3 reasons postseason hockey might return to Calgary this spring

FlamesNation

Ask around, and you’ll find that nobody has been as vocal about predicting the demise of the 2014-15 Calgary also rans Flames as I’ve been.

The Flames rocketed right to the top of the Western Conference with a stellar start to the year, limped through a near-disastrous December, and have regained their footing of late. Currently Calgary is holding down a Wild Card playoff spot (by point percentage), and have a decent lead on the likes of the Los Angeles Kings, Dallas Stars, and Minnesota Wild. 

Can they hang on? I’m still not betting on it and this is not to be mistaken for a mea culpa, but I am genuinely seeing more reason for optimism now than I was back in the halcyon days of late November, 2014. Click past the jump and permit me to explain.

1. Backlund’s Back Alright!

Oh my god he’s back again – Nick Carter

11 games ago Flames two-way ace Mikael Backlund, arguably the most under-rated defensive center in the game (a title he’s held at least since New York Islanders pivot Frans Nielsen became properly rated), returned to the lineup. Though he’s only played in 10 of those games (he was out of the lineup Monday with an illness), his impact has been immediate and enormous.

The 25-year-old centerman has managed five goals and five assists, and is scoring at a point-per-game rate. He’s consistently logging well over 17 minutes of ice-time. He’s back to being his suffocating self when the Flames are short-handed. Most importantly, for our purposes, he’s brought up the Flames’ underlying numbers more significantly than I would’ve expected.

For the season the Flames are a sub-45 percent Corsi For team, one of only three such clubs in the league. Those other teams – the Buffalo Sabres and the Colorado Avalanche – they’re not imposing and they’re certainly not making the playoffs. If you think the Flames are a true-talent 45 percent Corsi For team, you should bet against them qualifying for Stanley’s annual ball.

Corsi measures up all shot attempts both for and against at 5-on-5, and teams that get out-attempted to the extent that the Flames have this season, well, they generally don’t sustain a high-level of performance over 82 games. Sometimes the stars align and they do because of the hockey god’s fickle favour, or excellent special teams play, or dominant goaltending. When the whistles stop being blown in the postseason though, and officials let teams work it out at even-strength, even those blessed outlier teams are most often fodder for a first-round elimination. 

Now here’s where things a little bit more interesting for the Flames. Since Backlund’s return – and take this with all of the Small Sample Size™ brand salt you have on hand – the Flames are a 47.9 percent team by score adjusted shot attempt differential. That’s still not very good, but you can work with that. 

If Calgary can sustain that quality of play at evens over the last 32 games, that’s a workable number. Sub-45 percent, you’re pretty much dead in the water. You might win some games here and there (even the Sabres looked respectable for three weeks this season), but it’s a ticking time bomb of unsustainability. At 48 percent, and with quality special teams (edited: aside from the power-play – as Kent has rightly pointed out) and decent goaltending like the Flames have? That’s a different matter.

If they can stay healthy and keep it up, which I still think is a bit unlikely (but it’s not unthinkable by any means), they’ll have a fighting chance. 

2. Johnny Trademark Drives Sales, (maybe) Percentages

The single biggest reason why I was so down on the Flames, even as they were atop the Pacific Division table early in the year, was their horses, or lack thereof, up front. I didn’t see anyway that the Flames would score enough to keep pace with the likes of Dallas, Minnesota, San Jose, even Vancouver.

Over the past few months my thinking has evolved somewhat, and it’s largely because Johnny be good.

Currently the Flames are 11th in the league in goals per game rate, but they’re also converting on 8.8 percent of their shots at 5-on-5. That’s a really high rate – the third best in the league – and it’s unlikely to last. I’ve long said that Calga-regression is unlikely to look like what we saw late last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs (who were bad defensively), and instead is likely to look like a series of 2-1 losses. It could still happen, but Gaudreau gives us some reason to believe that perhaps Calgary’s offence could have just enough oomph to power them to the postseason.

