Calgary's less obvious trade chips

Pat Steinberg
January 20 2016 10:00AM

salty-chips

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.

Joe Colborne

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.

Markus Granlund

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.

Karri Ramo

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.

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Pat Steinberg is the host of Calgary Flames Hockey and The Big Show on Sportsnet 960 The FAN. He likes advanced stats more than most other radio guys, but knows less about them than most of you reading right now. Follow Pat on Twitter @Fan960Steinberg.
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#51 wot96
January 20 2016, 05:16PM
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Jake the Snail wrote:

Colborne and Granlund are the types of players you can deal before the draft...keep them as insurance/development until the end of the season.

I agree.

I'm not a Colborne booster. His biggest problem is his deployment, imo, and that's not on him. If he gets traded, I obviously won't cry over that but I wouldn't mind him staying either, provided he doesn't get slotted into the top six. He is a low cost bottom six or bottom three alternative.

Try Granlund at wing, if he works, great - that will increase his value for trade or play purposes. If it doesn't work, get what you can get - but at the draft, not at the TDL as I think he needs a fair shot on wing.

With a caveat, for Ramo, I'd be tempted to re-sign him for a couple of years if his price point comes down. I think the team is done with Hiller but there isn't anyone in the system ready to step in full time. On the other hand, you can't sign him too long because if you do, that may slow the development of the goalies in the system.

The caveat is that if someone offers you something stupid for Ramo, I think you consider it very, very, hard but bear in mind that Hiller is probably gone at the end of the season because no goalie likes to be ignored for 30 games especially after the off-season trade rumours. Instead of a three headed monster, the Flames could end up with no proven goalie if they peddle Ramo. I know that's a possibility whether they trade him or not, but that could easily delay the rebuild and lead to a premature graduation of Gillies to the NHL.

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#52 MattyFranchise
January 20 2016, 05:51PM
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Johnny Goooooooaldreau wrote:

The key is that Toews & Kane have a cap hit of $21M, I don't see why Johnny, Monny and Sam can't be around $21M for the next few years.

With the projected salary cap at $74.5 million for next season I don't think that paying 2 guys 28% of that budget is a particularly prudent decision.

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#53 Canrock 78
January 20 2016, 07:05PM
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How much does the potential of a draft lottery affect roster Managment.

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#54 hulkingloooooob
January 20 2016, 07:09PM
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Tomas Oppolzer wrote:

We're trying to help you. You aren't going to get a dialogue started with a 20 line block of text with no paragraph breaks. Nobody wants to read that, let alone start a dialogue based on it.

Reflecting on my comment, though, it was a little rude. jiL's though, it was perfectly polite and reasonable. Take criticisms for what they are instead of being defensive.

Thanks Tom, I didn't know i needed your help. You know, maybe you can help me understand what a "hyper kid hat" is.....

Just for you, I'll write in nice little paragraphs.

cool?

cool.

Still, no thoughtful response to my thoughts that Hartley is actually doing a decent job, and that this is a long term process? All Bickering aside, let's talk hockey. GFG!

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#55 Derzie
January 20 2016, 07:23PM
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KiLLKiND wrote:

3 other less likely trade chips that could come into play; Lance Bouma, Mikael Backlund, and Matt Stajan.

Bouma has had an unfortunate start to the year but he is a warrior and a player that other teams would love to have going into playoffs.

Stajan is a lesser Backlund, great defensively, occasional offence and creating a logjam at center for our prospects.

Backlund is a great center and I love him. We do however have a great big logjam at center and could get back a 1st and more from him. He could take a playoff tteam to Stanley Cup contender and the package we get from him could be used to get a top line RW. This isn't a trade I'm saying should happen but what team wouldn't want Backlund? We could get amazing value from him and not hurt our team too much.

We have players in Stockton that should be playing in the NHL this year or next year. It would be ideal to simply move out our "deadweight" players such as, Bollig, Colborne, Raymond, Engelland, etc... If we want to get a top flight RW to play with Gaudreau and Bennett in the future we will likely have to give up something we really like. Is trading away Backlund a huge gamble on Bill Arnold and Derek Grant? Yes. It is a calculated gamble though, because our lord and saviour Jankowski will be here next year. Or at the very least a 2nd round pick, which might be worth more.

