Seller's Guide to the Calgary Flames

Robert Vollman
February 02 2012 10:18AM

 

 

Calgary's post-season chances are somewhere between 15% and 30%, and based on GM Jay Feaster's recent tweet that "our mandate is to win now" are unlikely to be among the sellers making a lot of waves at the trade deadline.

Though likely to merely stand pat, Calgary has $4.3 million in cap space now, and $5.2 million at the trade deadline, and could be buyers if they go on a bit of a roll in February.

If instead February proves to be a struggle, there are a lot of players potentially available to NHL teams looking to rent someone to improve their own post-season picture.  Here are Calgary's most recent moves this year.

Out:
Rene Bourque, Brendan Mikkelson, Brendan Morrison, John Negrin, Patrick Holland, 2nd Rounder, Niklas Hagman

In:
Mike Cammalleri, Blair Jones, Blake Comeau, Karri Ramo, 5th Rounder, Brian Connelly, Akim Aliu, Krys Kolanos

Waivers:
Brett Carson

The Calgary Flames have been trying to become both younger and faster.  Top penalty killer and goal scorer Curtis Glencross is out six weeks, but even when he was in the line-up Calgary needed more top-six scoring.  They could also really use some solid defensemen, but if the picture is bleak enough they are likely going to give preference to trade offers that include draft picks and prospects.

On Contract

The Calgary Flames will likely be so hesitant to move established players like Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, Mark Giordano, Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Tanguay that a team would be far better off looking elsewhere for such pieces. You know, unless they're willing to part with someone really special like Gary Leeman or Steve Bozek.

Matt Stajan
$3.5M for 2 more years

Rented from Toronto in the Dion Phaneuf sell-off, and subsequently overvalued during contract negotiation by former GM Darryl Sutter. Currently playing on the 4th line, and just like the deal that sent Ales Kotalik to the Buffalo Sabres this summer, Calgary's likely to throw in something of value to any team willing to take this contract off their hands.

Anton Babchuk
$2.5M for 1 more year

A power play specialist who simply can't be trusted at even-strength, even when sheltered carefully on the 3rd unit.  Could actually be a welcome addition to a team that already has plenty of solid minute-eating defensemen and cap space but needs a little help with the man advantage. Available for a late pick, an AHLer or a bag of practise pucks.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Cory Sarich
$3.6M

A 3rd-pairing veteran stay-at-home defenseman with a 2004 Stanley Cup ring.  Hard hitting, but slow and can't kill penalties.  Likely to move, probably in exchange for a middling pick or prospect.

Olli Jokinen
$3.0M

A 2nd line centre who has consistently been one of Calgary's top power play options. Has gradually evolved into a more two-way player, killing penalties and playing top opponents in lead-defending situations. Might not be available unless Calgary's post-season chances really start to plummet, at which point he could be obtained for a solid pick or prospect.

Lee Stempniak
$1.9M

Acquired in the Daymond Langkow trade with the Phoenix Coyotes this summer.  A veteran jack-of-all-trades, has been primarily used as a two-way, third line forward and penalty-killer, occasionally filling in on the 2nd line. Like Jokinen, only available if Calgary starts to tank, at which point he can probably be acquired quite reasonably for a fast-skating prospect or decent draft choice.

David Moss
$1.3M

Currently injured, but could be surprisingly useful 2nd or 3rd line forward if healthy. Plays solid two-way hockey but is unlikely to be moved due both to his health and the likelihood of his being undervalued in any trade offers.

Scott Hannan
$1.0M

A veteran defensive-minded defenseman being used as a penalty killer and on the 2nd pairing with Mark Giordano. Was acquired by Washington from Colorado last year for Tomas Fleischmann, but could likely be acquired from the Flames for far less, unless they're still in the playoff hunt at the time.

Tom Kostopoulos
$0.9M

Veteran depth forward being used on the 4th line, and a secondary penalty-killing choice. Has played just three post-season series in his entire ten-season career, but could be worth picking up for a little depth. A tough player, but no fighter - Kostopoulous has the worst won-loss fight record of any current NHL player. Would likely move for a middling pick or prospect.

Derek Smith
$0.7M

An accomplished high-scoring AHL defenseman, signed as a free agent this off-season and has played on Calgary's 3rd unit quite capably almost all year. The Flames might be more attached to this replacement-level blueliner than they should be, and reject otherwise reasonable offers of a middling pick or prospect.

