8 – Riley Nash
Riley Nash could be an ideal third-line centre for any team that needs it. The Calgary Flames aren’t in desperate need for a centre right now, but nobody quite knows what’s in store for Mark Jankowski’s future.
Nash hit a big improvement in offence this year, more than doubling his goals, assists, and points compared to last season. He has also consistently had above 50% CF% since the start of his NHL career, which has been primarily on the third line.
While his faceoff percentage is slightly under 50%, the comforting thing is seeing his CF% being above 50% even though his oZS% has been under 50% the last few seasons. Meaning that the team trusts him to take faceoffs in his own zone and it doesn’t negatively impact the team.
The con for him is, well, he’s a centre. And like I mentioned, the Flames aren’t exactly in critical need of a centre right now. While there are areas of improvement basically everywhere with this team (except Mikael Backlund who is perfect), a third line centre isn’t at the top of the priority list. That being said, Nash has also played on the wing before, which means he can, but he seems more comfortable at centre.
His previous contract was a bridge deal with an AAV of $900,00 which would be an awesome price for any team to pick him up. But with this last season, I doubt any team can get him for that cheap. But again, Brad Treliving is a magic man (again, this sentence was written a couple weeks ago).
Nash is at number 8 on our list because, while he’s a safe pick for a bottom-six centre, it’s also not what the Flames need to be focusing on.