FlamesNation Mailbag: Sifting through the aftermath of the trade deadline

Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
We made it, gang. The 2024 trade deadline is officially behind us, and there are 18 games remaining in the Calgary Flames’ 2023-24 regular season schedule. As we look forward to the homestretch of the schedule, let’s delve into the mailbag as we begin to look ahead!
I’ve pondered this elsewhere on the site, and I keep coming back to this question: what’s a fair long-term deal for Oliver Kylington look like? All indications are that Kylington and the Flames really value their relationship, and so I don’t think there would be much nervousness over doing a short-term deal that gives them a bit more runway to figure out what Kylington’s NHL potential is and what a long-term would look like.
I would venture to guess that a one-year deal at about the same $2.75 million cap hit would make sense for everybody involved, and then they would have a more fulsome conversation in January 2025 about a more lengthy deal.
Samuel Honzek has had a tough 2023-24 season. He suffered an abdominal injury in a pre-season game, which cost him the first 25 games of the Vancouver Giants’ season and basically scuttled any plans to try him out at centre. So instead of entering the WHL season with momentum and swagger, he was sidelined and didn’t see game action until December. Then his season was disrupted by a trip to the World Juniors in Sweden, and in his first game back he suffered what Postmedia’s Steve Ewen described as a “sinus cavity fracture” and had to wear a protective shield for awhile.
Honzek has been low-key cursed by weird injury luck both this year and last, but he’s still a really talented, toolsy player who the Flames think has a ton of potential. As a 2004 birthday, he’s eligible to play for the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers in 2024-25, and I imagine he’ll be given every opportunity to play a regular shift in the AHL before the team considers sending him to junior for an overage season. Even in a cursed season where he hasn’t quite had his mojo, Honzek has scored at just shy of a point-per-game pace. Give him an off-season to work with the Flames’ training and development staff, and he could find a way to unlock his potential. (And hopefully, his injury luck turns around.)
When in doubt, I default to “use your picks to draft players.” The Flames’ system has a lot of what I would call “second tier depth” – players that project to be effective second pairing and middle-six forwards – but they lack blue-chippers and future stars. The most effective way to find those types of players is via the draft.
But a bunch of teams will be in salary cap trouble this off-season, so the Flames should also be strategic with possibly using some of their second, third and fourth-round picks to acquire players from teams in cap trouble – especially if those players are centres.
I think Hunter Brzustewicz will need some time at the AHL level to improve his defending and play away from the puck, especially when he’s battling against grown men. But his offensive skill-set and ability to move both himself and the puck effectively up the ice could make him a really good pro given some time. I get TJ Brodie vibes from his game. Brodie needed some time to mature and develop, but he’s turned into a very good pro (and a very good Flame).
Of the 24 players on the Hurricanes’ active roster as of Sunday’s game, seven of their core pieces (Jack Drury, Sebastian Aho, Brett Pesce, Seth Jarvis, Andrei Svechnikov, Jaccob Slavin and Martin Necas) were homegrown players they drafted and developed. They’ve also been pretty savvy in terms of the types of players they’ve brought in to surround those key pieces. When the opportunity arose to grab a Teuvo Teravainen or a Jesperi Kotkaniemi or a Jordan Martinook, they had a pretty clear idea of what kinds of players they wanted, the style they needed to play, and how every piece of the puzzle fit together.
The draft is the backbone of what Carolina’s doing well, but they also seem to have a pretty clear road map of what they want to do, how they want to do it, and where they want their team to go.

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