Calgary Flames

Projected contracts for the Calgary Flames RFAs

One of the last pieces of business the Calgary Flames need to take care of in advance of the 2021-22 season is coming to terms with their restricted free agents (RFAs). The Flames have 11 RFAs, several of whom are important pieces of the roster.

EvolvingHockey created a model to predict NHL player contracts and it has been very accurate thus far. We took a look at what their model is saying the most likely contract would be for each Flames RFA, and the salary cap implications of these contracts. We used this model and an evaluation of each player’s body of work to project their contracts.

Dillon Dube

Dillon Dube served as a middle-six winger for the Flames last season. With the addition of Blake Coleman, it’s unlikely that Dube will see a drastic change in his deployment this year and will probably slot in as a third line winger. EvolvingHockey is predicting a two year contract worth around $2M for Dube. This seems fairly accurate, but with just 22 points in 51 games last season, this number is probably on the higher end. Dube should come in under $2M.

Prediction: Two years, $1.65M AAV

Glenn Gawdin

Glenn Gawdin played in just seven NHL games last season putting up one point. He served as the team’s fourth line center and will likely get the opportunity to play in that same role this season. Gawdin’s ceiling isn’t much higher than a bottom six player, so it’s unlikely he’ll be in for a big payday at least at this point. EvolvingHockey is predicting a one year contract worth $750K. That is the value of his qualifying offer and probably exactly what his contract will be next season.

Prediction: One year, $750K AAV

Justin Kirkland

Justin Kirkland hasn’t played any NHL games, only skating with the Stockton Heat last season. He put up seven points in 16 games for the Heat and it’s a long shot for him to play significant NHL games. He is AHL depth and has been serviceable for the Heat, but he won’t be in for a big contract this season. Kirkland’s qualifying offer is the same as Gawdin’s, and that’s what he’ll likely make on his next contract.

Prediction: One year, $750K AAV

Matthew Phillips

Matthew Phillips has been one of the best players for the Stockton Heat the past few seasons. He finally made it into an NHL game last season and played quite well in a bottom six role. He will be pushing hard for a more permanent NHL spot this year, but because he doesn’t have any real NHL experience thus far, he’s not going to be in for a big raise. EvolvingHockey is projecting a one year contract worth $792K, a small raise from his qualifying offer of $750K.

Prediction: One year, $800K AAV

Luke Philp

Luke Philp is another player who has not gotten into any NHL games yet, and has been a good player for the Stockton Heat the past few seasons. Philp may surprise some people next season. He’s been a very consistent player for the Heat and has scored 27 goals in 82 AHL games. He might just get into an NHL game or two, but with a small body of work, he’s not in for a big raise this year either. His qualifying offer is $788K.

Prediction: One year, $800K AAV

Oliver Kylington

Oliver Kylington has not had the NHL success many predicted he would have. He’s struggled to stay in the lineup regularly despite being a generally solid defenseman when he did play. Hopefully with the departures on the back end, Kylington will be able to solidify a permanent NHL roster spot and play close to a full season with the Flames. Kylington has a qualifying offer worth $827K, and that’s close to what he’ll probably make on his next contract. This is a year where he’ll want to bet on himself and open up the door to a bigger deal next year. EvolvingHockey projects a one year deal worth $863K.

Prediction: One year, $850K AAV

Connor Mackey

Connor Mackey played more games for the Flames down the stretch and has a great opportunity to start the season on the NHL roster. If he plays well, this could be the first of many full NHL seasons for Mackey. Of course, he doesn’t have the experience to warrant a huge contract. EvolvingHockey projects a one year deal at $758K, but he has a qualifying offer at $874K. He probably comes in just over his QO.

Prediction: One year, $900K AAV

Colton Poolman

Colton Poolman has been solid AHL depth, and will probably be in that same role next season. It’s unlikely he cracks the NHL blueline, even with the open spots available, and will be wearing Stockton Heat colours the entire year. Poolman has a qualifying offer of $788K, and he might just end up accepting that offer.

Prediction: One year, $788K

Juuso Valimaki

Juuso Valimaki had high hopes for the 2020–21 campaign, but it didn’t go as well as expected. He was called out by Darryl Sutter as a player who had a lot of work to do to become a regular NHL defenseman, and Valimaki will probably work his butt off this offseason to get better in as many areas as possible. Still, Valimaki is a top three LHD for this team right now and will play in the NHL next season. Valimaki has a qualifying offer at $874K, and EvolvingHockey projects a two year contract worth $1.565M per year. That’s probably a good estimate, but I think he’ll sign identical contracts with Dube. They share the same agent and are in a very similar situation with the team and their careers.

Prediction: Two years, $1.65M AAV

Nikita Zadorov

Nikita Zadorov is the biggest wildcard on this list. He is arbitration eligible and has a qualifying offer at $3.2M. That’s a lot to pay for a bottom three defenseman, but he could choose to take that if he doesn’t think he’ll get more in arbitration. The other side of this is if the Flames want to keep Zadorov around for a few years. In that scenario, they’ll want to sign him to a multiyear deal and that could help save on the AAV. EvolvingHockey is projecting a three year deal worth $2.89M per year. This AAV is lower than his QO but give him stability with a three year deal instead of one. With how expensive top four defenders have been this offseason, he’ll probably be around that but a bit higher.

Prediction: Three years, $3M AAV

Tyler Parsons

Tyler Parsons hasn’t had the career anyone expected him to have. He was tendered a qualifying offer because the Flames needed to meet expansion draft exposure minimums, but if that wasn’t the case he might not even be with the organization anymore. Parsons will probably accept his qualifying offer at $772K.

Prediction: One year, $772K AAV

The Flames’ salary cap

Assuming every player above signs the deals we’re predicting, the Flames will see their cap space shrink considerably.

Right now, it’s safe to assume that Dube, Kylington, Mackey, Valimaki, and Zadorov will all be on the NHL roster. On top of that, one of either Gawdin and Philips will probably make it as well.

Adding all these players to the Flames’ roster, this gives the team $4M in cap space. Yes, this is enough to allow for a trade to acquire Jack Eichel, though the Flames will probably want to save some cap space to add more depth before the season, and accrue cap space for deadline acquisitions.

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