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We haven’t done a mailbag in awhile, so we figured it’s about time to dust off the old mail satchel and see who’s curious about what as we approve May (and six weeks without hockey).

Let’s dive in!

For player salaries, the short answer right now is “no.” 2019-20’s ship has sailed and the players are deciding what to do with their last paycheque to perhaps minimize escrow payments when actual HRR is finally calculated in a year or two. As for 2020-21, it’ll depend on how many regular season games they end up playing – once a schedule or plan is whipped up, the NHL and the NHLPA will likely hammer out a sub-agreement to the CBA formalizing any pro-rating of salary (it’s already in the current CBA, but they’ll probably want some specifics added in).

From everything we’re hearing, there are probably close to a dozen different playoff scenarios being floated. Most of them depend on how many home sites they can get set up and how long their window is to play the rest of the season. My guess is they’ll go with four sites and 6-8 teams per site to give as many bubble teams a chance to play their way in – especially if they can’t play the final 189 games of the regular season.

For 2020-21, the ticket packages have gone out already, so there’s probably no real change there.

But it’s a double-edged sword going forward. On one hand, lost revenue would suggest that the teams will up prices a bit to recoup their losses. On the other hand, people are probably gonna be nervous about going to games until there’s a vaccine – and probably well after that, too. So lowering ticket prices in the short term to lure people back might be the play we see for a little while.

It’s going to be different for awhile.

Signed for 2020-21 among the Stockton bunch are Luke Philp, Eetu Tuulola, Adam Ruzicka, Martin Pospisil, Dmitry Zavgorodniy, and Matthew Phillips. Glenn Gawdin and Justin Kirkland are both pending restricted free agents and both seem like locks to return.

So here’s the question: can Roman or Lindstrom replace any of the players that could be moving up the rotation or any of the pending unrestricted free agents (Alan Quine, Austin Czarnik, Buddy Robinson, Ryan Lomberg and Byron Froese) that could walk this summer?

My guess is the Flames sign one of Roman or Lindstrom. I’m leaning Lindstrom, since he had a really nice end of the season with Skelleftea AIK and probably feels confident in his game right now.

Based on the cap uncertainty, I’m leaning not. Talbot deserves a chance to be a starter somewhere and it seems unlikely due to the organizational investment in David Rittich, Rittich’s contract, and the looming cap crunch that the Flames would throw enough dollars at Talbot to make it worthwhile for him.

It depends. If Brodie wants to get paid, he has the numbers to do so. Jared Spurgeon’s extension in Minnesota is a decent template for a long-term Brodie deal – seven seasons at a $7.575 cap hit. But Brodie’s been with the Flames for years and years. He knows the group. He knows how close they think they are to winning. He knows how tight the cap situation is.

There’s an old saying: don’t mess with happy. Would Brodie get a better long-term it elsewhere? If he doesn’t think so, him returning at a cap hit around $5 million on a short term deal wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

But again, a lot of that depends on what happens with the cap next season and how Brodie’s feeling about his place on the team.

Depends on what happens with the rest of the roster. That said, both of them are probably at the front of the line for any forward gigs that open up. I’d lean towards Gawdin given he’s got a bit more size to him and might fit in better in a bottom six checking role. But Phillips is whip-smart and could slide onto a middle six wing role.

In short? Yes, probably one of them. And it depends on what kind of role is available.

Beyond those two? I’d keep my eye on Alexander Yelesin, who was rock-solid as a stay-at-home sixth defender during his call-up in February.

 

The fit? It’s obvious, he’d add an additional high-end offensive weapon to the top six.

The price? I cannot imagine him signing anywhere for less than an $8 million cap hit. Unless some serious cap space was opened up, no way the Flames can fit him in.

I’m doing pretty well!

The first few weeks of quarantine was a little rough, as it probably was for a lot of the media cadre here. The season is very regimented and we all get into a routine and rhythm during the season, and it was obviously pretty jarring for everybody (fans and media) to have everything screech to a halt.

But I’ve been doing a lot of reading – I’ve read four books so far – and doing my best to stay active and/or sane. All things considered, that’s all any of us can do right now.