I’m a firm believer that there are forwards who set the table, and players who can feast. What I mean by this is that there are players who can help you control play (and drive shot attempt differential)- the Jonathan Toews’, Anze Kopitar’s, prime Henrik Sedin, Patrice Bergeron of the world – and then players who can capitalize off of the favourable scoring environment that the table setters provide. That latter group drives shooting percentage, and includes your Marian Gaborik’s, your Phil Kessel’s, your Patrick Kane’s.

Is Gaudreau that caliber of player? Increasingly, it looks like it. The pint-sized American dynamo is on pace for 61 points in his rookie year, and he leads all Flames in on-ice shooting percentage with a conversion rate over 12 percent. Usually we’d say that’s unsustainable and it very probably is somewhat, but we know that the best offensive players in hockey can sustain elevated percentages. 

Maybe Gaudreau’s base-line is a couple points higher than average, in which case, we might reasonably expect his percentages to regress somewhat less steeply.

We won’t know for a few years out, but watching Gaudreau challenge defenders out wide, or enter the zone with preternatural slipperiness, I suspect he is that caliber of player. 

The play I keep coming back to when I turn this idea over in my head was actually a flukey goal that coincidentally had zero impact on his 5-on-5 on-ice shooting percentage, but it nonetheless demonstrated a lot of what makes Gaudreau special in my view. 

It was his third-goal to tie the pre-Christmas game against the Kings:

It’s everything about that play. It’s the lurker’s instincts to find the soft spot in Los Angeles’ 6-on-5 coverage and it’s the speed to catch Drew Doughty flatfooted (I mean, how often have you seen that?)

Calgary’s popgun offense is still a problem. The Flames are 27th in the league in even-strength shot rate on the year, and are 23rd in the NHL in goals scored since December 1st. Their 8.8 on-ice shooting rate at 5-on-5 will regress, but Gaudreau’s elite skill level is reason for significant optimism, both this season and beyond. If he can keep feasting, and if what he’s shown isn’t a complete mirage, then the Flames may not go away as easily as I’d suspected they would. 

3. A top-end defensive team

Finally, the Flames are legitimately really good at defense. 

Perhaps this is what the broadcast analysts mean when they praise Calgary for out-working their opponents. Or perhaps the Flames bringing an honest effort every night results in them being a good defensive team. Chicken and egg and all that. 

I prefer to think that they just have a whole host of players who are really skilled away from the puck, be it Backlund, or Marc Giordano, or T.J. Brodie, or Matt Stajan, or even a shot-blocking specialist like Lance Bouma.

The Flames are currently allowing the seventh fewest shots against per game in the entire league, which would suggest that they’re a top-end defensive team. They’re only average when it comes to suppressing shots at five-on-five, but they’re a top-five team when it comes to suppressing shots short-handed. 

It also helps that they’re the most disciplined team in hockey, and have been short-handed the fewest times of any NHL club. So much for Brian Burke’s trademark truculence. 

This article was written before Monday’s game, and has been edited to reflect a few changes that occurred as a result of Calgary’s victory over Winnipeg on Feb. 2.

  • Burnward

    “They’re slightly below average when it comes to suppressing shots at five-on-five.”

    Might want to fact check this. Or add in an “attempts.”

    Welcome though and try to avoid the narratives.

    Edit: Don’t prop. My bad on this one.

  • prendrefeu

    Was this written prior to last night’s games?

    Currently Calgary is holding down a Wild Card playoff spot

    As of writing this comment, Calgary is not in the Wild Card picture at all.

    Actually, they’re in sole possession of 3rd place in the Pacific!
    Of course the Cantpucks have 3 games in hand and who knows how that will go, but still – 3rd place! Now! Wow!

    • mk

      Someone really needs to run the numbers, but I SWEAR the Flames always close out the season having played a couple games more than everyone else until the last 2 weeks. Every season (where they were close to the playoffs), we were talking how all the other teams had games in hand.

