When July 1 rolled around, the Calgary Flames had 14 unrestricted free agents hitting the market. Just three days into free agency, several of these UFAs have found new homes.
After he took over as president of hockey operations in 2013, Brian Burke remarked that you could tell the quality of a team’s staff by how many people would be hired right away if they were made available. Based on the number of Flames free agents that have been snapped up, the team had some pretty good depth.
Group 3 free agents
The Flames had eight players hit the main stream of free agency, aged 27 (or older) with seven pro seasons or more under their belts.
Swedish defender Marcus Hogstrom signed with Djurgardens IF of the SHL prior to July 1, while the Flames technically lost restricted free agent Linden Vey’s rights on July 1 – he went to the KHL two seasons ago, but the Flames kept his NHL rights past his 27th birthday.
In terms of North American players, most of them found new homes rapidly.
- Mike Smith signed a one year deal with Edmonton worth $2 million base salary plus up to $1.75 million in performance bonuses.
- Garnet Hathaway signed a four year deal with Washington worth $1.5 million per season
- Oscar Fantenberg signed a one year deal with Vancouver worth $850,000.
- Dalton Prout signed a one year deal with San Jose worth $800,000.
Anthony Peluso and Matt Taormina remain on the market.
Group 6 free agents
Via the NHL: “This group is defined as players whose contracts have expired, are age 25 or older, have completed three or more professional seasons, and (i) in the case of a player other than a goaltender, have played fewer than 80 NHL games (regular-season and playoff), or (ii) in the case of a goaltender, have played fewer than 28 NHL games (regular-season and playoff).”
The Flames had one Group 6 free agent, Tyler Graovac, who signed a one year deal with the Canucks worth $700,000.
Players not tendered qualifying offers
Finally, the Flames had five players that they didn’t give qualifying offers to. One, Curtis Lazar, found a home in Buffalo right away on a one year deal worth $700,000. The others – Josh Healey, Mason McDonald, Brett Pollock and Kerby Rychel – have yet to.
Bodies in, bodies out
Right now, it seems unlikely that any of the Flames’ UFAs will be returning to the fold. But the team will have (at least) 11 new faces under contract for 2019-20 to replace those departures. Joining the fold this coming season include goaltenders Cam Talbot and Artyom Zagidulin, defensemen Brandon Davidson, Carl-Johan Lerby (on loan in Sweden) and Alexander Yelesin, and forwards Justin Kirkland, Byron Froese, Luke Philp, Eetu Tuulola, Adam Ruzicka, and Martin Pospisil.
If nothing else, the Stockton Heat could be fascinating to watch this coming season with so many faces that are brand new to professional hockey – and a good deal of them still fairly new to North America in general.