Possible Hagman Destinations

 

 

 

With free agency mostly behind us, the unofficial next order of business for Jay Feaster is finding a way to rid the club of Niklas Hagman’s contract. The former Leaf has struggled as a Flame and is now firmly behind Glencross and Tanguay on the Flames depth chart. Brent Sutter dropped Hagman into the bottom-six rotation by the end of the season and Feaster eventually put him on waivers.

It’s pretty clear at this point the Flames organization would rather move Hagman than keep him. He may rebound to some degree next year, but is unlikely to usurp Glencross or Tanguay on the left side. Three million dollars is steep price to pay for an okay third-liner.

The rumor floating around the web was Hagman to the Ducks, but with the recent Cogliano to Anheim trade, the Flames may have to look elsewhere now. The good news is, Hagman is one of the few guys who doesn’t have a NTC on the team so if Feaster can find any takers, Hagman can’t say no.

The Cogliano deal may take the Ducks out of the running to acquire Hagman (actually, maybe not) but the swap does illustrate that with the UFA pool rapidly drying up, the demand for spare parts who can play in the league is probably increasing. In addition, there are a number of clubs currently below the cap floor who could use both real NHL players and dollars before the season starts. Hagman would be both, with the added benefit of only having one year left on his contract.

Here are a few of the potential destinations:

New York Islandersapproximately $38 million committed

Garth Snow was unable to pull a Dale Tallon during free agency (probably because New York isn’t Miami beach) so the Islanders are still looking to give some money away. The organization has five RFA’s to deal with, but none of them are going to demand a big ticket. The most expensive might be Josh Bailey or Blake Comeau and if either them makes north of $2M per on their next ticket, I’ll be surprised. Hagman could probably slide quite comfotably into the Islander’s top six given their dearth of other options. He could also skate with Frans Nielsen on a checking line. 

Colorado Avalancheapproximately $44M committed

Even with Tom Preissing’s buy-out counting against the cap, the Avs have to make up about $4M to get to the cap floor. The only RFA’s left for Colorado are TJ Galiardi and Kyle Quincey. They might push the club over the top depending on how much Greg Sherman chooses to overpay them. If not, Hagman would be a good option for them.

Nashville Predatorsapproximately $39M committed

The Preds cap number will shoot right up once they re-sign RFA Shea Weber, but even if he lands north of $6M, Nashville is going be short of the floor. They need to add at least two more NHL defenders, but another established body up front wouldn’t hurt the club either.

Ottawa Senatorsapproximately $45 million committed

Beyond the cap issues, the Senators forward depth chart is absolutely absymal. After Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek and the doddering Daniel Alfredsson, the next highest paid forward is Chis Neil. It’s all third liners, rookies and grinders from Neil on down, including guys you’ve never heard of in Erik Condra and Zack Smith. I know the goal isn’t to win anything in Ottawa this season, but it will be embarrassing if the club ices one first line and three fourths. Hagman would instantly become the fourth best forward on the team if he was moved to OTT.

Anaheim Ducks approximately $50 million committed

Even with the addition of Cogliano (whom they need to re-sign), the Ducks are still dangerously thin up front. Their lack of NHL forwards will be further exacerbated if Teemu Selanne finally decides to retire this summer. After the big three of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan, things fall off a cliff: Saku Koivu and Jason Blake are second-liners on the Ducks, but third-liners on a good team (at best). The rest of the team is a grab-bag of random names: Geroge Parros, Brandon MacMillan, Andrew Gordon, Matt Belesky, Dan Sexton, etc. This is before any injury issues keep in mind. A single, extended stay in the infirmary to pretty much anyone in the top-six is disaster for the Ducks as they are currently built. And they aren’t in the middle of an aggressive rebuild like the Senators, so winning is the ostensible goal in Anaheim.

The list isn’t an exhaustive one, but you get the idea – The rising cap floor and thin UFA crop may yet conjure demand for Hagman’s services elsewhere.

 

  • “The Preds cap number will shoot right up once they re-sign RFA Shea Weber, but even if he lands north of $6M, Nashville is going be short of the floor. They need to add at least two more NHL defenders…”

    Insert Cory Sarich? He’s a capable NHL defender, and makes enough money in the short term to help the Preds reach the floor. He’s not a long term gamble, so they won’t be on the hook for 3.6 mill for long.

