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Calgary Flames Official Thread

Meikkhaell

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Was reading this article this morning, looking at some possible UFA goaltenders to sign as a backup or 1A/1B with Rittich.
As much as Smitty's playoff effort was spectacular, and as much as I like McElhinney, I feel like our best option out of those three would be Talbot.
And that's not just because it would be fun to watch angry Oilers fans as their team gets dumpstered by him in a Flames uniform. He's 32, and apart from this past season he has been a very good goalie across his entire career. He's had experience as both a backup and a starter, whereas Smitty seems like he'd much rather be "the guy," and Mac is a career backup. With Talbot, I feel like you could give him 30 games, or you could give him 60 games, depending on how Rittich is doing, and he would succeed either way. Since he had a down year he probably won't be super expensive, in contrast to Mac who just helped take the Canes to the ECF. He's also 4-5 years younger than Smith and McElhinney, so we could have a solid goaltending tandem locked in for quite a while.
If we could sign Rittich for $3-4M and Talbot for $2-3M, that's all our goaltending needs covered. Keep in mind, Fleury alone makes $7M, Lundqvist makes $8.5M, Price makes $10.5M. This could be a really good deal.
 

Mountain Man

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Sign Smith, he earned another year. Talbot is damaged goods, and McElhinney overachieved. What we need is prospects in the organization to start stepping up, our goalie development hasn't been great of late...
 

Meikkhaell

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Well, I was not ready for this on an overcast Friday afternoon.
The Flames trade James Neal to Edmonton of all places for MILAN LUCIC. Understandably, a lot of Flames fans are groaning at this, and I seem to be in the minority of those who are tentatively pretty pumped about the trade.

The Oilers retain 10% of Lucic's salary, meaning we pay him $5.4M (cheaper than Neal). Additionally, we get a conditional pick of some kind, it hasn't been officially announced yet.
They're the same age, Neal looked truly awful last year. He had 19 points, Lucic had 20. In a lot of ways, it's a pretty even swap. It comes down to that pick, I guess.
At least, unlike Neal, Lucic will be influential even when not scoring. He's among the most physical players in the league. Hopefully our guys will stand a little taller knowing if anyone bugs them they have Lucic to deal with.

One nice little tidbit is, Neal and Smith, who are good friends, end up on the same team AGAIN, both on the arch rival of their previous team. Weird.

By no means am I satisfied, We have a gaping hole at 2RW right now, because Lucic seems like a 3rd or 4th liner unfortunately. We've got some nice options for 2RW though. My top picks would be Gusev, Bjorkstrand, or Buchnevich.

GUSEV: 27 y/o RW, 82pts in 62 games in the KHL. Similar numbers to Panarin before he came over, could be REALLY good. Property of Vegas who can't sign him due to cap. Ask is supposedly a 2nd rounder and a mid-tier prospect, I would do that deal instantly. A second plus Gawdin or Phillips probably. We'll have to dump Stone and/or Frolik somewhere to fit cap-wise, but if he turns out anything like Panarin it's obviously worth it. He's also never played a game in the NHL and could bust, which is why his price is lower.
BJORKSTRAND: 24 y/o RW, 36pts and 23G in 77GP last season with Columbus. His age matches most of our core, that 23G is nice, I think Columbus would take something like Frolik + a 2nd or 3rd for him. I don't know a ton about his defensive game but I've heard apparently the Flames are actually interested him, so this isn't just a shot in the dark.
BUCHNEVICH: 24 y/o RW, 6'3, 38pts and 21G in 64GP with the Rangers. They're a million over the cap after signing Trouba, and still need to sign some more guys, including Buchnevich who is an RFA. He's a big guy, also young to match our core, and again scored 20G this season. If we can trade for him with a deal in place to re-sign here, that would be perfect too. Obviously not a ton of cap can go back the other way, might have to be only picks & prospects or someone cheap-ish like Janko.

Hopefully this Lucic move is the start to a couple more in the coming days. Once that 2RW spot is filled up we really don't have much of a weakness anywhere. Lucic, Bennett, Hamonic, Andersson, etc for physicality. Solid defense. Solid 4 lines of offense. Looks like solid goaltending if Talbot bounces back. Getting excited! Only 75 more days until the season starts. Ugh.
 

