The to-do list for the Calgary Flames is quite lengthy for the summer, but some points are already checked off. Head coach Glen Gulutzan and his assistants were let go earlier this week, and there are now rumors that former Carolina Hurricanes head coach Bill Peters could be taking the job behind the bench in Calgary for next season.
While the to-do list is being managed quite well so far, there seems to be one main priority that hasn't been addressed yet. However, it might not take long before Flames management makes a move to change it all for the better. It is no secret, the Flames are in need of a boost of front - they need to land a scoring winger, who can play alongside Sean Monahan and Mikael Backlund.
According to NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman, who took the air on Calgary's Sportsnet 960 on Friday, there is a perfect solution on the trade market. The Sportsnet insider believes there could be a fit for Ryan O’Reilly and the possibility of the Flames acquiring him, who could then ice Monahan, O’Reilly, and Backlund down the middle. However, there is some competition on the market for his services.
“That’s not bad,” went on to say Friedman, per Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports. “One, what’s it going to cost you. I mean, it’s going to be a lot. Centers are hard to find. If I’m Montreal, I’m doing everything I can to get Ryan O’Reilly, but what do you have to give up. It’s not going to be cheap, even with his contract, which is a little different – it’s kind of bonus-heavy.
"Calgary can handle that. It’s still going to cost you a lot to get him. So I mean yes, I would be interested, but at what price.”
O’Reilly is heading into the third season of his seven-year, $52.5 million contract for the 2018-19 season. His cap hit is $7.5 million and as Friedman alluded, the center’s base salary is only $1 million per season. $18 million of O’Reilly’s contract was paid out in bonus money over the first two years, so he remains quite affordable long-term for the Flames.
He does not have any trade protection written into that pact and could be moved for some defense prospects or even a goalie like Jon Gillies. However, Montreal will be quite competitive in trying to land O'Reilly, so the Flames will need to be quick to win this trade race against the Canadiens.
Another thing checked off the list in Calgary, if they can beat out Montreal?