Monday, July 6, 2015

What to do with Gio

I can see everyone foaming at the mouth reading this title. You may be wondering where I am going with this, but bear with me. By no means am I saying Mark has worn out his welcome. What I am saying is there comes a time where we have to start being responsible with the upcoming cap issues. The Giordano name will go down in history. Mark was one of the best last season. If not for his injury, he would have easily won the Norris trophy. As it was, he had career year even missing the last part of the season. So why would I even consider asking what to do with him?

Again, I am not questioning his usefulness. He has earned my and everyone's respect. My concern is cap management. The Flames have to keep in mind they have to renew Monahan’s and Johnny Hockey's contracts. Then there is the issue of Hudler becoming a free agent in the spring. Now I know everyone is jumping on the "trade Jiri" band-wagon. But that might be easier said than done. The Flames have to consider the effects of doing so.   Consider this; what would have happened to the Flames if Jiri would not have been on that first line? How good would have Gaudreau and Monahan been without him?

The next problem the Flames have is goaltending. The Flames are saying they are fine with their goalies. But if they are really fine, why would they spend so much time trying to land a new goalie? Yes, they signed Ramo on a one-year contract, but that only complicates the issue. All three net minders are on the final years of their contracts. The process of Ortio having to clear waivers in order to be sent down adds to the drama. I am not too sure that he clears. As most of you know, Joni is on a one-way contract. This is his final year.

The third issue is the cap being locked into the defense. Think about it: Dennis Wideman 5.25 Mil, Dougie Hamilton 5.75 Mil, then there is Brodie 4.65 Mil. That is a lot of cap in the defense. Then there will be at least another 7 Mil for Gio. The Flames are talking to Mr. Cody Franson, which really makes me wonder if the Flames are exploring all their options.

How the Flames did at the draft

The Trade

Of course the biggest news of the Draft is the trade that brought Dougie Hamilton to the Flames for $15.45 Mil, with picks going back to bean town.

What do we get with Dougie? We get one of the best young defenders in the League. Already one of the best in League, with the potential of being a future Norris trophy nominee, he is a huge boost to an already-stacked defense. The Flames made trades at the deadline to get those picks to get a good young defenseman.  

The Picks

The first pick was Rasmus Andersson; a good solid pick.  Everyone was shocked about Oliver Kylington dropping down like a loaf of Christmas Cake. So I thought I would do some digging about that same issue. From what I was told, his last season was not one of his best seasons; it scared a lot of teams off. But you have to consider that it’s only one season.

The Flames were assured there were no concerns about his attitude or work ethic. So when he was there, they went ahead and made the trade to draft him at sixtieth. There is concern that he went from 24 to 60, but the Flames were willing to take a chance with him.

Flames Done?

Not even close. They have an overabundance of forwards and defense, especially if the Flames get Franson. They will be forced to move someone.  Expect Wideman or Gio to be shopped unless Gio is signed to a long term deal. 

Signing Frolik 

The Flames truly believe that Frolik can be a top-six forward. He has all the tools to do so. Frolik should go nicely with Bennett on the second line, giving the Flames more scoring depth. You have to love this signing the only negative being the cap hit. But even that is not a problem because the Flames are not in cap trouble.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Calgary Flames sign Michael Frolik

Free Agency Opens!

Flames have signed twenty seven year old left handed shooting right winger Michael Frolik to a five year contract worth $21.5 million.

Frolik has been a reliable two way player for 8 NHL seasons. Frolik played 82 games with the Winnipeg Jets last year, recording 19 goals and 42 points.

Welcome to the C of RED!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


You don’t want to wait until the draft to find out who the Flames will draft at #15?
 No problem.

This is our 5th annual draft blog and once again, to give us his selection, is Randy (@thefanblogger). Back in 2011 Randy said it would be Baertschi at #13. The following year he told us two weeks prior to the draft that Feaster would draft Mark Jankowski. People laughed and some went to google because they had never heard of Jankowski; but sure enough he was selected by the Flames. Last year Randy had selected Draisaitl at #4 but we blame that on Randy forgetting to eat his Corn Pops prior to making his selection.
Randy has assured me he did eat his Corn Pops and knows who the Flames will select at #15 in this year’s NHL Entry Draft on Friday June 26, 2015.

Yes, it’s that time of year. Every fan gets to play head scout of his and her favorite team. Or, as I like to call it, Randy's nightmare on Elm Street.  Why? Because I have to pretend to know what I am doing. Well, at least fool you into thinking I know what I am doing.  Which is nearly impossible because you’re just too smart to be fooled.

This year, the Flames have one pick in the first round and three picks in the second round. That means I get to make a fool out of myself four times.  The picks are fifteenth in the first round, and 45, 52, and 53 overall in the second round.  I will be throwing four darts against board to see where they land.  Seriously, I do a little more research than that.  Even though it seems like these picks are almost a crap shoot.  

It is common knowledge that the Flames need a right winger and defensive depth. The Flames' defense prospect cupboard is weak at best. This season, the Flames really missed Gio when he went down. The only way we survived was that Wideman, Brodie, and Russell were superhuman.  We just do not have the young defense prospects we need.  