Meikkhaell

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update: the conditional pick is a 3rd rounder, we get it if both of these situations happen:
1) Neal scores more than 21G this season
2) Lucic scores 10+ less goals than Neal
My hope is that Neal becomes what Chiasson was for them last season, scores like 25G, 40P, but they're still miles away from the playoffs and we aren't sure if he can score at that level for much longer. Meanwhile hopefully Lucic excels in a bottom 6 role, putting up something like 12G, 32P, which isn't inconceivable. That way, we get our pick, Neal is decent for EDM but they don't make any major strides, and we have a solid, super physical third liner in Lucic who can protect our guys come playoffs.
 

Meikkhaell

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Excellent re-sigings lately, Bennett 2 years at $2.55M per, Rittich 2 years at $2.75M per. Both deals provide great opportunities for the players to grow and really prove themselves, and they're also relatively low-risk as they're only two years at under $3M each if either player falls off significantly. I could've seen them both making north of $3M each, so these are excellent deals. Now we have both of our goalies locked up for only a million more than Koskinen, and basically half the cap hit of Carey Price.

Now it's just Chucky and Mangi, I suspect Tkachuk to fall between 7.5 and 8.25, and Mangi shouldn't be more than 1.25M. With less than $5M in cap space left, we obviously have to make some moves to have room. With arbitration over we get a buyout window which could be used for Stone, saving $2.3M this season. For me that's a last resort, this is his last year on that contract anyways. Trade him for a 7th or something. I get a sense that there's friction between Frolik and the team so he's likely to be gone - which I'm fine with but it means we need to fill that 2RW spot somehow. Personally if we are gonna lose Stone I'd rather keep Brodie for now, and then trade him at the deadline if necessary.
 

Meikkhaell

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Some Flames updates because I'm getting restless waiting for hockey season to start up haha.

It begins September 7th and 10th, a pair of prospect games vs the Oilers. If you're free on the 10th, the game's in Calgary - seats are $5 across the board. We're sitting up right against the glass, should be a really cool experience. Notables attending will be 1st round pick Jakob Pelletier and his linemate from the QMJHL Jeremy McKenna, Russian prospects Zagidulin and Yelesin, and dev camp walk-on Montana Onyebuchi. He especially interests me. 6'3 19y/o physical RW defenseman. He hasn't seemed like much of a scorer, but he DID have 3 points in our development camp. We're lacking in RW defenseman, his game looks like it could translate well to the NHL. Hopefully he makes a good impression. Dube, Gawdin, Parsons, Phillips, etc will play too.

We've also signed some interesting PTOs. Andrew MacDonald, Alexandre Grenier, Zac Rinaldo, Devante Smith-Pelly, and Toby Rieder. I could legitimately see any of the last three getting signed to a deal with us as an extra forward. Rinaldo's a physical pest - seems like we've been adding a few of those lately. DSP is physical as well, he was also a bit of a folk hero for the Caps during their cup last year, scoring 7 goals in the playoffs. Rieder had a few decent years with Arizona, he went to Edmonton and put up 11 assists in 67 games, then received full blame from management for the Oilers not reaching the playoffs. It would be quite the story if he signs with us and puts up 20 goals as a big middle finger to Edmonton. I'm pulling for him. None of these guys will be worldbreakers, but lots are right wingers, which we are severely lacking, and could be useful depth forwards.

I was also thinking about lineup combinations. It's obvious we don't have the cap room to keep everyone. The main guys I've heard to be on the outs are Frolik Janko Czarnik and Brodie. I doubt we trade Brodie at this point.

FROLIK OUT:
Johnny - Mony - Lindholm
Chucky - Backs - Benny
Mangi - Ryan - Dube
Lucic - Janko - Czarnik/Rieder/Quine

FROLIK OUT ALTERNATIVE:
Johnny - Mony - Lindholm
Chucky - Backs - Dube
Benny - Ryan - Mangi
Lucic - Janko - Czarnik/Rieder/Quine

JANKO OUT:
Johnny - Mony - Lindholm
Chucky - Backs - Frolik
Benny - Ryan - Mangi
Lucic - Dube - Czarnik/Rieder/Quine

If Czarnik's out I guess it's just Rieder or Quine or some other depth forward replacing his spot. You can see the problem with our roster though. Bennett, Dube, Frolik, and Mangiapane are ALL Left wingers naturally, yet in these lines they're all forced to play RW at some point. We simply don't have enough right wingers. I'd also rather not put Dube between Lucic and a depth forward. Hopefully he steps up in a big way and is capable of playing on that 2nd RW spot. If not, I think we've gotta roll with what we've got until the deadline, pray Valimaki's back by then, trade Brodie and some picks for a young, proven right winger to play the 2nd line, and go deep in the playoffs. Mantha, Bratt, Tuch, Konecny, Bjorkstrand, Buchnevich, etc are all good options.
 

