Flames 2014-15 Trade Targets

It’s February and, yup, the Flames are still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Absent a disastrous month (which is possible, given their schedule), Calgary may be in the market for a player or two at the deadline in order to bolster their depth for a final push.

Although Brad Treliving has, sensibly, said he is focused with the long-term picture rather than simply shopping for a rental, there may be opportunities to add players who are useful both now and later. As we’ve noted frequently in this space, Calgary’s blueline depth is fairly abysmal and is likely the greatest area of need for the club both currently and moving forward. Nabbing a quality top-4 guy who can be retained would help the make the post-season push now and in their quest to develop into true contenders down the road.

Potential Targets

Many of the league’s bottom basement teams are already putting some pieces on the auction block. The possibility of nabbing either Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel has precipitated an urgent race to the bottom for any club already out of it. Let’s take a look at what the lesser lights have to offer.

Buffalo Sabres – Tyler Myers

The towering 6’7″ former calder winner has really fallen on hard times the last few seasons. He put up decent offensive and moderately good underlying stats in his first season or two, but it’s been all down hill from there. Myers bears a heavy burden in Buffalo, facing top line competition and tough zone starts, and he gets killed doing it. As a result, he has some of the worst possession numbers in the league and his offense has completely dried up. 

Myers is signed for the next four years at $5.5M year (although his actual salary falls below that cap hit). He’s also reputed to be very expensive to acquire with the Sabres looking to homerun any deal they make with him. 

The gamble with the player is separating his results from those of the awful team around him. If Myers is simply weighed down by rotten circumstances, he’s a player who has the kind of raw ability and is at the right age to develop into something really useful. On the other hand, if he has plateaued and is part of the problem in Buffalo, paying big in terms of assets and cap hit would be a disaster. 

Arizona Coyotes – Zybnek Michalek, Keith Yandle

Keith Yandle is the shiny bauble in Arizona thanks to his nice offensive totals, but Zbynek MIchalek may be the better bet. The Coyotes top-4 deployment is much like the Flames – with one pairing soaking up the toughest minutes and excelling, leaving the second unit a much easier assignment:

OEL

 

Meaning Yandle is essentially the Coyotes version of Dennis Wideman, while Michalek is their TJ Brodie (with less offense, of course). The irony is, Yandle will cost an arm and a leg to acquire because of his scoring and the fact that he’s signed for one more season after this. Michalek has more modest counting stats and is a pending UFA. 

The one concern with Michalek is his age. He will turn 33 years old next December, which is typically right around the time players start hitting the back nine of their careers. The only reason to trade for Michalek would be to re-sign him, but inking him for anything more than a year or two carries some very real risk of diminishing returns.

Carolina Hurricanes – Andrej Sekera

Not a lot of people know about the 28 year old Slovakian, which probably makes him one of the most underrated defenders in the league. Sekera has put up really good underlying numbers for years. This season he has been paired with Justin Faulk on the Hurricanes surprisingly capable first pairing. Sekera also tended to face top competition on the Sabres during his last couple of seasons there, so he is an established top minutes option.

Also a pending UFA, Sekera’s camp has made noises about wanting to stay in Carolina recently. If the Hurricanes can’t re-sign him before the deadline, however, expect them to put up him up for sale. 

Toronto Maple Leafs – Cody Franson

Only Cody Franson plays minutes comparable to Dion Phanuef in Toronto. The difference is, he has much better underlying numbers and scoring rates at even strength than the former Flame. The 27-year old pending UFA is big (6’5″) and not that fleet of foot, but has a decent amount of offense and is a clever enough player that his foot speed isn’t a huge hinderance. 

Franson is an important player for Toronto, but their cap situation suggests they won’t be able to re-sign him this summer. Unless they can move someone like David Clarkson or Dion Phaneuf instead, the Leafs are going to be forced to auction Franson off. 

Franson is good enough that the Flames could justify putting together a decent package to acquire him, assuming they have assurances he would re-sign in Calgary of course. 

