Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Flames get Hammer, Smith, and announcing Mr. Foo

As we left the draft weekend, the Flames grabbed the big prize.  So now what? The Flames wanted a number four dman and a new starting goaltender. The Flames get a mobile puck-moving responsible defender In Travis Hamonic (Hammer). Travis could be a number two, which puts the Flames into the elite defensive corps in the NHL.

The Flames acquired Mike Smith for two reasons. One is the familiarity between him and General Manager Brad Treliving.

Brad has seen Smith at his best and his worst. Brad knows Mike as Canada's  goaltender in the championships year after year. He knows Mr. Smith carried the Coyotes on his back into the playoffs a couple of years back. The problem is, everyone knows him as a bad goalie of a bad team.  Mike was inconsistent last year, but to be honest, he had company. The Coyotes did not give him the support he needed last season. If he can be the goalie that Brad sees, the Flames could be in for a memorable season.

So what's next? In my opinion, the Flames have needed a right winger for some time. As I write this, the Flames announced the signing of Spencer Foo. The prospect from Union College was coming off a career year with 26 goals and 62 points. He is a potential sniper who is fast and smart; a player who might be the missing link the Flames need to take that next step. They need a sniper who can score on a consistent basis.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Who the Flames Will Pick

It is this time of year, the time I make a complete fool out of myself. It is time to pretend that I am a professional scout, and it's your time to laugh at me for making a fool out of myself.

This year, the Flames do not have the second or third rounder.  So I will just do the first rounder and a fourth rounder.

With the First round selection, I predict the Flames pick:

Klim Kostin 

A big, rugged, right winger who will eat people up in front
of the net.  He has adequate offensive skills and will put up points the dirty way.  Kostin makes very strong plays with no fear. He abandons all caution to the wind. He is a big power forward who just might pay off. Flames will have to patient with him.

With the fourth round, the Flames pick:

David Farrance

A highly skilled defencemen who can pass with the best of them.  Potential top four dman and a power play specialist.  Farrance is a rocket from the point, which will cause torment to most goalies.  He has a fairly accurate shot and is a pinpoint passer, which will help the Flames tremendously in the future.

Next picks, I am just listing them:

Fifth round, Brady Lyle D

Sixth round, Ryan Hughes C

Seventh round, Saku Vesterinen

This and that 

The Flames will no doubt look for a right winger and a puck-moving defencemen. Also, look for the Flames to be busy during the draft. The Flames may very well get additional picks.

The players that comes to mind are Nate Schnarr, a slick center with some skills and Aleksi Heponiemi, a small, talented forward who moves with the best of them. The Flames might very well step in and grab him.

The Flames might be looking for that top-six forward. I have not heard any names; they are keeping things close to the chest. They are getting tons of offers for Bennett. Not shopping, but listening to offers.

Here is Dearen's opinion on who the Calgary Flames are going to pick for number one:

Who will the Calgary Flames select at #16 in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft?

You mean the draft? Like the expansion draft? No? Oh...

I predict the Flames select Juuso Valimaki, the Captain of the U18 Finland team who is a solid two-way defenseman. Valimaki scored 19 goals for the Tri-City Americans this past season, yet when you watch him play you feel like he can produce much more. Juuso measures six feet tall with his weight hovering around 200 pounds at the age of 18. Juuso's strengths are his solid skating abilities and his intelligence in his own end. Flames assistant Craig Conroy was quoted as saying this is a "character" draft, and Juuso has plenty of character. Juuso Valmaki has been compared to the likes of Mattias Ekholm and Erik Johnson. At #16 the Calgary Flames are proud to select Juuso Valmaki.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Flames and the Expansion Draft

Are you excited about the Vegas team?

The only thing that excites me is losing Bouma. The Flames will either lose one of their young defenders or a third line forward. I desperately don't want to lose Alex Chiasson. His offensive contributions come in handy.  I hope it will be Lance Bouma; he is an easy replaceable fourth line forward. But unfortunately, the only way that happens is if the Flames arrange a deal for that to happen. Who do you think the Flames are going to lose in the expansion?

Next, who are my picks? There are many options. I feel it is down to four players. I am sure the experts will give you more options, but they are wrong!  That is my story, and I am sticking to it.

My picks, or who I think the Golden Knights will consider:

Matt Stajan

The Golden Knights may choose Matt for his experience.  He is an excellent penalty killer, who gets the job done.  Matt is a solid fourth line Centre. In fact,  he might be the third line Centre.  He will be a great example for the younger kids.

