Is it the right time for the Flames to be aggressive?

It would seem the Flames are not satisfied with where they currently are. That’s good: ultimately, the goal is to win the Stanley Cup, and the Flames, in their present incarnation, aren’t even close.

The Chicago Blackhawks are one win away from their third Stanley Cup in six years. Do you think the Flames can contend with them? No, they can’t. They played surprisingly tight games over the regular season, but this is a team that’s next level.

From the Flames’ perspective, they’re probably still a few levels away yet. They’re the team they should be aspiring towards, though, and at present time, it certainly looks like they’re trending that way.

Will being aggressive now, as we enter the third year of the rebuild, help?

Simultaneous aggression and caution

The Flames want to get better now, but they’re still very much a rebuilding team. Rebuilding requires patience. The good news is, that hasn’t been forgotten. While there’s cap space aplenty to swim in in Calgary right now, that won’t be the case for much longer, and portions of the budget have to be set aside for the impending multi-million raises for a couple of young 20-somethings.

The idea of re-signing Mark Giordano, who will be 32 to start the next season, to a long-term deal like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan is slightly concerning, though. Of course he’s going to be costly – and the guy who should be a back-to-back Norris winner has been playing way below budget for a while now – but he’s also going to decline. No matter how good he is, signing an aging veteran to both term and money could become a problem down the line.

Which explains the aggression. Giordano is only going to have so much longer of being able to play at such a high level. If the Flames want to win before his contract turns into a burden – which is a very real possibility in the future – it’s going to have to be soon.

The good news is, with the right moves, it could happen. The Flames had poor underlying stats this past season. They’re still a team on the rise, and they have excellent young pieces with which to work. Play their cards right, and improvement could be very rapid, and very real.

Trades and free agency

So how aggressive is aggressive, anyway?

Jiri Hudler is possible trade bait. He had an unprecedented offensive season this past year, and of course, it’d be ideal if he could repeat it. The numbers check out in that case, though: he’s a career high percentage shooter, and assuming he spends more time on the top line, he’ll be given the time and talent with which to work. 

However, he is also 31 years old, and eventually, his decline will come as well. The Flames are only interested in selling him if the return is massive, which, at this point in time, is the right way to go. That’s aggressive caution: “We’re willing to trade away our leading scorer” is the aggressive part, because not many teams would really like to entertain that idea; “but you have to make your offer damn good” is the cautious part, because trading Hudler for the sake of trading him makes no sense. If he can bring back a long-term upgrade, you do it, because the short-term doesn’t matter nearly as much right now.

Hudler isn’t the only potential trade bait, though, or at least he shouldn’t be. Dennis Wideman and Kris Russell were not an adequate second pairing, let alone first. A deep team would have them as their bottom guys.

Wideman is also probably not going to score 50 points again. While there’s reason to believe Hudler can repeat his offensive outburst, that reasoning doesn’t apply to Wideman. He had a career high shooting percentage, one never matched before, and he’s 32. If any team is desperate for backend scoring, he’s the guy you try to sell.

To add to that, if any teams wanting a defenceman also buy into romanticizing shot blocks, then you capitalize on Russell’s year. Russell has never shown true success as a top four defenceman, and having him back in the top four to start next season probably isn’t ideal for a reportedly aggressive team. 

That brings us to free agency. It would be pretty aggressive if the Flames got rid of both their second pairing guys, wouldn’t it? How aggressive would it be if they signed not one, but two big name defencemen on the open market to replace them? Cody Franson, Andrej Sekera, Mike Green, Christian Ehrhoff… There are plenty of options, and the upgrade would be both intense and immediate. 

It’s not as though there isn’t a precedence for this either; just last year, the Washington Capitals signed both Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen to big contracts. The Flames have a lot of room with which to work, although they’ll have to be smart about their spending to keep it that way.

These are just two ideas of what could be many ways to improve a team in the now. The Flames may see their cap space evaporate, but as long as enough is left over to re-sign the big name players already in-house, it may not matter. After all, cap space doesn’t score goals. 

And because we keep talking about size…

Adding size for the sake of adding size simply does not work.

The Flames and Hawks are roughly the same size. Despite being apparently tiny – after all, if we’re going to talk about how small the Flames are, we have to talk about how small the Hawks are, too, their playoff record be damned – the Hawks seem to be doing pretty well for themselves. So why is size a factor for Calgary, but not Chicago?

The Blackhawks jettisoned Brandon Bollig, and it didn’t hurt them in the slightest. While they lost some size, they also lost a player who didn’t add anything. It was addition by subtraction.

