The Flames probably aren’t done in free agency
Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike1 year ago
The Calgary Flames have made a bunch of depth moves since the opening of free agency on Wednesday. But when you look at how the club’s depth chart shakes out positionally, one thing is crystal clear: they need to keep adding, particularly at forward.
Well, the Flames are basically set in goal. At the NHL level, they have @Jacob Markstrom (last season’s Vezina Trophy runner-up) and @Daniel Vladar backing him up. At the AHL level, they have @Dustin Wolf (last season’s AHL top goaltender) and @Oscar Dansk.
Maybe they sign Daniil Chechelev to an entry-level deal and split his time between the AHL and ECHL. Maybe they just sign Chechelev (or somebody else) on an AHL deal and do the same thing. Either way, they’re set in net, and arguably have one of the better 1-2-3 goaltending lineups in the league.
The Flames have 14 defenders under NHL control for this season.
Five are NHL locks: Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington, Chris Tanev and Nikita Zadorov. Because Nicolas Meloche is a right shot, he’s a virtual NHL lock, too.
Behind this group of six definite (or very likely) NHLers, there’s a trio of tweeners: Connor Mackey, Juuso Valimaki and Dennis Gilbert. They’re all on one-way deals, but the Flames have shown a willingness to bury players on one-ways in the name of competition and depth. (Gilbert’s on a two-year, one-way deal, and that probably makes it easier to sneak him through waivers.)
Behind this group of tweeners are five definite AHLers: Colton Poolman, Nick DeSimone, Ilya Solovyov, Jeremie Poirier and Yan Kuznetsov. Add in one or two of the tweener group, and this is a pretty solid mix of youngsters and guys with some pro experience.
We might see one more player added on an NHL deal, or maybe the Flames grab a few players on AHL deals to provide AHL depth.
Including the restricted free agents that they need to sign, the Flames have 11 established NHL forwards under team control: Matthew Tkachuk, Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Blake Coleman, Mikael Backlund, Tyler Toffoli, Dillon Dube, Sean Monahan, Kevin Rooney, Trevor Lewis and Milan Lucic.
Then there’s four tweeners: Adam Ruzicka, Clark Bishop, Jakob Pelletier and Matthew Phillips.
After them, there’s another seven forwards who look like AHL locks: Emilio Pettersen, Connor Zary, Rory Kerins, Ilya Nikolaev, Adam Klapka, Walker Duehr and Martin Pospisil.
As it stands, the NHL group looks lean, and the AHL group lacks some established scoring. (They’ve lost a lot of veterans from last season’s team.) Expect them to try to add to both groups.
In short: the Flames likely aren’t done adding, and their adding will probably be the forward group.
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