Cap Teams and Flames Trade Targets

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Although the Flames may be facing a challenging cap situation in a couple of years, for now they still boast a lot of budget flexibility. With the cap ceiling stagnating this upcoming, this may represent an opportunity to pry a few good players from clubs with budget problems. Think Johnny Boychuk from Boston last year. 

So who should Brad Treliving be talking to? Candidates include the Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Los Angeles Kings and Tampa Bay Lightning. Here’s what each club could offer the Flames in terms of trade targets. All salary info from NHLnumbers.com.

Chicago Blackhawks

Cap situation: Approximately $63M committed to 7 forwards, 4 defenders and 2 goalies. 

Things get very expensive for Chicago next season. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews see their cap hits jump to $10.5M each. That’s $21M committed to two players. On top of those two, Chicago also has more than $5M each committed to five other players, including Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford. 

Altogether, Chicago has about $8M left to sign five forwards and three defenseman, or 8 players ($1M per player). Which is next to impossible. 

Potential targets: Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabook

Who Chicago will likely offer: Bryan Bickell, Kris Versteeg 

As mentioned, both Sharp and Hossa bank north of $5M per year. Sharp is signed until the end of next season and Hossa has one of those back diving, long-term deals. His money drops down to $4M after next year and then $1M per season until he turns 40. 

Both guys are still very good NHLers, but their ages may be a concern to the Flames. At 36 (Hossa) and 33 (Sharp), both are a risk to fall off just as the Flames are improving. 

As for Seabrook, he’s a free agent after this upcoming year and it’s an open question whether the Hawks will be able to re-sign him given their cap position. At 30, he likely still has some tread left on the tire and would represent a big upgrade for the Flames back-end. He might be the best option for Calgary, though he’s going to be in high demand if the Hawks put him on the auction block. 

Of course, it’s more probable Chicago will try to move expendable pieces like Bickell or Versteeg before they are forced to deal any of their main guys. Neither player should hold much interest for the Flames.

Boston Bruins

Cap Situation: Approximately $63M committed to 10 forwards, 4 defenders and 1 goalie (minus LTIR exemption to Marc Savard)

The Bruins cap issues aren’t as dire as the Blackhawks, but they do have one major concern: the re-signing of RFA Dougie Hamilton. The Bruins blueline has rapidly deteriorated the last few years with the loss of Boychuk plus the aging of Zden Chara. They pretty much have to re-sign Hamilton for whatever he and his agent demand as a result. 

Boston also have a couple of players making too much money given their contributions, including David Krejci ($7.35M) and Milan Lucic ($6.0M). The new management regime in Boston will likely want to clean up some of that mess in the wake of Chiarelli’s ouster. 

Potential targets: Loui Eriksson, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand

Who Boston will likely offer: David Krejci, Dennis Seidenberg, Milan Lucic

Boston definitely has some pieces that would be of interest to the Flames. Eriksson and Marchand are both better than average top-6 possession wingers and neither makes too much money (4.5M for one and two more seasons respectively). 

Milan Lucic is likely to be the bigger name of the three, both literally and figuratively due to his reputation as a youth guy who can score. The problem is he makes $2M more than either other guy and there’s indications he doesn’t drive play as well. That said, Lucic only has one more season left on his contract, so it’s relatively low risk. Unfortunately, he might cost you more to acquire and actually be the lesser player relative to the other two guys. 

Of course, the Bruins will likely be more interested in dealing a player like Krejci, who is still pretty decent but makes $7.25M until 2021. His contract makes him a non-starter for the Flames. Beyond that, Sedeinberg might be the one veteran Boston would be interested in dealing, but at 33 has very little upside. 

Los Angeles Kings

Cap Situation: $64M committed to 10 forwards, 6 defenders and 1 goalie (or $63M committed to 9 forwards if they demote Mike Richards)

Dean Lombardi is in a bit of a bind. His inability to move the Richards albatross means he either has to pay Richards $5.3M in cap space to play a 4th line role, or pay him about $4.4M in cap space to play in the AHL. Throw in the uncertainty around the uncertainty surrounding the (awful) Slava Voynov situation and you have a really problematic off-season ahead for the Kings organization. 

On top of all that, LA has to re-sign RFA’s Tyler Toffoli and Martin Jones while also re-signing or replacing UFA’s Justin Williams and Jarrett Stoll. 

