In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, we’ll look at the reports that general manager Brad Treliving is looking to move one of his defensemen in exchange for a winger. Meanwhile, there have also been rumors that he may have interest in bringing in Phil Kessel, who remains a free agent. In other news, Mackenzie Weegar arrived in Calgary days ago and expressed his excitement to get the 2022-23 season underway. Last but not least, in a recent interview, Bruce Boudreau was very complimentary of the job the Flames have done this offseason.
Flames Looking To Make a Move
As of now, the Flames have 10 defensemen on one-way contracts. That is unheard of and has resulted in plenty of speculation that they will move at least one ahead of the 2022-23 season and, in doing so, will target a forward. Those rumors seemed to be validated by Eric Francis, who hopped on Tim & Friends this past weekend and suggested Treliving isn’t done yet.
Francis, who is as well-informed as anyone when it comes to the Flames, did make note that there could be one or two defensemen involved, making the coming days and weeks all the more intriguing. At this point, it seems that anything Treliving touches turns to gold, meaning Flames fans should be feeling optimistic that he will fare well in any trade he is looking to make.
Kessel Remains an Option for Flames
Heading into free agency, it didn’t seem as though Kessel would have any problem finding a new home. While he will turn 35 ahead of the 2022-23 season, he proved, even on a very weak Arizona Coyotes team last season, that he can still produce, with 52 points in 82 contests.
Perhaps even more intriguing about Kessel is that he saves his best for the playoffs. While he may no longer be the elite offensive producer he was in his prime, he still tends to rise to the occasion when he is needed most, proven by his 81 points in 96 playoff games. While he likely can’t be signed for the league minimum, he shouldn’t cost much more at this point, and the Flames have a bit of cap space to work with to make this happen.
Weegar Excited for Season To Begin
A few days ago, the Flames posted on Twitter a video of Weegar getting a tour of the Saddledome. The 28-year-old, who was acquired in a blockbuster trade with Jonathan Huberdeau, has been saying the right things since joining the organization and continued to do so when he spoke with reporters.
“I’m anxious to get things going,” Weegar said. “Obviously, a lot of excitement all summer, and now it’s time to get our last-minute work in here, really grind down. Then training camp starts and, before you know it, the season-opener will happen, and you’ve got to be ready to go…I’m looking forward to a great opportunity here with Calgary.”
Weegar was brought in by Treliving to help an already very solid blue line on paper. While his defensive play could be more consistent, he would be a top-four option on any team. He is coming off of a career season in which he scored eight goals and 44 points in 80 games.
Boudreau a Big Fan of Flames’ Offseason
After what seemed to be an offseason to forget, Treliving not only saved the team from complete disaster but has arguably made them more competitive. After Johnny Gaudreau chose to leave via free agency and Matthew Tkachuk made it clear he wouldn’t sign an extension, his hands seemed to be tied. Instead, he somehow ended up with Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, Mackenzie Weegar, and a heck of a prospect in Cole Schwindt. That work recently earned him serious praise from rival Vancouver Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau.
“You look at him [Huberdeau], and you look at Gaudreau, both tremendously skilled, so I mean I’ve got to believe that it’s a wash for talent,” Boudreau recently said on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. “Then you’ve got Tkachuk and Kadri and Weegar. Kadri has got that sandpaper that Tkachuk would bring to the Flames, and Weegar is a pretty solid top-four defenseman. I guess what I would say in the end is that I don’t think Calgary got worse, and that’s a bad sign for everybody else in the Pacific. Kudos to the Flames in making those moves because they didn’t get any worse.
Management has done a terrific job there. I know Darryl well enough that, whoever is put in there, is going to do a great job with them. It’s been a roller-coaster summer for the Flames, but in the end, they are just as excited with the team going into September than the team they did have, I’m pretty sure.”
Related: Flames Looking to Add a Forward While Shipping Out Defencemen
Most Flames fans would agree with Boudreau. In fact, most hockey fans would too. Not only did they replace Gaudreau and Tkachuk with two great talents in Huberdeau and Kadri, but as Boudreau mentioned, they also gained a top-four defenseman in Weegar. It has been a masterclass offseason from Treliving, to put it lightly, and, clearly, the league is taking notice.
Looking Ahead for the Flames
Despite the many changes to the Flames’ roster this offseason, it sounds like there could be more ahead of training camp. Francis is well informed on what goes on with the team and wouldn’t come out with a comment like that if he wasn’t aware that something was going on. It seems likely that a move between now and training camp is on the way, giving Flames fans plenty to watch for over the next few weeks.