Raitis Ivanans
$0.6M

An accomplished fighter but an absolutely brutal skater who has played just two games in the past two seasons. Has been on waivers multiple times with no takers. Available for free.

Tim Jackman
$0.55M

Was one of the league's best fourth-liners in 2009-10, but the veteran is having a rougher go of it this year. Has never played in the post-season (Columbus, Phoenix, Los Angeles, NY Islanders and Calgary), but could be useful depth on a play-off run.  Likely available for a middling pick or prospect.

Pierre-Luc Leblond
$0.5M

Essentially an AHL-level fighter, with skills otherwise so poor that a play-off roster spot would be a tragic waste. Acquired from New Jersey for a 5th round choice in the 2012 draft and would gladly be dealt for less.

Guillaume Desbiens
$0.5M

A gritty AHL-level player, unlikely to be of value and on this list only to make Leblond and Ivanans look more attractive.

Restricted Free Agents

The Flames are unlikely to move any of their RFAs unless they have no long-term plans for them. Newly acquired players like Blake Comeau, Blair Jones, Akim Aliu, and Brian Connelly are likely to be re-signed.

Mikael Backlund
$1.3M

Mikael Backlund has been playing some of the tougher, top-six minutes and one of the few forwards with whom the Calgary Flames enjoy territorial advantage, but has had absolutely brutal luck leaving him looking terrible on paper. It would be a shame if Calgary gave up on him because he'd be an absolute steal for any club that could entice the Flames to bite on what would likely be a very modest trade offer.

Leland Irving
$0.6M

Played well in all but one of his five outings when back-up Henrik Karlsson was injured, possibly well enough to have won the job if Karlsson wasn't already signed for next year. Given their recent acquistion of Karri Ramo, Leland Irving might actually be available, but not for nothing.

Paul Byron
$0.55M

A tiny forward acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in the summer's Robyn Regehr trade. Used mostly as an injury call-up in a 4th line role, and has looked mostly terrible. Given his age and his potential he's not likely to be available for trade, and probably wouldn't be useful to anyone in the short-term anyway.

Other RFAs: Logan MacMillan, Jordan Henry, Ryley Grantham, Stefan Meyer

Conclusion

How the Calgary Flames respond to trade offers depends on how the next couple of weeks unfold. If any teams are looking to acquire a sound defensive depth option on the blue line like Cory Sarich or Scott Hannan, or a little scoring help up front like Olli Jokinen or Lee Stempniak, they have to hope Calgary falters the next couple of weeks - otherwise the only players available will be of the far less desirable 4th-line variety.
 

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Rob Vollman of www.HockeyAbstract.com is a regular feature writer on ESPN Insider, co-author of Hockey Prospectus 2010-11 and 2011-12, and regular contributor to NHL Numbers, Flames Nation and Arctic Ice Hockey. Innovator of Player Usage Charts, Quality Starts, GVS (Goals Versus Salary), the Snepsts Projection System, and known for work in League Equivalencies (NHLE). Twitter: @robvollmanNHL
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#2 TheGreenHammer
February 02 2012, 01:00PM
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I would love to see the Flames go 1 and 4 in their next 5. Flames are 3 points out of the playoffs, but only 5 points ahead of a lottery pick, and both TB and NYI are hot right now. If flames sell its not unrealistic to think we could find ourselves in a lottery position in a draft where most writers have picks 2-7 as a bit of a toss up.

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#3 RexLibris
February 02 2012, 04:11PM
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@Kevin R

Wait. Hemsky worth a second round pick? Come on, man. He's worth Jordan Staal and a first round pick and a prospect too if he's worth anything! Hemsky is the best second line, 5 on 5 playmaking winger from Paradubice in the NHL!

Sorry, I was channelling a Leafs/Canucks fan there for a second. My apologies.

Honestly I think Hemsky's value this year may, at best, have held what it would have been last trade deadline if only because (injuries aside) this seems to the the season of the "top six winger". Depth defensemen have been en vogue since Buffalo was holding their blueline together with bailing twine and prayers back in '06. Hemsky is a good player, and the minute we move him the question will be "where can we find a playmaking right winger who will go to the traffic areas?"

Guys like Hannan and Sutton I see as being in the 3rd round pick range. Unless they can be packaged with other assets. Hemsky and Sutton together might return more when moved together to an appropriate team than were they to be moved seperately.

