Attempting To Identify Players To Build Around (Or Jettison)

So far this summer here at FlamesNation, we’ve invested a fair bit of time poking at the proverbial corpse of the Calgary Flames’ 2014-15 season. As a result, now we have a bit of idea of how each regular player performed, particularly relative to their roles on the club.

After that process, it’s likely prudent to take a look at the team at a glance and, perhaps, make some determinations regarding how the Flames should improve the team going forward. In particular: which players should Brad Treliving endeavour to retain, and which should be attempt to divest the team of?

THE GOOD NEWS

In terms of Calgary’s possession game, such as it was, there were roughly a dozen regular Flames players that made their teammates better – in terms of their teammates’ Corsi ratings increasing when they were on the ice together.

The 12 were David Schlemko, Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, Matt Stajan, Sean Monahan, Jiri Hudler, Paul Byron, Raphael Diaz, Micheal Ferland and Josh Jooris.

Now, most of these names aren’t terribly surprising.

  • Gaudreau, Hudler and Monahan were Calgary’s most potent offensive line.
  • Giordano and Brodie were Calgary’s top defensive pairing.
  • Matt Stajan performed very well as fourth line center and dragged his line-mates along with him.
  • Paul Byron continued his strong possession play, even while being hampered by injuries.
  • Raphael Diaz was used primarily as a third-pairing defender and got a lot of offensive zone starts against the other team’s depth players, but he made the most of his advantages.
  • Mikael Backlund continued his strong possession play, though he couldn’t generate much offense – though that may have more to do with his most frequent line-mates.

Surprising names on this last are Josh Jooris, Micheal Ferland and David Schlemko. You can make arguments that the Flames (and their fans) shouldn’t get too excited about Ferland or Schlemko quite yet, as they didn’t play a ton with the Flames over a full season, but Josh Jooris appears to be the real deal in terms of being a fourth line player that can jump up into other roles in a pinch and not drag down the possession numbers of the team’s stars.

In terms of where these guys slot in, the good news is that the Flames have a good top line, a good top defensive pairing, a second line center, a fourth line center, a couple depth defenders, and guys in Jooris and Ferland that aren’t 100% locked in to spots yet. Paul Byron’s good, but I’m not sure where he slots in for this group relative to the other strong pieces.

THE BAD NEWS

On the flip side, here is a list of the players that are dragging down the team’s possession stats – in the sense that the majority of their teammates are worse-off playing with them rather than away from them.

There are roughly 10 regular players that were possession killers: Kris Russell, Dennis Wideman, Joe Colborne, Ladislav Smid, Lance Bouma, David Jones, Mason Raymond, Brandon Bollig, Deryk Engelland and Markus Granlund.

Of these guys, the three players you can make a case for ignoring their numbers are Lance Bouma, David Jones and Markus Granlund. Granlund is still super-young and a relative newcomer to the NHL, who has yet to play a full season. Bouma and Jones trended towards playing tougher minutes, particularly in tandems with Backlund earlier in the season and Stajan down the stretch. You would expect them to have not-great possession numbers. Bouma and Stajan were also a very good penalty kill duo, and there’s some value in that which won’t appear in the analytics.

Wideman and Russell got tougher minutes over the last quarter of the season, when Giordano went down and Brodie was shifted to playing with Engelland, but their numbers weren’t all that good earlier in the season when they were playing sheltered minutes with Brodie and Giordano eating all the toughest ice-time. Wideman is likely better suited to Raphael Diaz’s 2014-15 role: a third-pairing, sheltered-minutes defender who produces offense on the power-play. And Kris Russell is a functional #4 NHL defender, but needs a good partner with him in order to really help his team.

Smid, Bollig and Engelland are what they are at this point. They’re depth guys, and you hope they don’t have to be on the ice too often in situations where they are given the chance to hurt the team’s chances of winning.

WHAT DOES THIS TELL US?

Calgary’s top priority should be upgrading their defensive depth. Of the team’s eight most-used defensemen, four have rough possession numbers – and to be honest, bumping Diaz and Schlemko up to second-pairing status probably wouldn’t do much to help the team either.

