The Flames need _____ (fill in the blank).
It is a pretty easy question, one most G.M.’s or Hockey Ops presidents are aware of the holes in their team.
It could be argued Calgary needs a number 1 goalie however Ramo showed enough to get a shot next year likely. His .911 sv% was comparable to several goalies you would consider #1’s like Hiller and Quick. This was despit having a very rough start in his return to the NHL sized ice. Next year could be a make or break for Ramo but regardless the Flames do not NEED a goalie, Ramo is capable.
Defense is also interesting. Assuming the Flames jettison Butler they have Giordano, Wideman, Russell, Smid, and Brodie. What this means is they are looking for a realistic #6 and #7 which could easily be filled by one of Billins, Wotherspoon and Seiloff (Billins needs to be re-signed).
At Forward there is a hole in scoring forward positions. Calgary came in 23rd out of 30 for goals for. The plugger/grinder roles are fairly filled and training camp might be a bit rough. Between McGrattan, Van Brabant, Wolf, Bouma and possibly Arnold there seems little concern for bottom six need.
So the blank for the Flames is scoring forwards, like a lot of teams, and they know it. While Burke will spout size and playing hard the reality is that they need skill. If they happen to be big, great. John Goudreau is expected to fill some of that role along with young Markus Granlund.
The rumors surrounding Dion Phanuef make little sense in this regard unless a player like Wideman is going the other way, essentially trading one defensive liability for another. Given that Wideman is likely to get more points over a season and is cheaper it makes even less sense. Talk of Giordano is just straight up nonsense. Further, as I pointed out, the flames don’t NEED Dion, they need top line winger, preferably right wingers and a number one Center.
The Flames have money to spend and trade scenarios will come up that allow for them to exploit that but I would not be surprised to see Dustin Penner here as a UFA. There will be opportunity for him on many lines.
The draft will present opportunity to get the center they desire and I think if the Panthers bite on a swap of firsts with Beartchi included it could happen. Obviously Reinhart is the prize they are looking for and to that end a similar deal with Buffalo wouldn’t be out of the question. If the Flames have a chance at Bennett they may settle for that as well.
As far as a rebuild program goes the Flames are actually fairly well stocked to get better next year as they build from the back out. The next to to firm up the Center position. Stajan, Backlund, Monahan are all good centers but they do lack that team anchor. Monahan will be a tremendous number 2 or ok number 1 it looks like. It should be more fun this summer than Flame fans think. I believe they will make a couple large moves, especially at the deadline, with Glencross and Hudler.