  • playastation

    The score.ca power rankings guy, writing good stuff on the flames.

    Good stuff. Good article.

    A ton of people are down on backlund playing on offensive lines. It’s really strange to me. Because if he’s preventing the other team from having the puck, then the offensive line has the puck more.

  • Derzie

    Flames are selective on offense and give up the perimeter on defense. They should be measured on Scoring Chance differential rather than low percentage shot counts. Hard to distinguish between a bad team getting peppered and a solid team bending but not breaking (which the Flames are). Corsi alone is not an appropriate measure of the Flames potential. Has to include scoring chances and goal differential to get a clearer picture.

  • BurningSensation

    i am curious if the Flames discipline might not be a bigger advantage than it first looks.

    Everyone concerns themselves with scoring 5v5, which the stats say, we should.

    But if the Flames are giving up fewer PP chances a game than anyone else, that means that we are either at 5v5, or on the PP ourselves, much more often than other teams. It also means we stall our PP by taking a penalty far less often, giving our guys a better chance of scoring by keeping them on the ice with an extra man for longer.

    I am also curious about how our team, PDO, and Corsi are getting along.

    Early on, Calgary got floated by some unsustainable goaltending, and then later we got flotated by some unsustainable shooting %s. But both of those metrics have regressed back towards the mean, and yet the Flames (somehow) remain in a playoff spot. So…what gives?

    Part of the answer is as noted in the article, Johnny Gaudreau. He’s going to be freakishly good, and is clearly just scratching the surface of his abilities.

    I think the other part of the answer is Sean Monahan. The kid was thrown in to the deep end when Stajan went down and took on all the heavy lifting assignments while other kid-lines got sheltered. And despite the tougher assignments he has pretty much held his own. Having a 20 year old flashing the kind of allround skillset that Monahan has, while getting a saw-off against the other teams top pivots is worth more than gold.

    Also worth noting;
    http://flamesfrom80feet.blogspot.ca/2015/01/eight-from-80-feet-flames-all-time-u21.html

    Check out how Monahan is doing vs his draft peers…where does he get picked if they redid the entire draft? 2nd instead of Barkov?

    • everton fc

      They are not taking stupid penalties and are seldom short-handed. It’s a definite reason they are where they are. I’d also add the goaltending – mighty improved from last season. Toss in the strengthening down the middle in leaps and bounds (Stajan would be a #3 centre on many teams) and you can see this isn’t a team worried about anything at the moment. Confidence in spades.

      If they could add that coveted 3/4/5 d-man (I can settle w/Diaz at #6. Or even Engelland is we had someone else), and is their special teams play improves… They’ll be a tough draw come playoff time.

      And they will make the playoffs. If they beat the Sharks this week, they’ll perhaps see the wildcard spots from the rear-view mirror the rest of this season. Which is what we want, hey?!

    • BurningSensation

      I think MacKinnon still goes #1, but after that I think Monahan starts to seriously enter the conversation.

      Wouldn’t Florida, who were looking for a #1C (to the point of passing on Seth Jones), not have to reconsider Barkov over Monahan? They might still make the same decision, but Monahan has made it a much tougher call.

      Word is that Tampa was in love with Drouin, and I suspect they were laser focussed on him unless MacKinnon slipped to them. That said, would Tampa not think harder about Monahan just because elite C’s are worth more than elite Ws?

      Nashvillle would never (ever, never, ever) recant the Jones pick. He’s the poster child for the Preds look for.

      As good as Elias Lindholm has been, I’m utterly confident that Carolina would rethink their choice at 5.

    • beloch

      First off, hail to the new overlord!

      What surprises me most about Monahan is how well he’s performed while playing shutdown minutes this season. Thanks to the early season, Backlund is still massively sheltered by comparison. The fact that Monahan’s been scoring too is seriously impressive for a 20 year old. Nathan Mackinnon plays significantly easier minutes (easier comp and significantly easier zone starts), but Monahan’s been scoring at a slightly faster rate! On the other hand, Mackinnon shoots the pick slightly more and has a far lower sh% than Monahan does right now.

