Calgary Flames

Predicting the Calgary Flames 2022 qualifying offer decisions

The 2022 NHL Draft is complete, and it’s safe to say it was quite underwhelming for the Calgary Flames—not only due to the lack of selection the team made, but also due to the choices made at those respective picks.

Regardless, none of the picks made were going to impact the current team or roster, so the last two days were just another day in the business for the Flames.

One way to describe yesterday’s results was that the team was simply more concerned and preoccupied with the pending free agent decisions plaguing the team. As the Flames look to lock up Johnny Gaudreau to a long-term deal before July 13, the Flames also have a number of restricted free agents (RFAs) they need to make decisions on as well. Before some of those contracts are signed, qualifying offers need to be made.

Qualifying offers (QOs) are defined directly from the NHL, but not the change in dates for this offseason.

The deadline for teams to send their RFAs qualifying offers is the day following the NHL draft (June 29). On that same date, RFAs can begin contract talks with rival teams. A qualifying offer is needed to retain negotiating rights to that player if they are given an offer sheet from a rival club. If a team does not send a qualifying offer to their RFA they become an unrestricted free agent (UFA) on July 1. Stipulations for qualifying offers include: offering at least a one-year contract and offer at least 100% of their previous salary.

Long story short: no QO for a player means the team could lose said player for nothing.

With General Manager Brad Treliving confirming the QOs would be announced today, let’s take a look at who will or wont be receiving one out of the ten RFAs under team control

Definitely getting qualifying offers

These players are essentially no-brainers when it comes to tendering them QOs.

  • Matthew Tkachuk
  • Andrew Mangiapane
  • Oliver Kylington
  • Adam Ruzicka
  • Matthew Phillips
  • Martin Pospisil

There is a clear difference between some of the RFAs noted above, but make no mistake the team will be issuing a qualifying offer to all six of the players. 

Matthew Tkachuk is owed a $9M qualifying offer, but the team is still negotiating on a long-term deal. Worst case scenario is he signs the one-year QO and hits UFA next summer, but no matter what Tkachuk will be under contract for the team next year unless traded. 

Andrew Mangiapane and Oliver Kylington are in line for big raises this offseason. Although the priority is on Gaudreau and Tkachuk, these two are next in line in terms of priority and are a simple QO decision.

Adam Ruzicka has shown promise at the NHL level and should slot into the lineup full time next year, which makes him a no brainer.

Matthew Phillips and Martin Pospisil are perhaps more of a question mark, but make no doubt that the team wouldn’t want to lose these prospects for nothing. Phillips is the more concerning one as he has yet to be given an NHL shot, has arbitration rights, and could be looking for a better opportunity. That being said, the organization loves him and wouldn’t want to at least try to trade him if the opportunity doesn’t exist with the Flames long-term.

Questionable statuses on qualifying offers

These players represent real question marks where it could go either way. Retaining rights or letting them lapse for these players likely won’t be overtly consequential for the team in neither the immediate nor the far future, so it just comes down to what the team wants to do.

  • Colton Poolman
  • Tyler Parsons

Both players here are a bit of a question mark as well, but both lean towards more negative than positive. 

Colton Poolman played in 62 games this season with the Stockton Heat and netted 13 points on the back end. He is also 26 years old and doesn’t look to be a genuine NHL product at this point in his career. He is also way down the defenceman depth chart, especially with some of the junior products looking to make the AHL team this year. Poolman also holds arbitration rights and frankly I don’t think the team views him as a long-term option. They could choose not to qualify him and still circle back, but it’s looking less likely.

Tyler Parsons on the other hand is a huge question mark. I have always been higher on the player, but there seems to be an eventual break up coming. That being said, Dustin Wolf needs an AHL back up. Arseni Sergeev and Daniil Chechelev could fit that bill easily, but they could also look at Parson and say “one more year”.

The bigger issue facing the team is Parson’s COVID status. With the team moving to Calgary this year, and federal health policies still in place, he may not even be eligible for the team. Don’t forget he showed up randomly in the stands last year in Detroit to watch the team, even though he never showed up for camp or played in a game. It’s very likely he is gone, but I’m putting him on the maybe list on the off chance the team looks to trade him for some sort of asset this summer. 

Not getting qualifying offers

These players can be summed up with two words: they gone.

  • Johannes Kinnvall
  • Eetu Tuulola

Both Johannes Kinnvall and Eetu Tuulola have already signed deals in Europe for this upcoming season. They won’t be with the Flames’ AHL team and won’t be qualified for this reason.

Both have been okay at the AHL level, but have not shown what they are fully capable of and I don’t know if the team wants to retain them anyways.

Business as usual

This is all a part of every team’s offseason to-do list, but the Flames just need to take things one day at at time. The hockey world at large is focused on all the happenings surrounding Johnny Gaudreau, but the Flames simply have to keep pushing forward and do what they need to do.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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