The signing of center Dominik Simon by the Calgary Flames on Thursday was obviously not one of the biggest free agent signings in the offseason so far. Simon, a native of Prague, Czech Republic, only had 22 points in 64 regular season games with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2019-20, but the signing could be the first domino in a series of moves Flames General Manager Brad Treliving makes to improve the Flames forwards.
The signing of Simon was the first significant move Treliving made to improve the Flames forward position. It came almost two weeks after free agency started. So far, the two biggest moves the Flames have made were signing goaltender Jacob Markstrom to a six year contract worth $36 million, and defenseman Chris Tanev to a four year deal worth $18 million.
The Flames are obviously very familiar with what Markstrom and Tanev bring to the table. That is because Markstrom and Tanev each come to Calgary from their Pacific Division rival, the Vancouver Canucks. For Simon, they would have seen less of him, as the checking-line forward was two time zones away and in the Eastern Conference.
Well, the real question here is by signing Simon, will the Flames make a decision and decide to move Johnny Gaudreau or Sean Monahan? There is no doubt that the Flames fan base is getting restless. Gaudreau has seemed to underperform in the postseason, and there is great speculation he could be moved to an American team in the northeastern United States, as Gaudreau is from New Jersey and went to Boston College. Monahan meanwhile just has not shown the same level of consistency as other number one centers in the NHL. In 2019-20, Monahan only had 48 points in 70 games after 82 points in 78 games from 2018-19.
Even though the Flames acquired Simon, the likelihood of him being in a top-six role where Monahan and Gaudreau are, is minimal. However this could be the start of a series of moves that Treliving makes to help spark the Flames offense for next season.