Calgary Flames

It’s Calgary Flames day at PHT

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Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Calgary Flames.

Calgary’s 2014-15 campaign could be summed up with one word:

Overachieving.

Heading into the season with low expectations and riding a five-year playoff drought, the Flames surprised everyone not just by making the postseason — squeezing out the defending Stanley Cup champion Kings in the process — but also winning their first series in 11 years. Impressively, Calgary did this without the services of captain and top defenseman Mark Giordano, who was lost for the year in late February with a torn biceps.

Individuals exceeded expectations as well.

Bob Hartley, in the last year of his contract, earned himself a two-year extension and then won the Jack Adams as coach of the year. Jiri Hudler smashed his career-high in points, with 76, and went on to capture the Lady Byng. Johnny Gaudreau, who wasn’t even on Bovada’s preseason list of Calder favorites, finished as one of three finalists for rookie of the year.

So, needless to say… it was a pretty stellar year in Cowtown.

Off-season recap

GM Brad Treliving’s second summer in Calgary was by far his most exciting. His boldest move, no question, was orchestrating the blockbuster deal that saw ex-Bruin Dougie Hamilton come aboard for a package of draft picks; Treliving then wasted little time locking up the 22-year-old blueliner, inking him to a six-year, $34.5 million deal.

In free agency, Treliving continued to make significant moves. Former Winnipeg forward Michael Frolik was brought aboard for five years at $21.5 million, and the club opted to bring back goalie Karri Ramo for another year in tandem with Jonas Hiller.

The Flames also re-upped with a few of their quality RFAs — Mikael Backlund, Lance Bouma, Josh Jooris, Paul Byron — and might’ve scored the steal of the draft when Swedish d-man Oliver Kylington, who some had pegged as a potential first-rounder, slipped to them at No. 60.

The only thing Treliving hasn’t done yet, it seems, is sign off on his “No. 1 priority” for the summer — an extension for Giordano. The veteran d-man still has a year left on his deal, so there doesn’t appear to be any rush, but it is worth noting that reports suggested Giordano’s initial ask was for a whopping $9 million per season.

If those contract talks go sideways, they could take the shine off what’s been an otherwise sparkling summer.

Bruins in talks with veteran d-man Zidlicky

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Per TVA, Boston GM Don Sweeney said he’s had discussions about bringing defenseman Marek Zidlicky to Boston.

Zidlicky, 38, split last year between New Jersey and Detroit, and showed relatively well upon getting dealt to the playoff-bound Wings. He had 11 points in 21 regular season games — averaging over 18 minutes a night — but was a bit of a disappointment in the playoffs, going scoreless in the first six games of the Tampa Bay series before missing Game 7 with an injury.

The former Wild and Predators blueliner has played each of the last two seasons on one-year, $3 million deals with an additional $1M in performance bonuses.

In Boston, Zidlicky would provide even more veteran experience to a group that already includes 38-year-old Zdeno Chara and 34-year-old Dennis Seidenberg. He’d also fill some of the offensive and PP duties that Dougie Hamilton had prior to his trade to Calgary.

While some are clamoring for the B’s to go younger to fill the Hamilton void — like, say, still-unsigned UFA Cody Franson — Zidlicky would likely be a cheaper option, and one seeking less term.

Related: B’s among five or six teams in on Franson, who’s ‘sick of doing one-year deals’

Jacobs feels firing Chiarelli was right move, cites cap management

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If Peter Chiarelli was more like the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stan Bowman, perhaps he would still be the Boston Bruins general manager.

Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs thinks Chiarelli has “a great hockey mind,” but ultimately Boston found itself in a difficult situation.

“It’s a cap environment we find ourselves in here, and you’ve got to look to the future,” Jacobs told CSN New England. “If you watch the success of the Chicago team, and I do admire them quite a bit, they dealt with their high-priced players early on and kept creating room. Every year, there was a change, not too unlike the change we see here (this year). We see some great players going elsewhere. Even to this year, you see very successful teams have met that problem.

“We didn’t deal with it in a timely enough manner and we found ourselves in a cap position that wasn’t attractive for us.”

As Jacobs alluded to, new Bruins GM Don Sweeney traded away Dougie Hamilton and Milan Lucic this summer in moves that improved the Bruins’ cap situation. Although Jacobs said that the decision to fire Chiarelli was ultimately made by his son, Charlie, and team president Cam Neely, the Bruins owner does feel that Chiarelli “wasn’t prepared to make the changes that needed to be made.”

Of course, a willingness to trade good players to avoid getting into cap problems isn’t everything. Sweeney’s era with Boston will ultimately be dictated in large part based on the return on those deals as well as Boston’s success in the draft because the thing about maintaining a high level of play as Chicago has is that you’ll need capable replacements for those you were forced to part ways with.

Byron (wrist) hopes to be ready for Flames’ training camp

Paul Byron avoided salary arbitration with the Calgary Flames on Sunday. Now he aims to get healthy by the time training camp rolls around.

The 26-year-old told the Calgary Sun’s Wes Gilbertson that he will be getting pins out of his wrist during the first week of September. That may cut it close as far as healing up by training camp, but he’s hoping that the situation works out.

Not surprisingly, he said what many players have before him: avoiding arbitration was a big relief.

Byron played in 57 regular season games with the Flames in 2014-15, scoring six goals and 19 points, the second-best run of his NHL career (he scored 21 points in 2013-14). He’s fared quite well for a sixth-round pick, as he was selected 179th overall by the Buffalo Sabres back in 2007.

The Flames’ immediate list of concerns may now boil down to Michael Ferland, although the team has some serious work to do regarding players who are entering the last year of their contracts, as Mark Giordano and Johnny Gaudreau rank among the many who need new deals after 2015-16.

Flames avoid arbitration, sign Byron to one-year deal

The Calgary Flames announced that they have signed Paul Byron to a one-year contract.

The financial terms of the agreement weren’t released, but his deal is reportedly worth $900K, per Elliotte Friedman.

Byron, 26, was limited to 57 games last season due to injuries and underwent sports hernia and wrist surgeries over the offseason. He finished the 2014-15 campaign with six goals and 19 points in 57 contests.

He had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday after completing his previous $600K contract. With Byron re-signed, the Flames’ only remaining restricted free agent is Michael Ferland.

Calgary might not be done this summer after inking Ferland though as captain Mark Giordano, who only has one season left on his contract, could still be re-signed.