Edmonton Oilers – Jeff Petry

One of the Oilers few bright spots over the last couple of years has been Jeff Petry. He plays in tough circumstances with next to no help and still puts up a positive relative possession rate. A tall, rangy defender who can skate, Petry doesn’t have much offense to speak of, but could definitely become a solidifying presence on most second pairings in the NHL.

The Oilers have traded two defenders to the Flames in the recent past – Steve Staios and Ladislav Smid – so it’s not impossible that the two rivals could get in bed again. That said, the Oilers organization will likely be very hesitant about moving a guy to the Flames who isn’t an obvious salary dump like Staios and Smid.

Ottawa Senators – Patrick Wiercioch 

Though the Sens aren’t technically a dive for five team at this point, they are more likely to be sellers at the deadline. And even if they weren’t, they’d likely be interested in moving Patrick Wiercioch. One of the more intriguing players on this list, Wiercioch has put up team best possession rates in a supporting third pairing role for years in Ottawa, but the team seems ambivalent at best about the player. He’s been a healthy scratch throughout this season and is known in the market as a guy who commits alarming brain cramps now and then, even though all his broad brush stats are excellent. 

Wiercioch is a former second round pick, big (6’5″ and 206lbs), only 24 years old and a pending RFA. He’s young enough that he could improve, has intriguingly good underlying results over his entire career to date (in admittedly soft circumstances) and would probably be really cheap to acquire. He would likely be an instant upgrade over any of the guys Calgary has playing in the bottom pairing currently with the potential of moving up the rotation with a bit more responsibility and development.

Philadelphia Flyers – Michael Del Zotto, Braydon Coburn

The Flyers have a couple of players who may be worth looking at if they decide to sell off pieces in March. Michael Del Zotto has been decent in a second pairing type role for the Flyers, even though he was signed off the scrap heap for next to nothing in the summer. The former Rangers first rounder has bounced around the league since New York soured on him, but is still just 24 years old and is on pace for 36 point season this year. While he may never fulfill the promise that saw him make the NHL as a teenager, Del Zotto’s results in Philly suggest he’s still a capable NHLer. 

Braydon Coburn is playing the toughs this year for Philly and keeping his head above water, if not quite excelling. A huge defender at 6’5″, 220lbs Coborn scored 36 points once upon a time, but has mostly settled into a defense-first, showdown blueliner over the years (though there is some offensive talent there). 

Coburn is not going to carry a first pairing himself but he could be a useful second pairing guy in the right circumstances, and is good enough that he could move up the rotation in case of injury. The 29-year old is signed for one year at $4.5M, which will likely make him a bit more expensive to acquire if he’s made available.

Conclusion

Clearly there are a few options to choose from if the Flames are looking to bolster the blueline come the trade deadline. Many of the guys listed would be long-term solutions for a Calgary blueline that desperately needs depth behind Brodie and Giordano, although there’s no outright guarantee that any of the upcoming UFA’s would necessarily stick around.

There’s also the issue of price. Calgary won’t be terribly interested in moving a first round pick at the deadline, which is often the coin of the realm for decent defenders. If prices climb into the 1st rounder territory, the Flames may be better just bidding for some of these guys’ services in the summer instead.

  • The rumor out there is the Leafs are looking for a 2nd round pick for Franson; and he just turned down a 4.6 mill a year contract extension.

    Arizona is looking for two pieces and a draft pick for Yandle. I’m assuming that’s a top six forward, a good prospect, and a 1st or 2nd round pick.

  • beloch

    The Flames are at an interesting phase in their development. Since Feaster started aggressively restocking the cupboard just a few seasons ago, the Flames prospect system has gone from terrible to one of the best in the league. However, the result is that there are a lot of prospects at nearly the same age who seem ready for NHL minutes but aren’t likely to get any with the Flames. Players such as Hanowski, Reinhart, Agostino, and Arnold would be good additions to several NHL teams, but they’re old enough that they’re going to start declining in value rapidly if not given NHL minutes soon.

