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FlamesNation Mailbag: The Worlds, the draft and general managers

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
8 months ago
The month of May is winding down rapidly, and we’re almost into what’s going to be a very, very busy, eventful month of June. We’ll likely see a new Calgary Flames head coach, as well as clarity on the salary cap and the future of the seven impending 2024 free agents.
As we wind down May, onto the mailbag!
Of all the Flames’ high-end prospects, Matt Coronato was the one that there were the most questions about heading into the 2023-24 season. He played one NHL game and was really solid, but it was Game 82 against San Jose and it was only one game.
10 games at the Worlds against some variable international competition allowed the Flames to see Coronato against a lot of different levels of players in a lot of different situations. And it gave them a chance to see him as a winger or as a centre. (He’s probably destined to be a winger in the pros.) But man, he was a consistent presence for the United States and showed some occasional flashes of brilliance.
Considering he’s so young and raw, this experience will help give him a head start on training camp.
Brad Treliving was a little more reliant on established veterans in depth roles than may be ideal in a salary cap system where developing youngsters into NHL players within your system is more and more crucial to success than ever. Some of that may have been due to Darryl Sutter’s influence, and his preferences, but having a chance to work more youngsters into the Flames’ lineup under Craig Conroy could do a world of good for the system as a whole.
It’s a mixture of both the Flames reaching out to individuals (and their agents) and having them reach out to the team. The Flames spoke to something like 40 people for the GM job that went to Craig Conroy, for example. That was likely a combination of contacting folks the Flames knew were available and looking for executive jobs, asking around to see who the up-and-comers were, and having contenders reach out to see what the Flames were looking for.
It’s hard to say which player will be this year’s Olli Juolevi, but the players that appear to have the largest variability in the rankings right now seem to be Andrew Cristall, Eduard Sale, Brayden Yager and Dmitri Simashev. We’ll dive more into why these guys have some variability in their rankings as we get closer to the draft, but it’s more or less based on their boom-or-bust potential.
(And bless his heart, Nolan Patrick had flat-out horrendous injury luck. It’s hard to really predict which player will be tormented like that post-draft.)

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