FN Mailbag – February 21 2015


Everybody’s favorite mailbag, our Flames mailbag, is back
chock-full of juicy questions demanding to be answered!

Being a (twitter) people pleaser, I shall comply.

The focus today is the Trade Deadline, so let’s dive
straight into it.

Well, that will depend on what is being offered.

If a big fish like Ryan O’Reilly becomes available, I think
the Flames’ stance on including significant assets will soften. A deal with ROR
will almost certainly include a 1st rounder, which isn’t AS big a
deal if it isn’t vulnerable to the lottery. So if management feels they’re
certainly playoff bound with O’Reilly in the ranks, then we could see
blockbuster shake the ‘Dome.

However, I highly doubt the Flames will, a) Go big game
hunting on March 2nd and b) Even have any interest in ROR since
depth at center is at all-time high. So, that means any shiny assets like the 1st
round pick, Sam Bennett and Emile Poirier will be safely locked away in the
teams’ treasure chest.

I think the 2nd rounder will be in play if a good
middle pairing defenseman is available and perhaps a B level prospect, someone
like Ryan Culkin or Drew Shore or perhaps… Sven Baertschi, if the return
tickles managements’ fancy. 

It arose during the Evander Kane rumors in Calgary that Brad
Treliving was not interested in including Mikael Backlund in a deal for the
disgruntled (now ex) Jet. I think management sees and appreciates Backs in a
similar way we, as fans and media, do.

He’s a proficient middle six center that pushes the play up
ice and most importantly: takes a lot of heat off of Sean Monahan. With
Backlund in the line-up, we’ve seen Monahan have considerable more breathing
room to work offensively and do things outside the defensive zone. The only way
Backs is included in a trade in a few Mondays from now is if the return also
includes a quality center. I circle back to the Ryan O’Rielly discussion
because the Avs would probably want a decent inexpensive faceoff taker back in
any trade for ROR and Backlund fits the bill. Throw a 1st round pick
alongside number 11 and do you have a deal?

As for anyone significant, the top prospects will stay put
and important pieces like Monahan, Gaudreau, Gio and Brodie are obviously
non-starters. I’m curious as to whether management sees Sven Baertschi as an
‘A’ prospect or ‘B’ prospect. That will probably determine his availability in
trade talks, and I wouldn’t be so quick as to assume Burke hates him so he’s
labeled ‘B’.

I still think Jiri Hudler could be had for a very good
return – emphasis on very. I’ll
expand on that via the next question.

Realistically, Jiri Hudler fits in the “2nd round pick and decent
prospect” category, but I think the Flames need to be unrealistic when dealing
with him in a trade. His worth to this team goes far beyond the stats sheet. 

He seems to be a locker room favorite and many-a-night is
the Flames’ heartbeat in the offensive zone, even if he doesn’t always collect

Hudler is one of the Flames’ 3 best offensive players and I
don’t deal him for anything that doesn’t include a 1st round pick. I
realize that may be ridiculous but the Flames aren’t in a fire-sale mindset
anymore and dealing off the roster right now means they need to receive a
quality return. 

If someone comes calling in the summer, however, things may
be a little different. They could address his loss in free agency potentially
and the price tag for trading him can come down. His actual value will depend
on how he plays down the stretch and maybe
in the playoffs, but will more than
likely stay about the same as it is now.

I would certainly look at Mike Green as a Free Agent, I think he’s a quality 3-4 defenseman, but if a bidding war ensues, I don’t think Burke or Treliving feel like tossing 6 years at $5-6 million for Mike Green. But at a hometown discount for the hometown boy? Yeah, I’d certainly dabble. 

As for Kessel, that’s a tough one. Could the Flames use him? For sure. Name one team in the National Hockey League that couldn’t use Phil Kessel. But the problem is, the Leafs will be looking for a king’s ransom – rightfully so – and that could be out of the Flames’ wheelhouse. Bennett and a 1st rounder would be the base of that deal, and that’s just not something I’d personally be willing to do. Nazem Kadri, JVR or even Joffrey Lupul are scorers I’d target in Toronto rather than Phil Kessel. 

