Friedman: Flames, Glencross not believed to be ‘gaining traction’ in contract talks

What will become of long-time Calgary Flames forward Curtis Glencross before the NHL trade deadline? 

The 32-year-old middle-six forward is a pending unrestricted free agent, and contract talks between his camp and the Flames appear to have stalled, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

The clock is ticking on Calgary forward Curtis Glencross…

Glencross has no-trade protection, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Boston, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay (possibly) and Winnipeg from sniffing around at various points this season. No one is talking, but it doesn’t seem like contract talks are gaining traction. It is believed Glencross prefers Anaheim, but it would surprise no one if he works with the Flames to widen that list.

So what’s the right play on the Glencross front? For a Flames club that’s still building for the future, but also finds themselves in the middle of a hotly contested playoff run in the Western Conference, it isn’t a simple question.

Before we can work out what the Flames should do with Glencross, we need to determine what it is he’s providing the club and whether or not we’d bet on him sustaining that level of play as he gets into his mid-30s. 

This season Glencross has managed eight goals and 26 points in 48 games while logging very difficult minutes in a defense oriented second-line role. He’s facing the toughest Corsi-relative quality of competition among all Flames forwards and only Sean Monahan has started more 5-on-5 shifts in the defensive zone than Glencross has. Despite facing extremely difficult circumstances Glencross’ team-relative shot attempt differential is in the black and the Flames are outscoring their opponents when he’s on the ice.

So he’s been extremely useful. Glencross has also logged power-play time and is producing points at 5-on-4 at a decent clip. 

What’s clear is that, at the moment, Glencross remains an above average middle-six winger. While we can’t quantify it, he’s also been a veteran presence on a team that’s relatively young and green, but has nonetheless managed to execute their game plan with discipline and focus all season long. 

Though Glencross’ utility is undeniable, there are signs that his two-way game is beginning to fall off. 

While some of this could be usage related, all seven of the forwards with whom Glencross has spent at least 150 minutes playing with at 5-on-5 over the past three seasons have done worse by shot attempt differential with Glencross than they’ve done logging minutes without him. That’s generally a sign of a diminishing fastball, especially for a middle-six guy.

The 32-year-old forward has also been pretty fortunate by the bounces this season at both ends of the rink. It seems likely that Glencross’ on-ice goal differential and his point totals are propped up somewhat by unsustainable percentages that are beyond his control. That has to be a concern. Glencross’ percentage boost makes it much more difficult to evaluate him, particularly because his 5-on-5 shot rate has been on the decline for the past three seasons. 

Personally I’d still bet on Glencross being helpful this year, and next. Beyond that it gets dicey. 

The Flames have been vocal in the lead up to the trade deadline about the need to keep an eye on the future while maintaining a “cautiously aggressive” posture on the trade market. So if the club decides it’s worth it – for development, morale and marketing purposes – to really try and make the postseason, then keeping Glencross beyond the trade deadline as a cost-free “own rental” isn’t an awful outcome. 

Of course neither is a trade that returns a decent future. Glencross’ contract is affordable and expiring, which could make him a hot commodity. With the fall of the Canadian dollar and escrow-related cap uncertainty, teams are likely to be very cautious about adding significant salary commitments for next season. 

Whether that uncertainty and reticence ultimately trickles down to impact demand on the rental market remains to be seen. It certainly seems possible, and NHL general managers like Steve Yzerman are already explicitly discussing the rental market as being too rich for their blood.  If the Flames can get a second-round pick or a B-level prospect for Glencross, that would have to be tempting – or even a no-brainer – given Calgary’s long-term interests.

Really the only way the Flames could err here is to sign Glencross to a long-term extension that gambles on him maintaining his current form as a 34- and 35-year-old. Avoid that potential pitfall, and it sounds like the Flames intend to, and it’s all gravy. 

(Stats in this piece compiled from behindthenet.ca and hockeyanalysis.com)

  • Kybb79

    Trade him! Flames have proved they can win without him! Flames have younger more determined players that can take his spot! He is not worth the big contract that he wants! He is not even close to being the best player on this team.

  • Purple Hazze

    Glad to hear contract extension talks have stalled as I don’t think he should be re-signed. As the article mentions if you can get a 2nd rounder or B prospect at the trade deadline go ahead and pull the trigger if not keep him as our cost free “own rental” for the playoff push.

  • Rockmorton65

    If both sides know he’s not going to be re-signed, I wonder how invested he will be for us in the playoffs. I understand the “professionalism” aspect, but how committed could he be if he knows he may not be here in two weeks.

