Random Thoughts: Connor Brown, Trading for more Draft Picks, and the Calgary Flames

Photo credit:Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
10 months ago
It wouldn’t be a Saturday without a fresh round of Random Thoughts from your ol’ pal Baggedmilk, would it? Of course not. That’s why I’m emptying out my brain of all its delicious contents in the hopes that you can help me solve my latest round of questions. This week, I’m looking at the Connor Brown rumours, trading down at the draft, the Calgary exodus, and more.


Unless I’m misreading the situation by a country mile — it wouldn’t be the first time by any means — it almost seems like Connor Brown is already wearing an Oilers jersey despite free agency not opening for another week. We seem to want it, he has connections to the current team, and he’s already told Luke Gazdic he’d love to play with McDaddy. As we all know, teams are “not allowed” to talk to free agents prior to July 1st, but as Elliotte Friedman noted this past week on Oilers Now, that doesn’t mean Connor McDavid isn’t allowed to call his old friend to see what his plans are for October. What I’m wondering, though, is why the league maintains this charade that teams and free agents have no contact before July 1st because it’s going to be an incredible coincidence if Connor Brown’s deal comes down in the opening hour of free agency. That’s not a whole lot of time to talk about the terms, salary, and bonuses on what I imagine to be some pretty intricate contact. How do they do it? *wink* Then again, I could also see Connor Brown signing literally anywhere else and all of this noise is for nothing.


The closer we get to next week’s NHL Entry Draft, the more I wonder whether Ken Holland is going to trade back from pick 56 to land more selections down in the order. With only three draft picks available as I’m writing this, this could be one of the most boring Oilers drafts in recent memory unless Old Dutch can pull the trigger on a deal or two. That said, what can we reasonably expect him to do anyway? In my head, the only way Holland is going to realistically grab another pick or two is if he finds a taker for Kailer Yamamoto — you’d have to think there’s someone out there that that would give the Oilers a pick for a player that’s scored 20 goals before — and maybe trading down from 56 to land somewhere in the third round. Will it happen? We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m hoping for a little more action than seeing Edmonton wrap up the NHL Entry Draft with three new prospects to follow.


If I didn’t hate the Flames as much as I do after a Decade of Darkness worth of torment, I would almost feel sorry for their fanbase as the team is likely staring down the barrel of another off-season packed with player movement. Last year, as we all remember, Johnny Gaudreau bailed on them at the 11th hour and Matt Tkachuk got traded to Florida where he was within three wins of winning the Stanley Cup, two gut punches that many thought were erased when Brad Treliving acquired Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Mackenzie Weegar. Now, only one year later, Frank Seravalli is ruining Flames fans’ summer with reports that Backlund, Hanifin, and Toffoli are among the players that will not re-sign or just plain want out. While part of me wants to make fun of Flames fans until they crumble into a pile of flesh and tears, the reality is that the NHL is a whole lot more fun when the Battle of Alberta actually means something and this recent news makes it seem like that won’t be a thing again for a while. So what can we say about all of this? Well, I think the first thing to mention is that this is what Flames fans get for making fun of all of us for a literal decade. The second is that it’s likely to be a while until the BOA means something again, and that bums me out because beating them in the playoffs was a hell of a lot of fun.


Isn’t it weird to think that the NHL’s salary cap has only risen by $2 million in the four years that Ken Holland has been our GM? That’s nuts to me. And frankly, the fact that he’s been able to get as much done as he has with next to no cap flexibility should be commended even if we don’t always agree with the decisions he’s made. Now, staring down the barrel of another season with limited cap space, it’s going to be interesting to see how Ken Holland navigates the summer and where he lands on some key decisions such as the Evan Bouchard extension and potential Connor Brown contract.


Normally, I wouldn’t ever write about the CFL because I don’t pay much attention, but I’ve gotta admit that I’m excited to go check out my first Elks game in about seven years tomorrow. Yeah, I know the team has been terrible over the last few years — it’s amazing how quick to say that folks are when I mention that I’m going — but I’m looking forward to my trip back to Commonwealth Stadium since I saw Guns N’ Roses in 2017. If the weather can give us a break, I’m looking forward to spending the afternoon outside and drinking beers in support of a team that clearly could use some good vibes right now, and I plan to bring them.


This week’s episode of Better Lait Than Never was a lot of fun as I ran through more Silly Szn rumours and tried to get to the bottom of this Connor Brown chatter while also taking your voicemails that ranged from wanting to argue with me to presidential speeches. Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or anywhere else you get podcasts. New episodes come out every Wednesday.

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