    Depth and competition in your farm system are very good things to have, but trading a few of the Flames’ older forward prospects might be a good idea at this point. A second pairing defender would be a good return, but I think the Flames should also consider flipping some of these kids for picks. By trading them now, the Flames can probably get higher picks than they used to select these kids originally. The players they get with those picks will still be with the franchise in a few years rather than likely walking away to other NHL teams after their contracts expire. This is a way of ensuring that the value these players represent stays in the Flames’ system, while simultaneously freeing AHL roster space for kids graduating from junior.

  • JaromeLoob12

    Myers would be a great pick up, young, big and a local kid. What do you guys think it would take to get him? If I were BT I’d be willing to give up Glencross, Reinhart and a 2nd for him. Would that be enough?

    • everton fc

      The Sabres are rebuilding. It’ll take a prospect and a pick along w/a regular. Agreed. But Glencross never waives his NTC to head to Buffalo. Neither would I.

      Reinhart would be obvious to throw in here. Maybe Raymond or Granlund, as well. While we have depth on the farm, much of it’s unproven and is aging, as one post stated. Outside Poirier and Ferland, who I assume we’re keeping, Arnold has the most potential. But I like him – just don’t see where he ever fits in at the pivot unless Stajan’s moved.

      • Craig

        I know this was the line for Myers in the past and while the Sabres could have easily demanded a 1st rounder and a grade A prospect three years ago, I’m not so sure that’s still the asking price. Although he still has a high ceiling, his past two years, albeit on a bad club, haven’t been good and I expect his value has dropped accordingly.

  • Parallex

    Not seeing any real matches with us here… with respect to the “help now and in the future” idea I see a lot of UFA’s (so not so much “and in the future”) a few guys under contract but who have high asking prices in terms of picks and prospects (again not so much “help in the future”) and Patrick Wiercioch who’s only, at present, an upgrade to the third pairing.

    I could be convinced to pick-up one of the younger upcoming UFA’s if the other team would absorb the long-term risk (aka I would want any potential futures heading the other way to be conditional on reaching an extension) and I’d take on Wiercioch if he comes cheap enough.

    Otherwise I’d take my chances with the current crew and look to pursue long-term upgrades in the offseason.

    Side Note: I think Tyler Myers is fast taking over Phaneaf’s title as the most over-rated player in the NHL. Really what has he had going for him since his rookie year? Yes, I get it, he’s really tall… but we ain’t playing basketball here

    • everton fc

      With Borowiecki out, down one d-man, I don’t see the Sens moving anyone at this time.

      Del Zotto’s still young. He’d be a good gamble if he came cheap. As a 5/6 d-man, he’s far better than any of our are current trio. As a 3/4 d-man, I think we could do better.

  • Not to keen on any of the big name options here. Not for the price the teams will be asking.

    the only one I really like is Andrej Sekera.
    If the Flames could add him you can move Wideman down the depth. Play TJ – Gio
    Sekera – Russell
    Wideman – Smid/Diaz/Wotherspoon.

    Give Wideman more minutes on the PP. Even though he’s shit defensively having his ability to score won’t hurt in the playoffs. Playing against teams third/4th lines should be better for him defensively.

  • Parallex

    I am not an advocate for any rental, even on the blue line unless the cost is at most a 3rd rounder. That said, the blue line needs to get upgraded & agree with Beloch, we have to use some of the young forwards that have been ripening for long enough. The better the youth we give, the better the return, its simple as that.

    I think Yandle is the best fit with Russell on that 2nd pairing. I also quite like like Sekera. They are both in that 28 year old category that would fit in the demographics of this team quite well.

    I would give up 1 of Klimchuk or Sven & 1 of Reinhart, Agostino, or Hanowski & a 2nd for Yandle or a conditional 3rd for Sekera.

