Throughout the season, we here at Matchsticks and Gasoline will be periodically doing a Roundtable, providing our thoughts on various issues pertinent to the Flames at a given time. As always, feel free to answer any of the questions yourselves and get in on the discussion.
1. Johnny Gaudreau has still not signed as of yet. Assuming he does sign with the Flames prior to the start of the season, what do you think his contract looks like?
BizzleJ - I am hoping he signs long-term, like at least 5 years. Something around $37M over 5 years. He loves Calgary and loves Mony who is staying put for 7 years.
MattyFranchise - I doubt the Flames will shell out 8 million and I also doubt that Gaudreau would be willing to give up too many free agent years. In addition, Treliving likely doesn’t want Monahan and Gaudreau’s contracts expiring at the same time. It’s my estimation that term is a sticking point near the level as dollar value. I can see them meeting in the middle at a 7 million AAV with a contract length of probably 6 years. The team gets a UFA year out of the deal and the contract doesn’t end at the same time as Monahan’s. Gaudreau gets paid and is still young enough to take full advantage of the UFA market when the contract expires. Hopefully this means that there’s enough money left over for Nakladal.
Samwell9 - I am still completely of the mind that the deal is going to be a long-term contract, it is a risk for the Flames to cut the deal short and this is a great opportunity for Gaudreau to give himself terrific financial security for life at the age of 23. I also think that the notion that is floating around, that Mark Giordano’s salary is the ceiling for any player on the roster, is whack. I love Gio, he is a phenomenal player and captain, but Gaudreau is 23 compared to Giordano being 32, and a long-term contract would run through the majority of his prime. Gaudreau is one of the most exciting players to watch, one of the biggest rising stars in the NHL and already a top 10 scorer. They should be trying to sign him for as close to 8 years as possible. I think when all is said and done, Gaudreau is going to get paid about $7.25-7.5 M over 7 years.
MarkParkinson14- I’m of the belief that it will be long term as well. I think the Flames will really hurt themselves if this doesn’t go long term. A short term deal only helps Gaudreau to land a monster contract when that ends. It benefits the Flames more to sign him long term and you have to take all that’s being said at face value. Gaudreau probably does love Calgary and wants to stay and be the face of the franchise with Mony. I think if goes long term, he gets close to $8 million per season. I might not make 8, but it’ll be close. But Gaudreau and his agent know this is a business and like it or not, they both want the absolute best deal and I can’t blame either side. I’d like to see it done and done quickly because the longer these things drag out, they worse everyone looks in the end.
2. The Flames were quite fortunate to be able to draft Matthew Tkachuk at 6th overall. Do you think he cracks the opening night line up and how do you feel about his chances of staying up the whole season?
BizzleJ - The Flames have a lot of talent and depth so I think cracking the roster may be tough over the season but I think they will definitely throw him in to start the season to have a look.
MattyFranchise - I haven’t seen too much of Tkachuk but with how the Flames cap/contract situation is right now I would not be terribly surprised to see Tkachuk back in junior before the season starts. If he impresses in camp he may get his nine game cup of coffee to start the season but I don’t think the Flames see him as an impact player at the NHL level just yet.
Samwell9 - I as well have had very limited viewings of Tkachuk, but everything I hear seems like he would have to look pretty overwhelmed in training camp to not at least get a brief viewing to start. It is going to be interesting to see how it plays out, some hockey people seem to think he will definitely play out the season in junior, while others think he could score 20 goals. I’d love to see him score 20 goals in Calgary this year, but I think waiting one year could be best for the player and definitely best for the Flames’ future salary structure.
MarkParkinson14- Would I love to see Tkachuk on the Flames roster opening night? Sure, but I think Calgary would be smart to develop him slowly. Some time in the minors wouldn’t hurt his game because it’s a rather large jump from where he’s been to the NHL. The Flames should give him a chance to get his feet wet before he makes the NHL leap.
3. There are some jobs to be won in camp. 2 years ago, Josh Jooris came out of nowhere to earn a spot at the start of the season. Last year, Brett Kulak played his way onto the team’s opening roster. Which prospect are you looking at to make a surprise this preseason?
BizzleJ - It really wouldn’t surprise me to see a Freddie Hamilton or Garnet Hathaway make a splash. I know, technically Hamilton is not a prospect, but even though he has been around the league for three or four years, he has only played a total of 33 games in the NHL so I still consider him a prospect.
