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Is there room for Matt Coronato and Jakob Pelletier in the Calgary Flames lineup next season?

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
28 days ago
The Calgary Flames currently have a logjam when it comes to their forward group. As of May 21, the Flames have 12 NHL forwards signed for the 2024-25 season. The issue they are going to run into is that there won’t be spots open for young prospects to play in the proper position in the lineup.
Here is how the Flames forward group looks featuring the 12 forwards who are signed:
Pospisil-Kadri-Kuzmenko
Mangiapane-Backlund-Coleman
Huberdeau-Zary-Sharangovich
Hunt-Rooney-Duehr
As you can see, that forward group is missing up and coming players like Matthew Coronato, and Jakob Pelletier.
The Flames could put those two players on the fourth line with Kevin Rooney like they did at the end of the 2023-24 season. But is that really the best place for those two to develop their game at the NHL level? Probably not.
So, what can the Flames do to open up some room for those two players in particular?
First, you can look at making a trade or two this off-season. But that is not going to be an easy task for Craig Conroy. The Flames are most likely going to keep Nazem Kadri, Mikael Backlund, Blake Coleman, Jonathan Huberdeau, Yegor Sharangovich, Martin Pospisil, Connor Zary and Kevin Rooney.
Sharangovich is a bit of a wild card. He might ask for too much on his next contract which could force him out of Calgary. Or the Flames could sign him to an extension between July 1 and the 2025 trade deadline. I think the Flames will want to get him signed.
That leaves Kuzmenko, Mangiapane, Hunt and Duehr as options to trade. Duehr and Hunt have zero trade value, do you can take them out of the equation.
Kuzmenko and Mangiapane each have one year remaining on their contracts before becoming unrestricted free agents.
Unfortunately for the Flames, wingers are the least valuable players on the trade market in the off-season. Just look at what some older, veteran wingers went for over the last two summers.
As you can see, the market for aging, middle six wingers who aren’t signed to long term contracts is lacking to say the least.
Mangiapane is coming off a down year for his standards after scoring 14 goals. He has a $5.8M cap hit which will make it difficult to move.
Kuzmenko is an unknown. Is he the unreliable, limited ice time worthy player we saw in Vancouver and the beginning of his time in Calgary? Or is he the point per game player from the 2022-23 season with the Canucks? NHL teams don’t know which player they’re getting. That will make his trade value low at the draft.
Trading Kuzmenko or Mangiapane this summer might not be the best move to make from an asset management perspective. Waiting closer until the 2025 trade deadline after the Flames have hopefully boosted their value might be the best way to go about moving those two players.
The Flames are kind of stuck when it comes to making room for Coronato and Pelletier in the top nine. They’re either going to have to trade someone Mangiapane or Kuzmenko for pennies on the dollar or start Coronato and Pelletier on the fourth line and move them up the lineup if there are injuries.
Conroy is in a tough position. His forward group is essentially set in stone heading into next season. It’s going to be interesting to see what he can do to open some spots for young players and maximize value for some pending UFAs.

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