Also, if Kessel becomes a Flame, imagine all the insufferable Kessel/Burke jokes and memes!

On Engelland: I’ve actually warmed up to him, he’s been
quite proficient as a third pairing guy of late so I wouldn’t deal him right
now. (*Ducks*)

On Bollig: No one is that stupid to trade FOR Brandon
Bollig. In all seriousness, the perfect scenario with him is letting him be a
great guy in the dressing room, and then an even greater guy in the press box
when the game starts. Ahh, one can dream.

I think Monahan is already this team’s number 1 center, but
obviously isn’t at a Kopitar/Toews level. While he does have the potential at
this point to become that, I think he settles into a Jordan Staal type niche –
with a tad more goal scoring prowess – and fills the Flames’ 2nd
line center spot while being really good at it.

Bennett on the other hand is who I see taking the leap and
becoming a dominant top line center. He has all the tools and appears to have
plenty in the “elite skill” department. We’re still probably 3-4 years out from
seeing him become that next-level force.

Fear not Lambert, it seems the Flames will be one of the
strongest teams in the NHL up the middle in the not so distant future.

 At this point, I wouldn’t directly address that. I think
possession will improve as a whole as this team matures, but targeting specific
players with good underlying numbers or shipping out crappy Corsiers
(copyrighted word as of now) isn’t in the best interests of this team.

I suppose going after a guy like Sean Bergenheim, who is a very
good Coriser, could improve the teams’ overall numbers, but I think they’re a
byproduct of how young the Flames are right now. Free agency is the best time
to address this type of stuff in my opinion, not midseason.

 I think the market varies from year to year. We didn’t see
anything close to the Evander Kane trade last year and log-jam of quality
scorers (Moulson, Vanek, Gaborik, Cammalleri) basically halted everything at
last years deadline, leading to a bunch of rash decisions made by sellers at
the 11th hour.

 So every year, the
market for what’s in demand at that time is uniquely set, and they go from
there. For example, a few years ago we saw Paul Gaustad went to Nashville for a
1st round pick. Paul friggin’ Gaustad. And in 2013, Washington needed
secondary scoring help and threw Filip Forsberg at Nashville for Martin Eart.

Point is, I’d keep Curtis Glencross until the last minute
and if the market mirrors last years and all they walk away with is a mid-round
pick, then so be it.  But there’s always
the chance they can snag a Filip Forsberg.

I can neither confirm nor deny this.

  • Derzie

    Great job man.

    Agree with everything you said. Found the possession question the most interesting. I think I agree that the Flames possession numbers will improve as the team matures. Might not be for a few years but the good news is most of this roster isn’t the core they will have moving forward.

    That being said, the immediate and long term problem the Flames face is how do you improve possession numbers from the back end? Treliving is going to have to get very creative with this because A) The Flames have next to nothing when it comes to defensive prospects B) A ton of bad contracts that will be next to impossible to move and C) Smid + Engelland + Widemen who are pretty atrocious right now and in their decline years.

  • Burnward

    Hey Christian! Have a rapid fire of questions for you:

    In light of last nights game, this road trip is going to be the key to our playoff hopes & we are playing some pretty good playoff bound teams. Last night really showed how fortunate we are to be seeing this kind of meaningful games & how far we have to go to be truly a legit contender.
    It’s all good. So obviously, depending on how the 1st 3-4 games on this road trip go:

    1/ Wideman is having an excellent year. He still has term so wouldn’t fall in that rental category. Should we consider trading him while his value is high & if so, what kind of return could we get?

    2/ What do we honestly do with Ramo? Do we move him now? What if Ortio or Hiller gets hurt & we trade Ramo? Oh oh. What a horrible situation we are in with this asset. He has value & I have no doubt he will get signed by an NHL team come July. If you were BT, what do you do? If playoffs weren’t a potential like they are, it would be a no-brainer decision. But now….