My personal favourite part of trade deadline day is the "Brian Burke interview" where all the obedient media hounds rush him to ask why he didn't make a move for Jeff Carter or Rick Nash or Sidney Crosby giddy at the prospect of being abused by the great man with the undone tie, to show that he has been working very very hard but that the deals made today were all done by backwater rubes who don't understand hockey on the same level that he and Ron Wilson do. I'm sorry, was that a rant?

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#4 xis10ce
February 02 2012, 10:41AM
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It's not out of the question, but if Calgary goes 1-4 in the next 5, we might be changing out mandate from "win now" to "sell now" in a hurry. More so if the teams we are chasing win more than loose in that same stretch. Question is will mgmt be smart enough to see we are a lost cause should it come to that.

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#5 kevin r
February 02 2012, 11:16AM
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Good breakdown Robert. I think some of these may be undervalued slightly in a Sellers market that is upon us once again. I think grinders like Jackman & Kosto may get us more as most of the top contenders are all looking for these type of pieces for the long playoff haul. A 3rd rounder can be had by a shrewd GM generating a bit of a bidding war. I think Sarich & Hannan would be worth selling regardless where we sit by the deadline. Even if we are 3-4 points out & bunched up up 3-4 other teams for that 8th spot, there is a huge possibility we dont make it. I think Wilson & with Smith coming back from injury, we wont see much drop off to what we have now with the likes of JBO/Gio/Brodie/Butler/Smith/Wilson & all likelihood Babchuk wont generate much interest anyway as a 7 th insurance Dman. The way the big fish Dmen are getting resigned and coming off the market I have visions of 2nd & 3rd rounders dancing in my head for Sarich & Hannan. Leafs are one of a few teams that have the D depth & could part with a 5-6 dman with upside but they are in 7th place in the East & will want a much bigger piece coming back that contenders are not prepared to part with.

If we stink & go like 1-4 through the next 5 games, do you see bigger pieces coming into play & would that be wise selling in that short time frame?

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#6 SmellOfVictory
February 02 2012, 11:51AM
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At the very least, regardless of the Flames' position come trade deadline, I think we can expect to see the hind end of The Anton.

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#7 loudogYYC
February 02 2012, 11:54AM
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Here's to hoping the Flames bomb the next 9 games. Maybe mgmt will remember what Ken King said about being fooled into thinking they were a better team than they were last year.

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#8 Bob in the Abbey
February 02 2012, 12:08PM
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With Mike Green out with injury, the Capitals are without a solid PP D-man and they could use more depth on their 3rd/4th lines. I wonder if they'd consider Babchuk and Stajan for Alzner? Alzner won't get you many points (and I know this team is goal starved) but he's young and has turned into a pretty good shutdown defenseman.

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#10 marty
February 02 2012, 12:16PM
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great breakdown. Ya my worries are IF the flames are buyers, how do you buy something of value for something not of value (babs, stajan, sarich etc.) can't see them throwing in their 1st, don't have a second and what really can you get with a 3rd and any of the above players????? probably not what they need. I know it will not happen this season but i wonder if a different coach would make a difference? kolanos, jones, cammy 3rd line? jackman,kosto, stajan offensive zone starts?? anyways now some random info.

Steve Bozek career NHL numbers 641gm 164g 167a 331pts 309pims. He also held the kings record for most goals by a rookie (33) until Luc Robitaille broke it in 1986 (45). By no means an allstar but had a nice little career. Plus gets to be in alot of trivia questions as to who was the throw in player in the Brett Hall deal.

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#12 Kenta
February 02 2012, 12:30PM
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Looks like a bunch of Farmer Jonz quality used cars to me who will have few takers. Maybe we can package some of them for Gomez...

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#13 JF
February 02 2012, 01:02PM
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Stempniak is out 6 weeks with a high Ankle sprain... I think you can drop his return value done near zero.

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#14 OilFan
February 02 2012, 01:29PM
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Flames are a lottery team. I've been saying this all season. Why would teams take on the plug players you have listed when other teams have picks and prospects to offer ?

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#15 RexLibris
February 02 2012, 01:57PM
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@kevin r

That's funny, because I was thinking the opposite on a few of those valuations. but we've debated the relative value of some of the Flames expiring UFAs already. I guess we'll just never agree on anything. Except the Leafs.

