The Calgary Flames could have three Group 6 free agents in July

Photo credit:Matt Garies / Arena du Rocket Inc.
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
As the National Hockey League’s regular season begins to wind down, folks around the hockey world are taking stock of what’s to come this off-season. For the Calgary Flames, free agency will be something to deal with. In particular, the club has three potential Group 6 unrestricted free agents according to the fine folks at CapFriendly.
For those unfamiliar, Group 6 free agents are players who will be 25 years old (or older) when their contract expires, have completed three seasons of pro hockey, and haven’t played 80 NHL games yet (or 28 games for a goaltender). These players would otherwise be restricted free agents, but if they meet those three requirements, they become unrestricted.
The three Flames Group 6 free agents, all AHLers, are forward Matthew Phillips and defencemen Kristians Rubins and Nicolas Meloche. Unless they’re re-upped, they’ll all be eligible to go to market:
  • Phillips was a sixth-round pick of the Flames in 2016. He’s been an excellent AHL player, amassing 95 goals and 220 points over 253 games to-date. He’s only played in three NHL games, and that’s likely due to his lack of size making NHL brass and coaches a bit skeptical that he can translate what makes him effective in the AHL to the NHL. (Based on the NHL’s roster database, Phillips is 5’7″ and 140 pounds, while Jakob Pelletier is 5’9″ and 170 pounds.) If nothing else, though, Phillips is an excellent minor-leaguer, and every organization needs those. He’ll have options and he’ll be (at least) a well-compensated AHLer.
  • Rubins was acquired at the AHL trade deadline from Ottawa. He’s big! He’s a shutdown guy! He’s big! He doesn’t move the needle a ton, but he’s the type of steady depth a lot of teams seem to covet.
  • Meloche was signed as a free agent last off-season and has arguably disappointed offensively this season, getting zero NHL call-ups even though the Flames had a bunch of key blueliners absent from time to time. (Dennis Gilbert had a better first half of the season, and so he got called up and never returned.) Meloche has good AHL numbers throughout his career, this season notwithstanding, and he’s a good hand and a reliable depth player at the very least.
(Connor Mackey, traded to Arizona prior to the NHL’s trade deadline, is also eligible to become a Group 6 free agent this season.)
Free agency opens up on July 1 this season. In the meantime, the Wranglers are attempting to chase down a regular season division crown and a first-round playoff bye.

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