The Future of the Flames looks to be an interesting one. The introduction of several new players and a new coaching system, combined with the loss of several key players.
Lets break it down
This year, we have Wideman, Hudler, Baertschi and Cervenka joining the team. In addition to Steve Begin and Steve McCarthy invited on a tryout.
Also, we have a new headcoach and what looks to be new coaches across the board. If I'm not mistaken.
We have a lot of stuff changing for the worse though, Kostopolous and PL3 have left and this will be Iginla, Comeau, Karlsson and The Antons last year before UFA. While Backlund, Bouma, Butler and Brodie are all heading into RFA next year.
Meanwhile in the minors, the great RFA signing frenzy will begin this summer, as Greg Nemisz, Brady Lamb, Bryan Cameron, Mitch Wahl, Akim Aliu, Leland Irving, Paul Byron, Carter Bancks, Gaelan Patterson and Chris Breen are ALL entering RFA.
Bret Carson, Joe Piskula, Krys Kolanos and Ben Walter will also be entering UFA.
This year should be very interesting and expensive. But looking a little further ahead, next year should be equally interesting (and maybe even more expensive).
KHL standout Kari Ramo will likely be moving to the Flames while Kipper will be in the last year of his contract. Will they run as a Tandem for one year? Karlsson resigning? Irving?
Next year also sees Cammy, Stajan(!), Stempniak, Sarich, Bouwmeester, Derek Smith, Jones and Jackman in the last year of their contracts before UFA. A lot of money needing to be thrown around.
Looking to the minors, prospects Ryan Howse, Joni Ortio, Roman Horak, James Martin and David Eddy will be in their last year before RFA. In addition, Ben Street will be in his last season before UFA.
As you can see, a fairly expensive two years for the Flames coming up, 2015-16 looks a little crazy too as Glencross will be entering UFA and the rest of our prospects will be entering RFA.
It should be an interesting couple of years, and I'm expecting a surprise season this year out of the Flames. Lots of intangibles and unknowns though.