That being said, Hannan for a 3rd round pick from a team like Washington or Boston that expects that to be a late-round pick isn't impossible. And indeed, if Feaster could create a small bidding war it would help, I just don't know that he has any pieces he'll be looking to move that aren't found elsewhere in the league. For Sarich it might be closer to a 4th round pick if only because Feaster won't have as much leverage with the NMC.

I'm very anxious to see if Feaster tries to make a big move at the deadline.

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#16 Mitch2
February 02 2012, 02:11PM
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Great breakdown Rob.

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#17 Kevin R
February 02 2012, 02:51PM
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RexLibris wrote:

That's funny, because I was thinking the opposite on a few of those valuations. but we've debated the relative value of some of the Flames expiring UFAs already. I guess we'll just never agree on anything. Except the Leafs.

That being said, Hannan for a 3rd round pick from a team like Washington or Boston that expects that to be a late-round pick isn't impossible. And indeed, if Feaster could create a small bidding war it would help, I just don't know that he has any pieces he'll be looking to move that aren't found elsewhere in the league. For Sarich it might be closer to a 4th round pick if only because Feaster won't have as much leverage with the NMC.

I'm very anxious to see if Feaster tries to make a big move at the deadline.

You're not wrong given normal conditions from Oct thru Jan on the returns. Its just as we ramp up to the deadline in February, things get so hyped on all the sports channels that if demand way exceeds supply, which seems to be happening, I see overpayments being had. Last month, Hemsky would be lucky to get you a 2nd but on Feb 25, you may get a 1st & a prospect. It's a silly time of year where GM's can rationalize goofy decisions with that old saying "we're here lets roll the dice" 2nd & 3rd rounders are more expendable in those scenarios & I think Feaster needs to exploit this regardless where we stand Feb 27th.

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#18 SmellOfVictory
February 02 2012, 03:15PM
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OilFan wrote:

Flames are a lottery team. I've been saying this all season. Why would teams take on the plug players you have listed when other teams have picks and prospects to offer ?

On what planet does a team making a playoff run give a crap about picks and prospects? I know you've been conditioned to hold the two things as the almighty in hockey as an Oilers fan, but when a team is trying to win a cup (or even simply make the playoffs) they want actual, proven, NHLers. That includes good bottom 6 forwards and bottom pairing defencemen.

@Bob In The Abbey: That trade has an infinitesimal chance of happening. Neither Stajan nor Babchuk have even a fifth the value that Alzner has (I wanted to say tenth, but I'd rather understate than overstate). The caps also have two solid PP options in Carlson and Wideman (only thing Wideman's actually good at), and they've got a number of forwards who can play the point if necessary; notably, Ovechkin has done so many times in the past.

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#19 Kevin R
February 02 2012, 04:54PM
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@RexLibris

Yes Rex that was a rant, but quite an enjoyable rant. Particularily liked the Canuck reference because they seem to think they can get Corey Perry with Raymond & a few other insignificant parts. When you tell them Kesler & Raymond need to be going back you can hear their behinds puckering on line.

I really dont see any big moves by Calgary this year. But just wait until this time next year. Too bad, I would even settle for a UFA blowout, including Joker, in attempts to secure as many picks as possible, & possibly package multi picks with one of our better prospects(I know,we dont have that many) to get a top 8 1st rounder. If Patty doesnt like the phone lines now, just wait & see if we do nothing & miss the playoffs again. Heaven help the last call in show on the last game of the year.:) :)

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#20 everton fc
February 02 2012, 04:56PM
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Seems to me the Flyers could a guy like Hannan...

Sort of off topic; would Matt Gilroy w/the Bolts, UFA, always in the plus... He's making the same as Hannan... If he were available, would anyone here think he might be worth a punt as a 5-6 man next season? Or even now, if you could get something from a team like the Flyers for Hannan? (I don't think they'd want Sarich)

Just a concept. Read Gilroy might be available. I know there are better.

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#21 SmellOfVictory
February 02 2012, 09:26PM
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everton fc wrote:

Seems to me the Flyers could a guy like Hannan...

Sort of off topic; would Matt Gilroy w/the Bolts, UFA, always in the plus... He's making the same as Hannan... If he were available, would anyone here think he might be worth a punt as a 5-6 man next season? Or even now, if you could get something from a team like the Flyers for Hannan? (I don't think they'd want Sarich)

Just a concept. Read Gilroy might be available. I know there are better.

