Happy July, everybody! The 2022 NHL Draft begins on Thursday night with round one, with rounds two through seven taking place on Friday. As we barrel towards the big event, let’s dive into the mailbag and see what’s up.
Speaking to folks in city administration, there is progress being made, however minor it may be. (They’re not just sitting around twiddling their thumbs hoping a building will magically appear.) The upshot of the situation is basically this: roughly 95% of what was done before on the building can be reused or repurposed really easily. If somebody waltzed in with $100 million and a willingness to partner with the City and Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation on a new building, they would need to hammer out the broad strokes of a deal and then get the lawyers to paper everything out. If everything works perfectly, it’s hardly an instantaneous process.
And the future of the Saddledome or the new building likely has little to no bearing on Johnny Gaudreau’s future in Calgary. I’m sure he’d love a sweet new building to play in, but I strongly doubt he’s demanding a new building or he walks.
Regardless of what happens with Johnny Gaudreau, if Matthew Tkachuk merely accepts his qualifying offer and is primed to walk to free agency, the Flames basically are forced to explore trading him. They may or may not lose Gaudreau for nothing in free agency. To lose two-thirds of the best line in hockey in two consecutive summers for nothing would be managerial malpractice. If Tkachuk accepts his qualifying offer, he’s probably going to get traded just from a pure asset management perspective.
I won’t be in Montreal for the draft this year, sadly, but typically in-between picks I read up on what other teams are doing and skim through the various NHL Draft prospect guides. (Cheap plug: I’m a big fan of the work done by FC Hockey with their draft guide, and I also really like the format of HockeyProspect.com’s Black Book.)
When I’m actually at the draft, in-between picks is a good time to go for a walk and check in with colleagues elsewhere in the building. It’s a fascinating experience, with the best and brightest of hockey media (and hockey operations) from throughout the league all under one roof.
If I were in charge and everybody had to listen to me:
- Re-sign Johnny Gaudreau (if possible).
- Figure out Matthew Tkachuk’s future – either sign him long-term, or start exploring trades.
- Find a way to open up cap space by looking at possible swaps for Milan Lucic or Sean Monahan.
- Sign Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington to long-term deals.
- Figure out a way to re-sign Erik Gudbranson.
- Take a vacation.
I’m never going to advocate for somebody losing their job.
But Brad Treliving’s contract expires following the 2022-23 season. I don’t think it’s unreasonable, depending on what happens with Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk over the next few weeks or months, for ownership or team CEO John Bean to ask “Hey, so what’s the plan now?” and figure out if Treliving’s vision for the hockey club aligns with theirs for the next few years.
Treliving’s built a really good hockey club over the past several years, but losing Gaudreau and/or Tkachuk would be a big setback and make contending quite challenging. The big question is this: does ownership or Treliving think the team needs a rebuild, and would their vision align on how to execute one if it comes to that?
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