The other big priority is finding help on the wings. Calgary’s three top lines currently feature two strong wingers (Gaudreau and Hudler) and four guys with iffy results (Colborne, Bouma, Jones and Raymond). Even if you have a mindset towards retaining Jones and Bouma for tough minutes and penalty kill duties, you’re still left with work to do to solidify the scoring lines. In an ideal world, you have young wingers pushing for jobs at the NHL and threatening to bump Bouma and Jones to the fourth line. Sam Bennett may be slotted into a top-six spot right now (either on the wing or at center), but nobody else in the system (save for maybe Josh Jooris) seems like they have the stuff to bump anyone down the totem pole quite yet.

Wing help could come on its own, though; Ferland is still really an unknown quantity, and his playoff success could give him the confidence to wrest one of the top-nine spots away from a veteran. Emile Poirier needs some seasoning but had a strong AHL debut, while Morgan Klimchuk looks like he’ll jump to the pros but will need time with Stockton. If the mindset is the team wants to push for contention by 2017, playing “wait and see” with the kids may not be the worst idea. It’ll certainly help their cap space, and last summer’s “throw money at Mason Raymond” gamble didn’t really pay off. I’m all for similar moves this summer, though, as long as the term is short or the cap hit is minimal.

But I have no clue how they upgrade their defense in the short-term, particularly with the money they have already spent on their current group. The team has three players best-suited to third-pairing duties, if that: Dennis Wideman has a cap hit of $5.25 million, Ladislav Smid is $3.5 million, and Deryk Engelland is $2.917 million. That’s pricey, and all the deals have some term left. Now bear in mind that both Mark Giordano and Kris Russell are looking at new deals in the short-term, and T.J. Brodie’s new deal kicks in on July 1, and suddenly it seems like the team has painted themselves into a bit of a corner here. Their only option may be to wait until some of these contracts come off of the books and regroup, but that may go contrary to any internal plan of short-term contention they may have.

    • everton fc

      Smid to long term injury would help. What about trying somehing different like Russell/Wides 3rd pairing, TJ and the Czech 2nd pairing and Gio and Morrison as another pairing. Bouncing Gio and TJ back together when needed.

      Spoon as your 7th and Engs playing in the AHL.

      • everton fc

        Not bad. I had similar thoughts when I did a mock line up for next season.

        But ideally I think you want to start Morrison and Nakladal in the A.

        That leaves overpaying a guy like Franson in FA… but man… after the deal Petry got… does that make Franson a 6-6.5 guy? Geez louise. Although his age is right.

        Or trades….offer sheets…. who is available without sending young players out the door.

        • supra steve

          I think you have to say no to Franson and look for different options to upgrade the D. Ideally I would look to trade a useful piece that we have, even Granlund if necessary, for a useful D man.

          Absent something that can work on the trade front, I agree that you ideally want to let Morrison and Nakladal start in the A but would it not be ideal if these guys could step in now? If even one of them can play in the NHL now, that would help.

          • supra steve

            Hey… I suppose if one of them is good enough to bump out some dead weight, and if they can play some minutes then yeah that would be pretty ideal. I wouldnt pencil them in though.

            Agree on Franson. After the Petry deal I cant see us signing any UFA Dman unless there is a gem out there… I suppose if there is a vet that would take a one year deal then maaayyyybe… but is there a top 4 option in FA that takes a one year deal – not likely.

            I am all for going the trade route. If you can package Granlund with other assets in a deal for Spurgeon or someone comparable I would look at that.

        • supra steve

          I don’t doubt that Morrison will likely be in AHL but I suspect they will give Nakladal every chance to be in the NHL. My point is why nit try something like this. If as we believe that both Gio and TJ on their own are Norris type candidates then why not let them carry some guys. I have chosen both Morrison and Nakladal because they are Righties, also Morrison with Gio as he is supposed to be offensive(he sounds like a right handed TJ from 2 years ago) and Nakladal with TJ as he is more of a stay at home guy(like Gio 3 years ago). As for Engs I suspect he will be here but I would prefer a younger guy.

