Wanna blog? Start your own hockey blog with My HockeyBuzz. Register for free today!
 

On Mantha, Lomberg, Bean - Ten Players Drafted - Jeff Skinner to Edmonton

July 2, 2024, 3:11 PM ET [38 Comments]
Trevor Neufeld
Calgary Flames Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Much and more to get to as we enter day two of free agency. It was certainly a bold strategy to pack in the Awards Show (you didn’t miss much), the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, and the first day of free agency into a 108-hour window.

Giving fans essentially a weekend of homework to learn about all the prospects their team selected and then try to keep up with what free agents signed in which city is a lot. A handful of teams made major pivots on July 1, 2024, and unless you are a hardcore fan, you probably missed at least one of those pivots.

Thankfully for Flames fans, we have a few short-term contracts to review and ten draft picks to learn about moving forward.


The UFAs

Anthony Mantha
It feels like it was just yesterday that Matthew Tkachuk poked Luke Witkowski from the Flames bench, sending the six-foot-two, 210-pound bearded maniac into a frenzy.



The eventual result was six-foot-five Anthony Mantha beating upon defenceman Travis Hamonic, who was pinned onto the floor of the Detroit bench.

It's a bit traumatizing, but at least we know from firsthand experience that Mantha can stand up for his teammates.

There is a concern that injury will factor in, but Mantha is coming off a 23-goal, 44-point season. Not bad for $3,500,000 on a one-year contract. There may have been some deployment promises that may be hard to stay true to next year, but Mantha should fetch a solid return at the deadline. Last TDL, the nine-season NHL veteran brought back a second and a fourth-round pick.

Speaking of toughness, Ryan Lomberg returning to Calgary is just excellent.

Ryan Lomberg
A bit of a caveat: the Lomberghini has slowed down a bit since leaving Calgary. His breakneck speed hasn’t been as present this year, and his advanced stats have progressively gone downhill — but the five-foot-nine, 184-pound agitator is still hell on skates.

The next two seasons are going to be a lot of fun with Lomberg back in the picture and with a full-time NHL role this time.

Jake Bean
The third UFA signing is Jake Bean. General manager Craig Conroy has alluded that Bean might be replacing Kylington in the lineup.

Maybe that works out. Jake didn’t look very well last season and ended up being the odd man out on the second-worst defence in the league in 2023-2024.

Not all development is linear; the son of John Bean might find a way to fit into Huska’s zone defence by leaning into his solid skating and edge work — but it’s also not unreasonable to say that 1.75 million per year for two seasons is a bit much as well.

How about this? If Jake Bean blows a bunch of games and the media is still talking about him like he’s a diamond in the rough by next January, I’ll blow a gasket on here, and we’ll all have some fun reading about Magic Beans or something of that nature.


Edmonton
Speaking of magic beans, it’s worth bringing up one of Edmonton’s signings.

Jeff Skinner signed a one-season, $3,000,000 contract with the Oilers on Monday. Hey, someone made another bad decision on me next summer.

With 63, 82, and 43 points in his last three seasons, the Markham, Ontario, product had his moments in justifying his $9,000,000 annual cap hit. The problem with Jeff centers around his play away from the puck.

Or lack thereof.

IMG-0578

I generally think these player cards are stupid amalgamations, but 0% even strength (EV) defence was a funny stat to look at, so it makes the cut.

The issue that Jeff Skinner may present in Edmonton is that the team, every single forward and defenceman, finally all bought into playing responsibly.

He might be a truly great powerplay contributor, and that's all, but I personally wouldn't be adding him to that dressing room.

Time will tell if Jeff Skinner, in a contract season, at 32, with maybe one more payday, with all of the offensive skill to get two seasons at $5,000,000 per year next July — wants to learn to play real defence.


The Draft
We have time to dive more into the individual picks, but here are a few one-off thoughts on Calgary’s ten selections.

Zayne Parekh is one of the strangest players I have ever watched. The kid plays the game on his own terms. He slows down when he has the room, he easily jumps around checkers after getting down to a near stop, he makes weird cross-ice lateral passes — the offensive zone is truly his to play with.

With two seasons before he is AHL-eligible, it will be interesting to see how Parekh comes along. He’s too good for the OHL already. Trying to play the game on his own terms during an NHL call up might be a rough lesson, but ultimately one that helps keep him focused.

Matvei Gridin plays an NHL-style of game. The Flames snuck out a win at #28. Excellent hockey IQ.

Andrew Basha is good at a lot of things, but I’m not sure what he’ll be great at when he finally reaches the NHL. Lots of time and tons of promise. He is really good at manipulating defenders off the rush. Fans see lots of McKenna and Lindstrom highlights and might easily miss Basha driving a lane to make room for either in the slot on any given goal.

Jacob Battaglia (no relation) is a pure finisher. You don’t need to be fast to bring that style to the NHL, but he will need to get stronger. No rush.

Henry Mews might be a third round steal. It’s quite early to say and his game has a long way to go. The question is how many of these finesse defencemen are the Flames going to draft and develop in this era? A kitchen can only have so many cooks.

Trevor Hoskin has some major hype after dominating the OJHL.

Luke Misa looks like he has a good chance of translating into a top six forward. Great set of wheels and a solid playmaker. Good at reading goalies too.

Hunter Laing has work to do, but is a big (6’6”) center with breakout potential next season.

Eric Jamieson looks like he should have been taken in the second or third round. Very steady defenceman with a mean streak. Decent production too at a hair under 0.5 points per game.


Plenty of cap space. Let’s see if Conroy has more up his sleeve. We’ll end today with a lineup projection and a question after.

Pospisil-Sharangovich-Kuzmenko
Zary-Kadri-Coronato
Pelletier-Backlund-Coleman
Huberdeau-Mantha-Coronato

Extras: Rooney, Lomberg

Weegar-Miromanov
Bahl-Andersson
Bean-Pachal

Extras: Hanley

The question: with $21,749,167 still in cap space and the roster filled out. What would you like to see done? Trades to open up room? Another signing?




Trevor Neufeld


Stats courtesy of the NHL and CapFriendly. Player card courtesy of JFresh.
Join the Discussion: » 38 Comments » Post New Comment
More from Trevor Neufeld
» Examining a Catch-22 — Roster Dark Horses — Goodbye Mitch McLain
» Multiple Teams Contacting the Flames About a Kadri Acquisition
» Mangiapane Traded — Draft Rumblings — Trouba — The Edmonton Oilers
» Markstrom Traded to New Jersey — The Wrecking Bahl — Pick Potential
» Defining the Narrative — Addressing Roster Issues — Being Honest