Mid Summer Report: Calgary Flames

download (2)By Wayne Hallee @waynehallee9 at thehockeynuts.com

As we enter the dog days of summer, activity around the NHL slows down.  Most of the big-name free agents are off the board, and everyone is enjoying some much needed time off before everything heats up in the fall.  During this time, we are taking a look at all 30 teams to see where they are and what they still need to do.  Today, we look at the Calgary Flames

Last Season’s Finish:  35-40-7, 77 pts, 5th in the Pacific Division, missed the playoffs

Key Arrivals:

  • G Brian Elliott (Trade)
  • F Alex Chiasson (Trade)
  • F Troy Brouwer (UFA)
  • G Chad Johnson (UFA)
  • F Linden Vey (UFA)
  • F Matthew Tkachuk (2016 Draft)

Key Departures:

  • G Jonas Hiller (Swiss League)
  • G Niklas Backstrom (Finland)
  • G Joni Ortio (UFA)
  • F Joe Colborne (Colorado)
  • F Mason Raymond (Anaheim)
  • F Josh Jooris (NY Rangers)

Breakthrough Candidates:

  • F Matthew Tkachuk
  • F Hunter Shinkaruk
  • G John Gillies
  • G David Rittich
  • G Mason McDonald

Unsigned RFAs (as of 7/28)

  • F Sean Monahan
  • F Johnny Gaudreau

Current Cap Situation as of 7/28/16 (source: generalfanager.com)

  • League salary ceiling: $73,000,000
  • League salary floor: $54,000,000
  • Current salary cap hit: $58,030,399
  • Current salary cap space: $14,969,601

 

Expected active roster

Forwards
Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Troy Brouwer, Michael Frolik, Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan, Lance Bouma, Brandon Bollig, Sam Bennett, Hunter Shinkaruk, Micheal Ferland, Alex Chiasson, Linden Vey
Defensemen
Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, Dennis Wideman, TJ Brodie, Ladislav Smid, Deryk Engelland, Jyrki Jokipakka
Goalies
Brian Elliott, Chad Johnson

 

 

Outlook:

 

After making the playoffs in 2014-2015 and even winning a round, the Flames took a step backward in 2015-2016.  It looks like much of the blame is being put on the shoulders of the goaltending, as they have had a 100% turnover in goaltenders at the NHL level from last season.  All four goaltenders who wore Calgary sweaters last season are out.  Jonas Hiller, Karri Ramo, Joni Ortio, and Nicklas Backstrom have all moved on to other teams or leagues.  In their place, the Flames signed veterans Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson.  They also have 3 prospects in the system who will all get a shot to make an impression at training camp in the fall.  The young guys are Mason McDonald, Jon Gillies, and David Rittich.  One of those three goalies are likely to eventually end up the #1 goalie in Calgary, but, for this season, Brian Elliott is expected to win the #1 job until one of the young kids is ready.  Looking at the rest of the team, they still have some work to do in terms of signing players to contracts.  As of the writing of this report, their top 2 scorers from last season, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan remain unsigned restricted free agents.  By the time they pay those two guys, there will not be much left of the $14.9 million in cap space they currently have.  That means the signing of any additional free agents isn’t likely.    Ultimately, this team’s success in 2016-2017 will be dependent on their goaltending.  If Elliott puts up similar numbers to the numbers he put up in his 5 seasons in St. Louis, you will see Calgary make a strong push to make the playoffs this season.  If he struggles like he did in his last few seasons in Ottawa, we are likely facing another rebuilding year in Calgary.