Potential targets: Tyler Toffoli, Jake Muzzin

Who LA will likely offer: Dustin Brown, Mike Richards, Matt Greene

The Kings are probably a bad fit as a trade partner. There’s almost no way they will be interested in dealing either of the trade targets I’ve identified here and their preferred trade assets are either lousy (Greene) or have contracts that are too awful to consider (Brown and Richards).

Tampa Bay Lightning

Cap Situation: $70M committed to 11 forwards, 7 defenders and 1 goalie. 

No NHL team has more cap dollars already spoken for heading into 2015-16 than the Lightning. The good news is, almost their entire roster is sewn up. The bad news is, they are still probably going to have make a bit of room in order to be cap compliant come October. 

Tampa also has a lot of big raises looming on the horizon, including Steven Stamkos ($5.5M), Nikita Kucherov ($700k), Tyler Johnson ($3.2M) and Ondrej Palat ($3.2M). That doesn’t mean Yzerman has to fix all of his cap problems this off-season, but he will have to have his eye on the long-term. 

Potential Targets: Braydon Coburn

Who Tampa will likely offer: Ryan Callahan, Jason Garrison, Matt Carle

Calgary can try to pry a Coburn out of Tampa, but it’s almost a guarantee the Lightning will shop one of Carle, Garrison or Callahan before parting with the erstwhile Flyer. The two available defenders are just okay, which is damning with faint praise given they both make more than $4.0M in cap space over the next two years. 

Callahan is in a similar situation: a good player who makes entirely too much money. He’s a decent 20-goal, 50 point winger, but he doesn’t drive possession and makes $5.8M until 2020.  

Summary

There is definitely some players of interest out there amongst the teams in cap trouble. The Blackshawks and Bruins in particular seem to have more than a few guys that would be a fit with the Flames, ranging from Brent Seabrook to Loui Eriksson. 

Of course, as mentioned, all of these clubs are going to try to part with expensive, expendable pieces before they move any of the bigger names. It will be interesting to see if they will be able to trim the fat without sacrificing anything worthwhile. 

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Time for BT to earn his keep:

    How is he going to handle the goalie situation? Get Max value?

    What will he do with Backlund?

    Extend Giordano.

    Shore up our D.

    Trades.

    Free agents.

    DRAFT!!!!!!!!

    An important summer ahead! Don’t F this up BT!!!

    WW

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Good summary Kent, Seabrook would be a crazy get.

    By chance will ‘Reasonable Expectations’ be making a comeback or is the Flames by the Numbers taking over?

  • Byron Bader

    All this excitement and we’re totally going to trade for Bryan Bickell with the return we got for Glencross, aren’t we? Already preparing myself for it.

  • Thanks for this article, Kent.

    Brent Seabrook would take a lot to get, but holy piss it’d be great to get him.

    I like Boston as a trade partner, although I don’t really see any need for Krejci. The Flames’ centre depth is fine without him. Eriksson’s another left-shooting RWer, a spot I’d ideally like Emile Poirier to fight for.

    Lucic interests me, but that’s a lot of money. Kent, what do you think Boston would be looking for in exchange for Lucic (in terms of positions of need)?

    • Parallex

      I wonder if Poirier will be swimming in quicksand this season. What I mean by that is his waiver status may force him to Adirondack until space can be cleared for him through trade or injury.

      With Ferland, Shore, Reinhart, Granlund (I think), and others (Jooris?) all requiring waivers for assignment his fate could be determined before camp starts unfortunately.

    • Getting Seabrook would be more than just sick. We all know Gio is getting re-upped & we all know that the amazing Gio window is sitting at 3-4 years. We all know Gio/Brodie are an elite tandem. For some strange reason, I think a Russell Seabrook tandem would progress Russell’s game astronomically. OMG, even if we don’t trade Wideman this summer, we have room for Seabrook. What an upgrade to our 2nd pairing & move Wideman down to the 3rd pairing & let the rest fight for that 6th spot. No need to keep Diaz & even debatable whether to even keep Schlemko. Let Tspoon, Morrison Smid & Engellend scrap for the #6 & 7 spots. Im in, these playoffs were way too much fun to not take a run at them again next year.

      So the question is, what will it take to get him? Who could we possibly have that Chicago would covet? I think Backlund would be a huge carrot to dangle & Chicago need & after your last article on Arnold, would make some sense for Flames to consider it. I wouldn’t just throw in our 15th overall without getting something back, but I wouldn’t be opposed to giving them 52 & 53 with Backlund for Seabrook. I know everyone wants a painful long rebuild, but wow, having Seabrook & Gio in our top 4 rotation sure allows us to take some time ripening some of our young d men while still having the capability of tasting playoffs again. Im sold.

