Farewell, Flames of 2016-17. It was fun while it lasted. Now that’s over with, let’s look ahead.
First off, Brad Treliving and Glen Gulutzan will be back. Treliving’s good moves outnumber the bad, and Gulutzan did deliver a playoff spot this year.
Gone: Brian Elliot, Dennis Wideman, Ladislav Smid, Alex Chiasson. There’s no way you can bring Elliot back after hooking him early in the biggest game of the year. Wideman’s a no-brainer as he wore out his multi-million dollar welcome long ago. Smid’s contract ends after two years on the injured list. Chiasson just never seemed to be a good fit anywhere, and as an RFA I don’t expect him to be qualified.
Questions: Deryk Engelland, Chad Johnson. Engelland’s 3 year deal at 8 million plus was a groaner when it was signed, but while overpaid, I think he’s been a serviceable member of the blueline corps in a 5-6 role. At a lower number, and unless you think there’s a better option in the system, bring him back. Johnson was brought in to be a backup and at times served over and above that role. Depending on where you go with a starter, not a bad choice in that role again.
Let’s make a deal: Sam Bennett, Micheal Ferland, Curtis Lazar, Michael Stone. Pity the team burned a year of Bennett’s entry level deal in 2015. It’s hard to make a real judgement after Bennett’s numbers dropped off last season. You know he’ll be signed, but what will the deal look like? Ferland’s in for a raise with the year he had, but will he want a shorter term to try and drive his market value up? Lazar didn’t get a chance to crack the lineup, so he’ll come as a bargain. Stone looked to be regaining the form he lost after a knee injury in Arizona.
That’s just the list of UFA’s and RFA’s. The X factor this year is the expansion draft in June. Someone’s going to Vegas….Troy Brouwer maybe? The Flames have been loathe to buy out contracts, but with Matt Stajan and Lance Bouma ending the playoffs in the press box, each with one year at 2.5 million remaing, is now the time?