Ryan Carpenter allegedly played for the Calgary Flames in 2021–22
Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould1 year ago
You’d be forgiven if you forgot the Calgary Flames traded for Ryan Carpenter in March.
As time ticked down on deadline day, the Flames agreed to send a 2024 fifth-round draft pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Carpenter, a veteran forward with a decent amount of playoff experience.
Alas, the Flames ended up playing Carpenter in zero of their 12 playoff games. He appeared in eight contests with the Flames during the regular season, collecting exactly one assist.
The Flames have eight forwards set to become unrestricted free agents next month. While Johnny Gaudreau headlines that group, it’s safe to say Carpenter brings up the rear.
Nevertheless, here’s a look at what Carpenter brought to the Flames in 2021–22.
As an undrafted free agent out of Bowling Green University, Carpenter signed an entry-level contract with the San Jose Sharks in 2014. He spent most of the next three seasons in the American Hockey League before emerging as a full-time NHLer in 2017.
Carpenter played 16 games with the Sharks to kick off the 2017–18 season before being claimed off waivers by the Vegas Golden Knights in December. He proved himself a capable bottom-six forward with the inaugural Knights, scoring 14 points in 36 games to close out the regular season before appearing in 17 playoff contests (including four in the Stanley Cup Final).
After spending the entire 2018–19 season in Vegas, Carpenter signed a three-year deal to join the Blackhawks. He remained a solid checking forward, although he never came all that close to replicating the offensive upside he displayed in his first partial season with the Golden Knights.
Before being traded to the Flames at the 2022 trade deadline, Carpenter amassed three goals and 11 points in 59 games with Chicago in the 2021–22 regular season.
When the Flames traded for Carpenter, they already had a ton of healthy centres.
Elias Lindholm and Mikael Backlund were top-six mainstays. Adam Ruzicka had gotten a long look on the third line, Calle Jarnkrok had already been acquired from Seattle, and Trevor Lewis was the regular pivot on the fourth line. Even Sean Monahan was still more than a week away from playing his last game of the season.
Nevertheless, the Flames had just lost Brad Richardson to the Vancouver Canucks on waivers, so they acquired Carpenter to give them some additional insurance leading up to what they hoped would be a long playoff run.
The 31-year-old forward acquitted himself reasonably well in spot duty down the stretch, with the Flames controlling 56.71 percent of the expected goals during his shifts at five-on-five.
Carpenter picked up his lone point as a Flame in the team’s 3–2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on April 4, setting up Johnny Gaudreau’s game-winning goal late in the second period.
Carpenter only appeared in one of the Flames’ final nine games in the regular season and was held out of the lineup for all 12 of their playoff games.
The Flames ultimately defeated the Dallas Stars in the first round of the post-season before falling to the Edmonton Oilers in five games.
Carpenter is a decent fourth-line forward who can play multiple positions. He’s also the kind of player who is very easy to find on the open market and who won’t command a huge price as a UFA.
The Flames have a ton of stuff to deal with this summer. The Gaudreau, Tkachuk, Mangiapane, and Kylington negotiations all loom large, and they also have to make final decisions on guys like Erik Gudbranson, Calle Jarnkrok, and Nikita Zadorov.
Sean Monahan and Milan Lucic could be traded. Juuso Valimaki’s future is uncertain. Even Michael Stone is likely more of a priority than Carpenter.
Ultimately, Carpenter was fine. If he’s willing to accept a league-minimum contract, he could be back in Calgary next season. But it’s hard to imagine him waiting around if Calgary is tied up dealing with their other pressing matters when the UFA market opens on July 13.
2021-22 Flames player evaluations
Johnny Gaudreau | Calle Jarnkrok | Matthew Tkachuk | Trevor Lewis | Jacob Markstrom | Dillon Dube | Elias Lindholm | Chris Tanev | Adam Ruzicka | Milan Lucic | Andrew Mangiapane | Tyler Toffoli | Dan Vladar | Rasmus Andersson | Brett Ritchie | Oliver Kylington | Noah Hanifin | Nikita Zadorov | Michael Stone | Blake Coleman | Sean Monahan | Mikael Backlund
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