The Calgary Flames don’t have a first-round selection in the 2022 NHL Draft, which kicks off Thursday night with Round 1 (5 p.m. MT, Sportsnet/ESPN). Heck, they only have three picks, period. But the next few days could be very busy for the Flames, as they attempt to navigate one of the most challenging off-seasons in franchise history.
Here’s what you need to know as Round 1 looms.
The Flames have three picks over the next two days:
- 59th overall (2nd round)
- 155th overall (5th round)
- 219th overall (7th round)
Where did all their other picks go?
Well… Their first-rounder went to Montreal in the Tyler Toffoli trade. Their third-rounder went to Boston for Dan Vladar. Their fourth-rounder went to Seattle for Tyler Pitlick. Their sixth-rounder went to Florida as part of the Sam Bennett trade.
The Flames acquired a second-rounder from Florida in the Bennett trade, but sent it to Seattle in the Calle Jarnkrok trade. They acquired a third-rounder from Toronto for David Rittich, but sent it to Chicago for Nikita Zadorov.
Could the Flames trade for more picks? Maybe! Could they trade down to get more picks? Also maybe!
The Flames have 14 players who are both currently signed to one-way deals for 2022-23 and require waivers to be sent to the minors:
- 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 Blake Coleman – $4.9 million
- F Elias Lindholm – $4.85 million
- D Rasmus Andersson – $4.55 million
- D Chris Tanev – $4.5 million
- F Tyler Toffoli – $4.25 million
- F Dillon Dube – $2.3 million
- D Juuso Valimaki – $1.55 million
- D Connor Mackey – $912,500
- G Dan Vladar – $750,000
These 14 players account for about $56.5 million in combined cap hits – $56,487,500 to be precise – which leaves the Flames with about $26 million in cap space. ($26,012,500.)
Main roster players who are pending unrestricted free agents include Johnny Gaudreau, Calle Jarnkrok, Trevor Lewis, Brett Ritchie, Ryan Carpenter, Nikita Zadorov, Erik Gudbranson and Michael Stone.
Main roster players who are pending restricted free agents include Matthew Tkachuk, Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington.
Based upon the salary forecasting from our pals at Evolving-Hockey, retaining Gaudreau and re-signing Tkachuk, Mangiapane and Kylington to market value deals would exceed the cap space the Flames have available. So… it seems like the Flames have some decisions to make.
This and that
So, the Flames have three things they’re dealing with right now:
- Johnny Gaudreau’s negotiations.
- Matthew Tkachuk’s negotiations, which partially hinge on Gaudreau’s negotiations.
- Their general cap situation, because they can’t afford Gaudreau and Tkachuk on reasonable deals and fill out a team without carving off some existing mid-level deals to create cap flexibility.
The Flames made a substantial offer to Gaudreau a month ago – we’re told it was eight years at about $9.5 million – and essentially told Gaudreau that if he wants to stick around, they can make the numbers work. (If Gaudreau said “I want to be here, but the money’s too low,” they’d make the money not too low anymore.) Gaudreau reportedly hasn’t given them a definitive answer, and for the past month has been Schrodinger’s Gaudreau – he’s been neither in or out, making it challenging for the Flames to plan or pivot.
Tkachuk is in a position where he can negotiate a hefty contract of his own this off-season if he wants to be in Calgary long-term. If that’s not his cup of tea, he can either accept his qualifying offer later in July – one year at $9 million – or file for salary arbitration and get a one-year arbitration award. Either of those outcomes could walk him to free agency. If Gaudreau goes elsewhere next week, suddenly Calgary becomes a much less competitive team, and a potentially less desirable place for Tkachuk to lock himself into for the long haul.
And combine that with the Flames wanting to potentially hold onto a few pending unrestricted free agents, if they can, the Flames have a lot of juggling to do all at once.
So suffice it to say, friends, this is going to be an important (and potentially busy) few days to set up an important (and potentially busy) month of July for the Flames. The hockey club could look considerably different when the dust settles.
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