It's been a…tough past 365 days for the Calgary Flames.
Johnny Gaudreau took less money to leave for Columbus as a free agent. Matthew Tkachuk forced his way out of town via a trade. Granted, the Flames were able to get Huberdeau and Weegar in exchange for Tkachuk. But then Matthew Tkachuk had another 100+ point season while leading the Florida Panthers to the Stanley Cup Final. Huberdeau had a perfectly average 15-goal season while signing a $10.5M AAV contract extension, and the Flames failed to make the playoffs. Brad Treliving left as GM, Darryl Sutter was fired as head coach, and now Frank Seravalli pulled the fire alarm.
Elias Lindholm is a free agent at the end of this upcoming season. He doesn't want shit to do with Calgary.
Noah Hanifin is a free agent at the end of this upcoming season. He doesn't want shit to do with Calgary.
Mikael Backlund has spent his entire career with the Flames since being drafted with the 24th pick in 2007. He's a free agent at the end of this upcoming season, and doesn't want shit to do with Calgary after that.
Tyler Toffoli is as good as gone, as well. That leaves Christopher Tanev, Nikita Zadorov and Dennis Gilbert as the only guys entering the last year of their contract before hitting the unrestricted market who haven't said "get me the fuck out of here" yet.
I mean it's hard to feel bad for guys who signed a sheet of paper that puts $84M and $50M in their bank accounts respectively, but you gotta feel for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar here. These guys signed 8-year extensions in Calgary when there was still a little hope, and now everybody is abandoning ship. Obviously winning cures everything and maybe some of these guys will change their tune on staying in Calgary if they can go on a run in 2023-24. But clearly Calgary must be an absolutely brutal place to play if your team isn't any good.
I've never been, so I don't want to shit on the city too much here. But if you're going to play for a dog shit team, you'd at least want to live in a place where you can do something with your life outside of the rink. Unless you run a farm, I don't know what else there is to do in Calgary. You have the stampede that comes through for a week every summer, which I'm sure is a blast, but that's about it. Hard to blame these guys for wanting to get out of there while they can if they're not going to be winning hockey games. RIP Battle of Alberta.