We’re only three games into the 2016-17 National Hockey League season for the Calgary Flames, but one shadow will loom over this entire year: the upcoming 2017 NHL Expansion Draft.
With the Las Vegas
Desert Knights, er, No-Names, joining the NHL for 2017-18, we’re having an expansion draft in late June. That additional draft will mean a flurry of additional trade and signing activity, and has already resulted in a ton of pro scout traffic in the early season. (Traditionally, pro scouts only head out en masse prior to the trade deadline.)
How are the Flames looking in regards to the expansion draft and its various requirements?
ELIGIBLE TO BE CLAIMED
These guys will have completed three or more pro seasons under the NHL contract system. (In other words? Years under AHL contract don’t count.) Players that are eligible to be claimed are also eligible to be protected.
List via General Fanager:
- Goalies: Brian Elliott, Chad Johnson, and Tom McCollum
- Defensemen: Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Ladislav Smid, Deryk Engelland, Jyrki Jokipakka, Brett Kulak, Ryan Culkin, Tyler Wotherspoon, and Nicklas Grossmann
- Forwards: Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Troy Brouwer, Michael Frolik, Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma, Brandon Bollig, Kris Versteeg, Sam Bennett, Hunter Shinkaruk, Emile Poirier, Micheal Ferland, Alex Chiasson, Linden Vey, and Freddie Hamilton
(Via the NHL):
Players That Meet Those Requirements:
- Goalie Tom McCollum
- Defensemen Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, and T.J. Brodie
- Forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Troy Brouwer, Mikael Backlund, and Matt Stajan
Players That Could Meet Those Requirements:
- The Flames could re-sign Jokipakka prior to the expansion draft.
- The Flames could re-sign Bennett prior to the expansion draft.
- The Flames could re-sign Ferland prior to the expansion draft.
- The Flames could re-sign Chiasson prior to the expansion draft.
- The Flames could re-sign Vey prior to the expansion draft, if he plays 29 games in the NHL this season.
- Frolik plays three more games (meeting the 70+ over prior two seasons requirement).
- Bouma plays 23 more games (meeting the 70+ over prior two seasons requirement).
- Freddie Hamilton plays 40 NHL games.
Or the Flames could simply trade for a player (or multiple players) before the expansion draft that meet the requirements.
Brad Treliving might be done for a while after the McCollum signing, as his biggest pressing need was satisfying the goalie requirements. The three fairly obvious moves that I expect before the expansion draft are new deals for Elliott, Jokipakka, and Bennett.
Presuming they protect a goalie and eight skaters, they then would hold onto Elliott, Giordano, Hamilton, Brodie, Gaudreau, Monahan, Brouwer, Backlund and Bennett. McCollum (G), Jokipakka (D), and Stajan/Bouma/Frolik (F) would satisfy their exposure requirements.
If the Flames instead opt to protect a goalie, three defensemen and seven forwards, they wouldn’t really need to do anything different. If you go that route, McCollum, Jokipakka and Stajan/Bouma could be exposed, and the Flames could additionally protect Frolik and one of Poirier/Shinkaruk (or Ferland, if he gets re-signed). It’s probably the route they end up going, as they can hold onto (a) strong roster players and (b) prospects while exposing a couple hefty contracts to the Las Vegas club.