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Winners of Free Agency? Calgary Flames Offseason overview

The Calgary Flames offseason was very active. They signed some of the best and biggest names in the free-agent market. After signing so many former Vancouver Canucks the team has started to be called the Vancouver Flames of the Calgary Canucks on social media. These former Canucks have flipped their allegiance to another Canadian team and will look to make the Flames a playoff contender this upcoming season.

Flames Offseason Free Agents Signings

As I mentioned previously, the Flames offseason was very active after a disappointing 1st round exit from the 2020 playoffs. General manager Brad Treliving made some fantastic signings this offseason. He signed a number goalie, a top-four defenseman, and he also added some depth scoring for his team.

Jacob Markstrom: Canucks MVP

Jacob Markstrom was perhaps the MVP for the Canucks in the 2019-20 season after a career season. Markstrom was amazing as the starting goalie for Vancouver. He earned his first all-star appearances and best a career-best save percentage. The 30-year-old goalie posted a .918 save percentage and a 2.75 goals-against average with the Canucks during the 2019-20 campaign.

Markstrom lead the Canucks to the playoffs for the first time since 2015 and got the Canucks past the first round for the first time since 2011 when Vancouver was the Stanley Cup runner-up. 

The first Flames offseason signing was offered a huge contract after his career year. Markstrom will now be suiting up for his former rival after he signed a six-year contract worth $36 million with the Flames.

Chris Tanev: Another Former Canuck

Tanev is yet another former Canuck player leaving after a career season. Chris Tanev was a fantastic defenseman and leader for the Canucks during his ten-year tenure with Vancouver.

During the 2019-2020 season, Tanev played in 69 games which tied for the second-most games he has played in during an NHL season. He continued the trend of scoring two goals in the regular season. In addition to his two goals, Tanev had 18 assists for 20 total points. 

The Flames offseason included deciding to scoop up yet another former Canuck to try and make their team a Stanley Cup contender. Calgary general manager, Trielving signed Tanev to a four-year contract worth $18 million.

Josh Leivo: Yet Another Former Canuck

Josh Leivo is the third former Canuck to leave and go play for the Flames organization. During the shortened 2019-20 season, Leivo only played in 36 games for the Canucks. He scored seven goals and added 12 assists in his limited playing time. With the Canucks, Leivo usually played on the third or fourth line and did not earn much playing time.

After signing a one-year deal worth $875,000 with the Flames, Leivo will try to improve his production and hopefully solidify himself as a guy who can legitimately play in the top nine forward groups.

Key Losses

The Flames offseason included making some fantastic decisions as they were able to get bring in some players that have the ability to transform their franchise into a serious contender. Since the Flames offseason included adding so many players they had to lose some to make room for the new guys. 

Cam Talbot: A Fresh Start Needed in Calgary

A career resurgence in Calgary was just what Cam Talbot needed. Talbot had a couple of tough seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and Philadelphia Flyers. He posted seasons where he had a sub .900 save percentage and a goals-against well above 3.30. The Flames took a chance on Talbot in the 2018-19 offseason and signed him to a one year contract.

He played the best hockey he had played in three years. During his time with the Flames, he overtook David Rittich and became the starting goalie. Talbot started 22 games for the Flames and posted a .919 save percentage and 2.63 goals-against average. Talbot was named the starting goalie for the Flames in the playoffs. His play only got better in the playoffs. In ten games his save percentage went up to .924 and his goals-against average went down to 2.42. 

Thanks to this great improvement the Minnesota Wild decided to give him a 3-year contract worth $11 million. With Minnesota Talbot should create a solid tandem with Alex Stalock and eventually lead the Wild to a successful season.  

Erik Gustafson: First Full Season in Calgary

Gustafson was a trade deadline acquisition by the Flames in 2020. He spent the first half of the season with the Chicago Blackhawks and was not as productive as either party would have hoped. With Chicago Gustafson scored only six goals and added 20 assists. Following the trade to Calgary, Gustafson played in only seven regular-season games. In his brief stint of the regular season games, he only managed to get three assists. 

With Gustafson, the Flames made the playoffs but were eliminated in the first round by the Dallas Stars. In ten playoff games, Gustafson managed to assist on four goals for the Flames. Unfortunately, it was not enough to get past the Stars and advance to the second round.

The Flyers needed to find a replacement for veteran defenseman Matt Niskanen. The Flyers decided to sign a skilled defenseman by the name of Erik Gustafson to replace Niskanen. Gustafson and the Flyers agreed to a one year contract worth three million dollars.

Final Thoughts on the Flames Offseason

After a very busy Flames offseason, the team has improved and will become real contenders for the Stanley Cup. The team added a legitimate starting goalie, a top-four defenseman, and a forward that will improve their offensive depth. With their improvements to the roster, the Flames will hopefully make it past the first round and compete for the Stanley Cup. 

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