June 14 2013 09:31AM
Jay Feaster and Craig Conroy have been vocal in the media about the Flames wishes of moving up from the 6th spot in this years draft. Of course, almost every team not in the top-5 currently is likely saying the same thing given the density and quality of the talent that resides at the top end.
Calgary may be uniquely positioned to make this sort of move, though, assuming they can find a willing trade partner. With three other first rounders, including 6th overall, plus more than a few veteran bodies they'd be willing to move, Calgary might be able to make a move down palatable to one of Colorado, Florida, Tampa Bay, Nashville or Carolina.
From my perspective, the best target might be Florida. The Panthers have been "rebuilding" (again) since Dale Tallon took the reins and have garnered 10 picks in the first two rounds over the last three entry drafts, including guys like Eric Gudbranson, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad and Quinton Howden. Last season, no less than nine guys 22 years old or younger suited up for the Panthers over the course of the 48 game regular season.
Which isn't to say they couldn't use yet another young talent in the Nate MacKinnon/Jonathan Drouin mould - only that Florida is at a different point of their rebuild cycle than Calgary and likely have slightly different priorities, ie; becoming competitive sooner rather than later. In addition, the Panthers are poised to lose long-time first line center Stephen Weiss to unrestricted free agency and there isn't a lot available via the UFA pool to help them compensate for that sort of loss.
So, in sum: the Panthers have a lot of upcoming youngsters, have a need to get better sooner rather than later, could use more than one established, veteran body and will be needing at least one top-six forward to assuage the loss of Weiss.
The Flames, in response, could offer them the 6th overall pick (dropping FLA down only 4 places), a player like Cammalleri or Tanguay to fold into the top of the rotation and probably another pick later in the draft (be it 22 or 28). With 2nd overall, the Flames could pick Nate MacKinnon (assuming COL takes Seth Jones) who projects to be an elite talent, which is what the Calgary organization desperately needs above all else.
Of course, this is all completely speculative and we can't know just how interested or wiling the Panthers would be in such a move. Still, from a 50,000 foot level it seems like the building blocks of a potential deal are there.
- Shero is nuts if he doesn't buy-out or trade MA Fleury this summer. We can't necessarily take his recent very public defense of the Pens (former?) starter as an iron clad indication he won't be moving him out, but that's how it sounds right now. The justification that rippled across twitter at the time of the press conference was (paraphrased) "we can't replace Fleury's 40 wins a season".
Which is ridiculous, because of course you can. Easily, given the collection of skaters the Penguins boast. Vokoun is signed through next season and I'm completely certain he'd win as many - or more - games as Fleury over the same amount of starts. The kid has been mediocre for pretty much his entire NHL career and his reputation as a quality goalies has been built on his draft pedigree and the strength of his club almost exclusively.
What's more, Pittsburgh has some very urgent cap issues they need resolve over the next 12 months owing to Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang needing fat new contracts. Paying over $5M for an eminently replaceable puckstopper in those circumstances is bonkers.
And, no, the Flames shouldn't inquire about Fleury should he become available this summer.
- John Davidson was on the FAN960 this morning and noted he never had talks with the Flames about potentially joining the organization after he left the Blues. Make of that what you will.
- I was notified recently that Schanks is hosting a Sports Trivia Summer Showdown on June 25th in support of Kids Up Front Calgary, a charity that "provides children and teens with experiences that foster possibilities, passions and dreams … one ticket a time." The entry fee is only $60 for a team of four and the prize for the first overall team is $500 cash and $400 in Schanks gift cards.
So if you want to show off your sports trivia, win some money and support a good local charity, make sure to check it out. If you want more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.