Free Agency NHL

Blake Coleman Looks To Rejuvenate The Flames Forward Group

Blake Coleman signed a six year deal with the Calgary Flames with an AAV of $4.9m. Coleman is coming off of back to back Stanley Cup wins with the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Coleman was drawing interest from Boston and Calgary but ultimately Calgary won the sweepstakes. When assessing the Flames to do list, finding a 200 foot top six winger is up there. Coleman hit the market and General Manager Brad Treliving hit the ground running. 

The 29 year old is listed as a center but plays on the left wing. He has not played as a center for a while and his numbers explain why. His faceoff win % was 22.2% last season. It’s highly unlikely he will ever be utilized down the middle. 

The only reason he was a bottom six player with Tampa is because of how stacked their roster was. He will find a home on the left wing somewhere in the top or middle six. One could assume he’ll be on a line with Andrew Mangiapane and Mikael Backlund. They’re solid players who hustle and can play at both ends of the ice. This would be an ideal fit to start the season.

The 29 year old is exactly the player Darryl Sutter likes. He’s a hard worker who grinds and doesn’t stop. Coleman eats a lot of minutes and makes an impact through every shift. His success on that third line in Tampa speaks for itself. There is an energy to him that the Flames team is lacking. 

With Mark Giordano gone, the Flames have a void in leadership. There is an evident disconnect in the locker room. Coleman can’t wave a magic wand and fix the supposed divide but I do think he is someone who can command a room. He can preach about what rewards come with hard work. The recent success will speak louder than someone who won a championship a decade ago. The locker room should look at Coleman with googly eyes and hang onto every word he says. If they want to win, they will emulate his work ethic. They’ll want to model their game after him. 

There was a lot of initial concern for the backend of this contract. Six years is quite a long time for anyone but especially someone who turns 30 about a month into the season. You can’t focus on the back end of the deal. Look at the first three to four years. It’s reported he has a full no movement clause for the first three and then it is lifted for season four and beyond. There’s no need to overthink this move. It’s not an overpay by any means. This is a major improvement for the Flames forward group and will be a difference maker in this coming season. This is what gives your team an edge to get to the postseason. Now, I’m not saying you’ll have a deep run just because of this elevation in your roster but it does give you more to work with. 

Coleman told the media that he and his wife chatted with team members and their wives when making a decision. Ultimately, they wanted to be around “good people” and the Flames family welcomed them with open arms.