      I think Mackinnon would probably still go first, but Monahan would be very close behind. However, that may change. Monahan was clearly the #6 guy when he was drafted, but he’s improved rapidly ever since. The difference between his play this season and last season is immense. It’s too early to say which of these kids has the highest ceilings, but if Monahan keeps improving at this rate…

      P.S. I think Monahan has clearly surpassed Barkov at this point. Barkov is actually sheltered significantly more than Monahan and, while his possession stats are better, he’s been scoring at just one third the pace. Barkov was notable for being huge well before he was drafted, so his game may be closer to mature than Monahan’s, given that Monahan didn’t really fill out until this season. i.e. Barkov is unlikely to put on a massive amount of muscle this off season and show up next season hugely improved, as Monahan did this season. Barkov is almost a full year younger though, so it may be too early to tell for sure.

  • @BurningSensation

    Barkov *is* Florida’s #1 centre, and his results – by the underlying numbers – are incredible for a 19-year-old.

    Drouin is playing a depth role but he’s a top-5 player (in the entire league) by primary assist rate at 5-on-5, he’s incredible – a future top playmaker. And Jones has been excellent. I still think Monahan – as excellent as he is and has been – is in a class just below those 4 (including MacKinnon).

  • BurningSensation

    I find it ironic that our defence is being hi-lighted as one of the reasons Flames currently sit in the playoffs. Many of us, myself included strongly posted that this team needs to upgrade the 2nd pairing, which will upgrade the bottom pairing with Wideman or Russell occupying the #5 slot. My eye test still perceives Brodano has been elite in generating excellent scoring chances & exiting the zone, then a fairly big drop off to Russell/Wideman, followed by a massive drop in our 3rd pairing. I think the Brodano effect has elevated the play of the 2nd pairing. The Flames have not invested a lot into the blue line, Gio was undrafted, Brodie a 4th or 5 th rounder, Russell was a 5th rounder, Wideman cost nothing but $$ to acquire. The bottom pairing were just $$$ costs as well. At what point do we invest in the blue line & what limit should be on BT’s credit card to shop with? Maybe the answer to that is are we ready to declare what stage this rebuild is at? Is this year just a sweet anomaly? Some pretty major decisions should be made in the next 3-4 weeks. If this is more a fairy tale season as opposed to a realization this team had better skill than we thought & skipped a few steps of a long rebuild. If we are just a cinderella story, I would stay the course & make very few moves & keep all hands on deck for a fun long awaited playoff appearance with appropriate expectations. If we are the latter, then I think we invest significantly & shop for a #3 defence man & accelerate the one thing we all have agreed is lagging behind on this rebuild. Either way, we are not far from needing to change gears from full rebuild mode.

    • I would evaluate the status of our rebuild (or at least attempt to) by removing the best (older) forward and best defender. ie: Let’s look at the Flames roster without Hudler and Gio.

      Do we still look like a good/decent team?

      If yes, then you can probably say yes, we are in decent shape in our rebuild. If not, then we should probably stay the course.

      I say we stay the course, if the playoffs happen this year take the gravy and if not we had a great development year, and a lot to look forward to.

      PS – this exercise makes the D corps look pretty thin! Brodie would be quite lonely atop the depth chart.

      • piscera.infada

        I think Hudler could be replaced & really look forward to seeing the youthful impact of Porrier & Bennett next year. Defensively, yeah I agree.
        I would stay put, even keep our only 2 UFA’s GlenX & Ramo, if something you can’t turn down isn’t dropped on your lap and enjoy the playoff chase & hopefully a solid round or 2 come playoff time. What an incredible development opportunity for Calgary’s youth. I would try to acquire that #3 dman in the summer or at the draft.