    On the other hand, he is a player without a contract. I wonder if that’s enough to light a fire under him. I’m leaning towards moving him, and bring up some of that Granlund or Baertchi, someone looking for an opportunity to prove what they can bring to the table.

    • Rockmorton65

      Pre-trade deadline he holds a veto with his NTC. Though I’m sure he would think long and hard about going to a real contender. No effect on his work ethic, etc.

      Post-trade deadline, I think he would be even more motivated once he knew he wasn’t going to get signed. If he does everything he can to move the Flames on to the second season or round, that only increases his value to any prospective suitor for his services in the spring.

      • piscera.infada

        Totally. It’s simply return dependant. If someone wants to give up a nice piece (prospect or pick), he’s as good as gone if the GM.

        Although, unless Glencross is willing to take a 2 year contract (which he wont be), I don’t think Treliving should be even thinking about re-signing him.

        • Rockmorton65

          Wondering if we can do a deal with the Bruins who need cap space badly. We take Erickson & Seidenberg for GlenX, Sven & perhaps Reinhart or Hanowski or a prospect like that. Seidenberg would look pretty good with Russell, has a good contract 4.0 mill for 3 more years & Erickson pay find his scoring on the 2nd line & has 1 more year year at 4.25mill. Huge cap savings for Bruins, maybe we try & get greedy & get their 1st & we give them our 2nd?

          • T&A4Flames

            Saving $8mil next season to give room to sign the likes of Dougie Hamilton and Krug is a bad trade for a team at the ceiling? A ceiling that may not rise and could possibly drop some have said. That’s too much from our side IMO.

            I’d give Russell, GlenX and a late pick for Seidnberg, Eriksson and Joe Morrow. Someone will use CGY’s cap space and will give up an asset. Some teams may be forced to move players and assets they really don’t want to move.

      • Rockmorton65

        Oh absolutely. What I’m talking about is if they’ve stopped talking and both sides know that there’s no deal to be made. I mean, Glencross isn’t the most intense guy to begin with.

  • PrairieStew

    Agree with the analysis – useful at this time; but all signs point to diminishing production in the very near future, so he’s not worth locking up.

    What about the Bruins. He’s slide in behind Lucic and Marchand nicely. An upgrade from Paille.

    He’d be #3 LW on the Islanders too – and they have 38 wins so far – could be the dark horse.

    The Rangers look good on the left side with Nash, Krieder and Hagelin but in Washington or Montreal he might be the #2 guy !

  • Toofun

    I have less fear of trading Glencross than Ramo although both should go if the deal is rich enough.

    I like your description of “a cost free own rental” through the playoff push. He also doesn’t mess up the chemistry in the room and he has a ton of incentive to play hard for next year’s contract (somewhere else).

    Glencross should be a very good asset through the rest of the season either for Calgary or someone else. He should be perfect for “playoff hockey” if he plays with an edge, puts in the effort and contributes like he can.

  • redhot1

    Glencross will be moved; BT has been hesitant to re-sign him at his asking price since the summer.

    My question is, should they shop Glencross separately, or try to package him with other pieces in a blockbuster deal?

    I’m sure Glencross could net a second or third round pick… but if the Flames package him with Ramo, Byron or Colborne, and even throw in a prospect like Reinhart, their could be a great return.

    A lot of teams would be looking to add depth at a low cap hit.. and might be willing to part with a good prospect and maybe even a first round pick.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Hey Drance, I’m real happy you think Glencross’ shooting percentages are unsustainable, and I’ma let you finish, but Curtis Glencross has one of the highest career shooting percentages of all time. OF ALL TIME!

    He is #8 for career shooting percentage among all NHLers, and after nearly 500 games of sample size, the only valid argument you can possibly make about sustainability is that his 10.3% this year is a unsustainalbly LOW when compared to the career 14.5% that he’s accumulated over his many season in the NHL.

    “Sure, he can sustain those numbers over maybe a decade or so, but over a sample size of 30+ years I bet he falls off…”

    • That would be a really sick mic drop if I’d mentioned his personal shooting%, which of course I didn’t. I’m talking about on-ice percentages at both ends of the rink, as explicitly stated.

      Glencross is not an on-ice sh% outlier (roughly 8% over the last 7 seasons), so yeah, his 10+ on-ice shooting can be reasonably expected to drop.

      Nice job crushing an argument I didn’t make though.

      • The Last Big Bear

        No you didn’t mention personal shooting %, you only made vague hand-wavy references to “fortunate bounces”, and how his point totals are propped up by “unsustainable percentages”.

        You can’t expect that kind of claim to stand up on a stats-heavy site like this.