    Yandle has more value having 1 more year left & gives us more time to get an extension, otherwise we flip him as a rental in a year. I know many love Sven & don’t want to part with him & I agree, I would rather trade Klimchuk than Sven but if it takes Sven to get our 2nd pairing guy so be it. I just have a very very bad feeling that when Sven gets his game going, he is going to kick us in the groin when it comes to extend his contract because I do agree this kid should be getting more ice time on the big team & we have seemed to have alienated him by jerking him around. It happens with many teams, but I see no home town discounts from Sven in the future. Teams like Carolina & Arizona, they want youth & rebuild pieces, I bet our package can be bettered by other teams. Franson scares me because of all the hype that is ever affiliated with Toronto, the price for any Leaf is going to be inflated.

  • JaromeLoob12

    Not seeing any real matches with us here… with respect to the “help now and in the future” idea I see a lot of UFA’s (so not so much “and in the future”) a few guys under contract but who have high asking prices in terms of picks and prospects (again not so much “help in the future”) and Patrick Wiercioch who’s only, at present, an upgrade to the third pairing.

    I could be convinced to pick-up one of the younger upcoming UFA’s if the other team would absorb the long-term risk (aka I would want any potential futures heading the other way to be conditional on reaching an extension) and I’d take on Wiercioch if he comes cheap enough.

    Otherwise I’d take my chances with the current crew and look to pursue long-term upgrades in the offseason.

    Side Note: I think Tyler Myers is fast taking over Phaneaf’s title as the most over-rated player in the NHL. Really what has he had going for him since his rookie year? Yes, I get it, he’s really tall… but we ain’t playing basketball here

    Good assessment on Weiercoch

    Meh on Myers,

    Don’t forget it took some time for Chara to develop into what he is today. I think a change of scenery would be good for Myers. His size, skating and reach are valuable to any team in the NHL.. He does have a decent physical edge to him as well so in my opinion he is more than just “tall”

    • Parallex

      Respecfully disagree. Ask yourself this… if Tyler Myers achieved the exact same results and had the exact same contract but was 6’1 instead of 6’8 would anyone be clamouring to get him? I don’t believe so.

      Yeah, I get that lots of folk would so badly love to get “the next Chara” but Chara is almost the hockey equivalent of a magical unicorn… the odds that Tyler Myers will become what Chara is are far far far less then that Tyler Myers just is what he is and will largely remain that. Chara is a freak occurance not a standard model.

  • Craig

    I like targeting Sekera and Franson, we’re going to have to sell off some youth but luckily we have quite a few very good prospects.

    I think prospects that could help get a decent return would be Reinhart, Granlund, Sven. These are prospects that have scored well in the AHL and have shown promise in the NHL.

    I don’t wsnt Sven to go, but this franshise just seems to have soured on him. Do either #FreeSven or use him to get Franson!

  • PrairieStew

    Agree with Beloch that we have alot of duplication and if some of it can translate into a couple of longer term upgrades then it should be explored. Consider the following 10 pairs of players and whether you could take one from each pair and package them together with one or two others for some upgrades:

    Smid – Engelland

    Byron – Raymond

    Hanowski – van Brabant

    Reinhart – Arnold

    Baertschi – Klimchuk

    Elson – Agostino

    Cundari – Ramage

    Ferland – Wolf

    Smith – Carroll

    Sieloff -Wotherspoon

    So if it took Sven, Wotherspoon and Smid to get a sub 30 year old potential top 4 defenseman wouldn’t you look at it ?

  • AF

    Franson would be the ideal move I’m thinking. Then again, it just goes to show you what good deals we have with Brodie and Giordano because both of those players could be making a lot more.

    If we had Franson we’d have a really solid top four and Wideman would be dropped to the third pairing. We could just play Wotherspoon and somehow try and get rid of Smid and Engelland. Maybe it’s unlikely to happen but it would sure make us a better team.

  • AF

    http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=19294

    Is Dylan Olsen good enough to make a deal with the Panthers for?

