The Wild Offseason Of The Calgary Flames

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Wild Offseason Of The Calgary Flames

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The Wild Offseason Of The Calgary Flames

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Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Calgary Flames have had an unprecedented offseason this summer. The team went from Cup contenders to the looks of a complete rebuild and then back to a possible Western Conference powerhouse. The Flames had to navigate three separate areas this offseason: restricted free agency (RFA), unrestricted free agency (UFA) and trades.

The Flames lost the biggest fish in the UFA market this summer in Johnny Gaudreau. Calgary general manager Brad Treliving tried all he possibly could to bring Johnny Hockey back. He even reportedly offered the forward a long-term deal around $84 million in total value.

Gaudreau declined and was rumored to be headed east for more money. Instead, Gaudreau signed a seven-year deal worth just under $70 million in Columbus. There was not much more the Flames, and the front office, could have done.

Calgary also lost defenseman Erik Gudbranson and Michael Stone along with forward Brett Ritchie to unrestricted free agency. These departures along with star forward Matthew Tkachuk stating he “won’t stay long term in Calgary” had the Flames staring a potential rebuild in the face.

With all the distractions swirling around the franchise, Treliving still had a job to do. His first move was to sign depth forward Kevin Rooney to a two-year, $2.6 million contract. Rooney will give the Flames an upgrade as a bottom-six center. Treliving then re-signed Nikita Zadorov to a multi-year deal. Zadorov will play a pivotal role in the team’s bottom two defensive pairs. 

That would be all Calgary would do in the first nine days of free agency. Treliving then made a move to show the franchise would not enter a rebuild. On July 22nd, the Flames traded Matthew Tkachuk to the Florida Panthers in exchange for forwards Johnathan Huberdeau and Cole Schwindt and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar. This move would rock the hockey world as a true blockbuster deal.

The Flames weren’t done there. The beginning of August saw another flurry of moves. First, Calgary made a minor move in securing its bottom-defensive pair re-signing Oliver Kylington to a two-year deal. The second early-August move has the re-signing of top-six forward Andrew Mangiapane to a three-year contract. Treliving completed his early-August work by signing newly acquired Jonathan Huberdeau to an eight-year extension.

Both the Flames and the NHL went quiet for a week or two until Calgary one-upped its previous blockbuster move. The Flames signed one of the most sought-after free agents of the summer as Nazem Kadri inked a seven-year, $49 million deal. 

Calgary had gone from being a Western Conference contender to a team in a rebuild, then back to a Western Conference contender in a span of two months. Brad Treliving may have just pulled off the fastest rebuild in NHL history. Here is what Calgary’s starting lineup could look like on opening night:

FORWARDS

Jonathan Huberdeau – Elias Lindholm – Tyler Toffoli

Blake Coleman – Nazem Kadri – Andrew Mangiapane

Jakob Pelletier – Mikael Backlund – Dillon Dube

Millan Lucic – Kevin Rooney – Trevor Lewis

DEFENSEMAN

Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson

MacKenzie Weegar – Chris Tanev

Nikita Zadorov – Oliver Kylington

GOALTENDERS

Jacob Markstrom 

Daniel Vladar

Brad Treliving’s team will be tested early and often as the Flames open the season hosting the defending Stanley Cup Champions before heading to Edmonton for the Battle of Alberta. Calgary also faces other 2022 playoff teams in October with Vegas, Carolina, Pittsburgh and Edmonton all coming to the Scotiabank Saddledome. 

While only time will tell if Calgary can continue its winning ways, the Flames have been put in a position where it is entirely possible. How the team gels and what moves are made prior to the Trade Deadline will be vital in its’ success.

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