For the second time since last October, it’s time for the annual NHL entry draft! The 2021 NHL Draft kicks off tonight, once again held remotely from NHL Network studios in scenic suburban New Jersey! Can the Calgary Flames add another impressive prospect to their crop of youngsters?
The first round begins at 6 p.m. MT and you can check it out live on Sportsnet’s national feed and on Sportsnet 960 The Fan.

Picks

The Flames have seven picks in this year’s draft:
  • 1st round, 13th overall
  • 2nd round, 45th overall
  • 3rd round, 77th overall
  • 3rd round, 84th overall
  • 5th round, 141st overall
  • 6th round, 173rd overall
  • 7th round, 205th overall
The Flames’ second third round pick was originally Edmonton’s. They received it via the Milan Lucic trade, so it’s (a) a fun trivia answer and (b) could become the bane of Edmonton’s existence if the player the Flames draft becomes any good.
The Flames sent their fourth round pick to Los Angeles last year as part of the Derek Forbort trade.
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Contracts

The Flames have 13 players under contract for 2020-21 who are basically locks to be on the NHL roster:
  • F Matthew Tkachuk – $7 million
  • F Johnny Gaudreau – $6.75 million
  • F Sean Monahan – $6.375 million
  • G Jacob Markstrom – $6 million
  • F Mikael Backlund – $5.35 million
  • F Milan Lucic – $5.25 million
  • D Noah Hanifin – $4.95 million
  • F Elias Lindholm – $4.85 million
  • D Rasmus Andersson – $4.55 million
  • D Chris Tanev – $4.5 million
  • F Andrew Mangiapane – $2.425 million
  • F Tyler Pitlick – $1.75 million
  • F Brett Ritchie – $900,000
With a flat cap, it seems likely the Flames will probably try to stay at 22 roster spots. If that’s the case and they go with two goalies, seven defensemen and 13 forwards, that means they have open spots for a goalie, four defensemen and four forwards to fill.
Beyond the players who are signed, the Flames have 14 pending restricted free agents and nine pending unrestricted free agents.
Their pending RFAs are Dillon Dube, Dominik Simon, Glenn Gawdin, Matthew Phillips, Justin Kirkland, Luke Philp, Juuso Valmaki, Oliver Kylington, Connor Mackey, C.J. Lerby, Alexander Yelesin, Colton Poolman, Tyler Parsons and Artyom Zagidulin. Their pending UFAs are Buddy Robinson, Josh Leivo, Derek Ryan, Joakim Nordstrom, Zac Rinaldo, Alex Petrovic, Nikita Nesterov, Michael Stone and Louis Domingue.
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(Lerby has signed with Malmo in the SHL, Yelesin has signed with Lokomotiv in the KHL, Nesterov and Nordstrom have both signed with CSKA Moscow in the KHL.)

Cap space

The cap ceiling for 2020-21 – and for awhile – is $81.5 million. From the 13 players we noted above, the Flames have $60.65 million committed. Additionally, they owe $1.5 million from Troy Brouwer’s buyout. So that means $62.15 million is committed overall.
That leaves $19.35 million available to fill the aforementioned nine open roster spots: a goalie, four defensemen and four forwards. (Valimaki and Dube will likely eat up two of those spots.)

Under-23 depth

The Flames have the following players who are below the age of 23 (as of Sept. 15, 2021) on their reserve list right now:
  • Forwards (13): Lucas Feuk (20), Ryan Francis (19), Emil Heineman (19), Rory Kerins (19), Demetrios Koumontzis (21), Ilya Nikolayev (20), Josh Nodler (20), Jakob Pelletier (20), Emilio Pettersen (21), Martin Pospisil (21), Adam Ruzicka (22), Connor Zary (19) and Dmitry Zavgorodniy (20)
  • Defensemen (5): Jake Boltmann (19), Yan Kuznetsov (19), Jeremie Poirier (19), Ilya Solovyov (20) and Juuso Valimaki (22)
  • Goaltenders (2): Daniil Chechelev (20) and Dustin Wolf (20)
Barring trades, the Flames will be adding seven players to this crop of prospects.
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