Previously we looked at the Flames potential deadline trade targets, with the focus being top-4 type defenders who could solidify the club’s blueline depth both now and in the future. Of course, In order to land any of those players, Calgary is going to have to part with a few assets of their own.
Unlike your typical contender, the Flames can’t really justify parting ways with quality futures or first round picks for a deadline player. Although they have been the Cinderella story in the NHL this season, Calgary is still very much in the midst of an organizational rebuild, meaning the focus and priority remains the long-term.
This naturally limits trade pieces to expendable players only. Here’s a list of what the Flames might have to offer a deadline partner come March. Not included are players who obviously have next to no value (Deryk Engelland, Brand Bollig, etc.) and guys I consider to be core pieces of the rebuild (TJ Brodie, Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan, etc.)
Curtis Glencross – LW – 32 years old
It’s been a bit of rebound for Curtis Glencross this season, though likely not enough to render him a core piece of the Flames rebuild moving forward. Although he still has a good shot and quick release, Glencross is visibly slower this year, a trend that is no doubt to continue into the future given his age.
The Kindersley Saskatchewan native’s agent has also been vocal about not taking another “home discount” type contract this time around, meaning Glencross is looking to cash-in as a free agent this summer. And for good reason – this is his last shot to sign a big deal before time starts to catch up to him. For the Flames, it probably doesn’t make much sense to keep him around for more money on any sort of deal longer than a couple of years.
Assuming he gets healthy soon-ish, Glencross is probably the Flames best trade deadline asset. His deal is very cheap, he can still contribute fairly well at the NHL level and it’s really unlikely the club is going to keep him around next season.
Glencross could fetch a pick or prospect from a contender or be packaged to another seller for a return if they had hope of re-signing him prior to free agency. Any futures they garner from a Glencross trade could be packaged and flipped for a defender in return.
Karri Ramo – G – 28 years old
It was clear at the start of the season that Karri Ramo would have to win the starters job outright in order to be considered a part of the Flames future plans. With Jonas Hiller signed for two years and Joni Ortio’s contract scheduled to jump up to a one-way deal in 2015, Ramo was positioned to be a placeholder absent a big step forward.
And while he has looked capable at times this season, it’s clear he’s not going to usurp Hiller. Ortio’s impressive cup of coffee also likely sealed Ramo’s fate in the Flames org.
As mentioned previously, this might be one of those rare seasons when there is actually be some demand for a decent, veteran back-up goalie. Ramo isn’t going land a notable asset on his own, but maybe Brad Treliving can flip him for a mid-level prospect or pick.
Paul Byron – C/LW – 25 year old
Although he is cheap, young, fast and versatile, Paul Byron doesn’t have the counting numbers, pedigree or physical stature that typically garner much on the trade market, which means he’s probably worth more to the Flames in the line-up than on the auction block. Byron has outstanding underlying numbers and is a very useful complementary player, but is by no means irreplaceable, which is why he lands on the list.
If Toronto asks for Byron in a package in return for Cody Franson (unlikely), then you do the deal. Otherwise, the Flames should consider re-signing him for cheap to fill out the bottom of the roster for the next few seasons.
David Jones – RW – 30 years old
David Jones has one more season at $4.0M which probably lowers his value on the market, but he is the kind of guy who can be useful in the middle of the rotation for most NHL clubs. He’s on pace for about 37 points over 82 games this year, which is right in line with his career norms. That might be enough to convince teams to take a look, but in reality Jones isn’t much a trade piece.
Jiri Hudler – C/RW – 29 years old
If he sticks around until the end of the season, chances are Jiri Hudler will lead the Flames in scoring. The crafty veteran has been a decent value signing by Jay Feaster at just $4.0M. Hudler could a significant offensive punch to almost any club in the league and the fact that he has one more year left on his contract might be more of boon than a detriment (as it is in David Jones case).
That said, the Flames will be extremely reluctant to part with him. The club’s RW depth is poor even with him on the club so there’s essentially no chance they move him this season, especially if they are battling for a post-season spot in March. Unless another GM makes Treliving an offer he can’t refuse, Hudler will stick around for at least one more year.
Mason Raymond – LW – 29 years old
It hasn’t been a fairy tale homecoming for the Cochrane, AB native this year. After getting off to a hot start, Raymond was injured and then struggled to regain his form once he returned to the active line-up. He has looked a lot more like the speedy winger who scored 19 goals for TOR last season recently, but the lacklustre overall performance this year and a contract that extends for another 2 seasons probably renders him less desirable for most of the Flames trade partners. That said, he’s a veteran who and not too expensive so he could be part of package deal depending on the other club’s cap situation and demands.