    Would not think it would be for much. Hanowski or Agostino? He is the other defenseman that Calgary was looking at when they drafted Erixon.

    http://www.ottawasun.com/2015/01/31/arizona-coyotes-are-open-for-business-but-opposing-gms-wont-find-many-bargains

    Dylan Olsen on waivers caught teams off guard
    Teams may be willing to take him if Florida takes a contract on instead
    Panthers are looking for help on defence

    Ekblad – 18
    Petrovic – 22
    Gudbranson – 23
    Kulikov – 24

    Have Campbell and Mitchell as mentors but that is a young group of defensemen. Maybe it is just a numbers thing with Olsen.

    • everton fc

      Olsen would be an asset w/NHL experience. He’s a former #1 pick gone bust.

      Like Colborne, whose now becoming a player.

      I’d do Hanowski for Olsen. Agostino needs more time in the organization.

  • everton fc

    What’s the deal with Myers? All I know is he looked decent against the Flames this week.

    Someone mentioned a Phaneuf comparison. To me Phaneuf’s biggest issue was his lack of intelligence. Is Myers like that? You gotta figure that those early offensive numbers and that size and skill set could be lethal. But you can’t be an effective top 4 defensemen in this league without a cerebral approach to the game.

    Maybe a move down to the middle pairing and some mentorship could be exactly what he needs…

  • loudogYYC

    The best bet for the Flames would be Coburn. Considering Philly is in trouble in the standings and with the cap, they will need help and we can take advantage of that.

    Trade for Coburn and take on Lecavalier as a salary dump in exchange for very little as we’re ‘doing them a favour’ and then find a spot for Lecavalier in the line-up or retain 25% of his salary in a new trade to a team that needs him (Nashville).

    • everton fc

      We have no room for Lecavalier. I’d rather have Franson and take on Clarkson’s contract. I’d rather have Clarkson than Byron on the right-side. He’d fit on our 3rd line, or could take Jones spot on the 2nd line. But if you can get Franson for a 2nd round pick… The 2015 draft isn’t incredibly deep. (Wonder what it takes to get Gardiner? Or Percy, for that matter??)

      Note, I’m only comparing the deals. I’m not supporting either.

      Petry wouldn’t be bad here. But I can’t see us dealing with the Oilers.

  • loudogYYC

    I agree that Lecavalier wouldn’t fit here, but he’s still a desirable asset. Specially at a cap discount which the Flames could enable. If Tampa flipped Gagner for a pick, I’m sure Treliving could do the same with Vinny.

    That, and Coburn as a #3 or 4 would be a rock, much stronger than Franson defensively and that’s what every top 4 needs.

  • loudogYYC

    Some good options here -some expensive options here.

    So if we were to acquire Myers and pair him with Russell or wotherspoon we could shelter him while trying to create a good second pair and maximize his potential.

    I only bring myers up because of his age and what i had thought at one time about his ceiling. Has to be a right hander… could take a stab at Petry or Franson sure but the idea of the more interesting guy like myers is more fun… but for value… well it depends what does a Petry or a Franson go for these days?

    Is it worth the cost to acquire Myers and attempt form a bad ass second pair… or do you try the deal where you give up the least while getting the most value?

  • Parallex

    I’d be interested in Wiercoch (because he’ll probably come really cheap, like 4th/5th rounder territory) and Petry. Having watched Petry play so much the last few years (both against the Flames and just vs other teams) he seems like he’d be a nice addition to the second pairing.

    If they do trade for him, they need to

    A) make sure that they can sign him (and not to a 6×6 contract like he might get July 1),

    and

    B) Not give up too too much in the return. 2nd/3rd rounder and a probably a prospect (EDM can never have too much of those, after all)

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    Some mostly young D players who could be available but missing here (and all from near-cap) teams are:
    Bos: McQuaid, Krug, Bartkowski
    Phi: Luke Schenn
    Chi: Rundblad, Hjalmarsson
    Mtl: Emelin
    TB: Stralman