FlamesNation Mailbag: Three and a half weeks out

Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
Pals, there are just 25 days remaining until the NHL’s 2023-24 trade deadline. A lot has happened for the local sports team already, including two in-season trades that sent Nikita Zadorov and Elias Lindholm to Vancouver.
As we count down the days until the league calls pencils down, let’s dive into the mailbag!
I haven’t been able to get my hands on recent jersey sales stats, so I’m relying on my own foggy recollections, but in my experience most of the jerseys worn by fans at the Saddledome are from prior incarnations of the club – past Flames. In particular, I would say the most commonly represented Flames are Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mark Giordano and Matthew Tkachuk – it’s a mixture of the Sutter era Flames and Treliving era Flames.
In terms of current Flames, the most common jerseys I’ve seen are Nazem Kadri and Jonathan Huberdeau. I think we’re going to see more and more of the young guys filter into that mix as the team moves into the next era and we see folks like Connor Zary, Jakob Pelletier and Matt Coronato become more central figures. (I also suspect we’ll see more and more MacKenzie Weegar jerseys, too.)
I wrote about this a bit in my other column on Monday discussing how a Jacob Markstrom trade would impact Dustin Wolf.
All due respect to the Flames, but right now they’re not a team that’s built for playoff success – and this will probably keep trending that way if they make further trades. They could be good enough to make it into the post-season, but they’re not a team that pundits expect to see hoist the Stanley Cup in June. If you have a team that’s otherwise built for a Stanley Cup run, you probably really want a goalie of Markstrom’s calibre. If you don’t have a team like that, Markstrom is a luxury.
To put it another way: if you have a Jarome Iginla, Robyn Regehr and otherwise have a team with the right big pieces, having a Miikka Kiprusoff is huge and you likely won’t listen to any overtures from other teams to snag him. If you don’t have the other big puzzle pieces, offers for Kiprusoff are probably something you have a bit more time for.
Maybe. I think they have an appetite to use their cap space to take advantage of other teams that may be in cap trouble. The acquisition of Andrei Kuzmenko is a good example: he was a player who had shown value in the past, but wasn’t quite fitting in Vancouver under the current system and coach. There may be other situations where there are secondary players on other teams that are a bit too pricey for the roles they have, but might be able to succeed if given an expanded role in Calgary.
The Flames have oodles of cap space and an ownership group that’s shown a willingness to spend to (or above the cap, if you factor in long-term injury usage) if they’re convinced there’s value to be had. There’s a lot of things they could do.
Here’s everybody on one-way deals (and Connor Zary, who’s an NHL lock now):
Huberdeau – Sharangovich – Kuzmenko
Zary – Kadri – Pospisil
Mangiapane – Backlund – Coleman
? – ? – Duehr
Weegar – Andersson
? – ?
? – Pachal
Jakob Pelletier and Cole Schwindt are pending RFAs, so they could fill out the fourth line. But the big holes are obviously on the blueline. We could see Oliver Kylington re-sign and play on the second pairing, but the biggest opportunities for youngsters will likely come on the back end.
Let’s be pessimistic and presume that the new arena doesn’t open until 2027-28.
The Flames players currently under contract for that season are Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and MacKenzie Weegar. I’m willing to project Dustin Wolf, Connor Zary and Jakob Pelletier from the current team onto the 2027-28 roster. I think we can bet the over on an over/under of 5.5

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