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Re-signing Yegor Sharangovich should be near the top of Craig Conroy’s summer priority list

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
1 month ago
The Calgary Flames can’t officially re-sign Yegor Sharangovich until July 1.
That doesn’t mean they can’t talk about it before then — and they ought to. They really, really ought to.
Sharangovich is an excellent offensive player. The 6’2″ forward is a strong skater and shooter who benefits from playing with skilled linemates while also doing his part to make them better. He’s also just one year away from potentially becoming an unrestricted free agent.
The Flames held their series of “garbage bag day” media availabilities on Friday. It was a day punctuated by displays of hope, reflection, enthusiasm, and, in many cases, renewed commitment.
Nazem Kadri made it clear that he wants to see the Flames’ retooling process through and continue on as a mentor for the younger players in the organization. Pending UFAs Oliver Kylington and A.J. Greer reiterated their desires to stay in Calgary. Daniil Miromanov praised the “potential in the locker room.”
All of that positive sentiment made the comments from Sharangovich and Jacob Markstrom stick out a bit more by comparison.
Everyone knows the deal with Markstrom. Trade rumours swirled all year around the 34-year-old goaltender, who has two seasons remaining after this one on the six-year deal he originally signed with the Flames back in 2020. Markstrom isn’t getting any younger and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see the Flames send him elsewhere this summer.
But Sharangovich? The guy they bet the house on in the Tyler Toffoli trade? The guy who made Craig Conroy look like a genius when he scored 31 goals last year? The guy who won over Flames fans in an otherwise trying year with his heavy shot, shark T-shirts, and Lego sets? That guy?
“I think it’s a hard question,” Sharangovich replied when asked Thursday whether he sees himself in Calgary beyond the end of next season. “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
On one hand, Sharangovich has earned the right to dictate his future. When he agreed to terms on a two-year extension last summer, both sides knew that it meant he’d be able to walk for nothing after his second season in Calgary.
After setting career highs this year in every meaningful statistical category, Sharangovich has every reason to ask for a significant raise over his current $3.1 million cap hit. He’d get way more than that on the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
Sharangovich will turn 26 in June. He is to this iteration of the Flames what Rene Bourque and Curtis Glencross were in the early 2010s. By the time the Flames are fully ready to turn the corner, Sharangovich will be on the cusp of turning 30 — and that’s assuming a pretty charitable timeframe.
So, no, Sharangovich won’t make or break this Flames team’s future fortunes. He’s a quality secondary player on a team full of them. What these Flames badly need is a top young defenceman or a top young centre. For as good as Sharangovich looked in his first year with the Flames, he isn’t either of those things.
That doesn’t mean he’s not useful. In fact, he’s extremely useful, both on the wing and down the middle. When it comes down to it, this is a player who the Flames would greatly benefit from signing to an extension for four, five, or six more years. If they can possibly sell him on that prospect, they should.
If, for some reason, Sharangovich is adamant against signing another contract with the Flames this summer, they need to be proactive like they were last year and not risk losing him for nothing. They could probably flip him for a pretty decent return after a 31-goal season. There’s room for Sharangovich on pretty much every roster in the league.
But here’s the rub: Sharangovich alone isn’t going to elevate this Flames team out of the cellar. He’s an exciting player with a few imperfections, but, as productive as he’s been, he’s not going to make these Flames any better than they need to be. Remember, the Flames are directly incentivized to be a bottom-10 team again next season. This year, they already were.
For as productive as Sharangovich’s first season in Calgary was, there’s reason to believe he may still have more to show. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Flames shot just 7.95 percent — and their goaltenders posted a terrible .872 save percentage — with No. 17 on the ice at 5-on-5.
Sharangovich had very little control over either of those numbers. Individually, he finished with the second-most even-strength goals on the team. He was a fixture on both special teams units. He shot 17.3 percent, which is high — but not that much higher than his 14.3 percent with the New Jersey Devils in 2022, or his 14.0 percent the year before.
A player like Sharangovich is a bit of a model-breaker. He takes plenty of shots, but he scores on more of them than your Average Joe from Pickering or Leduc. That effect probably won’t be as pronounced going forward as it was this year — he scored 20 goals at 5-on-5, compared to just 12.43 expected — but it’s a safe bet to continue to some degree.
Sharangovich showed all year long that he can shoot the puck like very few players in this league. Even if he settles in closer to 20 or 25 goals a year, he should still be worth a $2 million raise over his current cap hit. Talented finishers are extremely difficult to find.
The Flames have a few other things to do this summer. First and foremost, they need to sort out the Markstrom situation. If, as many people expect, they plan to run with Dustin Wolf and Dan Vladar next season, Markstrom will need to go — especially if there’s any chance they can add another first-round pick in the process.
This year’s draft looms large. The Flames could win the lottery, but even if they don’t, they’re well-positioned to land a blue-chipper with the No. 9 overall selection. If all the pieces fall into place, they could enter the draft with four picks in the top 60. It’ll be a massively consequential point in time for the organization.
After that, it’ll be all about the free agents. We already know (or have been led to believe) that the Flames won’t be major players in the market this summer. But come July 1, three key forwards on this team will become eligible for extensions: Sharangovich, Andrei Kuzmenko, and Andrew Mangiapane.
The Flames aren’t going to trade all three of those guys. They probably won’t keep all of them, either. But if they could only keep one, their best bet would be the Belarusian.
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