The players the Flames claimed in the 1972 expansion draft

Ryan Pike
August 27 2016 01:00PM

As we sit around anxiously awaiting the onset of the 2016-17 hockey season, thoughts will naturally drift towards the 2017-18 season and the debut of the new Las Vegas NHL expansion franchise. Much like Vegas will next summer, the Calgary Flames franchise went through the expansion draft process way, way back in 1972 (when they were setting up shop in Atlanta).

So let's set the Wayback Machine for the summer of 1972 and see just how drab the expansion-drafted Atlanta Flames ended up being.

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A short-term Gaudreau deal may be the best bet for all involved

Ryan Pike
August 24 2016 10:00AM

The single most common question we're hearing in regards to the Calgary Flames is "When's Johnny Gaudreau going to sign?" The second-most common question is "And for how long?"

The challenge in forecasting Gaudreau's deal is that there are a lot of different variables in play. What does the team want? What does the player want? Will their wants and needs change over the course of a long deal? What are the risks involved to each side?

After weighing as many variables as I could drum up, I'm beginning to believe that a shorter-term deal, something in the vicinity of three years, may be the best bet for everybody involved.

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How should the Flames special teams groups be structured?

Ryan Pike
August 22 2016 12:00PM

This off-season has brought a lot of change for the Calgary Flames, as the organization has swapped a lot of bodies in and out – both on and off the ice. In addition to the on-ice acquisitions of Brian Elliott, Chad Johnson, Troy Brouwer and Matthew Tkachuk, the club has also added a new head coach in Glen Gulutzan and a pair of new assistant coaches in Paul Jerrard and Dave Cameron.

One of the big criticisms that many observers had of former Flames coach Bob Hartley was his special teams performance and deployments. Now that there's a new bench boss, it's likely a good time to take a look at what the Flames have available to kick off 2016-17 in terms of special teams – as they were among the worst in the entire NHL in that realm. Who should be on the power play and the penalty kill this season? And, anticipating how the roster might shake out, what's the best way to balance out ice-time and high-pressure, high-leverage minutes?

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How much cap space do the Flames have left?

Ryan Pike
August 20 2016 08:00AM

Sean Monahan has signed a lengthy new contract that will keep him wearing red through 2023. Now that the ink is drying on his deal, Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving can (hopefully) finish up work on Johnny Gaudreau's new deal... while keeping an eye on everyone's favourite thing, the salary cap.

Don't look now, gang, but the Flames will have almost no wiggle room this season regardless of how rich Gaudreau's deal ends up being.

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Does "buying UFA years" drive up cap hits?

Ryan Pike
August 16 2016 12:00PM

One common phrase that's popped up during the interminable wait for the contract extensions for Calgary Flames wünderkinds Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan is "buying UFA years." The concept is this: in a player's first contract after their entry-level deal there are two kinds of deals, short-term "bridges" and long-term deals. The theory is that as a contract goes longer and stretches into the years in which that player would otherwise be an unrestricted free agent (UFA), the deal's cap hit will go up.

But is that what actually happens? And more precisely, does the number of UFA years covered in a post entry-level deal make much of a difference?

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