      • supra steve

        You can’t possibly believe that Engelland will not be on the NHL roster in 2015/16. I’m not saying that he necessarily belongs there, just that he WILL be there.

    • supra steve

      Cool… Not McDavid though. Or 5 cups.

      From
      – An Oilers Fan

      Ps. Bring on the hate
      pps. Yes I know you made the playoffs this year
      ppss Yes I know we haven’t made the playoffs in 9 years
      pppss The stampede is overrated

      • OKG

        Just like the last 9 1st rounders the oilers have made. Overrated. Winning a round in the playoffs is a day dream in Edm. it will also be next year. After that they will have decisions, After those, They will become a one horse team. Whose leader never wanted to play there…..

      • ChinookArchYYC

        Flames should try to acquire two picks in the top 10 in this years draft. It seems crazy, I know… but if the Flames are willing to take on a bad contract, move some picks and a few roster players (Hiller, Wideman, Colborne) I think its possible:

        Something like Hiller, Colborne and 1st to Philly, for the 7th and Lecalavier. Or Wideman and two picks to Columbus for the 8th. Maybe kick the tires taking on Phaneuf or Semin.. you get the idea.

        If the Flames could draft two of the top three D in the draft (Hanifin, Provorov, Werenski), I think that would be a great counter-punch to the Oilers drafting McDavid and really take the Flames to the next level in the future.

        Worst case scenario would be that all three D are gone by the time Calgary picks, but it would still keep them in that elite group of picks. Thoughts?

        • piscera.infada

          Chances of moving into the top-ten once (in a trade that includes 15) would be difficult enough, let alone getting in there twice.

          Look, last year, the Flames were offering to take on Cam Ward for #7 overall, Carolina didn’t bite. In the salary cap world, first round picks (to say nothing of top-tier picks) are too valuable to your future success. Not only do you need to hang on to those picks, but you need to make them count.

          There isn’t really a pragmatic trade to make there, no matter what you want to offload, and how much of a cap-hit you take on.

          I can see a situation where the Flames trade up a few spots to catch someone they like who’s falling, but that’s about it.

          Is it really reasonable anymore for the Flames to be chasing this albatross of “taking on bad money and term”? I mean, the Flames organization is at a point where they’re going to have to start looking at locking their own guys up. Not to mention, that cap-space and term haven’t really been “monetized” (figuratively) in any way–so it seems there’s no consensus on return, and thus no trade.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            I don’t really want to make the case for the trade scenarios I pitched, because I was just spit balling.. I know GM’s just don’t take risks at the draft anymore.

            It seems the new trend is to prolong the agony of the team and fans by tanking every year for high picks and waiting for the next Crosby, then to make short term solutions we grew accustom to pre-cap era.

            Call it the “Edmonton Business Model”

          • Reidja

            These top 10 picks are like trying acquiring gold in a world currency crisis.
            Leafs seem to have a wanted sign to acquire as many picks & prospects as possible. They have Nashvilles 1st (24th I think?) Could we offer up some prospects like Reinhart, Agostino & our 52 & 53rd picks to get that 24th pick? Then we can take best forward available at 15 & then have a decent shot at scooping a Kylington with the other pick.

            It’s an interesting scenario no one expected here in Calgary. Guys like Engellend &Raymond were signed as veteran presence to place hold for at least a couple years of the rebuild. Because they were UFA’s & knew the role they were signing into, it took an extra year to get each of these guys to sign. But the success & playoff run we had has really probably threw a monkey wrench in the whole Flames plan moving forward. We are going into next year with a way higher expectation & many are expecting moves that will take the next step & challenge for playoffs. Don’t kid yourself, Murray Edwards is going to want more of what we just had in April & May. That will be communicated to Ken King & down to Burke. Can they keep rebuilding & still take a run at the playoffs? I think they think they can. Not sure what they do with Engellend & Raymond, gonna be interesting.