      • piscera.infada

        I’ve said it many times, he brings no “value” as a #3 guy unless Toronto is willing to eat at least 2 million dollars of that contract. You (royal you, not “you” per say) want to argue Englelland’s contract is bad? And it seems at all reasonable to pay a guy 7 million dollars until he’s 35 (6 more seasons), to be a number 3 defenseman, with a modified NTC?

        Remember, in the next two years, Gio, Russell, Backlund, Monahan, Gaudreau, Bouma, and Hudler are all going to need extensions (and that includes raises). Phaneuf just isn’t worth that contract.

        To put it all in perspective Dennis Wideman has a cap hit of 5.25 million (1.75 million less than Phaneuf), and he’s already widely regarded as an albatross contract.

      • piscera.infada

        No thanks. Also, I can’t see Calgary bringing him back to a dressing room that still has players in the dressing room & in Management that ran him out of town on a midnight selloff. He probably is decent 2nd pairing blue liner, but I wouldn’t touch him & the $$ amount & length of his contract with a 10′ pole.

      • prendrefeu

        Does The Dion have Phaneuf left in the tank to play well?
        Will The Dion agree (in attitude and commitment) not to be on the first pairing?
        Can The Dion not take stupid penalities?
        Can The Dion get over himself?

        If three or more of those answers are no, the value question also has an answer of no.

        Despite what is said about Diaz, Smid, Engelland, and so on, I do think their play is improving… marginally improving. I’d also like to heap some valid praise: they really give it their all on every shift (even if it isn’t up to the caliber of Brodano it’s clear they actually give a damn and are genuinely trying to be better), they tend to avoid taking stupid penalties (a plus), and they bring a genuine good quality to the team as a whole. While that last point may, for many, be not a worthwhile virtue, I personally believe it to be an ‘x factor’ that helps the team as a whole and will be vital as the team grows, develops, and heads into the post-season. Here vital is used when the other side – a personality detrimental to the team – is a very real possibility with some players. Would you rather see a locker room of teammates that are stoked to play together, or a locker room where players are lacing up and thinking “that guy over there is a f****** c***t, can’t wait for this game to be over already” ?

        • prendrefeu

          I don’t disagree with your assessment of our defense. The question was really posed to Kevin who expressed doubts about the current group.

          Your questions about The Dion are not for me to answer. Those questions are the ones management will have to answer or answer for.

          The reason I have this hunch in the first place is BB quite likes The Dion, as you put it. Also, Elliot Freidman says the Flames are kicking tires. He usually has some substance before he says anything.

          Like I said, I’m not lobbying for the deal, I just think it may be coming.

        • The Last Big Bear

          “that guy over there is a f****** c***t, can’t wait for this game to be over already”

          The difference between Phaneuf today, and Phaneuf of 2008, is ^this^ is what he used to make the OTHER team say.

          THAT is why he was so valuable in Calgary.

    • The Last Big Bear

      At what point do we invest in the blue line & what limit should be on BT’s credit card to shop with?

      I think the Flames should be shopping now, and shopping hard, to get a young #1 defenceman.

      Giordano turns 32 this off-season. He’s going to turn into a pumpkin in the next few years, and I don’t think there’s anybody in the system who has the upside to be able to join Brodie on the 1st pairing. Certainly not in the time-frame we need.

      So we’re going to need to get a first pairing defender from another team. Preferably a young one. And that’s going to be expensive.

      As far as BT’s credit limit, anyone and everyone should be available outside of Monahan, Bennett, and Brodie. Because outside of those 3 guys, everyone else is worth giving up if you’re getting a young 1st pairing defender back.

      The Flames would have their top-6 centres in place, and both first pairing defenders in place, all under the age of 25. That’s pretty much the guts of the rebuild, right there.

      Everything else is just housekeeping after that.

      I’d be willing to dangle assets like Johnny Gaudreau, Kris Russel, Sven Baertschi, a re-signed Mikael Backlund, high draft picks, etc. And a package with those kinds of ingredients will get a lot of attention, especially from the teams on a budget.

