FlamesNation Mailbag: the busiest time of the year

Ryan Pike
2 years ago
Since the last time we mailbagged, Mark Giordano was selected by Seattle, the Flames acquired Tyler Pitlick from Seattle, and then they selected eight players over draft weekend. Later today is qualifying offer deadline, and the arena deal is going to city council again, and then free agency opens on Wednesday.
So… there’s a lot happening. To the mailbag!
The Flames are looking for a backup who (a) can probably play about 25 games and (b) can probably do that for about $2 million or so. And while the Flames don’t want to throw Dustin Wolf into the NHL mix for a little bit – he’s 20, folks – they don’t want to sign a backup for so long that it blocks Wolf’s path to the big time. They have a balancing act.
Based on the players named, I think James Reimer could be a fit. Laurent Brossoit might just stay in Winnipeg because it’s not like he’s not a good fit there. I don’t think Jaro Halak would be a fit in Calgary based on his age and lengthy history playing out east. (The travel might not work for him.)
Unless there’s been a trade that hasn’t been announced transferring Blake Coleman’s rights to Calgary – which isn’t the case – or unless Tampa Bay has given the Coleman camp permission to talk to other teams, which we haven’t heard is the case, the Flames and Coleman cannot talk numbers until July 28. That would be tampering.
Have the Flames spoken broadly with Coleman’s agent about possibilities and how great it would be if a player like Coleman would become available and want to come to Calgary? I haven’t been told one way or the other, but that wouldn’t be tampering. Talking numbers with somebody under contract to another team is textbook tampering, everything else is a grey area.
Coleman’s a good secondary offensive player, but I’d be worried about sinking too many years (more than three would make me nervous) or too much cap space (more than $5 million would make me nervous).
What should they do? Try to upgrade existing spots in the lineup with long-term assets – adding a left shot defender in their 20s, for example – rather than plugging holes with players from the over-30 set.
What will they do? I think they might just try to fill in gaps with slightly more expensive players than they did last year. (They had no cap space last summer, so they went with league minimum bodies. Now they have cap space, so they might just go with 25% above league minimum and see how that goes.)
My understanding is the plan is for the usual week of rookie camp, followed by the usual week of main camp and then an 82-game season that stretches into late April.
Last night, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman blogged that he thinks the Flames are still in on Eichel, as are Anaheim, Minnesota “and others I’m probably missing.” The big question, for me, is if the Flames have assets that make a sufficiently intriguing package. I mean, the Ducks have oodles and oodles of prospects and cap space. They can throw high picks and prospects at Buffalo to land Eichel. I’m not sure if the Flames have enough of a critical mass in that realm to move the needle.
Based on everything I have heard: yes.
At this point, I’m leaning against it. Everything we’re hearing is that the Flames will be skewing young where they can, and the position that has the most young players making a push is probably at centre: Matthew Phillips, Glenn Gawdin and Adam Ruzicka come to mind, along with Jakob Pelletier and Connor Zary as dark horses. Ryan was a great depth player but I think the club may prefer to allocate their roster and/or cap space otherwise.
We also received a question from Matt asking why Treliving has been less aggressive the last few seasons after being so aggressive with the Hamilton, Hamonic and Hanifin/Lindholm trades?
The short answer is “the salary cap went flat.” The salary cap hasn’t budged significantly since 2019 and since nobody has cap space, it makes it a lot tougher to make big splashy trades. If you look at previous off-seasons, trades were easier to make because the cap was moving in an upward direction and teams all around the league weren’t being cautious. No cap space means tons of caution and not many huge moves.

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