So here’s the deal with Jacob Markstrom. He has two years remaining on a deal that carries a $6 million cap hit and has a full no-move clause included. He also missed a good chunk of the 2023-24 season due to injury and he turned 34 at the end of January. He’s a really good goalie, but his game has been prone to big swings – he seems to be alternating between strong seasons and less-strong ones since signing with the Flames – and so there’s risk involved with acquiring him.
In short: I don’t know if he garners the Flames a first-round pick via a trade, if only because he has the potential to become a diminishing asset and (again) there are some risks involved. He’s good. He could really help a team in the right situation. But given his age and playing history, I wouldn’t expect him to be a saviour for whatever team acquires him.
That said: if a team’s looking to upgrade their goaltending, Markstrom is worth looking at. If I’m Toronto, New Jersey or Carolina, I might kick the tires and see if a deal can be figured out. But it depends on whether or not Markstrom wants to leave Calgary.
I would expect the 2024-25 team to be about the same age as the 2023-24 edition. Depending what happens with Jacob Markstrom, perhaps they’re a little bit younger than last season, but not significantly so.
There are probably two reasons that Andrew Mangiapane seems to emerge in trade discussions from fans and media. One is supply, one is demand.
On the supply side, the Flames have a bunch of wingers on their roster or within their system that seem like they’re long-term fits – or at least longer-term fits than Mangiapane – like Jonathan Huberdeau, Blake Coleman, Matt Coronato, Martin Pospisil and Jakob Pelletier. As a result, it seems pretty smart to explore moving on from some of their pending 2025 unrestricted free agents like Andrei Kuzmenko, Yegor Sharangovich and Andrew Mangiapane.
On the demand side, Mangiapane’s a pretty good 200-foot hockey player. Even if he doesn’t bury all of his chances, he’s shown that he can play responsible hockey in all three zones, he forechecks hard and intelligently, and he can play on both sides of special teams. If you’re trying to get value from an expiring asset, you can easily see a team getting a bit excited about Mangiapane’s potential in a new environment.
As of right now, the Calgary Flames haven’t reached an agreement on a new deal for Oliver Kylington. That said, I wouldn’t worry about it all that much. Both Oliver Kylington and general manager Craig Conroy have expressed interest publicly in a new deal as recently as exit interview day last month. Flames management had their hands full with scouting the Under-18 World Championships and draft preparations, but now that their amateur scouting meetings have concluded, we wouldn’t be surprised if talks progressed quickly.
The 2023 draft was described to me as having first-round quality players well into the late second round. The 2024 draft is less top-heavy – the “first-round quality players” arguably drop off after the top 20 players – but the second-round quality players stretch out for awhile. The primary depth is less than 2023, but the secondary depth is arguably a bit better.
In terms of Samuel Honzek, it’s hard to pinpoint where he’d slot in, but I’d eyeball him somewhere between 8th to 10th in the 2024 crop.
It’s hard to say, since the draft itself is often a bit of a crapshoot. But the reason for optimism is just the cheer amount of picks the Flames have this year, especially early in the draft. Barring some conditional picks breaking positively, the Flames have two picks in each of the first four rounds – that’s six picks in the top 100 – and hitting on early draft picks is the most reliable way to acquire future stars.
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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