Flames Deadline Trade Targets



Although we don’t currently know if the Flames are going to be sellers or buyers at the deadline, we do know what the organizational needs are: younger guys, quality prospects, possession forwards (particularly centers) and draft picks. And future stars, of course.

Whether buy or sell, "go for it" or "burn it down", the club should be targeting worthwhile targets in the above categories as much as possible given organizational needs. Naturally, it’s more likely the team will be selling but that certainly doesn’t mean they can’t be looking at NHL ready bodies coming back in some of their deals, on top of futures.

With that in mind, here’s some guys I’d like to see the Flames asking about come April 3:

Michael Frolik – CHI – RW

I’ve been banging the drum for Frolik for a few years. He’s one of those players whose SH% has cratered for whatever reason after scoring 21 goals per season as a rookie and sophomore in Florida. As a Blackhawk Frolik has scored just 9 goals on 266 shots for a personal shooting percentage of just 3.3% (!!), which is about what you could expect someone like Cory Sarich to average over his career –  so either Frolik has been grossly unlucky over the last couple seasons or he has a worse shot than a defensive-minded blueliner. 

The lack of production has seen him drift to the bottom of the rotation in Chicago, which is fair given their other options. The reason Frolik is of interest isn’t just because he’s a "buy low" candidate, but because his possession rates are consistently top-notch. This year, for example, he is third amongst regular Chicago forwards in terms of corsi (+16.53/60) despite the second lowest zone start ratio on the club. 

Frolik may never recover his scoring tough, although I’d be stunned if his SH% stays in the toilet forever. Even without the scoring he’s a useful middle-tier forward thanks to his ability to push the play in the right direction. His lackluster point totals means he could be had (and kept) for cheap and he’s only 25 years old.

Sean Couturier – C – PHI

The 8th overall pick from the 2011 entry draft has been thrown into the deep end of the pool with weights tied to his ankles by the Flyers organization. Couturier is seeing "Malhotra-like" minutes in Philly this year with an offensive zone start ratio of just 36.6%. Those are circumstances that would bury even seasoned NHLers, but Courturier is sawing off possession (-0.58 corsi/60). Unfortunately for the kid his percentages stink, particularly his on-ice SV% of 86.4%, so his counting stats are ugly resulting in steadily declining ice time. Last night, for example, he played just 8:10 against the Tampa Bay Lightning – two minutes less than tough guy Zac Rinaldo.

Couturier is only 20 years old, a capable two way forward with high-end pedigree (he scored 96 points in just over 50 games in his draft year) and a guy who could significantly improve the Flames center depth both now and for the foreseeable future. Even with his current usage Courturier probably wouldn’t come cheap, but it’s possible the Flames could pry him out of Philly by dangling one of their own high-end vets.

Jake Gardiner – D – TOR

The #freegardiner story has been a big one the last week or so, with the young defenders agent famously  tweeting that message last Tuesday, suggesting the player might be available in the near future. The Leafs under Carlyle have made some bizarre decisions this year, elevating marginal replacement level guys like Korbin Holzer while pushing Gardiner – who held his own in the show as a rookie last year – to the periphery.

Gardiner is 22 and a former first round pick by the Ducks back in 2008. He has 31 points in just 43 AHL games this season and projects to be a capable top-4, two defender in the NHL. Aside from TJ Brodie, the Flames lack kids on the blueline who could contribute sooner rather than later, particularly at both ends of the ice.

The Leafs organization may still be high on Gardiner despite the recent kerfuffle with his representation, but it would be worth inquiring at the very least. Besides, Toronto owes Calgary a few lopsided trades in the Flames favor at this point…

Alex Burmistrov – C – WPG

Another kid getting the stink-eye from his current team is the Jets Alex Burmistrov. Despite the second best possession rate amongst forwards on Winnipeg this year, Burmistrov has been a healthy scratch since March 10. Burmistrov isn’t big, isn’t a high volume shooter and can tap dance with the puck sometimes, which can drive button-down coaches a little nuts, especially when the production isn’t there to justify it, which is probably why he’s found his way into the dog house.

This is Burmistrov’s third season in the league even though he’s only 21 years old. He’s never really put up big numbers in the show, but then he was rushed out of junior by the Thrashers and has never really landed in a scoring role with the club. At this point he’s finally finding his legs at the NHL level, but a lack of ice time and opportunity is sinking his stock in Winnipeg.

Burmistrov might be had relatively cheaply as a result.

