The Flames aren’t done, but they are. Once Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau are signed, Brad Treliving will only have a few, minor bits of housekeeping left to do before the season starts. Sure, maybe he finds a way to trade Dennis Wideman, but in all actuality it will likely come down to re-inking guys like Freddie Hamilton and Tyler Wotherspoon.
So what you see is more or less what you get. Are you satisfied? For the heck of it, let’s play armchair GM to see what different paths the Flames could have taken.
Rules of the Game
Let’s establish some criteria for this exercise:
- No fabricating ridiculously beneficial trades like acquiring moving Dennis Wideman for Valeri Nichushkin.
- Any trade that is executed must have a close comparable over the last 12 month period to be considered valid.
- The only way to clear bad money off the books (defined as: Engelland, Wideman, Stajan, Raymond, Bouma, Bollig*) in this scenario is through buyout or demotion (you only save $950k with demotion). For example: Feel free to keep Mason Raymond and buyout Dennis Wideman or Deryk Engelland instead.
- *Smid is exempt due to his lingering injury issues.
- Related: you can only choose one buyout target. Meaning, you can’t simply buy out all the bad money contracts.
- With any free agent you sign, his contract must meet or exceed what he was actually given. If the free agent hasn’t been signed yet, his contract must be within 75% of his last contract in terms of cap hit.
Things I’d keep: Elliott trade, Chad Johnson & Linden Vey signings, QA’s for Freddie Hamilton and Tyler Wotherspoon.
Stuff I wouldn’t do: sign Troy Brouwer or Alex Chiasson. Brouwer is a relatively bad gamble and there’s not much upside with Chiasson.
Here’s the new stuff…
1.) Buy out Deryk Engelland, saving the Flames $1.083M in cap space.
Why Engelland? He might be well liked by the management, but he’s a replacement level player at best. Raymond is slightly more useful and provides easy NHL caliber depth on the LW you can call up and down all year. Also, the team saves slightly more with the Engelland buyout.
2.) Demote Brandon Bollig and Mason Raymond, saving the team almost $2M in cap space. This provides the AHL club with some depth and leadership and clears our space at the bottom of the rotation in the show.
3.) Sign Brett Connolly for one year at $850k. The 24-year-old has excellent scoring numbers in the AHL, good pedigree and decent possession numbers in the NHL. A low risk, moderate reward gamble.
4.) Re-sign Josh Jooris for one year at $600k. He didn’t have the best season from a scoring perspective, but Jooris is young, good defensively and a quality PKer. Decent value at this price.
5.) Sign Jakub Nakladal for one year at $975k. The 28-year-old had really good underlying numbers in limited minutes last year. He slides in and replaces Engelland.
6.) Sign Tyler Wotherspoon for one year at $975k. He moves up to the NHL as a seventh defender.
7.) Sign Kyle Okposo for seven years at $6M. Big commitment, but he’s a quality RWer and will step immediately onto the wing with Monahan and Gaudreau.
8.) Sign Monahan and Gaudreau for a combined $14M cap hit long term.
9.) Re-sign Freddie Hamilton, send him to the AHL.
10.) LTIR Smid when the season starts.
What Does That Look Like?
- Gaudreau – Monahan – Okposo
- Ferland – Backlund – Frolik
- Shinkaruk/Tkachuk – Bennett – Connolly
- Bouma – Stajan – Jooris
- Giordano – Hamilton
- Brodie – Nakladal
- Jokipakka – Wideman
Calgary has a legit top line in this scenario and pretty good right side with Okposo, Frolik, Connolly, Jooris and Vey. The left isn’t as strong, though Tkachuk’s presence should change that pretty quickly. This set up allows Tkachuk to battle for a job with Shinkaruk or go back to the OHL for more seasoning. Raymond and Bollig are LWs stashed in the AHL for injury call-up purposes.
Signing Connolly and Jooris to just one-year deals gives the team some flexibility next summer, but also gives them youngsters who may still improve. If neither guy takes a step forward, you move on in 12 months. On the blueline you have four LD and three RD. Wotherspoon has a chance to battle Jokipakka, and the only bad money is Dennis Wideman (who I would still try to trade for something).
Believe it or not, the Flames have extra cap space in this scenario. When I ran it through Cap Friendly, I ended up with slightly more than $4M in wiggle room.
Your turn. What does your “ideal” Flames roster look like?