Flames Mailbag: What will Calgary’s blue line look like next season?

Check out the latest episode of Stuck With The Tkachuks, where Matthew and Brady Tkachuk go head-to-head on the squash courts.

Nobody asked, but there’s only one way to best alter golf holes due to the pandemic: pool noodles.

Having played several times already, I can tell you the upside-down cup is rife with problems, as the ball bounces out of the cup with regularity if not put in deep enough.

Slicing off a tiny piece of a pool noodle and placing it in the bottom of the hole eliminates the need to reach into the cup, while also ensuring drained putts stay that way.

The concept of a raised cup that players simply have to hit is laughable, unnecessary and changes the integrity of the game.

No, none of this is important.

Nor is anything sports-related these days, so let’s have fun with another Flames mailbag the Twitterverse was able to fill between walks, puzzles, puppies and Netflix.

Do you think the Flames will try and get that pick from the Oilers for Lucic, arguing the shortened season?

In a recent memo sent to every NHL team, it was suggested that once the draft date is set in stone teams involved in deals with conditional picks will likely have a seven-day window to try negotiating a settlement. You can bet the Flames will push hard to land that third-rounder as part of the deal, based on the fact James Neal’s numbers were pro-rated to eclipse 21 goals (he had 19) and Milan Lucic was more than 10 back (eight).

But forget about logic when it comes to the Battle of Alberta – I’m betting the league will have to step in after that week to make a ruling.

Which defencemen make the roster next season? Signings, staying? Also where do you see Dube playing, centre or wing?

My guess is the Flames’ opening night roster next season – whenever that may start – would include the following on the blue line:

Mark Giordano

T.J. Brodie

Noah Hanifin

Rasmus Andersson

Juuso Valimaki

Oliver Kylington

Michael Stone

Hotshot college signing Connor Mackey will be the first call-up.

With the salary cap likely destined to remain the same, Stone re-signing for the league minimum as a competent right-shot defender, as insurance, makes sense.

Brodie is coming off a good year and is happy to stay put as a UFA signing.

All the other pending UFAs, like Derek Forbort, Erik Gustafsson and Travis Hamonic, will likely sign for more money elsewhere.

The only way Dillon Dube starts the season at centre is if Mark Jankowski isn’t qualified as an RFA by the Flames – or traded – which is a very real possibility.

Even then, Dube would be fifth on the depth chart, as Elias Lindholm is also someone they’d like to use at centre more regularly when the top line isn’t clicking with him on the wing.

Long-term, they’d like Dube up the middle though.

Sign up for NHL newsletters
Get the best of our NHL coverage and exclusives delivered directly to your inbox!

NHL Newsletter

*I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

What do you think of this trade idea, Gaudreau to Buffalo for prospect Dylan Cozens and an early-to-middle draft pick? #AskFrancis

I’m vehemently opposed to addressing manufactured what-ifs, when it comes to possible trades. That’s how rumours start.

I don’t believe Gaudreau will re-sign with the Flames when his deal ends two years from now, so I do think he will be traded.

But not this summer.

So many people in Calgary – including management – need to see if he’s able to elevate his game when it matters most.

The last month of the season showed plenty of promise, but it’s the playoffs where he needs to demonstrate he can overcome smothering defences to be a difference-maker, unlike last year.

We’ll have our answer if the league resumes this summer.

If not, expect him to remain a Flame starting next season.

An early June draft date this summer would make it even harder for a GM to pull off a blockbuster of any sort anyway.

What are your thoughts on signing Hall? Is there a real chance since the cap doesn’t seem like it will raise that much?

The Flames kicked tires on him before he was traded to Arizona, but the price tag on him this summer as a UFA would be hard for the Flames to shoe-horn into a flat cap.

The Flames have a little more cap flexibility than other contenders, but that will most likely be spent on filling holes on their blueline.

Otherwise, the Flames would be in a top-heavy situation like Toronto where the bulk of the money would be made by their top forwards, leaving them vulnerable at the back end.

It’s nice for Flames fans to dream of, but I can’t see it happening.

Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman talk to a lot of people around the hockey world, and then they tell listeners all about what they’ve heard and what they think about it.

Will the Flames keep their first-round pick?

I can’t see why they wouldn’t.

I don’t anticipate any blockbuster trades by the Flames this summer, so can’t envision how their first-rounder would come into play.

Golf fivesomes? Yeah or Nah?

I’m opposed to fivesomes at public golf courses, but I can see where they make sense at private tracks where the speed of play is closely monitored.

Unless players are held accountable for slow play, it’s a no-go for me.

Slow play is one of the biggest problems in golf today, and with golf likely to experience a brief boom due to COVID-19, we need to ensure pace of play remains important.

Who are two guys currently in Stockton that you predict will make the jump to the big club next year?

With the depth of the parent club, there won’t be many openings.

However, I can see Glenn Gawdin and Adam Ruzicka pushing for a promotion in camp.

Given Gawdin’s junior success and well-documented progression on the farm, the 23-year-old will come into camp with high expectations as a centre who can also play right wing.

Ruzicka’s growth as a player from the start of last season had him drawing rave reviews from coaches and management who saw the fourth-rounder as one of their most important players down the stretch. Aiding his cause is the fact the 20-year-old Slovak is six-foot-four and 210 pounds, and can play centre or right wing.

Of all the current Heat players, Austin Czarnik would have the best chance at cracking the opening day roster, but he’s a UFA who will likely have no interest in re-signing in Calgary this summer.

Senior Writer Ryan Dixon and NHL Editor Rory Boylen always give it 110%, but never rely on clichés when it comes to podcasting. Instead, they use a mix of facts, fun and a varied group of hockey voices to cover Canada’s most beloved game.

Which golf course in Calgary are you needing to play first?

I’ve played several times already – at Springbank Links and Blue Devil – but the one I’m most looking forward to is Mickelson National, which officially opens June 1.

The list of my regular faves includes The Hamptons, Wintergreen, The Winston, Innisfail, Alberta Springs, Valley Ridge and GlenEagles.

I play upwards of 70 rounds a year, so I try not to discriminate – I love golf, period.

I’m going to start with the fact I think you meant to say a good Canadian whiskey like Forty Creek, not rum. And it’s with Pepsi, not Coke.

I’m a one-trick pony when it comes to booze.

Rum and Coke. That’s what I drink.

Not Pepsi, not diet Coke, not Coke Zero. Just a small amount of Coke and a healthy amount of Captain Morgan, Appleton Estate, Flor de Cana or Dictador, to name a few.

I wish I was into whiskey or wine, but neither is for me.

Either way, Cheers!

I look forward to raising plenty of rummies with friends once this craziness ends.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.