January 20 2016 10:00AM
Right now, much of the trade talk surrounding the Calgary Flames is focused on pending unrestricted free agents Jiri Hudler, David Jones, and Kris Russell. Any and all conversation surrounding the futures of those three players is very much warranted. But those three aren't the only potential trade chips the Flames have right now. With less than six weeks to go before the deadline, I've got three less obvious players to keep an eye on, too.
Colborne's utilization has been one of the biggest hot button topics among Flames fans this season. But regardless of how much or little you think he should be playing, I do know a few things for certain about Colborne: he's 6'5, he has pretty decent hands, and he's a former first round pick. These are all things that some people in the hockey world value highly, which means Calgary might be able to turn Colborne into a pretty decent return.
There are other things that make Colborne potentially attractive in a trade, too. At the age of (almost) 26, he's not considered old and might still have another year or so left of progression in him. Colborne is also on an affordable contract that carries a cap hit of just $1.275 million, making him easy to fit in other salary structures. On top of that, Colborne is a pending restricted free agent which keeps him a controllable asset for any team acquiring him.
I'd have no problem if Colborne were to remain with Calgary on another affordable, short term contract. He's passable if used somewhat sparingly and, as I said, might still have another year left of gradual improvement. In the end, though, Colborne is not a core member of this group and could very well be enticing to other general managers. If there's a trade that might fetch, say, a third round pick, I think it's something the Flames need to consider doing.
This is a very interesting player to me. I like Granlund as a prospect and I think there's a decent amount of potential for him at the NHL level. As it stands right now, he is a very ineffective NHLer and likely shouldn't be playing everyday minutes at the highest level. However, at the age of 22, there's still plenty of time for him to develop. Typically this would not be a player I'd include on a list of potential Calgary trade assets.
What makes this case different, though, is the organization's depth at centre. Granlund is not going to play ahead of Sean Monahan or Sam Bennett down the road, that much is certain. Could he be a potential replacement for Mikael Backlund down the road? I mean, yeah, maybe that could happen, but he's not on Backlund's level right now and is likely a few years away from that ever happening. At the NHL level, there doesn't seem to be a natural fit longterm for Granlund.
What makes things even more convoluted is what else the Flames have in the system down the middle. Prior to his injury, the team was very high on Bill Arnold's season in Stockton. Mark Jankowski is in his senior season at Providence College and is a former first round pick of this team. Drew Shore, Derek Grant, and Freddie Hamilton are all 25 or under right now, too. The fact is, there's just as much of a chance Granlund is replaceable in the organization as there is of him solidifying his spot in the big picture.
So where does this put him when it comes to a trade? Well, because Granlund is still young, there's going to be some natural interest in him. I see Granlund as part of a bigger deal that goes to address an area of need elsewhere. I think he's a less likely player to move before the deadline, but I would not surprised to see Granlund be a part of a package moved out during the offseason.
Ramo's future with the team could very well be tied to their exploits on the ice over the next month or so. If this team fights their way back into hot contention for a Pacific Division playoff spot, then this probably isn't a relevant topic. It's a far more valid conversation if the Flames are still five or six points out closer to the deadline.
Ramo has played some pretty decent hockey in recent times. Specifically since December 1st, Ramo has given Calgary number one quality goaltending over a decent stretch of time. It's the first time since joining the Flames, and the first time in his NHL career, that Ramo has played at a number one level for an extended period of time. It's not enough to convince us that he's a bona fide everyday starter going forward, but it is likely enough to pique the interest of other NHL teams.
For a team looking for a little more backup insurance between the pipes come the postseason, Ramo could make a nice fit. Maybe just as importantly, Ramo could very likely help a team trying to rest their number one goalie down the stretch in the regular season by playing a decent amount of games in March and early April. It's tough to manage the minutes of a number one goalie at a desired rate while still fighting for a decent playoff seed. Bringing in a guy like Ramo could potentially make that job a whole lot easier.
Remember, just like Hudler and Russell, Ramo is a pending UFA at the end of the season. For a team looking for some help, that probably makes him more attractive. Thus, that boosts the value the Flames could potentially get back to him. More than the other two players mentioned here, though, his trade status is far more tied to where the team is in the standings.