Mountain Man

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Flames look like they might be done for the year, allowed 19 more goals than they have scored on the season so far, and that's definitely not a recipe for success. Not sure why they can't score this year but it's going to cost them playoffs in such a tight race.
 

Surrealplaces

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Flames look like they might be done for the year, allowed 19 more goals than they have scored on the season so far, and that's definitely not a recipe for success. Not sure why they can't score this year but it's going to cost them playoffs in such a tight race.
It's funny you mention it because yesterday I was thinking to myself 'if they lose this game tonight, I think it's a sign they just aren't good enough this year' Because the rest of the division isn't great, they could still make the playoffs, but I have yet to see a game this year where they dominated the other team like they did mid-season last year.
 

Meikkhaell

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At long last, a fantastic effort by the Flames last night vs Vancouver. It's really up to the guys at this point. When they're at their best, as they were last night, they look like contenders. But all too often we've seen them listlessly pack it up early this season. This game will either be seen as a turning point or a dying breath. We're sitting (barely) in a wildcard spot at the moment, but we're only one nice win streak away from first in the Pacific again. Last year, the widely-accepted explanation for our quick playoff exit was a lack of adversity. Here it is. Here's the adversity. Let's see what they do with it.
I still think we'll make the playoffs. Vancouver is in a tailspin, Arizona has been for a while. VGK and EDM have both shown shakiness at times. If it comes down to a wildcard spot I don't know how much faith I'll have in us being able to do much this postseason, but if we can get 3rd or even 2nd in the Pacific, I'm pretty sure we can at least win a round.
 

UrbanWarrior

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Yeah they spanked em good last night.
 

Atticus

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What is it about the Kings that the Flames can't seem to beat them. Crappiest team in the league!
Personally I think it's the Tkachuk/Doughty feud is part of it. The Kings are lousy, but they have some pride. There's enough parity in the league, that even, even if the bad teams show up for a game, they'll be competition.

I'm thrilled they beat the Ducks, and not just beat them, but smoked them. All those years of losing games in Anaheim :(
 

Spudski

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Thoughts on the deadline aquisitions? I'm a little underwhelmed even though I wouldn't have minded selling, lol. A good buddy of mine is a huge Hawks fan and thinks a third-rounder for Gustafsson is quite an underpayment. Seems like he could be a good addition to the PP and decent if paired with a strong defensive defenseman. I'm real curious how the team will look next season depending on how this last stretch goes.
 

Meikkhaell

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I love what we did with the deadline. You saw the product of it tonight vs Boston. It allows us to slot our defensemen where they belong. We no longer need guys like Stone in the lineup most nights (though I will admit he looked decent tonight ... a rarity however.) I thought both of our new guys had a great game, Gus already cashed in on his first point as a Flame and Forbort had multiple key blocks.

Sure, we could've gone for a big top 6 RW, but you saw what JG Pageau costed, and I'm sure most Flames fans wouldn't be comfortable giving all of that up this season. We could've gotten a depth forward like Ennis, but we've already got more of those than we need (Robinson, Quine, Czarnik, Gawdin, Phillips, etc).

We've been scoring over 4 goals per game for the past month or so, and our main problem lately really has been defense. Defense gets even more important in the playoffs (fingers crossed!) The fact that we got Gustafsson (former 60pt powerplay specialist) and Forbort (reliable stay-at-home D) for as cheap as we did was fantastic. I watched a few Gus highlights last night, and DAMN the dude has a wicked one-timer. That's something we've really been lacking for a long time, someone who is willing to shoot 5 or 6 bombs from the blue line every single game.

To summarize, we significantly upgraded our defense without losing anything off our roster, kept most of our draft picks intact, and didn't lock ourselves in with any big contracts either. We can see how the season plays out with all of these UFA D's, and re-sign the 2-3 that we like best. Then we'll probably still have enough cap space for a big forward acquisition in the summer. Fantastic moves.
 

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