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Grading the Calgary Flames' off-season moves

August 10, 2018, 11:45 AM ET [81 Comments]
Todd Cordell
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
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Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving has been a busy man this summer.

He pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Carolina Hurricanes that saw five quality assets change hands. He was active in free agency signing three forwards to multi-year contracts. He also bought out the remaining two years of Troy Brouwer's contract.

While there is still time to make additional moves, it's fair to assume Treliving's off-season shopping is done or, at the very least, close to it.

With that in mind, I thought it'd be fun to grade each of the NHL transactions he has made to date.

Calgary trades Micheal Ferland, Dougie Hamilton and Adam Fox to Carolina for Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm.

The Flames want to contend within the next couple years and, in that regard, this trade is probably a step in the wrong direction. Lindholm is a more naturally skilled player than Ferland, and his versatility is a nice bonus, but the current gap between those two and Hamilton/Hanifin isn't even close. Hamilton is legitimately one of the better defenders in the NHL. Only Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson have produced points at a higher clip during 5v5 play over the last two years and Hamilton is an elite possession driver as well. Though I like Hanifin, he has a *long* way to go before matching what Hamilton brought to the table.

Throwing Fox into the deal wasn't much fun either, although there were some concerns about his signability.

What I do really like about this trade from Calgary's perspective is they brought in more controllable assets. Ferland is UFA eligible a year from now and Hamilton is in 2021. Lindholm is UFA eligible in 2024. The Flames can bridge Hanifin or give him the six-year deal he is rumored to be after and have him locked up until 2024 as well.

Getting younger, longer-term assets with more cost certainty has to be worth something.

Grade: B-

Calgary signs James Neal to five-year, $5.75 million AAV contract.

Only eight players have scored more 5v5 goals than Neal over the last three seasons. Including all game states, he has potted at least 20 in 10 consecutive years. The Flames were desperate for another natural scorer and Neal is certainly that. He's also a pain in the ass to play against and brings some of the nasty edge the Flames were looking for. The last couple years of his deal may not be pretty but, as mentioned prior, the Flames want to contend sooner than later and Neal was a necessary addition to help them do so.

Grade: B

Calgary signs Derek Ryan to three-year, $3.125 million AAV contract.

Last season seven of Calgary's eight leading point producers up front were left-handed. The one exception, Troy Brouwer (22 points), was bought out.

The Flames really needed a right-handed shot who can produce some offense. You know who fits the bill? Derek Ryan. He has averaged 37 points per 82 games over the last two seasons and he's an ace in the faceoff circle (56.1% for his career).

Giving a three-year deal to a depth player on the wrong side of 30 carries some risk but he is a good player, he knows Bill Peters' system, and he plugs a hole.

Grade: B

Calgary signs Austin Czarnik to two-year, $1.25 million AAV contract.

I really like the decision to gamble on Czarnik.

He has dominated the AHL for years and shown encouraging signs any time he's been given a chance at the NHL level.

In 59 games with the Bruins over the last two seasons, he posted a 54 Corsi For% and recorded 5v5 points at a comparable rate to Tomas Hertl, Wayne Simmonds, and Kyle Okposo, among others.

That's pretty impressive considering he had to spend a good chunk of his ice with Matt Beleskey, who ranks 438th among 441 eligible forwards (560+ minutes) in point per 60 since the beginning of 2016-17.

Betting on skilled players like Czarnik is a far better idea than trotting out gritty, washed up, veterans like Brouwer, Chris Stewart and Tanner Glass.

Grade: B+

Calgary buys out Troy Brouwer

Brouwer produced points at a lesser rate than the likes of Dominic Moore, Joel Ward, Ryan Reaves and Lukas Sedlak during his two-year tenure with the Flames.

He was also a massive possession anchor and negatively impacted Calgary's numbers across the board every time he touched the ice.

I wasn't a fan of the signing when it happened and yet it somehow turned out far worse than I could have imagined.

The Flames simply had to pull the plug.

Grade: A+

Recent posts:

Three players who will benefit from Brouwer's departure

On Troy Brouwer's disastrous tenure in Calgary

There were positives in Sam Bennett's disappointing campaign

Flames sign Elias Lindholm to a six-year extension

A closer look at the Derek Ryan and Austin Czarnik signings

James Neal a necessary signing for the Flames

Dynamite U21 seasons from Andersson + Kylington put them in good company
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