Jess Belmosto The Hockey Writers
Flames Have Busy Offseason Ahead of Them
The Calgary Flames have a handful of issues. If they want to remain competitive and take that next step past the first round of the playoffs, the front office will need to address them. Given this season’s free-agent class, it should be a busy offseason for the Flames and the league.
FLAMES ESTIMATED CAP SPACE: $21,410,834
With David Rittich’s recent struggles and Cam Talbot’s success, the Flames need to take a long hard look at their options. It’s rare to have a perfect goalie tandem, but you need a player who is consistent on the front end and one who can carry his weight when it’s time to step up.
Expiring Contracts: Cam Talbot
- Locking up Talbot should be the top priority. His .919 save percentage (SV%) and his consistency make him a valuable piece of the team. His current cap hit is $2.75 million.
- Braden Holtby: With a cap hit of $6.1 million, the Stanley Cup champion is having a not so stellar year with an .897 SV%. After the Capitals extended, Nicklas Bäckström many believed that Holtby’s days in DC were done. Does a poor season allow teams to have more leverage when negotiating?
- Jaroslav Halak: Two years under Tuukka Rask and strong management will do wonders for any player’s career. Halak’s elevated stats are a testament to that. He would be a steal and give Rittich the support and cushion he may need if and when a slump happens.
The Flames have an issue with depth scoring. The weight seems to fall on players like Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk. You can’t win if your roster isn’t scoring. Adding players with a strong and consistent offensive edge is a must for the Flames come July 1.
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Expiring Contracts: Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane, Tobias Rieder, Zac Rinaldo
- Mangiapane, 23, is a restricted free agent, which means his return is almost guaranteed. He’s having a career year with 32 points and showed no sign of slowing down.
- Taylor Hall: No matter where the Calgary native goes, his talent will shine. In 35 games with the Arizona Coyotes, the 28-year-old has 27 points. Is “pulling a Tavares” an option for Hall? There are a lot of what-ifs here. If he doesn’t mesh with the roster or the team falls on hard times would he request yet another trade?
- Tyler Toffoli was available at the deadline but grabbing him as a UFA means not having to give up any assets. He was on a roll with the Vancouver Canucks with 10 points in 10 games. That kind of consistency is what you want from a forward.
The Flames only have three roster defensemen signed past this season. Before worrying too much about goaltending, the Flames should be focused on their depleted blue line.
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Expiring Contracts: T.J. Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Derek Forbort, Michael Stone, Erik Gustafsson, Oliver Kylington
- TJ Brodie should be offered an extension. He was having a great season and had 3 goals in the last five games, including an overtime winner. Obviously, a strong offensive game isn’t crucial for a defenseman, but adding that element is not a bad thing.
- Travis Hamonic was working his way back from an undisclosed upper-body injury when the season came to a halt. He had 12 points in 50 games and was averaging 21:12 of ice time (TOI). If he can work his way back and finish the season, it would seem fair for an extension to be on the table.
- Torey Krug: If Krug doesn’t re-sign in Boston, he should be the Flames’ top target. He provides the defense a team needs with an offensive presence. You can almost guarantee a 50-point season from him every year. They don’t call him Scorey Krug for nothing.
- Alex Pietrangelo: He has what it takes to bring a team to the next level. He was a vital part of the St. Louis Blues’ 2019 Stanley Cup Championship team and continues to be. He would cost a pretty penny but if a deal can be made, it could be worth the investment.
It could be tough to address all of these issues in one offseason. Regardless, the front office will have plenty to keep busy with this summer.
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