It’s the most wonderful time of the year. All of the General Managers are tucked in their beds while visions of Vanek, Raymond, or Brad Richards dance in their heads. Or maybe Ehrhoff, as he became a free agent today.
So my blog today is on the different options the Flames will have during the off-season. The Flames are looking for... let see… oh, that's right... everything. Seriously, they need pretty much everything. So they first of all have to set their priorities. My blog will concentrate on goalies, defence, and a center.
Back-up Goalie or 1B Goalie
I think the first need is a back-up goalie. The Flames have a couple of options.
Free agent options
Thomas has a history with the GM. He is a solid net-minder who is not outstanding, but he is solid and dependable in his game. He a solid option who is good for 30-35 games. I really like this option. He is exactly what the team needs. The key point here is that the Flames can offer him something. Most of the other teams can't give him an opportunity to play.
Chad was outstanding for the Bruins last season. He simply gives the team a chance to win every night. Another good, cheap option for the Flames. Chad is a goaltender who plays a solid game and rarely gets caught out of position. He is a late bloomer who is capable of being a solid back-up.
Peters was outstanding for Carolina last season. He was battling for head job there on a team with three goalies. The Canes could not find a home for him. He would battle Ramo for a starting job. I am not sure he would be willing to come to Calgary as a back-up.
The next need for the Calgary Flames is a solid defencemen, which the Flames could really have used last season. Especially now that it looks like Butler will not be in a Flames uniform next season. Some of the best options I could see the Flames getting are:
Tom was a solid offensive dman who fit well for a while in Edmonton, but never really fit in with the Panthers. If he could just get back to where he was as a Oiler. Apparently, it is out there there that the Flames have interest in him. He may well be a asset to the Flames defence.
Niskanen may well be the best dman on the free agency market. I love this guy’s game. He is a great option for the Flames, who need a good powerplay quarterback. I know you are thinking the Flames do not have salary cap problem. I sure do hope they at least talk. Matt could score 10 goals and 50 points and really help a dried-up powerplay.
The main problem is how much Stralman would cost, but I like his game. He is an offensive dman, who would be a solid, top-four dman. He would stabilize our defence, and help our defensive zone coverage. I love his ability to stay calm and not panic.
Kyle Quincey may very well be the most gifted defencemen out there. Kyle can pitch in with the odd assist and goal. Kyle should be affordable. The Flames can give him a bigger role, and more ice time.
I really hope the Flames try to get a second-line center. I prefer a veteran who can help Monahan, and maybe take him under his wing and give him some hints on improving his game.
Simply put: the best option out there. Stastny is the best of the bunch. If the Avs cannot sign him, the Flames need to put this man under contract. Give him the money he wants and get it done. He is a solid center with the the skill to add the supportive scoring the Flames so badly need.
Jussi can play wing or center. Versatility is essential in his game. He also may take less money to sign. I love his ability to help in the penalty-killing. His speed his a vital asset to the Flames, who need to get faster.
I know I am going to get slammed for this, but I really think Brad’s ability could help the Flames. I think he can score 20 goals and get 50 points for the Flames. He could really help Monahan and help him get the experience he needs.
I could mention plenty more, but these are the first options. I know some of you are going to ask about Bolland. I just like Jokinen better. There are plenty of options out there.
The Flames are going to be busy. Sit back and enjoy the ride!
Image: Flickr CC license: Aldaron "Parliament Clock" (modified)