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The Calgary Flames are going to be very active this off-season. Just not in the way some expected.
There were whispers GM Brad Treliving could make core changes after the 2019-20 season. They only grew louder after a, uh, concerning playoff exit.
Many – myself included – figured that would mean a retool of such. Johnny Gaudreau is a UFA after 2021-22, Sean Monahan doesn’t have the play driving ability, or defensive acumen, to be a 1C on a great team, and Mark Giordano doesn’t have a lot of time left.
Treliving isn’t looking to move any of those guys, though; at least not by the sound of it. He’s looking to support them and leaving no stone unturned in doing so.
The Flames have been linked to names like Taylor Hall, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Darcy Kuemper and Jacob Markstrom in recent weeks.
Another big one was thrown into the hat on Tuesday when Pierre LeBrun mentioned the Flames as top contenders for Alex Pietrangelo’s services. Not contenders. Not just a team keeping their eye on the situation from the outside. *Top* contenders.
Vegas and Toronto have been brought up a lot as interested parties. This is the first time I’ve seen a mainstream media member linking Pietrangelo to the Flames. It’s not hard to see why.
Realistically speaking, Treliving may be managing for his job. I think he has mostly done well in Calgary but you’re only going to get so long to make things work. From that respect, it’s understandable the Flames seem more intent on adding than subtracting and embracing a retool.
It also makes sense from a need perspective. Pietrangelo is on the wrong side of 30, which is concerning, but he’s also one of the very best defenders in the league. He can put up 50+ points in a season and his in-zone defense is high-end. He’s a complete player.
Pietrangelo has been worth 27.9 Goals Above Replacement over the last two seasons, according to Evolving-Hockey.com. That is 7th most among all defenders in the NHL.
Mark Giordano owns a GAR of 24.3 in that time while the quickly emerging Rasmus Andersson sits at 18.
If the Flames were to get their hands on Pietrangelo, they’d have a top-3 that rivals any team in the league.
There are more holes to fill, of course, but with so many expiring contracts on the roster, the Flames should have the flexibility to do so even if they’re able to sign Pietrangelo.
They are going to be a fun team to watch in the coming weeks.
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