As for the right wing, the second line right winger is David Jones—need I say more? It would be an understatement to say that the Flames have lack of scoring power. The Flames may choose to address this in the off season. In fact, I have been told this is pretty much a given. They have to spend just to make it to the floor.  Which is amazing, considering we were a playoff team yet we’re under the cap floor.

So with that given, I am expecting some defenders to be plucked this draft in the second round.  Here are my thoughts on this year’s draft.

At Number 15 

The Flames will more than likely address the right winger issue with this pick. The top defensive prospects in this draft are either going to be picked in the top 10 or later in the first round. As for right wing, I would like Nick Merkley. At #15 the Flames will select Nick Merkley . But Merkley may no longer be available come #15.  As you can see in this highlight package - Merkley is an outstanding playmaker. He has raw talent that needs to mature. He has a ton of potential. The Flames can be patient with him; there is no hurry. It is really nice not to have to rush our prospects for a change. Oh, and did I mention he was born in Calgary?

-Thanks Randy, no doubt Merkley would be a popular selection amongst people in Calgary, and his talent is evident. Merkley has been compared to have Nicklas Backstrom type skill.

Here is my take--I believe in building through the middle of the ice. With Monahan and Bennett, the Flames have kick started a bright future at center. With this pick, I naturally lean towards a defenseman because the Flames are so bare when it comes to defensive prospects. So, initially, I looked at either Oliver Kylington or Jakub Zboril. Both can skate and move the puck, but in the end I went back to the player I identified back in January. My Pick at #15 - The Calgary Flames are proud to select, Evgeny SvechnikovI know Svechnikov is not the popular choice, especially if you believe Merkley will be available at 15; but in my opinion Svechnikov could be the most explosive offensive player outside of the top 10. Check out his highlights.

What about Picks #45, 52 & 53, Randy?

Pick 45

This is where the Flames will load up on defense. And where it is almost a crap shoot, depending on their scouting staff. This is where they earn their paycheques. 

This is where the Flames find their man to eat small animal life. Yes, forwards beware of the predator. I choose defenseman Nicolas Meloche, who is a physical defenseman who will make people pay in the Flames' end.  He has some offensive punch, but it is not his strength. He is a Brian Burke type player and will add some size to the line-up. And looking at his handy work - he doesn't appear shy to drop the gloves when necessary

My Take: Meloche would be a nice addition to the Flames organization. TSN compares Meloche to Francois Beauchemin; a defenseman the Flames may target come July1. 
Like Randy My selection is a similar type defenseman at #45 -- Flames are proud to select defenseman, Erik Cernak. The right handed Slovak will bring size, tenacity and defensive smarts to the Flames with the 45th overall selection. Cernak is not flashy and needs to work on his skating, but his hockey IQ is at an elite level. 

Pick 52 

I am going out on a limb for the next one. Rasmus Andersson. Most people have him rated way too far back. But from what I have read, he has tons of potential and could be an offensive d-man. His offensive numbers were impressive, with 12 goals and 52 assists with the Barrie Colts. The 52 assists will give the Flames a puck moving defenseman with vision, and one who can play in all three zones also looking at this goal he can shoot the puck just fine.

My Take: Andersson often compared to our own Dennis Wideman and Capitals d-man Mike Green. Andersson could become a power-play quarterback down the line for the Flames.

The Flames hold back to back picks here if they retain the two selections; which I do not think they will. But at #52 the Flames are proud to select center, Mitchell Stephens. Stephens plays with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL. Stephens is a two way player who can score and is very hard on the puck. Plays with a bit of an edge, sacrifices his body and has a nose for the net - sounds like a nice fit to me. 

Pick 53

ALEXANDER DERGACHYOV. A Russian, and a real big powerful hockey player.  I love his skating ability. The Flames could really use a big power forward. He has a ton of potential; the downside is he is an unpolished diamond in the rough and unfortunately, he shoots left. Dergachyov is a centre who projects to become a pesky grinding winger.

My Take: Besides being a big boy, I think Randy made this selection because he wanted to see if I could spell Dergachyov correctly.

With this selection at 53 - the Flames proudly select, Ryan Pilon from the Brandon Wheat Kings. The two way defenseman became an integral part of the Wheat Kings success this past season. The Flames have scouted the Wheat Kings excessively this past year with Klimchuk playing for Brandon, along with now former Flame, Eric Roy. Pilon was seen quarterbacking some of the Wheat Kings power plays and is no slouch along the boards. Pilon could become a well-rounded two way defenseman down the road for the Flames.

This and That

The Leafs could be one of many teams on trying to pick up a second rounder. They will have company, including the Pens. Expect the Flames to be involved in a lot of trade talks, including looking for a number one goalie.  

The Flames will make steps towards to making the playoffs again next year. I am not sure if the moves will happen on draft weekend, but the groundwork will be laid. - Randy

Thank you Randy! It will be an interesting weekend, especially if you keep up with all the trade rumors around the NHL. Darren Dreger on TSN radio said that the New York Ranger recently turned down two second round picks for Cam Talbot. One can only wonder if the Flames were the team who offered the two picks?

Let us know what you think and who you would like the Flames to draft in this years draft. Enjoy the Draft!
Flames Jambalaya is in no way, shape or form associated with the Calgary Flames Hockey Club or the AHL affiliate, the Abbotsford Heat. This is a fans blog for fans. We just happen to love the Flames, so we write about it.