Other Targets

Carl Hagelin – The 24 year old Swedish winger came out of nowhere to become a top-6 forward for the Rangers last year and this season he has continued to put up good surface stats and great underlying numbers. Hagelin is an established piece in New York at this point and would be hard to pry away from the Rangers. We know that Glen Sather can be somewhat mesmerized by big names and flashy resumes, though, so if the blueshirts are looking to add a big piece for a playoff push at the deadline, maybe Feaster could get Hagelin included as the main guy coming back.

Mikhail Grabovski – Recently signed to a 5-year deal worth $5.5M year, his ice time has nevertheless fallen to just 16:42/game under Randy Carlyle. Grabovski’s stats line is unappealing this season in light of his pay check, but it’s mostly due to circumstances: he faces some of the toughest opposition in the league and starts in the offensive zone just 36% of the time. He is also only getting less than 2 minutes of PP time per night.

Grabs has been the Leafs best possession driver/two-way center for years and can put up better than average offense when he isn’t being deployed like Sammy Pahlsson. His age (29) and 5-year contract make him more of a long-term risk, but he’d instantly fill the Flames need for another quality, top-6 pivot.

  • Going to give a resounding NO to those suggesting Chris Stewart. Unless he’s getting paid league minimum and you get him on the waiver wire, do not give up ANYTHING in a trade for him. As Kent said, horrible underlying numbers. I watched him in COL and he just isn’t that good (was in the dog house and AHL before scoring 30g on a crap team).

    Frolik would be good if he could be had for a 5th-7th rounder. SC would be great as well, definitely that Jordan Staal-type that people wanted to trade for beforehand.

    What about Jason Spezza? Is he too old/injury-prone for the Flames to take a chance on?

    • _DBG_

      That’s a good point.. I’m a fan off bringing in nhl ready prospects at this point over obtaining a heap of picks..

      I wouldn’t give up our first this year, but if we are going to obtain him, you can bet the Islanders want a first minimum..

      Garth Snow is a tricky GM.. not sure he knows what he wants besides draft picks every year.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    Nathan Horton’s existing contract ends this season. He’s big, rugged and played both at the wing and center in Florida. I’m surprised his name doesn’t come up more often. It would be really nice to see TOO many Centers on this team next year, and stark contrast to the team today.

  • Parallex

    But what would the Froliks and Burmistrovs of the world cost?

    I’d rather we keep our picks and most of the guys that are talked about moving (Iginla, Cammy, Bouwmeester) I think are worth more then just those guys straight up… so unless they’re made part of a larger deal or part of a complicated multi-team deal I don’t see how they end up here.

  • NHL93

    I hate reading these articles as it only gets me excited about the direction this team could take, and ultimately the team goes in the opposite direction, trades for Jokinen and I complain to my wife about how I am not allowed to have nice things.

  • Really, REALLY can’t see Flyers moving Couturier

    If NYR were unwilling to part with Hagelin for Rick Nash, I doubt Calgary has anything to offer.

    Frolik for cheap? Sure.

    Don’t see Cammalleri as all that attractive to acquiring teams.

  • _DBG_

    kent what do you think of JBo to Pittsburgh for Bennet and Despres? I know everyone thinks there looking at Iggy but they don’t seem to have a problem with scoring and I think it would be a great fit for JBo’s speed.

    • Franko J

      Bennett is the prospect / roster player I have been following all season.
      I truly think Bennett has superstar written all over him. Getting Bennett would surely ease the burden of replacing Iginla next season.
      While everyone under the sun clamoures for a top center (which I think the draft should help) he would be a compliment to Baertschi going forward.

      Despres is another prospect who is just now realizing his potential. Learning to play a little nastier with good puck moving skill.

      Last night I’m impressed with Dillion on Dallas and Despres plays are similar style.
      If the Flames could trade for these 2 young players would be coupe.

      • seve927

        Funny. I was just coming to post about Beau Bennett. His underlying numbers look very good. He’s played quite a bit with Sutter, and Sutter’s been much better with him. 6 foot 2 207. I can’t imagine that they’d give him up, in addition to another piece or two, but I think that would be a very good deal.

  • joey joe joe jr shabadoo

    Not saying it can’t happen, but I have a really tough time believing the Flyers would move Couturier. Along with Schenn, he’s their future down the middle. Briere is 35 and Carter and Richards are gone, so they’d be robbing Peter to pay Paul. So I’d love to get him, but have to eliminate him because I don’t think it happens.