Alex Chiasson 

Alex was a pleasant surprise in my eyes. I was not expecting his twelve goals.  His size will help the Golden Knights on the powerplay, and he will not let the smaller players get pushed around.  His best quality is the garbage goals he can get in there with the best of them.  He could be a second line winger on the expansion team.

Brett Kulak

A solid chance in the NHL. I honestly believe that Brett will be in the NHL on a regular stint. He is a solid defender who has some spunk.  With the Flames, he is probably a fifth to seventh defencemen.   He could pitch in with some offense skill.  There is lots of time for Brett to develop the perfect fit for expansion team who can be patient with him.

Tyler Wotherspoon

Wotherspoon never truly developed into the offensive defencemen people thought he would. But if you do not make Tyler into something he isn't, you still have a young defenseman with some defensive smarts.  If the Knights are looking for a young, stay-home defenseman, Tyler is their man.

The Flames will be making some changes in the off-season.  So I thought I would pick Dearen's brain to see what some of the solutions could be:

Q: Who will be the Flames starting goaltender next season? 

A: I want to answer this question with two answers. No one will be the Flames legitimate starting goaltender next season and Mike Smith. I would love to say a young goalie like Grubauer or Raanta, but those two goalies are not proven goalies and may not even be available. Treliving and Brian Burke appear to like veteran goalies, and for that reason, I believe Mike Smith will be the Flames next attempt at a #1 goaltender. Smith is 35 years old and has a cap hit of $5,666,667 for the next two seasons. Mike Smith has had some injury woes, and that is why the Flames will bring back Chad Johnson as the backup. You don't like my answer? I don't like my answer either. However, the acquisition cost likely makes more sense than an M.A. Fleury, who may not accept a trade to Calgary. Another name that I will mention is Jaroslav Halak (he showed well in the World Cup). I know he was waived last year and I know the majority of people will tell you he is not a #1 goalie. And they are right. I hope you realize that I am telling you that the Flames will not acquire a #1 goaltender. The Flames will either have to make a trade and take a risk on a goalie like Grubauer, Raanta, or Condon, or acquire/sign a guy like Mike Smith, Steve Mason, Jonathan Bernier or Ryan Miller and hope they find their past success. I predict that Treliving goes with familiarity and acquires Mike Smith and signs Chad Johnson to back him up.

Q: Who will fill the void at Right Wing next season for the Flames?

A: Brouwer!! Oh, wait that was last year when Brad Treliving overpaid a third line winger and expected him to fill in our top 6 roles. I love Ferland, but he does not belong on our top two lines.

If we look at Free Agency, we see names like Radulov, TJ Oshie and after that, it drops to names like Vrbata, Justin Williams, and Patrick Eaves. Radulov and Oshie are both 30 years old and are going to want term and money. I am not convinced Calgary has a realistic chance to land either guy. Radulov will end up back in Montreal while rumors suggest Oshie goes back to Washington. Eaves had a crazy good year and is going to wait for that one team that will overpay him on a 3-4 year deal. I hope Calgary is not that team. I just don't see a legit top two line right winger that can help the Flames in free agency.

The Flames may need to get creative and look outside of the NHL. How about Valerie Nichushkin? I am not entirely sure if he can opt out of his final year with CSKA Moscow, but perhaps you can speak to his agent and work out a deal with Dallas. Nischushkin made it clear he was not happy with Dallas and returned home. Maybe a new coach in Dallas changes that? Nischushkin shoots left but plays the right wing. The 22-year-old has the size and the skill. Other names that I will throw out there are Nikita Gusev and Evgeny Dadonov. The Flames will have to get creative and take a risk, and perhaps they look in Europe to find a crafty winger to play with Gaudreau and Monahan.

Q; Should the Flames consider signing Jarome Iginla?

A: No. I love Jarome just like any other Flames fan. Jarome Iginla will be 40 years old and although he had a little success in LA, his best days are far behind him. The Flames want to play an up-tempo puck possession style game, and Iginla does not fit that style.

As much as we can use a right winger and need a goaltender, I am curious to see what the Flames do on defense. Brad Treliving and Brian Burke have recently been quoted saying that you need to have six very capable defensemen to be successful. Right now the Flames have three legitimate NHL defensemen under contract in Giordano: Hamilton and Brodie. A lot of work needs to be done on the back end.