            With all the chatter of Offer Sheeting Dougie Hamilton, that is a situation to watch. We know there is no way the Bruins wouldn’t match, they’ll jettison Lucic or Chara before that ever happens. Could mean an opportunity for Flames to acquire Lucic for a great price. So what that he is a UFA in a year. If he doesn’t fit or you get the sense he won’t resign, he will have some pretty decent TDL value, but the upside would be pretty nice to see what an established huge power forward could do in scenarios in our top.

            I doubt we sign any UFA defence man & it’s hard to tell if we are willing to give up some pretty shiny young pieces & our 15th overall to acquire a22-23 year old high ceiling blue liner from someone else.

            • piscera.infada

              Does Lucic really fit in with how the current group is shaping up? I mean, he’s not the most fleet of foot (and he’s only getting less-so), and he’s a left-winger. I won’t dispute that Burke might be interested in such a player, but I really don’t see the fit.

              The players I would be inquiring about are the two that may be (but likely aren’t) available: Drouin and Toffoli.

              Toffoli is apparently ready to play hard-ball on his contract extension with LA. Perhaps he prices himself out of the organization, and they decide the better move is to try and re-sign Williams to a cheaper, shorter term deal. We know the Flames have interest in the player (per the reported Richards offer).

              Drouin is one that is mostly conjecture at this point. I highly doubt the Lightening trade him, but apparently there is a bit of a rift there between him and Cooper. Drouin also seemed to be very under-utilized this season given his talent. Granted, that’s a very deep, young team, so it makes sense. Maybe that makes him expendable for the right price. Now, I have no idea what “the right price” would be there, and it would likely be more than the Flames are willing to give up. Again, I don’t think it would happen, but it is something to keep an eye on.

              The point I’m trying to make is that if I’m Treliving, and I’m going to acquire someone in trade, I best be making sure it’s a player that fits the team dynamic. The fastest way to derail the positives that have been achieved to far, is to try and turn it into something grossly divergent. Burke can do all the size-plaining he wants, but the future of this team is speed and skill, not bullying teams off the ice. There are options within the organization that can (or may) add the “functional toughness” necessary, but a player like Lucic is best served for a team that plays that slow marauding style night-in, night-out.

              [Alot of my Lucic dissent is mostly because I don’t like him as a hockey player (never have). While I can’t argue with what he’s done, I’ve always thought he was very overrated. I also hate his skating–it makes my eyes bleed just watching it. If there was a way for both Him and Vancouver to lose the cup in 2011 it would have made it that much sweeter.]

            • Burnward

              How about dealing with Ferland, Bouma and maybe in a couple of years, Poirier on consecutive shifts. They are all 6’1″. Poirier is the light weight at 185 but is also the youngest, and fastest and will probably put on 10 or 15 pounds in the next few years.

              Bouma is no shrinking violet and can certainly play rock ’em sock ’em hockey if asked. Poirier’s natural inclination, based on his junior play and what I say in the Subway series is to be a pest by hitting people, a lot.

              We don’t need Lucic.

            • piscera.infada

              Without a doubt. I don’t understand at all why anyone would be trading Poirier for Lucic. Emile isn’t there yet, but when he becomes a full-time NHLer (which he will), the kid will be everything you want in a second line (maybe even first line) winger: hard on the forecheck, quick, shifty, all with offensive upside.

              That trade reminds me a lot of the Fan 960 Boomer’s “genius” trade proposal of a 2015 1st, Gilles, and Backlund for Kessel. Yeah, right. The offseason brings some strange people out.

            • everton fc

              Hey, I only posted the rumour, and the fact the site itself said they wouldn’t do it. Poirier is one of my favourite prospects, along with Ferland. I see Poirier on the right-side next season, full-time. 82 games. That’s my hope. And I see him producing. Like Bennett. Monahan. Others.

              I also see Ferland producing the same. Poirier is a tough kid. He’s aggressive – “truculent”!

            • everton fc

              If Poirier puts on 10-15 lbs of muscle he will be a formidable power forward with a much greater upside than Lucic….even if he doesn’t do that he will still be a better forward as he develops in the long run.

