May 10, 2015; Anaheim, CA, USA; Calgary Flames center Mikael Backlund (11) falls over Anaheim Ducks center Andrew Cogliano (7) as they battle for the puck during the third period in game five of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
2014-15 regular-season record: 45-30-7
Postseason fate: Lost in the Western Conference semifinals, 4-1 to Anaheim
Cap space at this moment: Close to $22 million
(Just an FYI, the “cap space at this moment” figures in these links won’t match what is written in this post because the figures in the links have not yet been adjusted to fall in line with the newly announced salary cap for 2015-16.)
The Flames might stick out as an option because they took Brandon Bollig and his awful contract off the ’Hawks’ plate before the 2014-15 season, as part of their Summer of Signing Gritty Players. The Flames qualifying for the playoffs, and making it as far in the playoffs as they did, has pretty much been chalked up as a fluke by everyone outside Calgary. It would be right in Bowman’s wheelhouse to play on the Flames’ belief they’re closer to a Cup than they actually are and get them to take Bickell.
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If the Flames were to start the 2015-16 season with the lineup they used toward last season’s end, they’ve got Johnny Gaudreau at first-line left wing, and then it falls off the table to two guys with less than a year’s worth of NHL experience combined in Micheal Ferland and Sam Bennett, and then Bollig. So Bickell would conceivably be a step up for them, especially with his ample NHL experience (ample compared to Ferland and Bennett). Plus, despite Calgary’s gritty looking moves last offseason, Bickell had fewer hits than just one Flame, winger Lance Bouma. So Calgary could see value in adding Bickell, as it did in adding Bollig.