The Calgary Flames have 14 players becoming free agents on July 1

Photo credit:Candice Ward/Calgary Wranglers
Ryan Pike
10 months ago
We’re well into the month of June and the calendar keeps losing ages as July quickly approaches. As you might be aware, NHL contracts expire on July 1 and the Calgary Flames have 14 players that will become free agents of various types as of July 1.
Here’s the rundown of the players that will be out of contract on Canada Day.

Group 2 restricted free agents

These are players whose contracts have expired but haven’t met the years of service or age requirements to become any type of unrestricted free agent yet.
  • F Emilio Pettersen (0 career NHL games)
  • F Ben Jones (2 career NHL games)
  • F Martin Pospisil (0 career NHL games)
Pettersen has an $874,125 qualifying offer, but no arbitration rights. Jones and Pospisil both have $787,500 qualifying offers and have arbitration rights.
Jones was one of the unsung heroes for the Wranglers in 2022-23, providing valuable minutes in all game situations and emerging as arguably their most consistent and reliable forward.

Group 3 unrestricted free agents

These are the players who are 27 years (or older) or have accumulated seven years of service.
  • F Trevor Lewis (892 career NHL games)
  • F Milan Lucic (1,173 career NHL games)
  • F Nick Ritchie (481 career NHL games)
  • F Clark Bishop (47 career NHL games)
  • F Dryden Hunt (202 career NHL games)
  • D Troy Stecher (440 career NHL games)
  • D Michael Stone (552 career NHL games)
  • D Colton Poolman (0 career NHL games)
Given the Flames’ cap crunch and general manager Craig Conroy’s stated aim of getting young players into the lineup, it seems improbable that the Flames retain many of their pending UFAs. If you’re handicapping it, Hunt and Stone may be the guys who are most likely to be back. Both live in the Calgary area and, given the placement of the AHL club in the same market, they could be utilized as veteran organizational depth.

Group 6 unrestricted free agents

These players are 25 years (or older), have played three (or more) pro seasons, but have played fewer than 80 NHL games.
  • F Matthew Phillips (3 career NHL games)
  • D Nicolas Meloche (57 career NHL games)
  • D Kristians Rubins (3 career NHL games)
Rubins has already signed for next season in Sweden.
The X-factor among the Group 6 trio is Phillips. He’s been a wonderful performer in the AHL but hasn’t gotten much of a shot at the NHL level. But between Conroy’s aim to integrate youth, and the fact that Conroy pushed for the Flames to draft Phillips back in 2016, perhaps the Calgary product can be cajoled to stay for one more season.

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