The Calgary Flames’ eventful summer is no where near its conclusion and the decisions they make in the coming weeks could change the look of this franchise is big ways.
Now that the trade and unrestricted free agent markets have settled down, the Flames can shift their focus to internal roster matters and easily the highlight of them is defenseman Mark Giordano’s contract situation. He’s the captain, a workhorse, and if not for the biceps injury he suffered in February, he would perhaps be the reigning Norris Trophy winner as well.
His impact on this team is substantial and with just a year remaining on his contract, re-signing him this summer was previously listed as the team’s number one priority. But since then a report surfaced that the 31-year-old blueliner was seeking $9 million annually and the Flames acquired 22-year-old Dougie Hamilton and inked him to a six-year, $34.5 million deal.
While a strong addition, it’s intensified the questions about how Calgary will handle its cap situation beyond the 2015-16 campaign. If they re-sign Giordano, would they trade Dennis Wideman ($5.25 million annually) before his contract expires in 2017 to make room? Will it impact their ability to re-sign Jiri Hudler, who has a season left on his contract, in addition to giving Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau the big raises they’re likely going to justifiably demand next summer?
It makes their comparatively smaller, current RFA talks with Lance Bouma, Paul Byron, and Josh Jooris higher stakes as every dollar saved on potential multi-year contracts there is one they’ll still have for the bigger summer on the horizon. All three of them filed for arbitration, but can re-sign before their hearings.
It will also likely impact the Flames decisions when it comes to signing any of the remaining UFAs to multi-year deals.
Or as Flames GM Brad Treliving put it to the Calgary Sun: “You’re constantly monitoring the market, but from a priority standpoint, it’s time to get our house in order with our own people.”
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
With the free agent period about to begin, what players are the Pittsburgh Penguins likely to target to bolster their top two lines? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The Philadelphia Flyers will hold Kimmo Timonen’s retirement ceremony on Oct. 14 when they host the Chicago Blackhawks. (Flyers.nhl.com)
Here’s a thorough look at the situation in Buffalo after GM Tim Murray’s flurry of moves. (Puck Daddy)
Expectations are high for Avalanche GM Joe Sakic going into the free agent frenzy. (Denver Post)
Calgary has Dougie Hamilton locked up, so now the focus will shift back to re-signing Mark Giordano. (Calgary Sun)
Could Matt Beleskey end up with Toronto? (Toronto Sun)
From TSN’s Darren Dreger:
The Flames have since confirmed it.
It probably won’t make Bruins fans too happy that Hamilton will sign with the Flames for a cap hit that in no way can be considered excessive. The 22-year-old had 42 points last season, 23rd most among NHL defensemen. On top of that, he’s still developing.
The news also supports the scuttlebutt that Hamilton, for whatever reason, did not want to remain in Boston. Though Bruins GM Don Sweeney denied the player asked out, he did say, “We extended Dougie a very significant contract offer, and it didn’t lead us to where we thought we’d be able to, with him being comfortable being a part of our group long-term.”
From Calgary’s perspective, Hamilton gives the Flames another capable defenseman. In fact, assuming they can sign captain Mark Giordano to an extension, they may, at some point, have to look at trading someone. Perhaps Dennis Wideman?
Not long after the inevitable “Dougie Hamilton was disliked!” stories came out of Boston, Hamilton’s new boss — Flames GM Brad Treliving — shot down any notion the young d-man was arriving in Calgary with character concerns.
From the Sun:
“I’m not going to comment on any anonymous people out there, but we’ve done our homework — thorough homework — both on the player and the person, and we are over-the-moon excited about the player and the person that we’re getting,” Treliving said. “We think he’s going to fit like a glove — on and off the ice — with us.
“This type of player doesn’t come around very often at this age. You’re talking about a very intelligent kid. He’s a 98% student. He won the scholastic award (in the Ontario Hockey League in 2011). I like that he’s a very cerebral kid. Smart. Intelligent.
“This doesn’t keep me awake at night. Since the day we got Dougie Hamilton, I’ve had the best sleeps of the past few years. I’ve slept like a baby.”
As if to further hammer home his point, Treliving began negotiating a contract extension with Hamilton’s agent, J.P. Barry, before the club made its perfunctory qualifying offer on Monday. If you’re wondering what the figures might look like, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Boston’s offer to Hamilton was for $33 million over six years — a $5.5M annual cap hit — while the counter was “about $2M per year higher.”
In that light, it’ll be really curious to see what number Calgary settles on — especially given what else the club needs to do this summer.
Treliving’s on record saying his biggest priority of the offseason was an extension with another key defenseman, team captain Mark Giordano, and early rumblings suggest the Giordano camp has opened negotiations with an eye-popping ask of $9 million per season.
Could be a spendy July in Calgary.
It’s official: the Calgary Flames have acquired defenseman Dougie Hamilton, sending the Boston Bruins these three draft picks (all in 2015):
- 15th overall selection.
- 45th pick.
- 52nd pick.
The early reactions are that the Bruins didn’t get enough for Hamilton, even if their takeaway is a combination of draft choices and, essentially, cap relief.
As an RFA, Hamilton, 22, still needs a contract. That might not be much of an issue, though.
Even if the Flames trade a blueliner from their bloated mix – perhaps former Bruins defenseman Dennis Wideman? – this is a stacked group. Calgary’s defense now includes Mark Giordano, TJ Brodie, Kris Russell, Wideman and now Hamilton. Few, if any, teams can approach that sort of depth.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie makes an interesting point: even if some are upset with the return, it might be more appropriate to compare it to what they’d have received in an offer-sheet situation.
This continues a run of Bruins trades that also included shipping Carl Soderberg to the Colorado Avalanche.