During the time that the NHL’s season is suspended in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, obviously there isn’t on-ice news. That said, there remains news emerging from the different teams and NHL organizations. As part of our commitment here at NHLTradeTalk.com to trying to cover the news emerging from each Canadian team at least one time per week, in this post I want to keep up with what’s happening in the Calgary Flames organization and what news is emerging from that team.
Item One: Is Cam Talbot Leaving the Flames?
It’s not as if Cam Talbot doesn’t like playing in Calgary; but, according to a Sportsnet report, it’s possible he might not be returning to the Flames organization next season. If he doesn’t sign with the Flames, Talbot could become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2019-20 season.
As he puts it, “I obviously wouldn’t mind coming back here either. I loved it here. It’s a great situation, a great locker room and, obviously, I have a really good relationship with Ritter [David Rittich] and Siggy (goalie coach Jordan Sigalet). So I mean, I wouldn’t rule out coming back, but, obviously, my goal coming here was to show the rest of the league that I still have it in me to be a starting goalie and I think I accomplished that.”
One problem for Talbot and other UFAs is that there’s likely to be a de-escalation to the upper limit of the NHL’s salary cap, which would shrink the amount of money any team could spend on free agents or on current roster contracts. It might not be a good time to be a UFA in the NHL (if that’s not enough acronyms for you) for anyone, and upcoming UFAs are entering uncharted waters about how much their agents might seek on a contract.
For UFAs interested in re-signing, if money is an issue, a short-term deal might be in order. If a UFA is willing to sign a team-friendly contract and money is less of an issue, a player might opt for a smaller annual salary and go for a longer-term contract. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a totally new landscape – or, I should have said “seascape” to continue my water metaphor.
Item Two: What’s Matthew Tkachuk Doing During His Time Off?
Well, it’s nice to have a brother anytime, and that’s especially true if your brother also is an NHL player and has the competitive drive to go with it. That’s what’s happening with the Flames star Matthew Tkachuk and his brother Brady, who just completed playing his second season with the Ottawa Senators. During the NHL pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic, both are back home in St. Louis, Missouri, and at their house competition is reigning supreme.
As Wes Gilbertson reported on Saturday in an article in the Calgary Sun, Matthew and brother Brady are going head-to-head over – well – you name it. Here’s a list.
Brother Matthew enumerated, “It’s been pretty even so far. I would say Brady has beaten me more times in basketball out in the driveway. I think I’m probably the king of the house at pickleball right now. Brady is better at video games downstairs. We’ve been playing a bit of Kan-Jam, with the frisbee, and I would say I’m better than him at that. And I think I have him in golf. We have been playing a ton of golf, and I’ve always had the edge in golf on him. He’s gotten a lot better and he can hit it a mile now, but I think I still have the edge. But we’re really, really close in everything, and we’re thankful to have each other that we can compete with each day and each competition that we have.”
Actually, if you read the paragraph above carefully, that’s a lot of competition to keep track of. Can we read from this that the boys have a golf course in their backyard?
For the season on the ice, brother Matthew wins in the scoring totals. He scored 23 goals and 61 points in 69 games prior to the pause, while brother Brady had 21 goals and 44 points in 71 games. (From “Competitive juices still flowing for Flames’ Tkachuk during pause, Wes Gilbertson, Calgary Sun, 18/04/20).
Item Three: Dustin Wolf Wins WHL’s Goalie of the Year Award
Congratulations to another Flames prospect. On Friday of last week, goalie Dustin Wolf of the Everett Silvertips was named the WHL’s Western Conference Goalie of the Year. During the 2019-20 season, the Flames prospect (he was drafted in round seven – 214th overall – in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft) posted a 34-10-2 record as he led the Silvertips to second place in the U.S. Division of the WHL.
Wolf also recorded an amazing goals-against-average of 1.88 and a .935 save percentage. He also registered nine shutouts on the season. In these three categories, he led all WHL goalies. He was also recently named as a member of the WHL’s First All-Star team and has a great chance to win the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy for WHL Goaltender of the Year. Really, given his record, does anyone else have a chance?
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