My point is that we do have options for trading and acquiring pieces that will help build our team. Our top priority is finding a way to use these assets and getting a top tier RW. Personally I would like to see Agostino and Grant playing in the NHL full time after the trade deadline. If they don't work out oh well we weren't winning the cup this year anyways. We still don't know what we have in either of them though and best case scenario is we trade away players, for more than their value should be while these two can step up and fill the gap.

A "1st and more" for Backlund. I shot coffee through my nostrils at that one.

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#56 Johnny Goooooooaldreau
January 20 2016, 08:29PM
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MattyFranchise wrote:

With the projected salary cap at $74.5 million for next season I don't think that paying 2 guys 28% of that budget is a particularly prudent decision.

I said $21M for our 3 forwards vs $21M for Toews & Kane.

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#57 RealMcHockeyReturns
January 20 2016, 08:37PM
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KiLLKiND wrote:

3 other less likely trade chips that could come into play; Lance Bouma, Mikael Backlund, and Matt Stajan.

Bouma has had an unfortunate start to the year but he is a warrior and a player that other teams would love to have going into playoffs.

Stajan is a lesser Backlund, great defensively, occasional offence and creating a logjam at center for our prospects.

Backlund is a great center and I love him. We do however have a great big logjam at center and could get back a 1st and more from him. He could take a playoff tteam to Stanley Cup contender and the package we get from him could be used to get a top line RW. This isn't a trade I'm saying should happen but what team wouldn't want Backlund? We could get amazing value from him and not hurt our team too much.

We have players in Stockton that should be playing in the NHL this year or next year. It would be ideal to simply move out our "deadweight" players such as, Bollig, Colborne, Raymond, Engelland, etc... If we want to get a top flight RW to play with Gaudreau and Bennett in the future we will likely have to give up something we really like. Is trading away Backlund a huge gamble on Bill Arnold and Derek Grant? Yes. It is a calculated gamble though, because our lord and saviour Jankowski will be here next year. Or at the very least a 2nd round pick, which might be worth more.

My point is that we do have options for trading and acquiring pieces that will help build our team. Our top priority is finding a way to use these assets and getting a top tier RW. Personally I would like to see Agostino and Grant playing in the NHL full time after the trade deadline. If they don't work out oh well we weren't winning the cup this year anyways. We still don't know what we have in either of them though and best case scenario is we trade away players, for more than their value should be while these two can step up and fill the gap.

Agree with some of what you say but 1st rounder will not come back in a Backlund trade unless you add a lot more, he is a solid 3rd line C only. As for packaging guys, if we can Get Stamkos (condition he must re-sign immediately), the I am OK with Monahan, a 1st rounder from 2017, a top propect, and another non-core but strong player to Tampa (e.g Backlund). Stamkos could be a top C or RW for us. Doubt it happens but you can dream.

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#58 VoRaCS
January 20 2016, 09:55PM
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I'm having a tough time figuring out why so many have anointed Mony an untouchable part of the Flames' future and want to see him receive a king's ransom. He is not a great skater or passer, his play has levelled off this season (despite having every opportunity to succeed) and, more importantly, as the touted "200 foot defensive specialist he is supposed to become, he seems to struggle in his own end as well. On the other hand, it's been pretty easy to se the innate talent of Johnny and Sam. They are truly gifted and the offensive leaders of the team moving forward. It makes me wonder what kind of success they might have if they had actually played together this season. In returning to my main point, though, I want to emphasize that it would be a mistake to offer SM too much money right now.

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#59 Franko J
January 20 2016, 10:16PM
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Regardless who the Flames trade between now and the deadline, from an organizational standpoint it is imperative they improve the talent level on the RW.

Treliving managed to trade for Hamilton which addressed a need on the right hand side of the defence. I would think outside of maybe solidifying the situation between the pipes, finding a RW to compliment Monahan, Gaudreau, and Bennett, is priority #1.

After last nights results, the Flames have a ways to go before they can compete with the "big boys" in a seven game series. Might as well keep accumulating talent, skill and building depth throughout the lineup.