    3/ BT has been in the middle of every rumour of potential salary dumps trying to get a nice golden nugget. Mike Richards & 5 years left on that contract is horrendous & could mess with our cap structure in 3-4 years. Not the best salary dump to take on, so totally understand why Toffoli was the nugget he wanted coming back. Teams just won’t do that. So what do you think it would take to realistically utilize our cap space at the TDL here? Do we need to use GlenX & some prospects like Granlund/Sven/Shore/Ferlund/Arnold/Agostino to get a better quality salary dump like Sharp or Erickson & that extra 1st rounder we all want? Teams with the cap heart burn need decent kids on ELCs to be the Maalox for cap indigestion. They won’t give us a blue chip NHL ready player but a 1st may be had. Do you think this scenario is even doable at the TDL or will we have to wait until the draft to see something like this play out?

    Love this segment. Thx for doing it. Sorry for the dumb questions. 🙂

    • piscera.infada

      I’m not Christian, but can I answer these anyway?

      1) I would move Wideman, but as with all things, it’s entirely return dependant. Frankly, I’m not sure there are many teams out there that would love to take on another year of that contract, unless it’s a team that has cap-room looking for a big rebound next season. Still, that trade (at this point) would probably be enough to take us out of the playoff picture for the remaining games–while I’m not wild about Wideman as the de facto #3 defenseman here, we don’t win in spite of him being on the ice either. If you make that deal, you’re counting on Engelland and/or Diaz to cover that #3/4 role (which scares me), and Potter and/or Wotherspoon to cover the remaining #5/6 role (which might not be a bad thing, but the first issue, again, scares the hell out of me). So again, return dependant. If you can get a nice young defenseman you can play this year, it would make a lot of sense, but I doubt many teams are falling over themselves to trade (say) Larsson, for Wideman–it would make no sense.

      2) See Ortio injury news (which I assume happened after you wrote this post). Kind of makes the Ramo/Hiller trade scenario null and void.

      3) Personally, I agree with you that a salary-dump trade has the potential to blow up in your face either due to attitude (subtraction by addition), or just being a horribly onerous contract. That said, I think Treliving has been very good at letting the league know “we’re open for business, but it’s going to be very expensive”–and he means “expensive” (like, top-10 pick in a draft, established young, blue-chip prospect expensive). If you can extract that kind of value, I think it’s worthwhile to look at.

      Those deals though, don’t strike me as deals you’ll see made at the deadline. They’re more offseason deals. It’s complex, and as noted above, you can’t afford to screw them up on either side.

      I too really like this feature. Hope I’m not overstepping my bounds here Christian and Kevin, I just love this kind of discussion–as opposed to only talking about draft-eligibles for the last 40+ games of the season.

    • Christian Roatis

      1. I think anyone is available if the offer is too good to resist, however I don’t think he’s being actively shopped. He’s gotten up off his *Nenshi noun* and become a real important piece of this team. A puck moving defenseman with an uncanny ability to get pucks through to the net is a valuable asset to have. I’d keep him unless someone blow you away.

      2. I would’ve said try and get some somewhat Berra-eque if you could, but with Ortio gone for two months, they’ll have to stand pat and watch him ride off July 1st on a wave of Book of Loob’s tears.

      3. Ok this may be a mini article in itself haha: Well, the thing that makes the draft such a opportune time to make trades, is assets like draft picks tend to gain and/or lose value as the time to use them approaches. A team may hold onto their 1st round pick like its a newborn child but as soon as they’re about to be on the clock and they see the prospect(s) they wanted aren’t available, they’re more willing to explore other options with it. Same with prospects already in the system, GMs could think highly of a kid in the org but in the offseason with his team collecting even more assets via draft and FA approaching, he may value that spending money more at that point in time.

      BT almost acquired Mike Ribeiro and/or Cam Ward last draft along with 1sts (yep, both Top 14 picks) because the value of that first wasn’t quite that appealing when contrasted against cap space and flexibility. In the end, the 1st was still too much, but the consideration was there.

