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For the first time since 2012, the Calgary Flames were idle on the opening day of free agency
By Ryan Pike7 months ago
On July 1, the opening day of free agency for the 2023-24 campaign, a lot of money was spent by National Hockey League clubs. Per CapFriendly, over $646 million in deals were doled out. Some trades were made, too, including Anthony Duclair being sent to San Jose by the Florida Panthers.
But the Calgary Flames were idle, making zero moves of any type for the first time since 2012.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the types of moves that they’ve made on the opening day of free agency in the past.
July 1, 2013 was fairly busy for the Flames. Jay Feaster signed Chad Billins and Corban Knight to entry-level contracts. He also re-signed restricted free agents Greg Nemisz, Kris Russell, Chris Butler and Karri Ramo. (Many of these deals had been worked on well before July 1, but this was the first day they could be filed.) Generally-speaking, all these moves provided solid value.
July 1, 2014 was the first day for Brad Treliving to really get to work filling in gaps on a rebuilding Flames team. He signed Mason Raymond, Jonas Hiller and Deryk Engelland to multi-year deals. Engelland’s deal was immediately a lightning rod for online criticism – Bob McKenzie had to clarify that Engelland’s deal had a $2.917 million AAV – but Raymond’s contract ended up being bought out.
On July 1, 2015, coming off a playoff appearance, and the team’s first time advancing to the second round since 2004, Treliving added free agents Michael Frolik and Derek Grant, as well as re-signed Karri Ramo on the open market. Mason McDonald and Hunter Smith also signed their entry-level pacts, and Max Reinhart was traded to Nashville. Frolik’s contract ended up being one of the better value deals the Flames had signed in free agency in years.
On July 1, 2016, the Flames signed Troy Brouwer and Chad Johnson as free agents. Brouwer ended up being bought out with two seasons left.
On July 1, 2017, the Flames only made one, minor, move, adding forward Marek Hrivik. It was largely a depth move, though Hrivik did play some NHL games as a call-up. The Flames also traded goalie Tom McCollum, who they had signed for the express purpose of exposing him in the Vegas expansion draft, to Detroit for a conditional seventh-round selection.
On July 1, 2018, the Flames signed Derek Ryan, Alan Quine, Austin Czarnik and Tyler Graovac. Ryan’s deal ended up being good value, while the other three players were largely depth signings. Czarnik was fairly highly-touted at the time, though, with upwards of 20 teams reportedly pursuing him after a strong AHL season in 2017-18.
On July 1, 2019, the Flames signed Cam Talbot, Brandon Davidson and Byron Froese. Talbot’s deal was good value, while the other two were primarily depth signings.
October 9, 2020 saw the Flames made three additions: Jacob Markstrom, Chris Tanev and Alex Petrovic. Markstrom’s deal runs six seasons and its’ merits can be debated at this point. Tanev’s deal drew some nervous criticism for its length, primarily due to Brouwer flashbacks regarding how his deal aged due to his physical playing style. With a season remaining on Tanev’s, though, it can probably be called good value. Petrovic was largely a depth signing.
July 28, 2021 featured four Flames signings: Blake Coleman, Trevor Lewis, Nick DeSimone and Adam Werner. Coleman and Lewis have proven to be good value thus far relative to their cap hits, while the other two players were depth signings.
On July 13, 2022, the Flames made four additions, signing Kevin Rooney, Nicolas Meloche, Dennis Gilbert and Clark Bishop. Rooney was demoted to the AHL early in his first season, while the other three were primarily depth moves. Gilbert ended up finding his way into an NHL roster spot midway through his first season and provided good value.
Based on the types of moves made on the opening day of free agency in recent history, are you disappointing that the Flames made zero moves on July 1? Or was it for the best? Let us know in the comments!
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