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#60 Kevin R
January 20 2016, 10:17PM
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RealMcHockeyReturns wrote:

Agree with some of what you say but 1st rounder will not come back in a Backlund trade unless you add a lot more, he is a solid 3rd line C only. As for packaging guys, if we can Get Stamkos (condition he must re-sign immediately), the I am OK with Monahan, a 1st rounder from 2017, a top propect, and another non-core but strong player to Tampa (e.g Backlund). Stamkos could be a top C or RW for us. Doubt it happens but you can dream.

No to Stamkos. He hasn't been the same since the broken leg & he is going to want 10.0 mill per. I would rather go after #freedrouin to Flames from Tampa. Winger for Bennett or maybe move Gaudreau with Bennett on top line & put Drouin with Monahan. The two players game would probably compliment each other pretty well.

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#61 MattyFranchise
January 20 2016, 11:00PM
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Johnny Goooooooaldreau wrote:

I said $21M for our 3 forwards vs $21M for Toews & Kane.

Yes I get that. What I'm saying is that Chicago made a stupid move with those contracts.

7mil per sounds a lot better than 10.5mil per.

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#62 MattyFranchise
January 20 2016, 11:02PM
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Kevin R wrote:

No to Stamkos. He hasn't been the same since the broken leg & he is going to want 10.0 mill per. I would rather go after #freedrouin to Flames from Tampa. Winger for Bennett or maybe move Gaudreau with Bennett on top line & put Drouin with Monahan. The two players game would probably compliment each other pretty well.

If Drouin is acting this entitled in the second year of his ELC then I don't want to see what he's like when he starts making real money. Pass.

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#63 KiLLKiND
January 20 2016, 11:13PM
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RealMcHockeyReturns wrote:

Agree with some of what you say but 1st rounder will not come back in a Backlund trade unless you add a lot more, he is a solid 3rd line C only. As for packaging guys, if we can Get Stamkos (condition he must re-sign immediately), the I am OK with Monahan, a 1st rounder from 2017, a top propect, and another non-core but strong player to Tampa (e.g Backlund). Stamkos could be a top C or RW for us. Doubt it happens but you can dream.

only %30 of 1st rounders make the NHL, if we trade Backlund we aren't getting an early 1st we are getting a 27th-30th. He is worth more than a 57-60th pick so maybe a 2nd and a 5th. I think you are correct that Backlund won't get more than a 1st and I over estimated his value during my earlier comment. trading him shoud still be looked intto though as he isn't a UFA and that would most likely be a bonus to whichever team trades for him. teams have traded 1st and more knowing that they were only getting a rental, with Backlund he would be around for at least another season.

As far as Stamkos I wouldn't trade Monahan for him straight up even. We are still a rebuilding team, we don't need a star player that is already slightly past his prime and will be paid over $7 million. He won't put us closer to the cup which is the end goal. We would become the Calgary Flames before the rebuild where we kept going for it because we had Iggy, and Kipper. Now we would be going for it cause we have Stammer, and Gio.Yes we have other great player now like Gaudreau, Brodie, and Hamilton, but we still won't win the cup, with this group alone. trading for Stamkos would effectively end this rebuild but we would have to start again in 5-7 years.

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#64 RKD
January 20 2016, 11:21PM
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Outside of Gaudreau, Brodie, Monahan and Bennett everyone else is tradeable imo. For the Flames to entice buyers in a trade they will need to throw in more than a roster player, either a prospect or a pick. I'm really indifferent if they trade any of the 3 above, there are bigger problems and areas of concern to address first.

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#65 Kevin R
January 21 2016, 11:07AM
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MattyFranchise wrote:

If Drouin is acting this entitled in the second year of his ELC then I don't want to see what he's like when he starts making real money. Pass.

Exact same things were said about Turris & ask Ottawa fans how they feel about that deal. More to this than any of us know.

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#66 RickT
January 21 2016, 11:36AM
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Tomas Oppolzer wrote:

I've actually thought about this. If we trade Hudler for a 1st (optimistic, I know) and we get Matthews, I say the best course of action would be to try and trade Monahan+1st from Hudler trade+2nd or 3rd rd pick for the 2nd or 3rd overall pick and get one of Puljujarvi or Laine.

Trash away, but if Burke/Treliving could pull that off it would be perfect IMO.

Honestly, I agree. If Matthews is received, trade Monahan.

He has a high worth right now, the chances that Matthews will be as good are very high, the chances that he will be better are pretty decent.

That would be a very ballsy move, though. And maybe unpopular.

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