A look back
If you look back at the beginning of the season and see what was expected of the Flames, you would say they blew everyone out of the water. No one thought they would even see the playoffs, let alone snap a 7-year playoff series-winning draught. But then take a look at the end of the season and the expectations they had and you would say they fell flat. Yes they beat the Stars, but it was a 7 game series, and the last one going into overtime. Then they could only grab one win against the Oilers in the next round.
Now, the question on everyone’s mind is, where is Gaudreau going? Johnny had a career year with 40 goals and 115 points on his contract season. Gaudreau was under a $6.75 million dollar contract for the past 6 years with the Flames. If I was Gaudreau I would be looking for around a $9 million to even $11 million contract for next season.
There are 11 players with expiring contracts at the end of the season with names such as Tkachuk, Mangiapane, Kylington, Zadorov and more, this will be hard for flames management to work with and some guys will need to be let go. Let’s start with the big $6.3 million dollar elephant in the room, Sean Monahan. Whether you buy him out or trade him, I feel Monahan will be gone in the offseason. His play has taken a step back, not by his own fault, but because of his health and injuries. He has had several major surgeries over the years and this season he has not returned to his former self. Even though Monahan is a favourite of mine, it is hard to say but I don’t see Monahan staying with all this money they have to give out during the off-season.
Another expensive conversation is Lucic. Milan Lucic is making $6 million dollars and he’s giving you 21 points in 82 games, that is not money well spent. Even though Lucic is a key piece to Darryl Sutter’s style of play, I feel he just costs too much to not do that much on the fourth line.
Defence and Fourth Line
Then there is looking at having to sign 3 out of our 6 defensemen. It’s a no-brainer I think Kylington is staying due to him being a restricted free agent, but we will have to see where that leads. Then we have our third defensive pair in Zadorov and Gudbranson, both having expiring contracts. I hope we can bring back both, but If you can only afford one, I would say push for Zadorov, he is younger, he is bigger and they produce around the same amount of points. It would not be the end of the world if we lost Carpenter, Lewis or Ritchie, because I feel they are easily replaceable by either signing someone or calling a guy up from the minors.
The two biggest names besides Gaudreau on this list are Tkachuk and Mangiapane. Now, in my opinion, I feel if we can sign Tkachuk, it will make Calgary look more enticing for Gaudreau since they work so well together. Tkachuk has expressed interest in staying with the Flames long-term, even having the chance to secure the “C” on his sweater. I think the contract would be somewhere in the ballpark of $9 million dollars.
As a side note, there have been trade rumours sending Tkachuk to the blues for possibly guys like Tarasenko or Kyrou. Now, these rumours are probably reignited every season due to Tkachuk being from St. Louis, but it is fun to look at possibilities.
“The Flames will lose a little leverage if clubs know they’ve got to move him, but he could still yield players such as Jordan Kyrou, Scott Perunovich, prospects like Jake Neighbours and Zach Bolduc, and/or potentially high draft picks”.Jeremy Rutherford- The Athletic
Now the name that sticks out to me the most is Jordan Kyrou. He is a favourite of mine, and he is able to produce with 27 goals and 75 points this season while only being 24 years old. But the one thing Kyrou would lack compared to Tkachuk is true leadership, I don’t look too deep into it but I feel Tkachuk would have a way bigger impact on the locker room than a guy like Kyrou would.
Mangiapane, being an RFA is gonna be kinda easy to resign, but he will be looking for a pay raise. At 26, he put up 35 goals and 55 points. I feel he might be looking at the same contract Gaudreau is coming off of, around $6 million dollars for 4-6 years. Mangiapane is needed for this roster though because he supplies some of the secondary scoring the flames need to be successful.
The Flames are not looking like a team that is going to draft many players this entry draft. They have their second, fifth and seventh-round pick this draft after trading the first in a package for Toffoli, the third for Vladar, the fourth for Tyler Pitlick, who was later also traded for Toffoli, and the sixth for Heinneman’s contract rights, who was also later traded for Toffoli. I am nowhere near an NHL draft professional so I have no clue who would be available for the Flames where they are picking.
This is definitely going to be stressful for flames fans and management like but we will just have to trust the process and hope for the best, but if the best doesn’t come, I don’t know what the future would hold.
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