One player needed and $3 million to spend.
That's what I've got things whittled down to as Brad Treliving has been operating lately like he's got some serious plans for the Canada Day long weekend and is anxious to hit the highway.
A barrage of transactions by the general manager over the last couple weeks has the Calgary Flames 2017-18 roster rapidly coming into focus. That, plus a glimpse into the future.
On the eve of the NHL's annual July 1 free agent frenzy, here's a recap of the parade of players that have joined (or re-joined) the organization lately:
- June 17 - Traded for G Mike Smith to be the team's starter
- June 23 - Drafted D Juuso Valimaki 16th overall in NHL draft
- June 24 - Traded for D Travis Hamonic to round out the top four
- June 27 - Signed highly-touted college free agent RW Spencer Foo
- June 29 - Re-signed veteran RW Kris Versteeg
- June 29 - Traded for G Eddie Lack to be the back-up
- June 30 - Re-signed D Michael Stone
That's a lot of significant pieces in a short period of time.
Happy to be Back
Stone's decision to re-sign was the latest announcement and it was also one of the simplest decisions. For one, his wife is from Calgary and they spend their off-seasons in the city. Secondly, he knows the calibre of team Treliving is constructing.
"A goal right when I got traded here was to stay in Calgary and not only for the fact that we're close to family, but it's a really good hockey club," said Stone, who just turned 27 earlier in June. "That's something I haven't been part of a whole lot."
For Friday's announcement, Stone stopped by the Saddledome in person with his wife and adorable, wide-eyed nine-month old twins -- one boy and one girl -- both outfitted in red knitted Flames sweaters.
"When I got here, it felt like a new season, a fresh start, we were pushing for something," Stone says. "In Arizona, it was like let's get through the rest of the season.
"Not mailing it in, but you know you're out and there's a bunch of uncertainty. Coming here, you get a jolt of energy and it's exciting to come to the rink every day."
With the injury history for Travis Hamonic, who the last four seasons has missed 13, 11, 10 and 33 games, and with Calgary clearly determined to become a legitimate Stanley Cup contender, Stone's arrival gives the Flames tremendous depth on the back end. In addition to being a solid third pairing presence, he is also a guy as he demonstrated last season that can be elevated into the top-four in the event of an injury.
You need that type of depth if you view yourself as a contender and that security comes at a price. Stone's deal pays him an annual average value of $3.5 million over the next three seasons.
As for the type of player the GM still has remaining on his shopping list, coach Glen Gulutzan peeled back the curtain a little bit during a radio visit with Dean Molberg and Ryan Pinder on Sportsnet960 radio on Friday morning.
To summarize their conversation in case you missed it, Gulutzan hinted that the team is looking for a bottom-six winger, who is a right-hand shot and can take draws. Not necessarily a centre, but more so a winger who can take face-offs in certain situations, similar to what Troy Brouwer does in sometimes taking the draw when he's on his strong side.
With that information in mind, I set out to build the rest of the 23-man squad that would surround that one missing piece.
The website Cap Friendly is a phenomenal tool and I use it all the time. But at the same time, the presence of pending RFAs and players listed in the minors when they should be listed on the NHL roster (and sometimes vice versa) still leaves me scribbling out a bunch of additional math on the napkin beside me. In an attempt to crystallize the team's situation right up to the moment, I have taken a stab at building the Flames roster as it might look on Oct. 4 when Calgary visits Edmonton to open up the regular season.
This includes projections as to who will be on the team and who will not -- and my view likely varies from yours -- and don't get too hung up on the actual line combinations as we know those are likely to change. I also had to stickhandle around a handful of restricted free agents.
Determined to attach a dollar figure to each of them, highlighted in yellow is my guess at what their AAV may come in at this season. In some cases (e.g. Bennett, Ferland), I factored in big raises. In other instances (e.g. Lazar, Kulak), I basically assigned them their qualifying offer.
- Shane Doan, 40 - Has the Arizona connection, but may be too old for what Calgary is building.
- Jarome Iginla, 40 - See above. A nostalgic thought by longtime Flames fans, but I don't see it.
- Patrick Marleau, 37 - Ticks all the boxes but may be too pricey. Plus a return to SJ beckons.
- Patrick Sharp, 35 - Limited to 8 goals and 48 games last season, but did score 20 the year prior.
- Justin Williams, 35 - Mr. Clutch would be a nice add but rumblings are he wants to stick out East.
By the way, have you liked Flames From 80 Feet on Facebook yet? Do so now! It's another way to be alerted to new Calgary stories I've written, other articles from my colleagues I enjoyed and I'll also sometimes use that space to weigh in on the news of the day.
Recent Flames Reading:
- Is Johnson Buffalo Bound? Six Options for a Back-up Plan for a Back-up - From Eddie Lack to Jonathan Bernier, looking at some options still out there with Chad Johnson rumoured to be bound for Buffalo and the back-up goaltender market rapidly dwindling. (June 28, 2017)
- Six-Year-Plan: Two New Additions Bolster Flames Defensive Corp Now and for Later - Brad Treliving went to Chicago looking for a top-four defenceman. Instead, he came home with two of them. A look at how Calgary's D stacks up now and in the future. (June 24, 2017)
- Examining the Smith Deal: Eight Points to Ponder Before Passing Final Judgment - There was much anger when the Smith trade was announced, but was it warranted? Upon sober second thought, it could be argued that the Smith deal was an ideal move. (June 17, 2017)
- Protection List Priorities: Hurt Feelings Should be the Least of Treliving's Concerrns - Hockey is a business and it needs to be operated that way. Last year Troy Brouwer took advantage with a big pay day. Now it's time he's exposed to the other side. (June 17, 2017)