        • piscera.infada

          I like the concept but getting it done is the problem. Picks are way overvalued especially at the draft, versu TDL. And really, do you think Chabot, Zboril Kylington are going to be way worse than the three D you mentioned five years from now? I believe there’s a good chance not, so not really a lot of incentive to give up a ton to move up.

          Look at it another way, two failed trades the Flames fortunately didn’t complete:

          1. 2013 draft, three 1st rounders for 1st overall. That’s Monahan, Poirier and Klimchuk for MacKinnon. Two years later Monahan is arguably the best player of the bunch. So glad that deal didn’t go through.

          2. Offer sheet, 1st and 3rd for Ryan O’Reilly. That’s Monahan and Kanzig for RO, assuming they didn’t lose him too through waivers. Again a trade I wouldn’t make straight up.

          Me as a fan needs to remember not to get caught up in the hype and focus on the players who are most likely to develop into players. Those can come from anywhere….

      • Burnward

        kdays or whatever you call it now doesn’t even rate!
        McDavid had trouble with a Junior defence and didn’t make the Mem Cup – wait till he gets to the NHL! He will disappoint his first year like DrySidle….

    • RealMcHockeyReturns

      Here’s my guess at D-men plan based on guessing Flames NOT going to UFA for a new guy:
      Gio-Naksy (Nakladal);
      Brodie-Russell;
      Schlemko-Engelland;
      Diaz-Wotherspoon;
      AHL first call-up:Morrisson

        • RealMcHockeyReturns

          Yeah… I really don’t see the attraction of splitting up one of the best defense pairs in the league–maybe the only thing that’s right about the team’s blueline.

          It’s sort of like splitting up the first line to “spread out the scoring.” We know the line works.. why fiddle with it?

          • RealMcHockeyReturns

            See my post about Naksy’s experience, etc and the only way you make Russell or lower-down D-men better is by pairing them with Brodie or Gio, barring going out to get a UFA (which I doubt the Flames do)

        • RealMcHockeyReturns

          Naksy is 27 years old and has lots of high-level Czech and international experience, his play at last big intl tourney including 5 Assists in 10 games are the reasons Flames signed him.

          • Burnward

            I thought he was good in that tourney too. But to pencil him in for first line minutes off the hop is craze.

            Third pair, second PP. Then let’s see what he’s got.

    • DestroDertell

      Franson (or any UFA for that matter) is a big no-no; we just won’t have the cap space in the next two and three years to deal with a big UFA contract with Gio, Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett and maybe Hudler getting raises and probably some RFA this year as well. I believe it is however possible to have two better pairs than we had last season by changing our pairs with the players on the rosters, leading to significant increases in possession.

      Gio-Brodie
      Schlemko-Russell
      Wideman-Wotherspoon

      I don’t think Russell is a #3 or a #4 guy on a deep roster and Schlemko is a question mark but it might work out if the 3rd pair gets more than 11min or so of TOI per game like last year.

      As for everyone else: Management love Engelland and thus will be forced into the NHL roster. But him being 7th Dman will make sure he won’t be on the ice too often to hurt the team’s chances to win. Morrison and Nakladal are going to be AHLers. I doubt Diaz will be back even if he IS a better player than Pylongelland. Smid on LTI would be a bonus; waive him if that doesn’t work. Obviously you try to trade Wideman but I don’t know if any team out there would take the bait. If so, hopefully Nakladal will take his spot.

      If they follow this script, a Corsi in the reasonable range of 48-49 with above-average goaltending might be good enough for another year of playoff.

      • OKG

        and Culkin had a better first season than Kulak.

        I was just thinking of the prospects camp, boy there could be some interesting pairings. Kanzig and the big Belarussian kid both 6’7″, Matttsson 6’4, Smith 6’7′, Carrol 6’4″, and Janko 6’4″.

        • everton fc

          This is how you rebuild. Culkin may make the team out of camp. Which solves one of the 5/6 slots. I am convinced Schlemko can play regular minutes next to a kid like Culkin. He’s only 28, and may have finally found a home in Calgary. And you have a lot of opportunity to draft players on the backend in this draft who can assist down the road.

