The strength of this surprisingly formidable, Cinderella iteration of the Calgary Flames team lies in their youth and along their blue-line.
Sometimes a club is best served by looking to address their weaknesses (offensive skill, in Calgary’s case) and other times it makes sense to double down on your strengths. Of course, sometimes you get an opportunity to both at the same time, which is probably why the Flames were involved in the bidding for Toronto Maple Leafs defender Cody Franson – since traded to the Nashville Predators – according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.
Here’s what Dreger said about Calgary’s interest in Franson on TSN 1260 radio on Tuesday morning (H/T to Nicholsonhockey.com for the transcription):
Well, again – Brad Treliving wants to add. Calgary was one of the teams that was in on Cody Franson. Not to again the degree that the Nashville Predators ended up paying the price in making that deal perhaps a little bit bigger.
Treliving is one of those NHL general managers who believes you can never have too many good defencemen. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see Calgary add in that sense.
The veteran TSN reporter went on to discuss Calgary’s reluctance to part with future assets, like the Predators were forced to do in trading for Franson and Mike Santorelli, within the context of Flames president Brian Burke’s impatience during his tenure with the Maple Leafs.
“(The Flames) have to maintain their path,” Dreger began. “And I think honestly, Brian Burke learned some valuable lessons, even as a veteran executive, during his days in Toronto.
“As he looks back now and he thinks about landing Phil Kessel, and I’m sure he vehemently defends that trade. But the Toronto Maple Leafs are having to full-kick into rebuild mode now, and the Calgary Flames are adhering to the plan to stick with what they have and to add the pieces that make sense.”
Franson is a very good offensive defenseman with oodles of power-play value, but if the Flames were reluctant to part with a prospect and a first-round pick for his services, that would seem sensible. As good as Franson is, he would be something of a redundant piece on a team that already employs capable 5-on-4 options like Dennis Wideman and T.J. Brodie.
We shouldn’t be surprised that the Flames decided to chase Franson based on Treliving’s insistence that he’ll be “cautiously aggressive” heading into the March 2 NHL trade deadline. Nor should be shocked that they weren’t willing to pay the price that Nashville inevitably did.
Presidents’ Trophy and Stanley Cup contenders, the Predators are in a different phase of their rebuilding cycle. Rational self interest would dictate that every marginal improvement the Predators can make to their roster has more value to them, then it would for a Flames team that should still be focused squarely on two- or three- yeaars down the road.
Which is precisely what Treliving has vowed to do.
“We want to be cautiously aggressive in terms of making sure that something that we’re doing isn’t impacting us a year, two, three, and beyond down the road,” Treliving told the Calgary Sun last week, via NHL.com. “But no question, the play of the team and where we are right now (in the standings) lends us to want to help and see if there are things that we can do to help.”