Calgary Flames

Sunday Census: Matthew Tkachuk money, Michael Frolik drama, and re-drafting 2011

Welcome back to The Sunday Census. Throughout the week, The Win Column will be posing topical and intriguing polls on Twitter (@wincolumnblog) to gauge the fan-base’s stance on pressing issues. Want to make sure your opinion is taken into effect? Vote in the polls, start a debate, and propose alternative suggestions on the polls!

After potting a goal and an assist against the Flyers yesterday, Matthew Tkachuk is now up to 49 points in 42 games played this season. From his pluckiness on the ice, and his development into a phenomenal two-way player, the Flames have a strong cornerstone piece in Tkachuck. Some even have the strong belief that he could wear the “C” sometime down the road.

A pending RFA this summer, Brad Treliving is going to have his hands full with Tkachuk’s next contract. The Flames simply do not want another William Nylander situation on their hands, especially considering how vital of a role Tkachuk has on this team.

The poll focuses on the supposed internal cap hit that Treliving has initiated since taking over as GM. Mark Giordano and Johnny Gaudreau both carry a $6.75M average annual value (AAV). This is a number that Treliving had to get Gaudreau to come down to, and one that he would prefer not to exceed.

The majority of fans think that Tkachuk will be the first player to exceed that number. With the salary cap going up, and a majority of players demanding more than the $6.75M per season that the Flames are stuck at, it’s entirely possible that it occurs. For a player as key as Tkachuk, it may be smarter to sign him for a longer period of time, which would then cause the AAV to rise for each UFA season he signs for.

My vote went for $6.75M on the dot. Call it a hunch, but Treliving found a way to get Gaudreau to that number. It may not be a quick resolution, but I just feel as if it’s likely the Flames remain at that number until a new precedence is set by Gaudreau in a few seasons. Look to the Winnipeg Jets for a perfect example of players taking slightly less to build a deeper lineup.

A ruckus was caused this week on social media, as Michael Frolik’s agent Allan Walsh send out the following tweet:

Directed at both Bill Peters and the Flames organization, Walsh’s tweet rustled the feathers of both fans and management. The tweet also sent the hockey world into a pseudo-storm. Walsh has been known to do this before, but not with a player on the Flames, so this is uncharted territory for the team.

After the tweet was sent, the next game Frolik would be in the lineup on the 3M line, and contributed two assists against the Sharks. The long term impact of this tweet is still unknown, as further tweets have caused the situation to sour more. What is known for sure is how consummate of a professional Frolik is, and his respect among his teammates.

What I wanted to know was what the fan base thought of the whole situation. I personally believed that the tweets were completely off based and unwarranted. An opinion that clearly the fan base shares. The tweets come across more “whiny” then they do as a successful resolution. Whether the tweets originated from Frolik’s request or the mind of Walsh remains to be seen, but it doesn’t help either’s vision. Interestingly enough, 39% of fans are indifferent to the whole situation.

Plain and simply, Frolik should be in the lineup every single night he is available. Sometimes you have to healthy scratch a player to get him going, but not always. Frolik has seen his role change from top PK unit under Glen Gulutzan, to rotating lineup player under Bill Peters. If the Flames were a terrible team, then this would be an even more difficult situation, but they aren’t. For the first time since being in Calgary, Frolik is on a contending team. Sure he may not be playing as much, but would you not want to be apart of a potential run?

The whole situation is confusing, but all I know is I would rather have Frolik on the team in a stable role, than to not have him at all.

In a bit of a more fun poll, I wanted to revisit the 2011 NHL Draft. Or as many Flames fans refer to it, the Johnny Gaudreau draft. Picked 104th overall, Gaudreau is considered to be one of the steal’s of the draft, with some even saying he should have gone first overall.

What I wanted to see was who fans thought should have gone first overall, instead of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. With no disrespect to RNH, but there are simply other players who have created more impact than himself. The players available to choose from were Nikita Kucherov, Gadureau, Landeskog, and Mark Scheifele. Their career numbers so far:

GP G A P Original Pick #
Kucherov 406 167 236 403 58
Gaudreau 355 121 229 350 104
Landeskog 548 168 220 388 2
Scheifele 406 135 201 336 7

Kucherov is the only player from the 2011 draft to break the 400 point plateau and currently leads the NHL in scoring. He is just under a point per game production through his career and is one of the NHL’s most consistent superstars. Gaudreau also is almost at a PPG production and is keeping pace with Kucherov this season at the top of the scoring race. Landeskog became the youngest captain in NHL history, at the time he was named, and now forms the league’s best line with Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon. Scheifele has developed into one of the best two-way centers in the entire NHL and is the model of consistency and clutch.

I was concerned there would be a Flames bias in this poll, but luckily there appeared not to be. My vote, and the fans majority, went to Kucherov. He is easily a top five player in the NHL right now, he plays on the best team in the NHL, and most likely should have gone first. That is not to discount the other players, specifically Gaudreau, but Kucherov is just a tiny bit ahead of the Flames superstar.

To add salt to the wound for Flames fans, Kucherov was taken 58th overall. The Flames drafted Tyler Wotherspoon 57th overall. Oh what could have been.

*takes cover*

Want to be a part of the conversation next time around? Follow us on Twitter @wincolumnblog and be sure to keep a look out for our polls throughout the week.

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