    I’m pretty done with Sarich as a Flame. I don’t think we should keep him just because Regehr is gone. If we traded Regehr, we signalled that we are going in a new direction. So go a new direction, even if it means elevated ice time for guys like Carson and Butler. The way Sarich has played the last 2 seasons, he is no more capable of top-4 minutes than these two fellas. Sarich benefitted from playing with Gio last season… On his own merit, he was a train wreck

    As for Hagman.. While he has struggled as a Flame, I think there’s actually a market out there for him. Despite the inter-division element, I could see Hagman as a stop-gap option for the Avalanche, alongside Stastny or Duchene in a top-6 role. Plain and simple, Hagman is a skilled forward that will only be effective with top-6 minutes, and he won’t get that in CGY

      • Ken V.

        Yeah lets just blow up the defense even further. Getting rid of Sarich will not help anything, we need defensemen more than we need to get rid of them. I`d take Hannan too, and Hags would fit best in Nashville or Ottawa IMO, those teams could use him right away. this was @Graham btw….

        • Ken V.

          Blow up the defence because you’re subtracting Sarich? I would hope that’s not blowing it up. In no way am I advocating that the Flames’ defence corps looks strong right now, but you don’t keep Sarich for fear of the unknown. Look at the Franson & Corvo deals.. We’ve seen there are capable D men being made available on the market, and the cost to acquire these players hasn’t been high. You can find a replacement for Cory Sarich, and at half the price. So you can afford to k

        • Ken V.

          Blow up the defence because you’re subtracting Sarich? I would hope that’s not blowing it up. In no way am I advocating that the Flames’ defence corps looks strong right now, but you don’t keep Sarich just for fear of the unknown. Look at the Franson & Corvo deals.. We’ve seen there are capable D men being made available on the market, and the cost to acquire these players hasn’t been high. You can find a replacement for Cory Sarich, and at half the price. So it’s time to move on, and find a less expensive, more reliable player that can keep up… Be it via trade, UFAs, offer sheets or KHL/SEL alternatives. We constantly hear fans clammer for “younger and quicker,” but moving Cory Sarich would be chaos? I’m baffled by that

  • SmellOfVictory

    I’d like to see Hagman in Anaheim. I think they’d benefit, and I have a soft spot for the Californian teams.

    Speaking of Calgary’s defensive depth (lack thereof), what are your thoughts on Hannan as a 2nd pairing guy? He looks about equivalent to Sarich.

  • Scott

    In regards to Sarich, isn’t he a Feaster guy from Tampa? We saw from the Modin acquisition that Feaster sticks with HIS guys. Also, Sarich is a strong locker room guy with great leadership. Its these two reasons why I think the flames management wont get rid of him.

    For Hagman, I would agree with Kent, that the trade market should be relatively high for a guy like Hagman, given the crop of outstanding free agents. But I would think no western conference team will take a chance on him. My guess is he goes back to the east.

  • Reidja

    I’ve got to agree with Kevin V that getting rid of Sarich without replacing him with someone of equal or greater cache is counter-productive. Right now we have 2 holes to fill on out first 2 pairings. I think Sarich could play in the 4 slot but that wouldn’t be ideal. Point being, there is more than enough opportunity for competition and some of our numerous bottom pair young dmen to step into a greater role without jettisoning a generally dependable defensive defensman.

  • Super_Gio

    Good article Kent, I was starting to wonder who would take Hags. With so many teams still under the floor it seems a lot more realistic that he is moved to a team that could use him. If only Stajan didn’t have a NMC…
    As for Sarich, I do agree that he has vastly slowed down these last few seasons. Minus the punishing hits he’s still capable of IMO he is a liability…

  • Vintage Flame

    I’d like to see Hags go to Ottawa I think. I think we are probably only looking at a draft choice and I think if Nic goes to Ottawa that gives us the best shot at a higher draft pick.

    Ottawa clearly fire-sold a lot of the franchise and is in full re-build mode. Most likely spells a high drafting position, which would be better for us.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Hannan end up here, as long as it was for the right price. If I recall correctly didn’t Calgary make an attempt at him a few years back?

    Despite popular talk around here, I really can’t see Sarich going anywhere. Not with the lack of experience we now have on the blue line. I think Sarich started off last season rather well. Playing physically and just knocking the crap out of people. His play dropped off a lot as the year went on, but that was largely in part to him getting away from the physical aspect of his game. Positionally he can be exploited, quite often I think, but when he sticks to the smash-hit-bang type of play, he is useful.