      A cap dump trade mid-season like this is highly unlikely because assets that the Flames want are being held close to vest at this point in the season, plus teams don’t have as much interest in that cap space at the present time (GMs are so nearsighted it seems).

      Teams like Chicago with Sharp and Detorit with Ericsson may want to get rid of those guys eventually, but at the present time they aren’t causing a giant problem, plus they help in the playoff push, so no, I don’t see that happening on March 3rd.

      However, come late June and then July 1st, I firmly believe Treliving will be first in line for all these guys should any of them be sold off because even though they may muddle up your cap situation down the road, that’s well worth quality assets like 1st rounders because those certainly don’t grow on trees and thats how you build a contender in the modern day NHL.

      Hope that answers your questions and made some sense! All my opinion of course.

      • Burnward

        Thx Christian. It just seems like it’s been us that has been bent over so badly for that coveted Cap space when we parted with Regehr & a 2nd for at the time, pieces similar to what we got in that Phaneuf deal. Byron has turned out better than I ever thought even though I have dents in my drywall from him missing breakaways. I was reading where Sharp was riding the 4th line lately & to me 5.9mill on the 4th line on a horribly cap strapped team seemed like a TDL opportunity to me. It will be interesting to watch if GlenX matches goals with Sharp after the TDL where Chicago wouldn’t miss too much trading Sharp now. But then Bowman may feel Sharp has more value in the summer, but the new contracts of Toews & Kane will only spill more blood in the water & NHL GM’s are bloody sharks.
        I do agree that Ericsson is not a salary dump & a TDL deal as one is just wishful thinking.

        Heard Ortio was injured after my post so that pretty well answered that question. I am buying a raft to float on BOL tears now while you can get them on sale. The CDN $ is really going to hammer some of these teams & it bodes well for the value of our cap space at the draft. Would love to acquire at least 1 more 1st rounder so we can possibly move up this draft & get the Blue Chip dman we are so desperate for.

        Do you think Shore has leap frogged Granlund come next September?

        Piscera.infada- Enjoy your posts & dialogue & like you, love discussing this stuff more than potential draft picks in the 3rd round conversations. You can blame all the hockey pools I’m in making me feel like Im a professional GM 🙂

  • The Last Big Bear

    1) I think Backlund + Russel + 1st/Sven/Johnny (depending on the return) is the best package the Flames can move.

    I would be willing to see that to get a young 1st pairing defender.

    2) However, I don’t think anyone significant gets moved at the deadline.

    3) I think Hudler is probably worth a 1st, or a solid pick+prospect. I don’t think his value changes much between now an the draft, because he’s still signed.

    4) I definitely think the Flames should be making an offer to Green, and exploring a Kessel trade. Don’t think either of them is particularly likely though.

    5) Bollig and Engellanf would require very little “sweetener” to move. Engelland is somewhat inexplicably very highly regarded in the NHL (the reason the Flames paid so much was there was a bidding war). I’m not even certain they would pass through waivers.

    6) You lost me at “Lambert thinks…”

    7) I wouldn’t be chasing the possession laser pointer. Make a good team, possession numbers will follow.

    8) Last season’s deadline was an aberration. Glencross might get us a 1st, or he might get us a career AHLer. You never know until the day.

    9) No, it’s the stick with the goofy orange shaft. It was crafted by dwarves, thousands of years ago. Bobby Hull used to have it, but you can’t see it in the black and white photos.

    • Burnward

      Grabbed myself one of those goofy orange ones before last season as well!! Picked it up and felt the goals in it.

      I still have to use it if course, but great stick.

  • Derzie

    Great answers Christian. I like the way you differentiate between market value of players and the value they have to the team (Hudler as an example). Glencross is likely the only move right now (rental deadline). The draft and summer will be a little more active but we should keep picks up trending prospects at all costs.

  • Derzie

    One thing for certain – Glencross needs to be moved before the trade deadline. His statements are supported by his play and it’s clear it is time for a move. There is no option to retain his services and time is ticking. My thought is that the deal needs to be done before the upcoming road trip.