    All of these guys are very good hockey players, but frankly, none are ever going to be stars. Maybe Gardiner.

    If Calgary rebuilds I’d rather go after higher upside prospects even if it means some of them don’t pan out.

    Guys like: Derek Pouliott, Beau Bennett, Calle Jarnkrok, Gustav Nyqvist, Scott Laughton and some 1st rounders.

    And I’d gladly move JBo, Tanguay, Cammi, Iginla, Kipper and Gio to do it.

    Most of the players mentioned in this article are the types I’d want to fill out the rest of my roster. The type of support players I’d want on my team to complement my stars. But they’re not stars themselves. Will they turn Calgary into a team that’s a half-legit contender for the Cup season to season?

    • Im fairly certain Couturier will be a star. His underlying numbers are really good, he scored at a high rate in junior and he’s a big dude to boot. I don’t know why the Flyers have decided to turn him into Malhotra his first two seasons, but he’s survived despite brutal circumstances. That reads future impact player to me and strikes me as a better bet than any of the prospects you list.

      The rest are certainly more support players than anything, but I think one of the big mistakes by rebuilding teams is to concentrate solely on draft picks and big whale hunts. Improving a team can also be done in smaller, incremental steps by making a series of good bets like buying low on the Froliks and Burmistrovs of the world. That way, you don’t end up like the Oilers, with a bunch of high-end kids and hollowed out core of suck behind them.

      • SmellOfVictory

        There was also that little chart that someone did of points scored at a given age in Junior for various established players, and Couturier looked the best out of the entire 2011 draft class in terms of comparables.

        • joey joe joe jr shabadoo

          yup …”Not saying it can’t happen, but I have a really tough time believing the Flyers would move Couturier. Along with Schenn, he’s their future down the middle. Briere is 35 and Carter and Richards are gone, so they’d be robbing Peter to pay Paul. So I’d love to get him, but have to eliminate him because I don’t think it happens.”

          • SmellOfVictory

            Hey Wolf! You seem to keep forgetting Giroux is going to be a long long term fixture in Philly at centre. Some were comparing him to Crosby last year after his monster breakout season. Schenn probably isnt going anywhere after Philly made a point of acquiring his brother for a pretty heathy price(JVR). Philly are not a team that was expected to miss the playoffs or be a seller for that matter. There are only so many top 2 dmen available & I wouldnt hold my breath on Nashville parting with Weber. Homer has balls & is a risk taker & will pay the price to get what he wants. If JBO is that top 2 dman he covets, he will cough up SC for him. Not sure what that deal would look like but the Flames would be nuts not put a priority on it similar to the offer sheet they put on ROR. Losing JBO puts a huge hole in our blueline but it will also increase our chances of a top 5 pick. If Iggy can get us a 1st & very high level D prospect. Then that will be a successful TDL for Feaster. Any other moves are just insignificant.

          • icedawg_42

            I agree…as much as Id like to see him here, the Flyers have to still be high on him at some level. I mean, if not for injuries, he was projected for a while to go first overall.

      • I 100% agree which is why I wrote that I eliminate him because I don’t Philly takes the chance of moving out someone with his potential.

        As for your 2nd point – true to a degree, but the Flames are woefully short on star-caliber players. As for the Oilers and the point in general – well, it should be easier to fill out the bottom 6 than your top 6. And having a stacked top 6 should make that easier yet.

        Remember, my plan would also still retain Stempniak, Glencross, Hudler, Cervenka (why not), Stajan and Backlund.

        That’s 6 vets plus Baertschi as another top prospect. So the support is there.

        D, on the other hand, is lacking, granted. But some UFA replacement level types would fill in there.

    • joey joe joe jr shabadoo

      Couturier doesn’t actually fit up the middle in Philly… at least top six.

      Giroux-Schenn is their big 1-2 punch. It looks like SC has a Jordan Staal future in front of him there if he gets pigeon holed in the 3 spot

      • MWflames

        I agree about Couturier in that he doesn’t really have a place in Philly, and could probably be had. However, they’re probably far enough out of a place off spot that I don’t see them making major moves at the trade deadline. I’d say they move to acquire a top line defenceman in the summer

        • icedawg_42

          That is a fair point


          That is what Cammy’s NTC was when he was traded to Calgary. Remember that Carter’s NTC was voided by his initial trade to CBJ? Kipper also had his NTC expire. I wonder if, by pure coincidence, Cammalleri lost some of his rights when he was moved back to Calgary.

