While former Calgary Flames Sam Bennett, Matthew Tkachuk, and Ryan Lomberg are fighting for a Stanley Cup, the Flames are preparing for the upcoming NHL Draft and free agency. Although the team doesn’t have a GM yet, the draft is starting to creep up, and the team is beginning to look at where the team and prospect pool need some strengthening. One thing that is certain is that improvements must be made to the team, but where it gets more tricky is determining where to start. What position should the Flames prioritize heading into the draft and free agency? We asked, you answered.
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Options for the team
When it comes to the draft, I am a firm believer in taking the best player available. If that happens to be a forward, then so be it. However, for free agency, I firmly believe that picking up another top-six calibre forward is essential for this team to find success. If last season told us anything, it’s that this team is in dire need of some offence. No disrespect to Tyler Toffoli, but he should not be leading the team in goals and points. Can the Flames bring in a Michael Bunting, Tomas Tatar, or J.T. Compher?
Or maybe they go toward the restricted free agent route? There are some fascinating names available, like Timo Meier, Jesper Bratt, and Alex DeBrincat. I have no idea if the Flames can even make the cap work for those three names, but what an incredible addition any of those three would be to the team’s top-six group. Ideally, a player like Matthew Coronato or Jakob Pelletier are able to fill in that top-six role, however, adjustments can be made midway through the season if necessary.
Again, I firmly believe in the draft the best player available approach, however, I can see why certain people voted for prioritizing defence. The Flames defence prospect pool is incredibly weak. Outside of Jeremie Poirier, there aren’t really any names which jump off the page when looking at their defence prospects. Do the Flames use their 16th pick in an incredibly deep draft to bring a strong addition to their defensive prospects? The opportunity might not come at a better time.
The last defenceman that the Flames took in the first round was Juuso Valimaki, who is now thriving in Arizona. I’m sure the Flames are looking at where the development went wrong with Valimaki (or at least they should be), and hopefully if they do draft a defenceman, they don’t make the same mistake again.
Personally, I don’t believe this is the route to go. Markstrom had a bad season and there is no denying that, however, he is still capable of being an excellent goalie. On top of that, it would be very hard for the Flames to find a team that would be willing to trade for him. Now, the team also has the best goaltending prospect in the world in Dustin Wolf who will likely be the backup goalie for the Flames. The Flames should be just fine in net. The key word is “should.”
Busy summer ahead
The Flames have a rare opportunity to completely revamp the way the organization will run. With a GM and head coach position to fill, it is very likely that the new additions, whoever they may be, have very different ideas of what the team needs compared to the last regime. It will be very interesting to see how the franchise approaches the draft, and which free agents the team ends up being linked to.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire