Las Vegas Expansion Draft – Calgary Flames

Aside from losing the City of Calgary in arena negotiations, the Flames as all teams are due to lose a player in the expansion draft. With a lot of young talent and rising stars on their squad, the Flames are in a good position this season with the expansion draft.

Assuming the Flames go with the 7-3-1 protected format these are my projected picks for the team. I’ll start with forwards.

Protected: Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau, Sam Bennett, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, Micheal Ferland and probably Curtis Lazar.

This portion of the group is young, talented and has huge upside in scoring and puck moving potential. All these players have reasonable contracts and fit into Calgary’s small  but talented roster going down the road. I don’t see any variation in this list unless some back door deals are slipped into negotiations prior to the expansion draft.

If they didn’t fit into Calgary’s long term plan each of these forwards would fetch a fair price in the market long term. They are all very valuable to the club and if the Flames wanted to move any of them for whatever reason they are not the sort of players you would give away for free. While Lazar had a pretty bad season with both the Sens and the Flames, exposing a young player with huge potential and ‘piss and vinegar’ according to Brad Treliving would be a bad call. Considering they gave up a second round pick for the player, they honestly should not send him on his way to Vegas.

Exposed: Troy Brouwer, Matt Stajan, Alex Chiasson, Lance Bouma, Freddie Hamilton, Hunter Shinkaruk, Emile Poirier

This group is noticeably different. Older, larger less malleable contracts and just less talented players fill out the mix of Calgary forwards. Shinkaruk is 22, and has a two way contract as of now. He’d be a less talented, but long term safer option for the Golden Knights. George Mcphee probably has him on some list somewhere. He had 1 point in 7 games with the Flames this year. Unless he is selected with the stipulation that a draft pick comes with him, don’t expect him to be drafted.

In terms with the veterans, lets start with Troy Brouwer. The player most Calgary fans, and arguably management would want taken off the books. He had a horrible first season in Calgary, scoring just 25 points to go along with posting the worst possession numbers among Flames forwards and making every single teammate of his worse when they were on the ice with him. He will also be 32 at the start of next season and has three more years left on his contract at $4.5 million a season. Could Vegas take him? It is possible if they value his “leadership” and “intangibles” but as we have written here numerous times, there are much cheaper and productive ways to get players with those attributes. Expect Troy Brouwer to remain a Calgary Flame past the expansion draft, he possesses the contract that makes him had to trade, and none of the potential upside. His gritty style of play, while it is valuable in certain circumstances doesn’t fit the mold of the transitioning Flames.

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Matt Stajan makes 3 million per year and only has one more year of his contract. He had 23 points last season and averaged around 12 minutes per game. Reasonable forward option, but little upside or long term viability on the team.

The defensive side is pretty obvious, as the flames have

Protected: Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton

Exposed: Matt Bartkowski, Brett Kulak, Tyler Wotherspoon, Ryan Culkin

Protected Defense Analysis

This is an extremely easy decision for the Flames. Giordano, Brodie and Hamilton are all top-pairing defensemen. If the Flames want to move one of them (which they should probably refrain from doing so) they would get a huge return. Keep in mind Taylor Hall was traded for Adam Larsson so there is no telling who these guys could be valued at.

Exposed: Matt Bartkowski, Brett Kulak, Tyler Wotherspoon, Ryan Culkin

Not a whole lot of talent here in terms of point production, but Kulak is the youngest option here. At 23 he has 2 years of NHL experience and could benefit from a larger role on Vegas.

Goaltenders.

Exposed: Tom McCollum

Brian Elliot is a UFA this season, Chad Johnson is also. They don’t have to protect a goalie, I PREDICT A LANDING SPOT FOR MARC ANDRE FLEURY. Likely for a D man, or a top 6 forward after the cup final.

I don’t particularly want to get into detail with the rights for both Johnson or Elliot, but neither seem to be long term solutions for Vegas. So don’t worry about that.

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Golden Knights Candidates:

  1. Brett Kulak: His potential on the ice could provide immediate talent for Vegas or a pick that is better suited for the Golden Knights long term. He won’t get top 4 minutes in Calgary or Vegas but as a young defenseman with a huge upside and a reasonable rookie contract would be a cost effective pick from the Flames.
  2. Hunter Shinkaruk: He is an actual prospect that is eligible to be selected. The Golden Knights do not have a lot of players like that available to them. He is not waiver eligible next season, so they could send him down to their farm team with no worries of losing him.

Both guys are young, and have potential to play at the NHL level. Calgary offers Vegas with an opportunity to grow long term as opposed to taking on a large contract.

More to come as the draft approaches.

 

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