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Draft Preview: Calgary Flames – Red-light district

Flames’ mobility results in firepower, but questions linger in the crease.

Partly by design, partly by the hand he was dealt, the Flames are a team built on skill, puck movement and finish under the guidance of GM Brad Treliving. Only Tampa Bay scored more than the 3.52 goals per game that Calgary averaged in 2018-19. So it will be interesting to see if the lack of toughness up front or nastiness on the blueline will hurt the team come playoff time, when the hockey gets heavier, and necessitate some off-season fine-tuning.

IMMEDIATE NEEDS: With the Flames surely moving on from 37-year-old UFA Mike Smith this summer, the door is open for Treliving to decide what goalie he wants. The cap room isn’t there for a big-ticket UFA starter such as Sergei Bobrovsky or Semyon Varlamov to join the ranks. So it’s likely he seeks a “project” stopper who will push David Rittich for starts and become 1A or 1B.

LONG-TERM NEEDS: With youth at forward and defense, Calgary’s long-term need is the same as its short-term need. Rittich is just 26, but is he the answer? Maybe the off-season goalie signing is just a stopgap. The Flames’ top two prospect netminders – Jon Gillies and Tyler Parsons – both had disappointing seasons in the AHL.

CAP SITUATION: With Matthew Tkachuk projected to sign for $7.5 million, and a few other forwards due smaller raises, that leaves only about $5 million to sign Rittich and another goalie. There’s a chance Treliving puts T.J. Brodie (one more year at $4.65 million) or Michael Frolik (one year at $4.3 million) on the trade block in order to bolster the crease.

IN THE SYSTEM 2019-20: Dillon Dube, 20, blitzed the AHL as a rookie and has the speed, skill and smarts to be a dynamic second- or third-line center down the road. Juuso Valimaki made the Flames as a 20-year-old rookie pro blueliner before an injury derailed him after 22 games.

DID YOU KNOW: Canadian university star Luke Philp, 23, was signed in March after three years with the Alberta Golden Bears. The hope is he evolves into a late-blooming versatile center like Derek Ryan did after four years with the Golden Bears a decade ago.

(2000-2018 drafts)
Johnny Gaudreau, 104th, ’11
T.J. Brodie, 114th, ’08
Travis Moen, 155th, ’00
Matthew Lombardi, 90th, ’02
Micheal Ferland, 133rd, ’10
Curtis McElhinney, 176th, ’02
Brandon Prust, 70th, ’04
David Moss, 220th, ’01
Lance Bouma, 78th, ’08
Brett Kulak, 105th, ’12

100+ NHL GAMES: 14
NHL RANK: 16th



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