FlamesNation Mailbag: It’s November!

Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
2 years ago
Spooky season is now over, friends. It’s November, and the March to Remembrance Day and the winter holidays looms.
Let’s dive into the mailbag!
It’s incredibly early – he’s played seven games this season – but Oliver Kylington’s emergence as an everyday, useful NHL defenseman has been a revelation. He was on the taxi squad last season (and played eight of the Flames’ 56 games) but he’s emerged as the type of player that scouts thought he could be. He’s played primarily with Chris Tanev, who’s basically the team’s security blanket – Tanev is good enough defensively that they can put him with offensive-minded players with some defensive holes and balance things out.
Now, let’s not diminish what Kylington’s done. He cleared waivers last season and now he’s playing in Calgary’s top four and is part of arguably the team’s most consistently-performing defensive pairing. But he’s done that alongside the security blanket, and it’s difficult to tell if he’d be able to perform this assuredly alongside Rasmus Andersson, another offensive-minded player with some defensive challenges.
It’d be interesting to try them out late in some blowout games, or potentially as a pairing on the power play, in order to test out their chemistry within a game environment. As it stands, they haven’t really played together very much at all so it’s not quite clear if they would mesh well or if this would be like mixing oil and water. They could probably create some offense together, but the question is which one of them would be the defensive stalwart.
Let’s be honest: almost all hockey questions are mostly for fun.
The 2003-04 comparisons make sense:
  • Darryl Sutter joined the Flames as coach in 2002-03 mid-season but really put his stylistic mark on the club the following season.
  • The Flames’ top offensive talent (Jarome Iginla in 2003-04, Johnny Gaudreau now) was arguably a couple seasons past his productive peak year.
  • The Flames’ starting goaltender was a veteran from a Nordic country.
  • The general roster composition – arguably no truly high-end, elite talents (though you can make a strong case for Jarome Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff), but relying on depth and consistency in playing style across the entire lineup.
If we’re being honest (again): the 2003-04 Flames were a triumph of style over substance. They had an unyielding commitment to their playing style and forced their opponents to play their type of game. The 2021-22 Flames, thus far, have a similar commitment to their playing style. We’ll see if they can sustain it and translate it into some late-season (or post-season) success.
The reports were that Connor Zary broke his ankle (or at least a bone in his ankle) blocking a shot in the final rookie camp game with Edmonton on Sept. 20. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service had this response pop up first on Google when I typed in a question about broken ankles.
A broken ankle usually takes 6 to 8 weeks to heal, but it can take longer. The doctor will tell you: how long you’ll have to wear the boot or have the plaster cast on. how much weight to put on your ankle – you may be given crutches or a walking frame to help keep weight off it.
Six weeks would be Nov. 1 and eight weeks would be Nov. 15. Given those timelines, it would seem probable that we hear some kind of an update on Zary within the next week or two.
So here’s where things are at, pals.
Through the first 20 days of the season, the Flames have banked $71,250 in cap space. They have banked enough space to accommodate another $1.05 million in cap hits. But Jack Eichel makes $10 million and would arrive in town on the injury reserve and need to be accommodated under the $81.5 million cap ceiling. He could go on the long-term injury reserve afterwards, but he wouldn’t arrive on the LTIR.
So the Flames would need to move out about $8.95 million in any Eichel trade is the long and the short of it. And while Eichel was on LTIR, they’d accumulate zero cap space for later in the season. (And let’s be honest: they’d be moving out two or three deals in order to make room for Eichel, then suddenly have cap space for them again once they put Eichel on LTIR.) It’s a complicated cap mechanism, and it would be challenging as heck to blow a hole in their roster in order to afford Eichel, and then not be able to use Eichel or the players they traded until Eichel is healthy.

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