FlamesNation mailbag: the days of (almost) summer

Ryan Pike
1 year ago
We’re getting into the late stages of June and getting ever-closer to the expansion draft, the entry draft and the opening of free agency in just five weeks!
Let’s dive into the mailbag, pals!
The big fish in the trade market is Jack Eichel. He’s awesome, expensive and will cost a pretty penny. But there will probably be a secondary trade market among teams that miss out on Eichel but still want to upgrade at centre, which is probably the mechanism by which Sean Monahan gets moved (if he does). I think Ottawa and Columbus seem like obvious landing spots, but there are probably going to be some unexpected suitors that we don’t anticipate, too.
I would probably set the high-water mark for assets at the 2021 (or 2022) first round pick, perhaps both, Sean Monahan and one of the three top prospects (Connor Zary, Jakob Pelletier and Dustin Wolf). I don’t think that gets it done, though, and Buffalo probably asks for something like Johnny Gaudreau (or Matthew Tkachuk), one of the prospects and both first round picks.
The Flames just don’t have a deep enough prospect pool to be able to land Eichel without completely destroying their ability to plunk young players into their lineup.
The Flames probably have the same issue landing Seth Jones as they would landing Jack Eichel: the other teams looking to add him probably have better assets and/or a larger willingness to part ways with them in order to land the player.
I strongly doubt it. Rittich was a good player for the Flames and liked his time here by all accounts, but he likely wants to be somewhere he can play a lot. With Jacob Markstrom in the fold, that won’t happen in Calgary.
Wolf will be playing in Stockton barring any major surprises.
To return to Calgary, Dougie Hamilton would need to be wildly overpaid considering (a) he requested a trade from here when he was moved and (b) the general manager is the same guy he requested a trade from.
Darryl Sutter’s been in this game for a long, long time. One of the challenges with veteran depth players is that they may have off-games and you don’t know if they’ll get any better. If Josh Leivo stinks in a random game in November, it’s unlikely he’ll be able to apply the lessons and get appreciably better because of his age and stage in his career. Leivo is what Leivo is going to be, and he has Leivo’s experience and habits and they’re hard to break.
Meanwhile, if Sutter can break in guys like Adam Ruzicka and Glenn Gawdin and Pelletier, for instance, he can build their habits as pros from scratch and be hopeful that any gaffes will lead to improvements. Young players are usually easier to make adjustments with, will learn lessons, and often have more quickness in their games. All of those things sound like antidotes to the various things that ailed the Flames in 2020-21.
So in short: yeah, Sutter’s probably on board. Heck, it might’ve even been his idea.
This year? Probably not. Even the expected first overall pick, Owen Power, is considered by prospect honks as merely a “very good” first overall selection rather than a generational one. When the Flames select down at 12th overall, they’re likely going to get a good, useful NHLer, but not someone that’ll change a team’s trajectory or become a tippity-top player. (They’ll likely get a Mikael Backlund level player, not a Matthew Tkachuk.)

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