Free agency is still some time away but much of the talk surrounds the highly-interesting story that is what Alex Pietrangelo will do this offseason. Some speculate he’ll stick with the St. Louis Blues and the Blues will make room in whatever way is necessary to keep him in the fold. Others think his testing free agency is inevitable.
If he does go the free agency route, teams with the most money may have the best shot.
Eric Francis of Sportsnet wrote recently in a mailbag post that the Calgary Flames could be one of those teams with extra money kicking around, money that could be used to snag a big-ticket free agent. Already with some cap room that they’d planned to use at this season’s trade deadline but never did, the franchise also has five defensemen on expiring contracts. Calgary may have room for Pietrangelo and a need to add a star defenseman to reshape their blue line.
Francis does admit that Pietrangelo to the Flames is likely a long-shot but if if the defenseman is only thinking about money, Calgary has to be in consideration and there’s no reason for the Flames not to make an offer.
What If Pietrangelo Isn’t In the Cards?
Should Pietrangelo not be interested or the Flames choose not to explore that option, Francis believes the Calgary blueline will include Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, Juuso Valimaki, Oliver Kylington, and Michael Stone next season.
Absent from that list are UFA defensemen Derek Forbort, Erik Gustafsson and Travis Hamonic. Francis believes all will likely wind up somewhere else.
Other Changes in Calgary
While it might not happen this summer (offseason), Francis is also predicting that the Flames relationship with forward Johnny Gaudreau will come to an end sooner than later.
He’s not likely to sign another extension with the team and there’s a good chance the team will try to move him. He’s struggled at times and there might be a market for the forward, especially if teams believe he can be a marketable star.
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