          • @Clay

            That is what Cammy’s NTC was when he was traded to Calgary. Remember that Carter’s NTC was voided by his initial trade to CBJ? Kipper also had his NTC expire. I wonder if, by pure coincidence, Cammalleri lost some of his rights when he was moved back to Calgary.

            Thats what the whole Vishnovsky dispute was over also..Did the league side with him or the Islanders/Ducks on that one?

  • joey joe joe jr shabadoo

    was wondering what people might think about Cammelerri to Pittsburgh?

    could see Coutuier-Bouwmeester deal but I think Philly will push hard to get Weber this offseason in a trade….

    doubt Toronto would be willing to move Gardner, especially for Kipprusoff. Lets not get silly here.

    the other names seem fine, but they all have a certain wiff of Aaron Gavey to them….

    nerdy analysis aside there is a reason why they are where they are.

  • MWflames

    What about Chris Stewart?

    St Louis has been looking for top tier defenceman for a while now, and we might be short a big right winger in the near future…

    • Stewart’s underlying numbers have been bad forever (worst possession rate on Blues this year, despite high ZS ratio for instance). He can put up points in certain circumstances, but he’s a liability generally.

      I wouldn’t want him, personally.

      • Truculence

        Yeah, but Kent you can’t make a fruit salad with just apples. Sure, nobody will argue he drives possession. However, he is a bona-fide top-6 scorer who takes the body, can muck it up in the corners, and is a big presence in front of the net on the pp.
        Those are all qualities guys like Backlund and Frolik have not evinced yet at the NHL-level, even though they have better possession rates (just compare counting stats, for instance).

        Calgary needs balance. In addition to those that drive possession, it needs guys who play with an edge, grit, and can put up top-six numbers (so they are not simple fourth-line goons). It would be awesome to have a Crosby type that can score and drives possession at elite levels, but those types require lottery picks.

        In sum, go after Stewart or Horton in the off-season -we currently lack what they bring. Then match them up with the Backlunds of the world so they complement one another.

        • SmellOfVictory

          I don’t watch the Hawks enough to comment, but Backlund is great along the boards. The only thing he doesn’t do is completely lay people out with hits.

  • Arik

    Yes to Couturier, Gardiner and Hagelin.. not so sure on the other three, seems like a gamble for a team that needs sure things. Although I suppose if the price is right then….??

    Lots of chatter on the Flames targeting Matt Read out of Philly and potentially using JBO as bait. Only about $6mil in salary separating the two!!…Thoughts on Read as a Flame?

    And here’s hoping we have some scouts in Winnipeg tonight to see Spooner suit up for the Bruins!

    • Read is a decent middle-tier NHL forward, but probably doesn’t have a whole lot more upside than what we’ve seen. He’s already 26 years old and a winger to boot.

      I wouldn’t want Read as the cornerstone return for a major piece, personally, but I wouldn’t kick him off my team either.

  • marty

    I think we should definatly target Couturier, Burmistrov and Gardiner.

    Haglin and Grabovski will be too expensive both in trade and in cap. Not that the others are cheap but I just dont see these two being available for what we have to offer.

    I could see a trade along the lines of Jbow for Couturier. Maybe a trade for Burmistrov could happen, but I dunno what the Jets would want in return.

    Gardiner I would love to have but the Leafs need centers, just like we do, so I dont see a fit in a trade…

    • MWflames

      Did Cammalleri keep his NTC when he came to Calgary, or was it forfeited like Carter.

      Peg wants a top 6 scorer. He is the only guy I can think of, maybe Stempniak or Cervenka, that could go to Winnipeg

      • joey joe joe jr shabadoo

        I dunno about the NTC but its probably he needs to provide a list of teams he wont accept a trade to if anything…

        I dont think theyd want Cervenka.

        Question: Is Stempniak a top-6? at all? currently in the eyes of other GMs?

        • MWflames

          Cammi has a Limited NTC I believe – He can make a list of 10 teams he won’t go to.

          Toronto would probably be his top choice however. He’s from the area, and I think he tried to go there before he signed with montreal

  • marty

    can’t say i disagree with any of these names here kent. dont’ know if he is going to be available but berglund out of st louis? if they want defensive help maybe a girodano? im a fan of giordano but to me it seems that one of jbo or him should be moved. i like the fact that most of these players could be had for reduced rates because of falling out of favour with there current clubs. i am in the camp that it does not have to be a scortched earth rebuild but significant moves need to be made. good read kent