End Of Summer Mailbag
With the season fast approaching and the Flames giving us little to write about we decided to pick the low hanging fruit: have you ask us questions and we answer them. This was one of the things you wanted to see more of, so ask and you shall receive. Thanks for doing all the hard work for us and without further expository speaking, here’s the End Of Summer Mailbag!
Chris (via FB): With Lucic on the team, Bennett no longer needs to be the tough guy. Do you think he’ll discover his scoring touch and pot 20?
MarkParkinson14: I don’t think Bennett necessarily has to give up that role on the team just because Looch is here. I think Calgary could benefit from having a few guys who can rub the opponent the wrong way. Bennett has really grown into that role and I’d hate to see him abandon that portion of his game and go back to the player with no identity. As for 20 goals? Why not? His career high was 18 in his first season, so it’s not that far off of an idea. So I’ll say yes, Sam Bennett will score 20 goals this season. Now everyone run for cover because I just pumped up Sam Bennett. Clearly the world is ending.
MGMacGillivray: If anything, I think Bennett could grow even more this year in the tough guy role. He found a niche that really suited him well last year and there’s no reason for him to move away from it now. Bennett made by far the most impact in his career once he started bringing physicality and edge to the game. The one thing Lucic will provide though is an opportunity for Bennett to also focus on his offensive side as well, instead of being pretty much the only guy with an edge in the forward core. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Bennett surpass 30 points this year.
Madeline Campbell: I don’t think it necessarily hurts Bennett that he doesn’t need to be The Tough Guy on the team, but I think the bit of edge that he’s brought to his game has helped him sort of round out his game. I wouldn’t expect him to go on a huge tear and positively obliterate his career highs in scoring, but he definitely seems to be figuring it out, so a step forward isn’t out of the question. I tend to be more cautious in these projections, and think he’ll score closer to 15 goals this season, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he did hit 20. We’ll see.
Mike (via FB): Why has it been so hard for the Flames to trade Frolik? Or why do you think he hasn’t been traded?
MarkParkinson14: You aren’t the only one who is surprised FroYo hasn’t been dealt. I think a good deal of the fan base and the writers here are scratching their heads and an astute reader pointed out that it could just be teams aren’t giving the Flames what they want because of their cap situation. This could very well be true, another part is how much of a market is there for him right now? If you’re a team kicking the tires on Frolik due you want to make a deal now OR take a chance that he’ll be worth less come trade deadline and you can get him even cheaper. Frolik is going to be 33 in February and he’s coming off on of his worst seasons statisticallty, plus his agent started some drama last season when he was scratched. Frolik is one of those guys a contender may want to add at the deadline for a playoff push due to experience, but I’m not sure he’s someone I’d be adding to start the season. Then again, I’m not a GM.
MGMacGillivray: Like Mark and most of the fanbase, I’m quite surprised that the Flames haven’t been able to find even one suitor for Frolik. Perhaps he and his agent astutely arranged his 10 team no trade list to eliminate teams that may have wanted him. When you see that guys like Andrew Shaw have been traded for a 2nd and 3rd this summer, it’s strange that Calgary hasn’t been able to get something for him. However Treliving doesn’t seem like he’ll just sell Frolik for picks, he’s looking to make the team better or at least stay the same. Frolik does play a pretty big role defensively on the team, so just moving him for futures will hurt the club this year.
Madeline Campbell: I think certainly the NTC has been a hindrance to a potential deal taking place, as Frolik does have a certain level of control over his fate in this situation. It’s not just that Treliving can veto a trade if he doesn’t like the return, there’s the added level that Frolik can also veto the trade if he just doesn’t want to go to this place. It really limits what they’re able to do, with all of those moving pieces.
The other piece, I think, is the market for Frolik. We always seem to talk about this at the start of the season—we tend to get worried about losing our players on waivers when being sent to the AHL because technically they are available to be stolen! But we forget that every team is trying to sneak similar players through waivers, and they’re not really looking to add anyone. The same is true of Frolik—he’s certainly a useful player and can have a distinct positive impact on his team, but a ton of other teams have their own Froliks that they’re trying to find a good spot for in their own lineup, if you will. In that way, he seems more like a player a team would look to add at the deadline, rather than in the off-season. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the market’s sort of dried up until then.
Mountainair1980 (via Twitter): Sam Bennett’s point production if he’s with Backlund and Tkachuk from game 1-82?
MarkParkinson14: That’s a great question and it’s tough to answer on two fronts: will he take Frolik’s spot (or will Frolik be traded) and Tkachuk isn’t signed. I kid about the second one, but the first scenario could decide how much time Bennett gets with better players. Adding Bennett to a line with Tkachuk and Backlund sure would be fun to watch and it would certainly help Bennett’s offense grow. Both Tkachuk and Backlund see this ice so well and if Bennett can put himself in the right spaces, he could have a VERY good season. You want a number? 42 points. How’s that?
MGMacGillivray: I usually overpredict Bennett because I always feel like “this year” will be the year he takes the step forward. As I said above, I don’t see him going nuts, but I’d predict somewhere around 37-40 points this year with 18 goals.
Madeline Campbell: Like the guys said, I could definitely see Bennett taking a step forward in 5-on-5 production if he’s played with Backlund and Tkachuk, but I don’t know if I feel comfortable making a precise guess, because his total will also be contingent on if he gets power play time, and how well that unit is able to get going throughout the season. But I think a step forward is a super reasonable expectation.
bader_mitchell (via Twitter): Who will have more points after the first week of the regular season: Lucic or Marner?
MarkParkinson14: Ouch. Seeing Lucic skates like the rink is filled with oatmeal and he only has 54 points over the last two season and.....oh hell, why am I entertaining this? Marner. Well, unless he holds out for the first week. But then again, Marner still might have more points than Lucic after week one without playing.
MGMacGillivray: I’ll be fun, I’ll say Lucic after his five point opening night performance against Colorado. It’s easier to predict this considering only one of them will be under contract.
Madeline Campbell: Holy smokes, that is a scorching hot take if I’ve ever heard one. Wow.
Anyway, I think the answer has to be Marner. I think Lucic could wind up being a useful support player (though that’s a conversation for another day), but I’m not banking on him being a great points getter. So Mitch, hello.
We asked if the Flames never moved from Atlanta and Calgary got its own hockey team what would you have named the team? It’s a good thing some of you don’t get to name things. Here’s the suggestions that made sense.....for the most part.
Miracles (huh?), Oilers, Roughriders, Broncos, Racers, Chargers, Grizzlies, Magpies. Cowboys, Mustangs, Colts, Wranglers, Underachievers, Canons, Torches. Cavalry, Rockies, Stampeders, 88’s, Tigers, Storm, Aces, Stallions and Inferno.