The draft board pages include every player who was left unprotected in the 1998 Expansion Draft. The overwhelming majority of players who do not carry over are either old, unproductive, injured, primarily used for fighting, marginal players, minor league veterans, or unsigned European prospects. The majority of pending UFAs (Group III, Group V, and Group VI) will not carry over. Exceptions to these rules are provided if the incumbent team left almost nothing of value available to choose from, in which case everyone gets at least a closer look.
As we are capped by league restrictions to selecting no more than six pending free agents, we must be judicious with our choices.
The Flames finished with 67 points, third from the bottom of the Pacific and Western Conference.
Goalies: Tyler Moss, Dwayne Roloson, Rick Tabaracci(Gr.II – RFA)
Defensemen: Joel Bouchard, Eric Charron(Gr.II – RFA), Kevin Dahl, Johan Finnstrom(UE), Keith McCambridge(Gr.II – RFA), James Patrick(Gr.III – UFA), Pavel Rajnoha(UE), Dmitri Riabykin(UE)
Forwards: Bobby Brown, Jim Dowd, Aaron Gavey, Mattias Johansson(UE), Jorgen Jonsson(UE), Andreas Karlsson(UE), Valeri Karpov, Esa Keskinen(UE), Jesper Mattsson(Gr.II – RFA), Marty Murray(Gr.II – RFA), Mike Peluso(Gr.III – UFA), Ron Stern(Gr.III – UFA), Ed Ward, Sergei Zolotov(UE)
Calgary leaves 25 players unprotected, of which we’re considered five. Tyler Moss is the only one of three goalies, Joel Bouchard the only one of eight defensemen, and Jim Dowd, Aaron Gavey, and Marty Murray make it through out of the fourteen forwards.
G Tyler Moss – 23-year-old goalie, originally a 2nd-round pick of Tampa Bay (1993)
The case for taking Moss – He’s played for six pro teams in three seasons, but has excelled in short stints no matter where he’s been. This past season, he was tremendous with Saint John in the AHL, helping backstop the team to six games in the Calder Cup Finals despite having little offense. With Saint John, he had a .940 save percentage and 1.91 GAA two seasons ago, and .923 and 2.49 this past year. Now that he’s stabilized in one place, his talent is really coming through.
The case against taking Moss – Tampa Bay made him a 2nd-round pick, then traded him four years later having not seen him in one NHL game. And it was straight-up for an aging third-pairing defenseman in Jamie Huscroft.
So far the entire file on Moss is one year in the IHL four seasons ago, when he was bad for Atlanta, and last year with Saint John. It’s not enough to go on at all. He could be a good pickup, or he could be atrocious. It’s quite literally a flip of the coin.
D Joel Bouchard – 24-year-old defenseman, originally a 6th-round pick of Calgary (1992)
The case for taking Bouchard – Mostly a scorer in juniors, Bouchard has remade himself into a defensive guy who’s been leaned on to help kill penalties in his two full-time NHL seasons. He’s still young and learning the ropes, but we should be able to get him decent ice time and see what we can get. He had 5 goals and 12 points last year in 44 games, and improved his +/- by 23.
The case against taking Bouchard – His offense was almost completely left in junior hockey; he hasn’t exactly burned up the scoresheet in the AHL either, let alone the NHL.
Two years ago, Bouchard was a team-worst -23 while also ranking second-last in points among all full-time defensemen. He only played 44 games this past season and spent time back in the AHL, which is hardly an encouraging sign for a guy who’d been in the NHL all of the previous season.
F Jim Dowd – 29-year-old forward, originally an 8th-round pick of New Jersey (1987)
The case for taking Dowd – A legend at Lake Superior State, where he led the team to a national championship as a senior while being named first-team All-American and a Hobey Baker finalist, Dowd has had a slightly more circuitous pro career. He’s played for five pro teams in the last three years. He’s been able to put up good scoring numbers in the minors, but can also play a defensive and penalty killing role in the NHL. He’s an ideal bottom-six center; he can win faceoffs, play solid defense, and chip in a little bit of offense. And if for some reason he can’t make our roster, he’ll be on the top two lines on our top affiliate and play extremely well.
The case against taking Dowd – He’s 29 years old and has played 144 career NHL games. Sure, he had an uphill climb to break into the Devils’ lineup just as they were beginning to rise to the status of contenders. But he’s also played for Vancouver as they were beginning to fall apart, and the Islanders and Flames as they were bottoming out. Yes, he’s done a fine job in the AHL; so have a lot of other guys we can choose from.
F Aaron Gavey – 24-year-old forward, originally a 4th-round pick of Tampa Bay (1992)
The case for taking Gavey – He’s a big center who broke through in a big way shortly after being drafted, going from 7 goals and 18 points to 45 goals and 84 points on a Soo Greyhounds team that won the Memorial Cup. The next year he had 42 goals and 102 points, and also was a big part of Canada’s 1994 WJC gold medal team. He hasn’t gotten a ton of ice time to this point in the NHL, mostly from playing on two teams that can’t figure out what exactly to do with him.
He’s got a lot of upside, but needs a chance to stick in one lineup.
The case against taking Gavey – He’s 24 and has gone from getting decent ice time on a playoff team to spending his season in the minors in less than four years. And even there he didn’t exactly look like future NHL material.
He’s also missed a lot of time: he played 26 NHL and 8 AHL games last year, and 57 NHL games the year before that.
F Marty Murray – 23-year-old forward, originally a 4th-round pick of Calgary (1993)
The case for taking Murray – He’s a creative center who can do a lot of little things, including producing offense. He was a part of two gold-winning Canadian WJC teams and led the 1995 tournament in scoring (15 points in 7 games) and has produced around a point a game in three AHL seasons. He hasn’t looked out of place in the slightest in Calgary, but hasn’t been given any type of an extended look to see what he can do.
The case against taking Murray -There are reports of an offer overseas if he’s not given a chance by Calgary, which is hardly a good sign. The last thing that we need on a first-year team is to waste an expansion pick on someone who then jumps to Europe if we can’t get him into the lineup.
He’s also a pending Group II free agent and would count against the limit.