Joe Colborne – C/RW – 24 years old
Perhaps the only truly expendable “sell high” candidate on the Flames roster is former Leafs prospect Joe Colborne.
The towering 6’5″ forward has 21 points in just 35 games this year, due in no smart part to the best PDO on the team (108.3!). Although Colborne has some things going for him (size, face-off ability and surprisingly smooth hands for a big man), he also has one of the worst possession rates on the team amongst regular skaters, including the worst relative SF% (relative shots for %) on the Flames at -6.6%. That’s despite the fact he has played with decent line mates most of the season. In raw terms, the Flames have been outshot 215 to 157 with Colborne on the ice at even strength (-58) and he has only managed 28 shots on net at 5on5. To put that in perspective, Brandon Bollig has 53 shots on net and Deryk Engelland has 29.
Colborne’s great percentages, decent counting numbers, age and size might make him a desirable commodity on the trade market. Hartley likes Colborne and I’m guessing that management does too, but it would be a steal if they could include him in a package to land a useful blue liner.
Sven Baertschi – LW – 22 years old
The organization – and particularly the Flames coaching staff – still seems ambivalent at best about Sven Baertschi’s credentials as future NHL player. Although he has had a decent season in the AHL so far, Sven still struggles with consistency and defensive zone play, although at times he flashes the high-end skill and vision that made him a dominant WHL player for three years.
Baertschi likely still has clout in the NHL as a prospect of note. In a quest to land a decent defender, Sven might be the best asset the Flames currently possess given the fact he may not have a future with this organization anyways.
Max Reinhart – C – 23 years old
Reinhart will have been been in the Flames organization for 5 years come June and this season marks his third in pro. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem any closer to taking step up the depth chart and has, in fact, been rendered redundant by the development or acquisition of similarly aged forwards like Markus Granlund, Bill Arnold, Drew Shore and Josh Jooris. Reinhart broke out a bit last year with 63 points in 66 games in the AHL but has fallen back down to earth this season with just 13 points in 37 games for the Adirondack Flames.
Reinhart has vision and smarts, but he’s slowly being squeezed out of the picture in Calgary by all the other kids pressing for work. He’s not the kind of player who will demand much of a return on his own, but might be thrown in to sweeten the deal if needed.
Markus Granlund – C/LW – 21 years old
While the Flames are ambivalent about Sven and probably apathetic about Reinhart, they are definitely much more impressed with Markus Granlund. He stuck in the show for 33 games (so far) this season and flashed decent hands and vision in places (though his underlying numbers still point to a work in progress). Granlund has been one of the farm team’s best players since he arrived from the Finnish elite league last year and is one of the better bets to develop into a useful player down the road.
That said, Granlund certainly isn’t an untouchable core piece. Someone will have to come along and offer the Flames something significant to pry him out of their hands though.
Drew Shore – C – 24 years old
The recently acquired Drew Shore is obviously coveted by the team and therefore probably not a player they are too interested in moving. He has been a very good (though not elite) minor league centre for three seasons and has the sort of skill set (two way C) and projectable frame (6’2″ 200 lbs) that would put him on the radar for most NHL GM’s looking to deal with the Flames.
Shore’s waiver eligibility ends with the next game he plays in the NHL, so that somewhat complicates any potential trade scenario. In addition, Calgary isn’t going to flip him without a good reason to do so, so the return would have to be noteworthy for Shore’s name to be involved.
Mark Jankowski – C – 20 years old
Okay, so he’s not going to be the best player of the 2012 draft, but Mark Jankowski may still have some juice in the trade market thanks to his draft pedigree and package of skills (tall, rangy centre with good hands who wins face-offs).
Jankowski is scoring at a decent, though not great, rate in the NCAA this season (4 goals, 20 points in 24 games), but his position as a prospect of note in the organization has never been more in question thanks to the play/acquisition of other C’s like Sam Bennett, Sean Monahan, Drew Shore, Bill Arnold and Markus Granlund. His development pace has also been fairly slow, so we still have no clear indication he’ll be an NHL player down the road, let alone a useful one.
Bill Arnold – C – 22 years old
Johnny Gaudreau’s college linemate has had a decent start to his pro career, scoring 9 goals and 21 points in 39 games in the AHL so far (3rd best on the team). More known for his stout defensive play, Arnold ultimately projects as a third line C in the NHL.
Although he would have been considered a key prospect for the Flames a few years ago, the presence of guys like Bennett, Backlund, Monahan and Granlund, not to mention the emergence of Josh Jooris and acquisition of Drew Shore mark Arnold as potentially expendable. Like many of prospect mentioned here, Arnold is would be more of a pot sweetener than key piece of any trade designed to land an NHL defender.