          Not sure about Wotherspoon. We’ll see. And if Kulak has a good camp, and we perhaps draft Chabot. We have Mattsson. I won’t even include Morrison or Kanzig, but we have then, too. It’s not as dim as it appears…

          I am really excited about Carroll. Always liked his all-around game. And don’t forget Hathaway. Carroll is a real sleeper. Like Ferland. Hathaway similar to Bouma, undrafted like Jooris, as we all know.

          Hockey’s a business. The owners have no need to hit the cap via free-agency; they need to secure the services of Gaudreau, Monahan, Bennett, Backlund, Brodie and one of the goalies if they do as well as I think both will, sooner than later. That’s where you spend, wisely. You add Hudler and Gio, perhaps Russell to this group, Hudler and Gio until their mid 30’s, Russell as a character guy who can play 5/6 minutes down the road. Maybe Bouma and Ferland are added to this group, particularly if Ferland he proves as valuable an asset as I’ve always thought he’d be. Build around them. Jooris may end up like Maltby or Draper. You never know. The Wings built a dynasty this way. I’m confident we can do the same, if Treliving is as good as I think he might be. This draft and how he handles his assets will tell a lot, me thinks…

          We could be on the cusp of a long run of playoff wins and a Cup or two, if we play these cards right. We are in no rush, really. Guys like Gio and Hudler will age and need replacement. Wideman has maybe one more year here. Ditto Stajan. These gaps will be filled. We have Gillies and Ortio waiting in the wings to take over the goaltending, perhaps long term. Both ooze confidence without being cocky.

          Exciting times, indeed.

        • OKG

          Part of that, IMO, I think was Kulak actively trying to be a more physical defender, when he’s wired to be a Keith/Brodie style defender, while Culkin just played his style. So you got Kulak getting caught taking some bad penalties. He can clean those up, and overall (and this is only a slight advantage in any category) I think he’s a better prospect than Culkin especially as a goal scorer.

          He actually had slightly more (.5 vs .486) points per game in the AHL than Culkin this year, albeit he got into less games because he spent most of his season in Colorado (which I think was good for him, he tore that league up and it helped him adjust to life as a pro).

          They really are a great pair of prospects though. I see Kulak as a 2nd pairing guy with 1st pairing upside (like Brodie before he just exploded) and Culkin as an all-around good #5 (like Schlemko) who can step up to 2nd pairing without hurting the team

          All we need is a few of our guys to pan out, maybe a good draft pick like Roy or Vande Sompel this year, and we could be set for years:

          Hickey-Brodie

          Kulak-Morrison

          Rafikov-Vande Sompel

          That looks like a promising young D-core that can skate you off the ice already, and then Kanzig/Culkin/Sieloff/Wotherspoon/Ollas-Maattson

          can all make an argument for themselves too.

          Now consider Gio’s still gonna be around for a long time and I’m pretty positive about the future

    • everton fc

      I am not into trade proposals, but I was wondering if Treliving and co would consider dealing the first round pick (plus whatever) for a young defender. Nashville comes to mind; it seems like they have a great top-4 plus a pipeline of promising D prospects, but don’t have a lot of offensive players. Would a deal around our 1st round pick and an offensive player/prospect(Poirier?) be enough to get one of their 2nd pairing D (for example Josi)?

      • everton fc

        Would that be enough to get Brodie from the Flames? Josi is 1st pair, not 2nd pair.

        Also, trading Poirier would be silly. People already whine about the RW depth, do you really think the organization will make it worse?

        Fun fact: Poirier outscored Anthony “Goal-Per-Game” Mantha last season. Seriously.