      It’ll feel like passing a kidney stone giving up assets like that, but you don’t get something for nothing. And certainly not a #1 d-man under the age of 25.

        • The Last Big Bear

          I think the kid is a pretty comparable to Patrick Kane.

          I’d give up Patrick Kane in a heartbeat to get a John Carlson, or Alex Pietrangelo, or Drew Doughty, et al.

          • piscera.infada

            Who is available that is definitely able to hit the Pietrangelo, Doughty, et al. ceiling?

            If there were finite examples out there, that are projecting to be “that player”, then maybe this would be a different conversation. That said, I’m still unsure. Brodie is still progressing. I think in two-years time, he could definitely be a legitimate number 1 defenseman. I also tend to believe that there are deals out there where you don’t have to trade Patrick Kane away.

          • The Last Big Bear

            Im not talking about a player who ‘projects’ to be that guy, or has a ‘ceiling’ like those guys, I’m talking about one of THOSE GUYS.

            There’s about fifteen 1st pairing defencemen or sure-fire prospects (ie Seth Jones) who are 25 and under.

            Call their GMs. Ask for them to name their price. If any of them can be had without giving up Monahan, Brodie, or Bennett, then pull the trigger. If not, call back again later.

          • piscera.infada

            Fair enough. Like I said, I agree in principle. The only point of divergence here is that I think Gaudreau belongs in that Monahan, Bennett, Brodie group. Part of that is the fan in me though (and I get that), but frankly, we waited three years to finally see the kid and he’s done nothing but impress. I think if you were to trade him at this point, you run the risk of looking very foolish in a few years.

            I get it, wingers are largely “replaceable”, but I just see Johnny as the type of player this team needs going forward. A trade of that asset could easily be a step-back.

      • The Last Big Bear

        I actually agree with the go hard shopping trip now, just not agreeing to the limit on the credit card. Bennett, Money & Brody agree are future cores. But I also include Gaudreau & Backlund on that no trade list right now & of course Gio, because I want to win now. & a great big reluctance to part with Porrier or Ortio.

        I would rather put our 1st rounder, Sven, Shore, Russell, Colborne, Klimchuk in a package to attract that desired player we seek. 2 & a B prospect(Reinhart or Agostino) should be able to get what we need. Better get something good with that budget or don’t bother coming home to the lynch mob.

        • Greg

          Was going to post a reply, but your list nailed my thoughts exactly. BT’s “credit card” is anything (including the first, Klimchuk, etc) except for the future core guys you list. I see our current issues as being:

          1) defensive depth
          2) elite offensive threats

          #2 will likely be solved just with the horses we’ve already got in a few years. Trading 1 a Bennet or Gaudreau or even Monahan or Poirier, even if it’s for a Doughty, means #1 got solved, but you just made #2 way worse now, and means you have to find a new future solution for it as well. Which you aren’t likely going to get through drafting outside the top 10.

          If you look at the UFA pool this year, there’s a lot more potential solutions for problem #1 out there then there is for problem #2. Funny enough, Curtis Glencross might actually be one of the top 5 options available this year for that.

        • The Last Big Bear

          Yeah, I know.

          Wanting to move one of our many undersized but highly talented forwards, to get a stud blueliner as early as possible in the rebuild, is such an Oilers thing to do.

          If only I was more emotionally attached to our skilled wingers…

          • Slowmo

            Who replaces Gaudreau’s skill and spark? Midling wingers are easily replaced. He has the talent and upside to potentially be elite. There are other options to trade for that #2 d-man including our 1st rounder this year.

          • Burnward

            Sure would’ve been nice if the drafting of d-men kept up with the drafting of forwards. Remember that time when Matta was available?

            Anyhow trading Gaudreau is insanity. Like when Iginla was going to be traded for Peca until the cocaine wore off.

  • everton fc

    Love that picture of Gio hahaha. But seriously I am loving the way the Flames are playing this year, every game is exciting. Making the playoffs this early in the rebuild would be the cherry on top of a great season. Go Flames go!