      Otherwise, I don’t see helping cap teams as an option for the Flames anymore. The focus should then be directed at young defence targets, but you know the price tags are not going to be any easier to buck up.

        • Byron Bader

          I don’t think I agree. They are very much into the stats & they are very much looking for a good #2 or #3 centre. Richards was a 1 year experiment & Backlund is a nice young piece they can mold in with the likes Hossa & Tervanian. Our 2nd’s are expendable our 15th overall isn’t.

          • Seabrook as the anchor of our 2nd pairing with Gio/Brodie would
            be absolutely amazing. But we gotta be realistic with the competition here. Reading what teams like the Oilers have and would part with for Seabrook
            I’m not sure we could (or should) compete. I’ve heard suggestions they’d happily move their 16th and several 2nd rounders as well as prospects to fix their back end (start to fix anyways, I don’t think it can be fixed in 1 year). I’ve also heard Dallas is hard in the hunt for D and are willing to pony up big time.

            I think it’s too early for us to start blowing out the process here because of the surprise playoff run this year to chase UFAs or get into bidding wars on elite targets that will be in major demand.

            People have bandied around Petry as well, one commentor above saying he would be sign him for $3.5 max. lol. I heard the Sportsnet panel say Petry is going to want, and probably get, $5.5 x 5+. It’s why Edmonton traded him… He is the youngest d man of his type to hit UFA I believe ever. 27 years old. Not even in his prime yet, right handed, puck moving etc. he is soft but I’m sure someone will pay him handsomely on a 5-6 year deal and I don’t think it should be us.

            Stay the course IMO

  • Christian Roatis

    I don’t see how you could think Boston will offer up Krejci? Outside of Bergeron and Rask, he’s probably their most important player right now. They struggled immensely without him.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Hey Kent, what about Brian Boyle out of Tampa as a target?

    He is huge, good at face offs, good on the boards against the Ducks etc. scored 15 goals. Now that we are trading Backlund anyway…

    Can’t cap geek his contract anymore…so not sure about that….

    30 too old?

    WW

  • al rain

    So, help me out here – how does it work with compliance buyouts? Can a team do something like trade for Mike Richards’ horrible contract (with a sweetener) for the express purpose of buying him out, never even giving him a jersey or a number?

    I know there are some issues about the number of those buyouts each team has/had as well as not all of the salary comes off your cap, something like that?

    Who knows about this stuff?

    • Cofred24

      Teams had 2 summers where they could use compliance buyouts after the new CBA was signed. Those buyouts can no longer be used. The 2 the Flames had available to them expired unused.

      A standard buyout is possible. You buy a player out and retain half his cap hit for twice the number of years the contract was for.

  • JumpJet

    I think Patrick Sharp could be had from the Blackhawks. He’s been playing on the third line in these playoffs and has a cap hit of almost $6M. Putting him on a line with Backlund could be really good for both players, plus he’s right handed (although he seems to prefer the left wing).

    I would only take Sharp and his contract if the Hawks took one of Jones or Raymond back. Maybe Jones with half his salary retained could be a good starting point.

      • Byron Bader

        Getting either Franson or Petry would be a great addition. I wonder what Petry will garner for contract on the open market. If it was around 3.5 for 4 years, it’d be a good contract. Realistically I could see him getting 5 for 5; too much money.

  • smith

    I would rather the flames move some assets (not top end ones) to try and get a younger player or two from these cap strapped teams. Try for Marchand, Hjalmarson, Tofolli, Muzzin etc… Moving much for older players (Sharp, Krejci, Coburn) would be disappointing.

    Move any of Colborne, Russel, Wideman, Granlund, Reinhart, Shore, Stajan, 2nd round picks, Hiller, Bollig, Jones etc… As long as you are getting a better asset back since you are taking on more money.

    Franson or Petry would be great if they did not break the bank.

  • Oh, & for those scoundrels that trashed my Seabrook scenario, realize this, if we don’t get him extended or he doesn’t really fit here, he would be like a Mercedes SL63, lots of value & would net us a heck of a return the following trade deadline. So this just isn’t pissing assets out the window. My intention would be for him, Gio & Brodie to anchor half of our defence core for the next 4-5 years & hope Russell climbs into a fantastic #4 dman. as early as next year.

  • Franko J

    Any deals at this stage must be done with the end in mind. A deal with a cap strapped team must see us gaining picks or players that fit into the plan moving forward. It may include taking on a poor contract for a bit. As an example. Arnold and agostino for Ericsson and 14 overall. Or taking on a Bickel or Versteeg but working the deal to include Shaw. Those types of moves.