MattyFranchise - If Nak isn’t resigned then Kulak will be a shoe in for the balance of the season. I believe Anderssen and Kylington are both at least a year away from cracking the roster and Kulak did very well early last year paired with Engelland. If Nak does end up re-signing? I’m not entirely sure. I liked what I saw from Hathaway late last season during his cup of coffee and in the future I can see him playing regular minutes on the fourth line. Just not this season.
Samwell9 - This is a hard one to answer because it always seems to be somebody you would never have picked. So I’m going to go somewhat off the board and pick Emile Poirier. Poirier is a terrific skater, plays both wings, is gritty and can score. Last year was definitely a down year but he still has some serious potential as a prospect and his game fits into the fast, physical style the team is always speaking about. If Hartley was still the coach, no way I would pick him. But Poirier has a clean slate, maybe he had a real good summer and can come in and impress Glen Gulutzan.
I am also very interested in seeing how their new Czech forward Daniel Pribyl fares, if he is fully recovered from his knee surgery, he could surprise.
MarkParkinson14- Mark Jankowski. I’m so hot and cold on him that I want him to either prove me right or prove me wrong. I watched him in college and it seemed that he never used his size and just seemed to go through the motions at times. He got very limited time in Stockton, but played very well, so I want to see if the Flames were smart drafting him as high as they did. I think it’s time for him to show what he is and I’d love to be wrong about him chances of being a Calgary Flame for the long term.
4. Chances of a “reclamation project” (ex. Chris Higgins, Linden Vey, Alex Chiasson) paying off? Who do you think has the best chance?
BizzleJ - I think Chiasson might pay off. He has been pretty consistent over the last few seasons with the exception of last season where nothing was consistent in Ottawa.
MattyFranchise - I’m gonna go ahead and agree with JBizzle. Chaisson has previous experience with Glen Gulutzan and I think that gives him the inside edge when it comes to actually making the team. Chris Higgins is there, I’m nearly certain, to fulfill the preseason requirement to dress 8 “veteran” players for every preseason game. Linden Vey, I have no idea on. It really all depends on how his head is doing after all of the tragic circumstances surrounding him.
Samwell9 - Like the guys above me, Chiasson is who I would put money on. He was buried in Ottawa, if he is given some ice time with skilled players he has the potential to bury some goals. Realistically, he has a good chance of spending time with Monahan, Backlund or Bennett as his centre, so he will have the chance to succeed. I don’t see how they have the cap space to sign Higgins, unless he takes a 2-way deal.
5. Putting Gaudreau’s contract aside, what grade would you give Brad Treliving for his work this offseason?
BizzleJ - Brad gets a solid A+ from me. He has made some really good deals to get some big name players to bolster the roster and so far has done pretty good a re-signing the core players we need to keep.
MattyFranchise - I think probably an A. The Troy Brouwer signing was good in that Brouwer is a good player but as I feared the dollar value and term were just terrible. Treliving absolutely nailed the Monahan signing and if I can say that he nailed that, I don’t even know if there is a superlative that can describe what I think about his Elliot and Johnson signings.
Samwell9 - It’s too bad Gaudreau’s contract is not signed yet, because that could make some other dominoes to fall. But, from what we have so far, I have to give him an A. He fired Bob Hartley when it looked like we would have to go into another season of blocking shots and constant stretch passes. Glen Gulutzan seems like a forward thinking coach, it should lead to a very different approach of running a bench (Hamilton might actually be consistently top 3 in time-on-ice). The Flames had a terrific haul at the draft, from Round 1 through 7. He brought in two goalies that look like massive upgrades, paying very little and with no long-term commitment to them. I agree with Matty’s view of the Brouwer add, the money was definitely too much, but he will bring things to the team that were missing. The Monahan signing was a very fair price for a long-term deal, nothing wrong with it at all. The only reason he does not get an A+ is because he was not able to move any of the bad money.
MarkParkinson14- I’m with you guys and I’d give him an A. As much as we gripe about Gaudreau not being signed, it takes two to tango. Treliving grabbed Tkachuk which was a no brainer. Dealt next to nothing to get Elliott. Signed Chad Johnson. He locked Monahan up for a long time. If he can get Gaudreau inked long term and has money left over to get Nakladal back, I’d jump it to an A+, but it’s hard to argue with what he’s done so far this off season.