For over 15 years, Canada Day was best known around Calgary as being this young man's birthday. Happy 39th, Jarome. pic.twitter.com/dqyAOhg9sY— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) July 1, 2016
Here's a quick primer for Flames fans to get you through the day:
1. Recent History
The last six years has seen mixed results from Calgary in terms of how active they have been. For a while, it was an alternating years thing where they were busy, then not busy, then busy. However, they broke that pattern last year in snagging one of the top free agent forwards available in Michael Frolik.
Here's a look back at some of the more notable signings by the Flames to took place on or around July 1:
2015 - RW Michael Frolik, C Derek Grant
2014 - G Jonas Hiller, LW Mason Raymond, D Deryk Engelland
2013 - None
2012 - RW Jiri Hudler, D Dennis Wideman*
2011 - D Derek Smith
2010 - LW Alex Tanguay, C Olli Jokinen, RW Tim Jackman
Note that Wideman was technically not a UFA signing an was instead a re-signing as GM Jay Feaster traded with Washington to get his negotiating rights prior to him hitting the open market. That said, the spirit of that acquisition was that of a UFA signing so I've included him.
2. How Much Spending Money do They Have?
As we prepare to drop off general manager Brad Treliving at the NHL mall for the day, how much money are we giving him to spend?
This one is difficult to calculate given so many unknowns. First, you have the uncertainty around what the salaries will be next year for pending RFAs Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Tyler Wotherspoon and Freddie Hamilton.
Secondly, you have the uncertainty around players like Joe Colborne (will they re-sign him?), Dennis Wideman (will they or can they trade him?) and Ladislav Smid (will he end up on long-term injured reserve?).
But, I did some estimations, did some roster projections, mixed in an executive decision or two and here's what I came up with. Note that this is based on:
- Estimated salaries for the four players mentioned above
- Wideman remaining with the team
- Colborne not re-signing
- Brandon Bollig being assigned to Stockton
- Smid ending up on LTIR
2016-17 NHL Salary Cap - $73 million
2016-17 Projected Flames NHL Roster (as of July 1, 21 players) - $64.2 million
- 13 Forwards - $34.2 million
- 7 Defence - $27.5 million
- 1 Goalie - $2.5 million
That leaves Treliving with $8.8 million to spend today on a forward -- preferably a RW, and a back-up goalie.
Here is the breakdown by position:
Forwards (13) - $34.2M
TBD x, $__M
3. What are the Positional Needs?
Based on the above, I see the two primary needs as a top line RW and a back-up goalie.
While you could make a case for needing a second pairing defenceman to play with Dougie Hamilton also, I'm more than content to try Jyrki Jokipakka in that spot and/or Tyler Wotherspoon. If neither works, Deryk Engelland or Dennis Wideman are fall-back options if necessary.
A secondary need is a depth forward, which would ease the pressure of penciling 2016 first rounder Matthew Tkachuk into the line-up for this season. Also, Freddie Hamilton will likely end up on a two-way deal and can be jettisoned to Stockton without any issue.
4. Who is Available?
Let's go over the needs one-by-one, along with a small sampling of some of the UFAs out there that meet that description:
Primary Need: Top-6 Right Wing:
- Kyle Okposo
- Troy Brouwer
- Loui Eriksson
- Thomas Vanek
- David Perron
Primary Need: Back-up Goalie:
- James Reimer
- Carter Hutton
- Chad Johnson
- Karri Ramo
- Al Montoya
Optional Secondary Need: Depth Winger:
- Joe Colborne
- Matt Martin
- Dale Weise
- Derek Grant
- Josh Jooris
Optional Secondary Need: Bottom-4 Defenceman:
- Dan Hamhuis
- Jakub Nakladal
- Patrick Wiercioch
- Matt Greene
- Jared Cowen
The mall opens at 10 am MT. Get your helmet on, and your elbow pads. Think Boxing Day only with a bunch of former pro hockey players.
With the free agent courting period giving teams an opportunity to talk contract with players already, expect a lot of door-crasher specials as soon as the mall doors open.
Whether or not those door-crasher specials will be the solution teams are hoping for. Well, we'll have to wait and see. But don't hold your breath.
July 1 for GMs is like getting drunk for the first time. Feels great in the moment, but then you wake up with a hangover that lasts forever.— Darren Haynes (@DarrenWHaynes) July 1, 2016
Enjoy the madness on a day where window shopping often ends up being the best kind.
By the way, have you liked Flames From 80 Feet on Facebook yet? Go there and do so now. It's just another way to be alerted to new Calgary Flames articles that I've written.
- Dragons' Den: RFA Decisions Reveal a Cold, Business Side to Flames GM - We learned this week in his handling of his 13 RFAs -- Joe Colborne especially -- that Brad Treliving has a cold-hearted business side to him and that's not a bad quality to have. (June 29, 2016)
- Gold Star: Eight Takeaways From an Excellent Draft Weekend for the Flames - What a weekend it was for Brad Treliving and the Flames. In looking back, I examine the emphasis on skill, the legend of pick 166 and other weekend storylines. (June 26, 2016)
- Practical over Sexy as Flames Bring in Brian Elliott to Shore up Their Goaltending - There were more alluring options in first round pick Marc-Andre Fleury and big start Ben Bishop, but as it turns out, Elliott was the good fit. (June 25, 2016)
- Eight Nuances of the Flames 2016-17 Schedule - Easy start, brutal stretch after that, ripped off for Saturday games, strange Flames-Oilers schedule, longest set of home-and-home ever, no Stamps-Flames conflicts until Grey Cup. All this and more quirks. (June 21, 2016)