Photo courtesy of the Calgary Flames
Welcome to the longest off-season. Flames have been active and this is a much different team when it comes to depth than existed in 2019-20. Calgary has found some talent from college Free Agents, ex-NHL players overseas, the Free Agent market, and some previously signed players showing up in 2020-21.
Back in the spring, Flames looked to the College Free Agent market to sign a pair of defensemen in Colton Poolman and Connor Mackey. Colton comes to Calgary from the
U of North Dakota and Mackey from Minn State U – Mankato. In particular, Mackey is one to watch as he attempts to break into the opening day lineup for Calgary especially if he can shift to the right side.
Some key players from the 2019-20 roster left through free agency as well. Calgary said goodbye to their playoff goaltending starter in Cam Talbot and significant defenseman on the right side in Travis Hamonic and TJ Brodie. These and other losses left the Flames looking for depth, goaltending improvements, and to fill the crater left in their d-core.
You can slot into the depth of the lineup… RW Josh Leivo, LW Joakin Nordstrom, and RW Dominik Simon. This should give the Flames a bit more flexibility in their lineup to move a few bodied around and shift the lineup moving into 2020-21.
Flames turned to Jakob Markstrom from the Vancouver Canucks and signed him to a 6-year, 36 million dollar deal to provide stability in net. That’s a big price to pay for a significant goaltender. A long-term signed goaltender is something Flames fans haven’t seen since Kipper.
The left side of the defense still has Giordano, Hanifin, Kylington, and the healthy body of Juuso Valimaki, who is currently dominating the Liiga this fall. The right side still has Rasmus Andersson and now the signed Christopher Tanev and former-NHLer Nikita Nesterov. The former Canadien and Lightning defenseman has spent the last three seasons in the KHL with CSKA Moskow.
Saying hello always means having to say goodbye as well. Flames list of player losses includes TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Tobias Rieder, Mark Jankowski, Michael Stone, Austin Czarnik, Alan Quine, Derek Forbort, Erik Gustafsson, Cam Talbot and various other depth AHL players.
- Rasmus Andersson will be relied upon for more minutes and should see an uptick in points.
- Elias Lindholm might be moved back to C so those who are looking for a repeat of large point totals as a RW might be let down.
- The PP is still up in the air, so fantasy watchers will just have to pounce on whoever grabs the PP1 defensive role.
Calgary traded down from 19 to 22 with the NYR to grab a third-round pick and again from 22 to 24 with Washington to grab another third. They seemingly ended up getting the player that was at the top of their board so that is good work by GM Treliving.
24th Overall – C – Connor Zary – WHL Kamloops
Connor is a versatile forward who can play center, wing, PP, PK, be more defensive, or more offensive in the zone. The Flames have drafted a number of players at the C position the last while but none of them have the dynamic upside to impact a future NHL PP or a top-six down the road. If you don’t include Valimaki or Dube, Zary jumps to the top of the prospect pool alongside Pelletier.
50th Overall – LHD – Yan Kuznetsov – U of Connecticut
This 6’4, agile, smart, defenseman plays a very simple shutdown and puck-moving game. It isn’t very often where you find him trying to rush the puck significant distances but can be a reliable piece of the Flames future since their prospect pool really doesn’t have a player like him, even after college Free Agency. He shouldn’t be a player you target hush in your fantasy drafts.
72nd Overall – LHD – Jeremie Poirier – QMJHL Saint John
He’s a dynamic, offensive-minded defenseman who has the talent to be a big point producer at the NHL level in the future. The criticism of him comes with his two-way game; needing to develop better defensive habits and instincts to be a trustable pro player. If you can handle risk later on in your fantasy drafts, Poirier is a fun swing.
80th Overall – RHD – Jake Boltmann – USHL Lincoln
The captain of Lincoln was one of the least hyped defensemen on public draft lists. He is a strong skater and has a lot of poise and strength handling the puck. At this point, he hasn’t shown a propensity to jump into the rush with consistency. Way more of a two-way project. Steer clear from fantasy drafts for now.
96th Overall – G – Daniil Chechelev – MHL/VHL
Flames were open by saying this pick was made with a lot of influence from their goaltending coaches. He was a targeted player. So far this season, Daniil has risen through the leagues due to continual wins and fantastic numbers. He shows a high level of athleticism and poise and flew under the radar for a +1 prospect. The early returns are very optimistic.
143rd Overall – C – Ryan Francis – QMJHL – Cape Breton
This slippery playmaker fell a bit from public lists and has the ability to create time and space for teammates in high danger areas. Calgary wanted to target undersized skill in the later rounds and did that once again. Lots to like. High upside. Much like other later round Flames prospects, he could be much higher on the prospect chart after a couple of seasons.
174th Overall – LW – Rory Kerins – OHL – Soo
He gets to high danger areas and has a heavy shot. Another high upside swing for Calgary in the later rounds; choosing to swing on skill over size. He rose on a lot of draft lists because of his second half of the season.
205th Overall – LHD – Ilya Solovyov – OHL – Saginaw
Large, offensive defenseman went to the KHL to continue development. There is some upside hear but he would be a long-term project. Slow and steady wins the race on this one.
Thanks for reading the Calgary Flames 31-in-31 article for November. Be sure to check back next month for the next edition of our 31-in-31 articles that will focus on the depth chart and how the entire prospect system is shaping up. Follow Joel on Twitter at @dathockeydoe.