While it’s painful to be a revisionist historian Calgary Flames fan, sometimes looking forward can be a healthy alternative. With the recent Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil debuts, Matt Coronato’s flashes of brilliance, sure-to-come injections of youth – potentially in the forms of Dustin Wolf or Adam Klapka – and the fact that an on-the-fly rebuild (or “retool” as it’s being called) may actually be coming down the pipe, it’s exciting to imagine what the Flames lineup could look like as early as later this season.
For the sake of the exercise, I’ve removed the following players from Calgary’s roster (assume they’ve been traded for future assets in the forms of picks and prospects that would not immediately fit into the Flames lineup):
- Elias Lindholm
- Noah Hanifin
- Chris Tanev
- Dillon Dubé
- A.J. Greer
- Dan Vladar
Below is a totally possible Calgary Flames lineup that we could see in the near future depending on how right (or wrong?) things go over the course of the season, especially over the next ten or so games.
While it may not be a playoff-calibre lineup, it’s younger and more affordable – two qualities that would give the Flames and their fans a much higher ceiling in coming years.
Two more notes I’ll preface this with:
- I did not reach peak crazy/fantastical by trading Jonathan Huberdeau of Nazem Kadri. I tried to keep my outlook within the realm of realistic possibility. With that being said, I also didn’t trade Jacob Markstrom, which is something that actually could happen…
- The intent here is not to suggest perfect lines, but to have a look at the overall lineup. If you think Ruzicka should move up the lineup, I’m on board. If you think Yan Kuznetsov should draw in on the back end, sure. The idea of this article is simply to get a high level idea of what the Calgary Flames roster could resemble if a handful of players, such as the ones listed above, were to be moved out of town.
Calgary Flames prospective forward lines
Huberdeau – Zary – Coronato
Mangiapane – Kadri – Sharangovich
Pelletier – Backlund – Coleman
Pospisil – Ruzicka – Duehr
Calgary Flames prospective defence pairings
Weegar – Andersson
Zadorov – Solovyov
Poirier – Gilbert
Calgary Flames prospective special teams
Power play 1
Huberdeau – Kadri – Coronato
Power play 2
Mangiapane – Backlund – Zary
Penalty kill 1
Backlund – Coleman
Zadorov – Andersson
Penalty kill 2
Sharangovich – Pelletier
Weegar – Solovyov
Calgary Flames prospective goalies
A lineup like this one would be fun to watch. Plus, without accounting for any salary retained beyond the 2023-24 season, would save the Flames the cost of extending Lindholm, Hanifin Tanev, Greer, and Dubé, while also removing Vladar’s cap hit next season, leaving GM Craig Conroy and his front office crew well over $20 million (probably closer to $25M) to work with beginning in 2024-25 (under a higher salary cap).