    • OKG

      I would agree that poirier should not be part of any deal atm if there is one to be made. For me personally,I’m willing to trade anyone that’s not really part of our long term plans who are imo Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett, Backlund, Brodie, and poirier. I know that list is short and omits huge names like Gio but I would be fine trading gio now if the return was substantial such as a young and upcoming D like olli matta and a first, and maybe a mid level prospect for example since the pens need to win NOW. I’m also completely content with him staying as he is a great role model and leader for the flames. I honestly hope we don’t sign anyone during free agency as the price for decent D is ridiculous (jeff petry). Rather we just draft a bunch of D or try to trade our current high end assets that probably won’t be here in 4-5 years (gio/hudler/wideman)

    • ChinookArchYYC

      2015 Jettison Wish List in no particular order (and not withstanding reality):
      Joe Colburne,
      Brandon Bollig,
      Mason Raymond,
      Ladislav Smid,
      Derrick Engelland,
      Cory Potter,
      Dennis Wideman.

      Wow, after writing that I realise these players are all considered big, except for Wideman and Raymond.

      • ChinookArchYYC

        Hmmm. Cory Potter is probably already gone with the recent signings/Wotherspoon; Smid LTIR(?); the rest possible though I like Wideman for what he brings and Colborne is still developing so I’d like to see if he can make a jump this upcoming season. Bollig, Raymond and Engelland each brought important elements but upgrades should be the goal.

      • piscera.infada

        Fair enough. Cory Potter is a free-agent though, no?

        Everything flying around out there in regards to Smid points to him not coming back any time soon (if at all). Very unfortunate for Smid, but being able to put him on LTIR for an extended period might be most beneficial for the Flames. That said, if he is ready to go this year, and plays well (lets say given easy ground by Hartley–which he hasn’t had as a Flame IIRC), he could have some trade value to a team with no defensive depth.

        Engelland is likely stuck with the organization for now–unless there’s a stupid GM out there that saw him playing second-pairing minutes with Brodie last year, and buys into the narrative that “he’s better now”.

        Wideman could have some value, and in all likelihood would be moved at the deadline if the Flames regress the way the pundits expect them to. His return could be fairly substantial if he comes anywhere close to playing how he did last year.

        I think the organization will look to offload Bollig, provided Ferland and Wolf (maybe?) both show up to make the team this year. However, I doubt Treliving will be able to come anywhere close to recouping the 3rd round value they gave up for him–it would probably need to be just selling the guy off as a “playoff experienced” 13th forward.

        Raymond and Colborne are interesting cases. I think the organization still likes the thought of Colborne. I personally liked what he did in the playoffs as far as using his frame. He still has a lot of inconsistency to his game but I would like to see what he can do in a bottom-six role next season before I jettison him off. Obviously, if someone were to come to me and offer, say, a player in a similar situation, of a similar age (say, a defenseman), or if he was included in a sweet package deal, I’d jump all over it. I just wouldn’t be actively selling him off for magic beans.

        Raymond, I’m not sure. I doubt he has much trade value given his contract and the fact that he played so little last year. I see three options with him: 1) you trade him to a team like Buffalo for very little return (the idea being, a young team in need of a veteran option who can slide up and down the lineup); 2) include him in a package deal, if you have one; 3) play him, hope he can turn it around this season and pump up his value, then refer to 1 or 2 above.

    • everton fc

      We don’t need to move up into the top 10 picks by taking on any bad contract. Lecalavier would be a disaster to take on – I’d take Kessel’s contract over that one. No, we need do nothing more than “stay the course”. We can easily draft a few good defencemen, we have Culkin, Kulak, Morrison, Wotherspoon on the farm. Schlemko is another we can use in a respectable 5/6 role. He’s done well here, and will be 28 next year. I don’t see the defencive picture as bleak as many others. Myself included.

      We move Raymond. Bollig. Perhaps Byron. Perhaps Colborne, but I think the organization likes Colborne. Ferland is not comparable to Wolf; with Ferland, we may have a 20-goal scorer who can cause massive havoc when on the ice. Wolf is a project, and a long shot – Austin Carroll’s a similar type of player, perhaps with more upside.

      Byron has all the attributes that fit here, except size. Still, for his size, he plays a gritty game. If he could slot into Raymond’s spot, provided you can move Raymond, I’d give Byron one more year. He was playing every game until he started coming up lame. He did well in his role. I’d love to see him on the same line w/Ferland.

