Flames Offseason Targets: Noah Gregor
All the talk this offseason has been around Johnny Gaudreau, Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangipane. Deservedly so. But one thing that needs to be mentioned is that Calgary is going to need to fill out the rest of their lineup with cheap talent. Noah Gregor could be a good, inexpensive, depth option for the Flames this summer.
Noah Gregor – 24 Years Old – 6’0, 190 Pounds – LW/C/RW – San Jose Sharks
Noah Gregor is a 24-year-old, versatile forward with the San Jose Sharks. He played in 63 NHL games last season, the most in his young career so far. After the conclusion of the regular season, Noah joined Team Canada at the World Hockey Championship in Finland where he played a support role on the bottom 6. Gregor is poised to break out within the next couple seasons, and I hope the Flames can take advantage of that.
There are a few reasons why Gregor would be a great fit with the Flames.
Gregor is an outstanding skater at the NHL level. One of his best skills is his ability to get to pucks first on the forecheck, and also beat defensemen wide in 1 on 1 situations. The Flames desperately need to add speed to their forward group that includes below average skaters like Matthew Tkachuk, Sean Monahan, Milan Lucic and Tyler Toffoli. As we saw in this years playoffs, speed kills. And the Flames as currently constructed are not fast enough to beat teams like Colorado and Edmonton.
Gregor is on the precipice of having a true breakout season. He finished the 21/22 season strong by putting up 15 points in 32 games (38 point pace over 82 games). He did that while playing on a San Jose 3rd line with linemates like Rudolfs Balcers and Thomas Bordeleau. Gregor would have more offensive success in Calgary if he was playing with Tyler Toffoli, Dillon Dube, or Mikael Backlund.
Gregor has the potential to play a similar game, and have similar statistical output to Blake Coleman. But Gregor could be that player 6 years younger and on a much better contract. Gregor has the potential to be a valuable middle 6 winger who can play on the PK and maybe even on a 2nd power play unit.
Young and Cheap
Gregor will be 24 years old to start the 2022/23 season. He is just about to enter the prime of his career and could play those seasons on an inexpensive contract. It’s unlikely that the Flames could trade for Gregor as he is a young asset that the Sharks will want to keep. The way Calgary can acquire him is to force him out of San Jose via an offer sheet.
San Jose is in salary cap hell as of July 2nd, 2022. The Sharks only have $5,667,500 of projected cap space to work with. They still need to sign Mario Ferraro who will take up most of that number, and at least 3 more forwards at the bottom of their lineup. Gregor is in a prime position to be offer sheeted because San Jose might not be able to afford to keep him.
The Flames can offer Gregor a short term 1–2-year deal with an AAV of $1,386,489 and not give up any draft pick compensation. It would be like signing an unrestricted free agent.
Gregor would seriously consider signing that deal. San Jose is in no mans land because of their salary cap situation and aging roster. Because of this they are likely not going to be a legitimate playoff team for a number of years. And Gregor is a Western Canadian kid born and raised outside of Edmonton. It would be a dream come true for him to play for a Western Canadian franchise like the Flames.
These are the types of deals Calgary should be looking to make. No more signing 30-31 year old free agent depth players to long term deals. Take risks on young, up and coming talent who will not cost you a lot to obtain and retain long term. Noah Gregor fits that mold perfectly.