Don't think he's worth a go. Even if the Flames dump a 3rd pairing dman or eight, they've got plenty to spare right now. I presume they'll hold onto Smith, they've got that new dude from the Hawks whose name escapes me, and then they'll likely have at least one of Piskula/Wilson (can't remember the contract status of either of them). I won't count Brodie because I wouldn't be surprised to see him move into 2nd pairing minutes next season - if he doesn't, he'll be a hell of a 5th defenceman.

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#22 suba steve
February 02 2012, 09:31PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Yes Rex that was a rant, but quite an enjoyable rant. Particularily liked the Canuck reference because they seem to think they can get Corey Perry with Raymond & a few other insignificant parts. When you tell them Kesler & Raymond need to be going back you can hear their behinds puckering on line.

I really dont see any big moves by Calgary this year. But just wait until this time next year. Too bad, I would even settle for a UFA blowout, including Joker, in attempts to secure as many picks as possible, & possibly package multi picks with one of our better prospects(I know,we dont have that many) to get a top 8 1st rounder. If Patty doesnt like the phone lines now, just wait & see if we do nothing & miss the playoffs again. Heaven help the last call in show on the last game of the year.:) :)

Seems Canuck fans are a lot like some Flames fans. Flames fans who continue to insisting that we may fetch Alzner for Stajan and Babchuk (AKA our refuse that no one wants),but at the right price may take off our hands. That price my friends, is not Alzner. Remember Kotalik with a 2nd to Buffalo, that kind of price. But you never know, Feaster got Cammi for Bourque, you never know. What would Cammi get us at the deadline, more then Bourque I should think. Later.

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#23 FireOnIce
February 02 2012, 10:25PM
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Offload some of the spare parts to Buffalo for say, Derek Roy. $5.5M contract with a year left after this season and his trade value is low right now. Also, he doesn't have the same off-ice, attitude issues as Carter, is cheaper, and a much shorter contract term.

Stajan + Babchuk for Roy. Do it Feaster.

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#24 Jeff Lebowski
February 02 2012, 10:45PM
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Does Mikael Backlund really have bad luck or is it just bad hands?

He's nifty but he hasn't shown to be dangerous. I see Sami Pahlsson. I hope I'm wrong.

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#25 Derzie
February 02 2012, 11:00PM
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Stajan & Babchuk for Roy?? That's a gutbuster FireOnIce. For Stajan & Babchuk you might get Tie Domi out of retirement but you wouldn't even get Roy's picture for S&B, let alone his contract.

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#26 suba steve
February 03 2012, 06:07AM
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FireOnIce wrote:

Offload some of the spare parts to Buffalo for say, Derek Roy. $5.5M contract with a year left after this season and his trade value is low right now. Also, he doesn't have the same off-ice, attitude issues as Carter, is cheaper, and a much shorter contract term.

Stajan + Babchuk for Roy. Do it Feaster.

Running out of ways to respond to this type of trade offer. Please see comments #22 and #25. I guess to sum it up; you generally have to give up something good, to get something good (two exceptions being the Phaneuf and Gilmour trades).

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#27 ChinookArch
February 03 2012, 06:58AM
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@RexLibris

"My personal favourite part of trade deadline day is the "Brian Burke interview" where all the obedient media hounds rush him to ask why he didn't make a move for Jeff Carter or Rick Nash or Sidney Crosby giddy at the prospect of being abused by the great man with the undone tie, to show that he has been working very very hard but that the deals made today were all done by backwater rubes who don't understand hockey on the same level that he and Ron Wilson do. I'm sorry, was that a rant?"

Nicely put. Brian Burke is a boob! Unfortunatley, the legions of Leaf fans and reporters just love to hear about how smart the Leafs management team is.

@Kevin R

A UFA blowout would be a welcome event for me.

Am I the only one who doesn't believe a word that Feaster is saying? His message is "We're going for it", but what is he suppose to say to fans and Flames players - We're following Edmonton into the abyss? This would be the first GM to say one thing and do another. Also, with a mix of trades and picks for our UFA's why can't the Flames do both? With the exception of Jokinen, who would be missed?

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#28 negrilcowboy
February 03 2012, 09:28AM
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any or all trades need to be carefully scrutinized, as of late feaster has been acquiring the late 20 something career ahlers, this is not the way to building a contender. unless its the calder not the stanley cup which is covetted. a well defined plan and course of action is needed, as of today double k and company have yet to commit to such a direction. unload iggy, kipper and ollie for youth and picks.

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