      Again, no crazy trades or UFA signing. No taking on “albatross” contracts to fill needs.

      And I don’t think Wideman’s going anywhere. The organization likes his play and his personality. I get a sense he’s one of Hartley’s personal faves.

      Unrelated… I hope we draft Jesse Gabrielle out of Bandon. I read he was the biggest surprise a the combine, in terms of strength and conditioning. He’s a fireplug. Scrappy. Similar #’s to Bouma, when the latter was a Junior Giant. Take a fly if he’s around after Round 3.

    • everton fc

      Can you imagine teams having to deal with Lucic and Ferland on consecutive line shifts?

      There is a rumour, albeit from a site I’ve never heard of until today (Flame For Thought) saying the Flames and the Bruins may be talking. They offer Wotherspoon and Poirier for Lucic. The site also says they wouldn’t make this deal, so go figure!

      It’s all idle chatter, I know. But Lucic wouldn’t look bad on the left side here in Calgary. My problem with Lucic, is Lucic. We have a good core group of kids with good attitudes…

        • piscera.infada

          Move the needle back the other way.One problem for the Flames with this trade as they stated Lucic is a UFA next year and could be just a rent a player for one year.For two top prospects would be a bad trade.

      • Burnward

        Again, trading Poirier seems silly. If you sweeten the rest of the deal but switch Poirier with Klimchuk maybe. But then you have to realize you’re acquiring Lucic. No thanks.

        Lucic without Krejci is just Bryan Bickell. Is that worth Klimchuk straight up? Nope.

        • piscera.infada

          Your not looking at the speculative side of this. I didn’t know about that Poirier rumour but my point being is maybe Lucic can be had for way undervalue. So what he’s a left wing, wingers can move around. The way the Flames play where we roll lines, we can mix & match with many combinations of skilled young players. We have lots of speed & this guy can open space for them. Then, if the experiment doesn’t work, worst case, I have no doubt that Lucic would be at the top of the TDL players available to a playoff bound team that would love to add what that boy brings. Im just saying, we can maybe flip him for a tidy profit. I had more of a Wotherspoon, our #45 pick & maybe one other of our prospects that aren’t quite fitting, like Reinhart. I think Lucic could net us at least a 2016 1st next TDL. Who knows, he work out incredible & have us panicking about getting him resigned. Just saying, to close your mind to a player like this is wrong.

          • piscera.infada

            It’s simple cost-benefit though. If you could get Lucic for one year, for nothing more than simply acquiring him (say, a pick or something), then sure it’s worth looking in to. If it’s going to cost you a prospect of Poirier’s ilk, plus a pick, plus another prospect (which is likely what it will cost), it makes little to no sense. Even if you can trade him for a late first rounder at the trade deadline.

            Think about it. If Lucic will be worth a song at the TDL, why wouldn’t Boston want to recoup at least that in trade?

            I mean, I get what what you’re saying. My mind is closed simply because I think he’s no good (as I’ve stated ad nausea), and you can definitely disagree with me on that. I just don’t see a way you acquire him for a trade that so under-valued that it makes it worth the cost. I only see a Lucic deal happening with a team that sees him as the answer long-term. I’m not sure that fit is here.

    • DoubleDIon

      I’d really like to see what a Schlemko/Russell 2nd pairing would look like. Wideman and Diaz could play very sheltered yet significant minutes. I still wonder if we could maybe find a taker on Wideman this offseason. He does produce and that has value to teams that struggle to get scoring from the back end.

    • Reidja

      Treliving has done the right things with regard to the defense problem IMO and I bet he is all over the d-man trade market. Defense is tough to acquire and requires the creation of opportunities for guys to come in and compete – exactly what BT’s done going into next year.

      Look at how we arrived at our top pairing: an undrafted guy eventually turns into a number 1 and a guy drafted 114th turns into a number 2. The best thing we can have is guys with potential competing for genuine opportunity in September. It takes commitment to learn, and skill to improve on the back end in the NHL. Bring as many guys in an possible and let the cream rise to the top.