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Examining the 2024 off-season checklist for Craig Conroy and the Calgary Flames

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Photo credit:@nhlflames on X
Robert Munnich
17 days ago
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The 2024 off-season isn’t going to be quite as busy or crazy as 2023 was for the Calgary Flames. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have work to do. Craig Conroy is going to be a busy man between now and the first couple weeks of July. There are five things he needs to accomplish this summer to put the Flames in the best position possible heading into next season.
Let’s take a look at the major items on Conroy’s off-season checklist.

Find a top four defenceman

This hasn’t been talked about all that much, but the Flames really do need another top four defenceman. If their goal is to make the playoffs, which it is every season no matter how badly fans want them to rebuild, they’re going to need another quality defender.
As of May 26, the Flames defence looks like this:
You also have the likes of Joel Hanley, Yan Kuznetsov, Ilya Solovyov, and Jeremie Poirier who are on the outside looking in.
You can see that there is an open roster spot in the top four that needs to be filled by a free agent or trade acquisition because the guys they have there now are not good enough.

Figure out what to do with Jacob Markstrom

We all know the drama surrounding the Flames and Jacob Markstrom last season around the trade deadline. The rumoured trade between the Flames and Devils seemed like a done deal until it was pulled off the table at the last second. And that didn’t sit well with Markstrom.
The Flames need to figure what they want to do with their star goalie. Do you try to repair the relationship with him and keep him around for the duration of his contract? Or do you look to trade him around the draft?
If the Flames want to make the playoffs next season, they almost have to bring Markstrom back.
If they want to continue to build for the future, then moving him coming off one of the best seasons of his career makes a lot of sense.
The issue is we don’t truly know what the Flames want to do next season. Are they rebuilding? Or do they want to make the playoffs? I don’t think they can do both at the same time and be successful at either.

Open up a roster spot or two for young forwards

I wrote about this last week in greater detail. The overarching theme of the article was that there is no room up front for guys like Matt Coronato and Jakob Pelletier as the roster is currently constructed. The top nine is full.
Moving out a forward this summer should be a priority for Conroy. Attaching someone like Mangiapane in a bigger trade might be worth exploring as he only has one year remaining on his contract.
I don’t see the Flames moving any other forwards this summer.

Get another first-round pick in the top half of the draft

The Flames have eight picks in the first four rounds of the draft. It would be great to see them use some of those picks and potentially a roster player to try to get another pick in the top half of the first round. The Flames want to get back to being competitive as soon as possible. The best way to do that is to draft as much elite talent as possible in the first round this and next season.
Walking out of the first round with say a Tij Iginla and Berkly Catton would be a massive win for a Flames team that is missing top end talent in their prospect system.

Sign Yegor Sharangovich… Only if the price is right

The more I think about it, the more I think the Flames should try to lock up Yegor Sharangovich on a long-term deal. I believe Sharangovich is the type of player that can consistently put up 25-30 goals a year.
Sharangovich flourished once he got comfortable in Calgary and found a spot in the Flames lineup. Sharangovich scored 29 goals in his final 66 games with the Flames. That’s a 36-goal pace over 82 games.  He also contributes on both the power play and the penalty kill.
The one thing going against Sharangovich is that his defensive results were pretty terrible last season. He was tied for last in plus/minus with Jonathan Huberdeau at minus-29. And the Flames were outscored 64-41 with Sharangovich on the ice at 5-on-5.
But defense can be taught. What can’t be taught is Sharangovich’s shot and offensive instincts.
What do you want Craig Conroy to get done this off-season? Let us know in the comments section!

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