FlamesNation Mailbag: The calm before the storm

Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
The 2022-23 National Hockey League calendar officially begins on Wednesday, as the free agent market opens up at 10 a.m. MT. And all heck will probably break loose.
As we await the chaos, let’s dive into the pre-free agency edition of the mailbag!
The Flames have about $26 million of space below the $82.5 million cap ceiling for 2022-23. Let’s assume that Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk combine for $20 million between them. That leaves $6 million of cap space for Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington. And a bunch of players to fill out the third pairing and fourth line.
So… the Flames will need to move out some other cap hits if they lock in Gaudreau and Tkachuk to hefty deals.
The sign-and-trade hasn’t really become a thing in the NHL because league rules allow a club to give another club permission to negotiate prior to a trade. There have been tons of eight-year deals signed since the 2013 CBA kicked in. None have involved a sign-and-trade. Two – Mark Stone with Vegas and Hampus Lindholm with Boston – were trade-and-sign deals, effectively, with the deals signed shortly after their trades to their new clubs. The reason for that is probably just that teams would rather deal directly with a player’s camp when they work out a long-term deal, rather than get terms passed along from somebody else’s negotiations.
One of two things happen with Tkachuk: he’ll either do a one-year deal or an eight-year deal. You hit the nail on the head as to why: the downside risk. If Tkachuk signs a three-year deal, he could get hurt or his play could fall off and he could end up making significantly less than if he signed now. Betting on himself, in the current scenario, would be walking himself to unrestricted free agency (or to the brink of it) to maximize his negotiating leverage.
I can get the temptation, especially given that the last few contracts Andrew Mangiapane signed were pretty team-friendly (and he’s probably in line for one that’s less so). But if you trade away Mangiapane, who’s going to score goals? That’s the big issue I have with showing him the door; sure, you gain some cap flexibility, but at what cost? It could serve to make the Flames more top-heavy and easier to play against in terms of line-matching.
Mangiapane’s good in all three zones, scores goals, and is on the right side of 30. Do what you can to hold onto him.
NHL clubs have to be below the $82.5 million cap ceiling by 3 p.m. MT on Oct. 10. (I believe San Jose and Nashville have to do it before their first game in Europe, though, but the teams staying in North America to begin the season have until Oct. 10.
(They probably get compliant by making some trades.)
They already have Danielle Fujita, who’s their full-time skating coach. But they also have three-time Olympic medallist Rebecca Johnston – the other Johnny Hockey – guest-coaching at development camp this week, hopefully a precursor for more to come for a very talented hockey player.
As far as I’m aware, Ryan Huska only interviewed with Detroit for the head-coaching vacancy there, but there might have been more. I’m not aware that any of the other Flames (or Heat) coaches were interviewed for any of the openings this off-season, though.
1) Aside from Gaudreau’s Game 7 overtime winner against Dallas in the first round, my favourite Gaudreau moment is probably his hat-trick against Los Angeles in December 2014. It was arguably the moment that indicated that he was going to be something special at the NHL level.
2) It’s hard to say before we see what the team looks like following free agency, but I think they might try to have that youth, speed and skill on the third line, and use players with more of a defensive (or physical) bent on the fourth line.
3) Coronato’s primarily played right wing in his career, so he probably stays at that position. (But you never know…)
The short answer is it depends on how much cap space they have remaining, and which players are available on the free agent market. I know they’d love to keep Erik Gudbranson around, if they can afford him. But if Gudbranson walks, they’ll probably try to find somebody to anchor the penalty kill and make Chris Tanev’s life a little easier from a shutdown perspective.
1) Jakob Pelletier.
2) Nazem Kadri keeps coming up in terms of possibilities, but I’d be a little nervous about signing him for a lengthy/high-cap deal given his age (31). But on a short/mid-term deal at a reasonable hit? He could be helpful for a contender who needs goal-scoring.
I don’t know if Boston would want to get rid of David Pastrnak, and I don’t know if the Flames would have sufficient tradeable assets in order to land him in the event they were trying to move him.
I’m incredibly curious as to how Sean Monahan would look if he had a full summer of training without having to recover from surgeries or rehab any injuries. I don’t know if that’s in the cards, but he’s good great hockey sense, instincts and a great shot, but his mobility has been supremely hampered because of his recent injuries. If he can get that mobility back even a little bit, maybe he could have a bit of a bounce-back season.

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