  • RKD

    Gio on Goldberg’s body? That’s an insult to Gio! I hope the Flames make the playoffs, they’ve worked they tail off. The kids that came up played with a ton of heart. Monahan is starting to really heat up. If he and Johnny keep going like this I think our chances of making the post-season are pretty good. If they keep playing well defensively they will be in every game from now until the end of the season.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Hail, Drance our new Nations Overlord!

    Hail!

    Hail!

    Drance, I present these burned offerings in the hopes that they may be pleasing to your website!

    1) Mikael Backlund played last season as the 1st line centre, in a power-vs-power role, in the Western Conference, on a 27th place team. And he finished as a PLUS player.

    He went head-to-head against Kopitar, Getzlaf, Toews, Thornton, et al, and he outshot and outscored them.

    For my money, he is the best forward on the Flames, and has been for a few years now.

    2) Curtis Glencross is the God-King of shooting percentages. He is 7th among all active NHLers, at 14.58%. Hudler is number 12 among all active NHLers at 14.40%. Both these guys also have long histories of driving their teammates’ on-ice sh% as well.

    Based on the extensive work of the advanced stats community, we have learned that this is a phenomenon known as “luck”. Empirical evidence suggests it is rarely sustainable for more than 10-15 years at a time.

    However, as you note, early returns suggest that Gaudreau may be “lucky” too, which would be really handy. And I’m not sure if you recall, but Monahan was pretty “lucky” last season too. I like “lucky” players.

    3)

    Finally, the Flames Mark Giordano are legitimately really good at defense.

    Perhaps this is what the broadcast analysts mean when they praise Calgary Mark Giordano for out-working their opponents. Or perhaps the Flames Mark Giordano bringing an honest effort every night results in them being a good defensive team. Chicken and egg and all that.

    FTFY

    THE OVERLORD IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE OVERLORD!

  • everton fc

    Our cap room also makes room for a 1-3 slot d-man. A list of those who fit this bill and can come in and get the job done as discount (the other team eating a bit of salary) – can we get a list going for discussion??

    • The Last Big Bear

      Kent did a good trade targets post yesterday. Problem with not giving up as much in assets means you are acquiring a UFA that could disrupt your salary structure on the team, especially because we need to start extension conversations with Gio first thing July 1 morning.
      That’s why Franson kind of scares me. Sekera maybe but I would rather gun after a young Larsson on NJ or even Merrill or Gelinas. What youth for youth/our 1st rounder will it take to pry Ristolainen or Zadorov from Buffalo. What kind of cap assistance/youth can we offer to Boston for Hamilton or Krug. Any of these kids have pretty high ceilings, won’t mess with the Gio extension conversations & help us immediately & in the future. That I would pay a price for.

  • Slowmo

    So I guess every 1 thinks that a seilof or a weatherspoon has no Value to our core D or even a package trade I think Bennett will play his way onto this team if and I believe they will give Ben his game dues he will make them keep him he has a high IQ ( Hockey Sense ) is a power forward that has truculence probably didn’t spell it right will hit will push his way in and will score. So we have or front sewed up now we need a big strong D presents and not Dion Edmoncuck can have him.

  • Slowmo

    My trades include (for the right price) either of our NHL goaltenders, any defenceman other than Gio and Brodie and any forward not named Monahan, JG, Bennett or Poirier. I have no interest in recycled players like Phaneuf or high priced slugs like Vinny, Clarkson or Stewart. Don’t discount the importance of team culture that is carrying the current Flames and don’t jeopardize it by signing a Dion.

  • Slowmo

    My trades include (for the right price) either of our NHL goaltenders, any defenceman other than Gio and Brodie and any forward not named Monahan, JG, Bennett or Poirier. I have no interest in recycled players like Phaneuf or high priced slugs like Vinny, Clarkson or Stewart. Don’t discount the importance of team culture that is carrying the current Flames and don’t jeopardize it by signing a Dion.