2023 NHL Free Agency is here and the Calgary Flames still have a number of question marks surrounding their roster. The 2023–24 NHL season may be months away, but the Flames are already facing the grind of questions around who will be playing where and with who.
Here is everything you need to know about the Calgary Flames as the 2023 free agent period opens.
Flames offseason moves so far
So far this offseason, the only significant move the team has made was to trade Tyler Toffoli to the New Jersey Devils for Yegor Sharangovich and a third-round pick. Sharangovich was eventually signed to a two-year contract carrying a $3.1M AAV. The pick was used to select Aydar Suniev 80th overall.
The team had also signed Walker Duehr to a two-year extension back in May worth $825K a season, as well as retaining AHL depth forward Clark Bishop for two more years.
Outside of that, they have been extremely quiet. Too quiet for a team that had a number of 2024 UFAs say they won’t be re-signing with the club. That being said, this is signing season and not really the time for big trades. That may change, but for the time being the Flames will continue to focus on depth.
Current Flames free agents
The Flames have thirteen players that are currently considered to be free agents.
|UFAs||Group 6 UFAs||RFAs|
|Milan Lucic||Matthew Phillps||Emilio Pettersen|
|Nick Ritchie||Kristians Rubins||Martin Pospisil|
|Trevor Lewis||Nicolas Meloche||Ben Jones|
Of the UFAs, Milan Lucic and Trevor Lewis are rumoured to be heading back to their old teams in Boston and Los Angeles, respectively. The rest do not appear to have clear landing spots, but don’t be surprised if Michael Stone ends up in Toronto with Brad Treliving.
For the Group 6 UFAs, its painful to see Matthew Phillips hit the market. Here’s to hoping he finds his way back home to finally be a full-time NHL player. Kristians Rubins has already signed overseas and Nicolas Meloche could return to the AHL unless he’s given a more significant role somewhere else.
The RFAs were all qualified yesterday afternoon and will work out new deals over the coming months.
Calgary’s salary cap situation
The Flames have very limited flexibility when it comes to their salary cap as they’re one of the teams approaching the ceiling.
A projected $2.4M of cap space with a roster size of 18 players is simply not ideal. Even with some “easy” projections on the roster, they would be over the salary cap to start the season:
The Flames need to move money out to make any type of significant deal, but will most likely look to add minimum contracts to build out their roster.
What to expect?
For the Flames, it would be absolutely shocking to see the team make any sort of significant signing when free agency opens. If they do, it would be a result of a big trade happening.
They could absolutely surprise by signing one of the 2024 UFA class members to a contract extension, like Elias Lindholm or Mikael Backlund, but all indications is that there has been no movement on that front in recent days.
For once, maybe the Flames won’t hand out a terrible contract on July 1!
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire