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Flames name Maloney VP of hockey ops, re-sign AGMs Conroy and Pascall

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Calgary made a number of front office moves on Thursday, highlighted by the promotion of Don Maloney.

Maloney, who joined the club as a scout last year after a lengthy stint as Coyotes GM, will now serve as vice president of hockey operations. In announcing that move, the Flames also revealed they’ve extended the contracts of assistant GMs Craig Conroy and Brad Pascall.

Maloney has long been tied to Calgary GM Brad Treliving, from their days together in the Arizona organization. Treliving actually served as Maloney’s assistant for several years prior to taking the Flames gig.

The Coyotes ties don’t end there. This offseason, Treliving swung a noteworthy deal to acquire veteran netminder Mike Smith. In 2013, Maloney signed Smith to a six-year, $34 million deal with a $5.67M average annual cap hit — a deal that has two years remaining.

Conroy, who spent nine years as a player in Calgary, has been serving as Treliving’s assistant for the last three years. Pascall has also been an AGM for the last three years, serving in a dual role as the GM of the club’s AHL affiliate in Stockton.

Finally, Calgary announced a series of moves within its scouting and analytic departments. Derek MacKinnon is the new director of pro personnel, Rob Sumner and Fred Parker move to assistant amateur scouting directors under head scout Tod Button, and Chris Snow is now the director of hockey analysis.

Johnny Hockey: ‘I love Calgary, don’t get me wrong’

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Johnny Gaudreau made headlines last week when he went on Philadelphia radio and said it would be “sweet” to play for the Flyers one day.

Gaudreau — a South Jersey native who grew up cheering for the Flyers, but currently stars for the Calgary Flames — has now been offered a chance to clarify a few things about that interview.

“I think if you ask any player in the NHL if they’d like to play in their hometown at some point they’d all say it would be pretty sweet,” Gaudreau told the Courier-Post in a Q&A. “You’ve got friends, you’ve got family, you’ve got kids you went to school with, you’ve got teachers, you name it. You’ve got people that will be supporting you. The people support me down here, like it’s crazy down here. I’m just really fortunate they follow me up in Calgary.

“I love Calgary, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great city and they’re so passionate about our team. It’s a real hockey city. I really enjoy it up there, don’t get me wrong, but I think if you ask any player if he wants to play in his hometown they’d say it would be pretty cool to do that.

“I’ve still got five more years on my contract and who knows…if we’re playing well up here in Calgary I could end up staying another four or five years there because I love the city so much. It’s tough to have all those articles come out when it’s something so small, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

It’s certainly possible that Gaudreau opts to explore unrestricted free agency when his contract expires. But he doesn’t have that option until 2022.

For now, Gaudreau’s excited about the next few years in Calgary, where the Flames are trending the right way, possibly soon into legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.

Related: Stability, Stanley Cup aspirations ‘a breath of fresh air’ for Mike Smith

Flames re-sign RFA goalies Gillies and Rittich

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The Calgary Flames have re-signed goalies Jon Gillies and David Rittich to one-year, two-way contracts, the club announced Saturday.

Both spent the majority of last season in the American Hockey League, but did get in some game action with the big club in Calgary. The 23-year-old Gillies, the Flames’ third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, played in 39 games with the Stockton Heat, posting a .910 save percentage.

He then made his first career NHL start on April 6 against the L.A. Kings and stopped 27 of 28 shots faced for the win. He then began the playoffs as Calgary’s back-up because of an injury to Chad Johnson.

Rittich made his debut two days later, allowing one goal on 10 shots in 20 minutes of ice time versus San Jose.

The Flames have already taken care of their goaltending situation at the NHL level for next season, bringing in Mike Smith from Arizona and Eddie Lack from Carolina.

Flames plan to start year with the Ferland, Monahan, Gaudreau line

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The Calgary Flames signed restricted free agent Micheal Ferland to a two-year contract this week and seem really excited about his potential in the coming seasons, with general manager Brad Treliving saying (via Postmedia’s Kristen Odland) “the sky is the limit” for him going forward.

He also added that the team plans on starting training camp with him skating on a line alongside star forwards Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, and then they will go from there.

It’s an interesting mix because Gaudreau and Monahan are high-skill players (two of the the best and most productive in the league) while Ferland is more of a bull in a china shop kind of forward that hits everything that he can.

But he also has some skill to his game (he did score 15 goals this past season) and has worked well with that duo in the past.

In 2016-17, for example, they spent more than 250 minutes of 5-on-5 ice-time together and were one of the Flames’ most impactful lines, outscoring teams by a 16-10 margin and controlling the shot attempt differential. In close to 400 minutes over the past two seasons it’s a 21-16 goal edge with a 52 percent Corsi for that line (data via Puckalytics). Given the success it certainly makes sense to start the year trying it out.

Expectations in Calgary are going to be through the roof this season. Not only because they have a promising young core coming back from a playoff appearance, because they went out this summer and picked up two key pieces in defenseman Travis Hamonic in an effort to build a Nashville-style top-four on defense that can control the game, but also because they went out and picked up Mike Smith to hopefully solidify their goaltending position.

Coyotes name Rick Tocchet head coach

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The Arizona Coyotes have their coach.

The team announced on Tuesday that it has hired Rick Tocchet to be its next head coach, replacing Dave Tippett after he parted ways with the organization earlier this summer.

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger Tocchet’s contract with the team is for four years. He spent the past three seasons working as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins, helping lead the team to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles over the past two years.

“We are very pleased to name Rick as our new head coach,” said general manager John Chayka in a team statement. “Rick is an excellent coach and a proven winner. While with the Penguins, he won a Stanley Cup as a player and two cups as a coach. He’s experienced, knowledgeable and is a great leader and communicator. He’s also a former Coyotes player and assistant coach and the perfect fit for us. We’re thrilled to have him re-join our organization.”

He was previously an assistant coach for the Coyotes starting in 2005 before moving on to the Tampa Bay Lightning where he spent parts of two seasons behind their bench as a head coach.

He also spent three years in Arizona as a player between 1997 and 2000.

“I’m extremely happy to be back with the Coyotes organization,” said Tocchet in the Coyotes’ statement. “I loved playing and coaching here in the Valley and have always considered Arizona my home. We have a great young team with a ton of talent and I’m excited about leading this group of players. I’d like to thank Mr. Barroway and John Chayka for this incredible opportunity. I can’t wait to get started.”

Tocchet’s hiring should mostly wrap up what has been an extremely busy offseason in Arizona. Along with the coaching shakeup, the team has also made significant changes to the roster by bringing in Antti Raanta, Derek Stepan and Niklas Hjalmarsson while also letting go long-term veterans Shane Doan and Mike Smith.