        His “unusuatainable” on-ice sh% is the 9th highest on the Flames, right in the middle of the pack, and within spitting distance of every other non-scrub on the roster. This is also right in line with his Corsi numbers, suspiciously low, but right in the middle of his teammates.

        The Flames as a whole are playing low-Corsi, high-percentages hockey, and that is reflected in everybody’s stats. Some of that may be “bounces”, but I suspect that an awful lot of that effect this season is systematic, because we see it in virtually everyone on the team.

        His on-ice sv% certainly is unsustainable, but doesn’t have any impact on his point production, and only really affects his goal differentials. And I don’t think anyone here is evaluating Glencross based on his +/- numbers this season.

        We’re not animals.

  • redhot1

    Seems like the play always dies on his stick. He also does little things that frustrate, such as not getting a stick on icing set play, and turning over the puck on cycles.

    Really hope he is not resigned. Let the Oilers overpay and regret it

  • Lober

    I was excited for Wolf’s call up but he has now only dressed for 2 games. He continues to sit for Byron and Bollig even though both his games have been team wins.

    he needs to play and continue developing. Send him back down if you’re not gonna utilize him

  • Burnward

    Wondering about the morality of making a side deal with GlenX. We tell him we’ll ship him out as a rental but want him back next season.Let him choose the dance partner for this post season (hopefully somewhere where he can get a ring) then resign him here, medium term (3-5 yrs) with decreasing cap hits to say his 35-37th birthday season. He comes back to Ab.and stays close to the ranch, we keep his G-factor and experience, plus his increasing likelihood of time off for injuries makes room for the young fellers to rise up and into the line up. Win-win-win.Graceful retirement into another role with the org and rodeo summers. Sounds like Shangri La, ne c’est pas?

  • Rockmorton65

    I like the concept of GlenX being a Flames own free rental…

    They gave up nothing to get him as a free agent, so giving him up for nothing to free agency again won’t hurt the Flames…

    He signed for an extension below market value that gave him a NTC.

    Just maybe contract talks have stalled is because GlenX and the Flames both said lets concentrate on making the playoffs and we don’t need the distractions…

    Team chemistry is important at this time of the year…getting a draft pick does not help this year, getting a rental player that is or is not in our long term plans may hurt the chemistry…

    If the Flames get a draft pick for the right to negotiate with GlenX before July 1, or even if they get nothing..so be it.

  • loudogYYC

    The one good thing about Glencross’ now annual injury is that we’ve had multiple chances to see how the team performs without him and it seems that the current version of the team will be fine if he’s gone.

    Besides, if he’s being used on a shutdown line here he won’t be able to ideally showcase himself for his next contract. It would make sense for him to be traded to any contending team that has strong 1-2-3 centre depth (Boston, NYI, Pittsburgh, Tampa, Anaheim, SJ, STL).

    I think it would be wise to use this opportunity to acquire D prospects. Glencross will do fine elsewhere.

  • I think NYI would make the best trade partner, they are a contender and need some pieces.

    Glenny + Ramo

    For

    Ryan Poluck

    It does hurt us for this year but I believe our boys could go the rest of the season without Glenny and then replace what he brings in the offseason. The number one priority is getting that top D prospect.

    A less ambitious trade would be Glenny for Scott Mayfield straight up. Big RHS stay at home guy with some mobility.

  • RKD

    I like GlenX but the reality is that the cons outweigh the pros. He’s on an expiring deal, we should trade him to get an asset back or else he walks on July 1st and hits the jackpot leaving the Flames with nothing. He’s not part of the new core, he’s getting older and has gone through some injuries to. His game and play will diminish, he’s not going to get better. He would be a great fit on a team looking to add grit and that is ready to win now. He’d help Pittsburgh, Boston or Anaheim. If Brian Burke is really learning from his past mistakes than he will convince BT to pull the trigger on a trade and not stand pat like he did with Cammy.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Kevin R has the makings of a good horsetrader. I like his trade suggestion.

    It would appear GlenX is looking for 4 to 5 years at 4.5 million a year.
    He is already making close to that when you consider he has been out a third of a year each of the last four years..

    I hate the analogy of having to take his family into consideration. That is crap. He has made a tonne of money and owns a pretty good cattle operation. With Heffers being sold for $ 1500 an animal, this guy is not suffering.

    Yakapov has been coming on lately. He and a second for GlenX would be fair.
    Edmonton would love to get him back and he is close to home.

    While you are trading guys Kevin see what you can get us for Jonas Hiller
    Otherwise known as floppy.

    GarryT