  • Cofred24

    Great article Kent…The only player you mention that I would take a serious loo at is Brent Seabrook provided we don’t need to give up key elements of our future….

    The Mike Richards situation I continue to find intriguing…Flames are one of very few teams that would be able to take on that ugly contract…If we could pick up Richards for a handshake and high end defensive prospect from the Kings??? Hmmmm….

  • Cofred24

    Here is my offer for Seabrook. It addresses their need for cheap players and would help to fix their situation:

    Wideman (2.5m Retained) 2.75m cap hit
    Granlund
    Colborne
    1st 2016

    Wideman has some pretty good value at that hit. Like Granlund but we must still make spots for Arnold and Bennett at center. Colborne put up some points and is cheap and low risk. They dont get our 2015 first though.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      Suck me dry and call me dusty, BJ….

      But That 2016 first round pick could easily be a prime lottery pick.

      Are you sure you want to be throwing that pick away like that??!

      Let’s not get crazy here!!!

      WW

      • Franko J

        Get use to it WW. Edmonton wins the 2016 lottery. Next year they get 3 cracks at it.

        Ironically the NHL changed the draft rules to stop the tanking, but have ultimately gave the tankers more opportunity to win.

  • I think Chicago was shopping Sharp earlier in the year so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as the first piece gone. It is the easiest and smartest. I don’t think it’s a good idea to give too much if we were in the running but he may not take a lot given his high cap hit. I don’t know enough about the market yet though.

  • First Name Unidentified

    I can’t believe what people are suggesting here. Trade away assets? Picks? The Cowboy Sutter era isn’t too far gone yet we forget.

    We don’t need to do anything. No trades, especially for NO picks. If there’s a UFA who wants to sign here and help the team then fine, else just close the shop. Put up “not open for business” signs in Calgary. This also gives everybody in the organization a lot of confidence.

    The Flames should spend at least another two years at continuing to develop high quality pipeline though drafting smart and not giving away picks for win now mentality.

    There has to be a rules-based, process-driven approach to asset management. No more cowboy bullsh!t. or salesman lawyer crap. Just pure hockey and economics please

    • I agree with this for the most part but if you find a way that significantly increases your teams skill, especially on the blueline, and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg then you look at it. Hopefully they are following what they say they will in kicking the tires for help now without giving the future away.

      Imagine if you can get a # 2 to 4 defender at a decent age (ie not 35+). These guys are ridiculously hard to find and/or develop. Would you give up some of the excess of prospects we have that we either don’t have room for in the near future or picks that we also have many of in the second and third round this year? If it were me, I would depending on what they were asking for on the farm.

  • Franko J

    Excellent article Kent.

    Judging by the response it appears Seabrook is the # 1 target for most fans on FN. He certainly would be an upgrade to the Flames defense. However in the short period of time that Trelivilng has been the manager he doesn’t appear to be the type of GM who is the gambling type. Also it seems to me he is very reluctant to trade away picks. He is very much into asset management. If the Flames were to trade for Seabrook the Blackhawks most definitely would want to cycle him for picks and inexpensive prospects. Therefore it is unlikely this scenario would happen.

    While it would be great to see if Treliving can pull off a couple of trades with teams that are at the cap, I just feel that the team is better off holding onto their draft picks and giving some of the younger prospects in our system the chance to play. One of the main reasons the Flames had success this year was due to the fact that there was an insurgent of youth in the lineup and along with it a desire to compete and play in the big league.

  • Franko J

    Muzzin and Marchand are players I would be interested in. Although Marchand is “smaller”. He has come up big in some big games but sometimes takes to many penalties.

    Hossa will not lay for Chicago after this year. They will keep almost all the players you mentioned and slot in the 8 – 1 million dollar players as developing players to learn from the core group.

  • T&A4Flames

    Some of these offers are insane! Hi iving up multiple picks, a good young center and more! I think some have lost their minds here. WE ARE STILL REBUILDING! We need to keep adding to cupboards until they’re bursting in order to maintain success. Trading multiple youth and picks for Seabrook is crazy. If he doesn’t resign, what makes you think we would recover most of the assets at the deadline of his final year? With him we are likely looking at playoffs which means management would likely hold on to him only to see him walk in the summer with us holding our Dicks in our hands. If…the price is right, meaning we give up next to nothing, like say Hanowski and a 3rd at most, then yes. But someone out there will be willing and ready to offer more. For us, it could be a disaster.