It’s not that the Flames need to be against adding size; it’s that they need to be smart about it. Bollig and Deryk Engelland do make the Flames bigger, yes. They also make them worse. The Flames could get smaller next season and actually be better for it.

Just something to think about.

So, is it the right time?

Why not?

The Flames are aware some of their cheap players are about to become incredibly costly. They’ll no doubt have cap space set aside to account for that. 

As long as they don’t lose their sense of awareness, then everything’s fine. We’re talking about a team that defied the numbers and blew everyone’s expectations away. The next step is to stop defying the numbers, and to do that, Calgary needs massive upgrades in most areas.

Contingency plans need to be made in case the Flames’ high shooting percentage from this past season does not repeat itself. To take the next step, they cannot be a one-line team. The defence is a train wreck after Giordano and TJ Brodie. Furthermore, of the good players on the Flames, most are in their early-mid 20s, but Giordano, in his early 30s, throws a real wrench into things. 

If the Flames want to directly build off of the success their young team experienced out of seemingly nowhere, then they’ll need to be working on it now. The west is deep in the NHL, and the Flames’ playoff spot could easily be usurped, even if they do get better for next season.

At the same time, with prospects still developing – and that still includes guys like Monahan and Gaudreau – patience is also needed. It’s a rebuild, and rebuilds take time.

Better an amped up rebuild than a pussyfooted retool, though. Calgary tried that last approach for a few seasons. It didn’t work. They only started turning the corner once the rebuild began.

So sure, be aggressive. As long as it’s smart, and the long-term is more highly regarded than the short (i.e. acquire players who would help not only in the now, but five years down the line as well). It’ll take a lot, but in this situation, proactivity is needed.

We could be looking at a completely different roster, and considering what the Flames had to work with last season, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Last season shouldn’t have happened, but maybe they can make it look like not a fluke.

  • Colin.S

    The Flames can be as aggressive as they like, I just don’t see the assets they would need to be that aggressive. Other than this years first overall, do the Flames have the assets to be really aggressive in trades?

    • We have some excellent vet assets, compared to the league (i.e. Hudler, Wideman) and if we get younger guys back not yet established it could work well. In addition there are always teams that need changes to get to the next level (e.g. St Louis, Nashville, Minnesota) so keep working the phones and let’s see what we can do.

      • Colin.S

        Huddler is the only easily tradeable asset. Wideman has a No Move Clause and is a lot older with a big cap hit. Wideman by himself isn’t going to magically get a better player than Wideman, it’s going to be Wideman + something (young players/picks). Stajan and Raymond both have NTCs and neither are getting a significant return either.

        Are the Flames going to trade one of their young and up and coming players for a better more established player? To get something better you have to give up more than you get. The Flames don’t have a huge stable of players on the farm that are knocking on the NHL door. And trading more draft picks/young players brings the team back to the Darryl Sutter days.

        • Franko J

          Flames have lots of tradable assets. Cap teams are looking at decent prospects & picks & we have that. Flames were ranked #2 in Hockey Futures. Chicago, Boston, Rangers, LA & Philly have cap problems. If Calgary wants to improve the possession numbers they need a #3 defender. Arii is right, we need to decide how aggressive we are going to be. I think Russell’s numbers were skewed downward because of Wideman. If we extend Gio, it will be for minimum 5 years & the clock starts to tick. He’s our best defender & he will probably be so for at least the next 3-4 years tops. So what bonafide #3 could be available & worth going after?
          Seabrook would be amazing but it would be tough trading him so quick after winning the Cup (I think they win it in Game 6). Yandle may be worth a look for 1 year. What would Winnipeg want for big Buff? Anyone of those guys on a 2nd pairing with Russell behind Brodano will improve possession numbers astronomically & that would give us a huge opportunity to make the playoffs.

          I wouldn’t sell Hudler until the TDL & only if we were not likely to make the playoffs. I would also consider giving Lucic a test drive for 1 year if the price was reasonable. Bollig would be expendable & he has only 1 year left so he could easily be bought out as well because I imagine he would be tough to trade.

          • Colin.S

            The Flames have a decent bunch of picks, but the Flames need to use those to further stock the cupboards. And decent prospects? The flames got a second for Baertschi who outside of Monohan/Gaudreau/Bennett was probably their highest ranked forward prospect. Poirier or Ferland is probably the highest ranked forward prospect at this time and beyond that, a bunch of depth guys that are not going to bring back the needed upgrades. There’s pretty much no one to speak of on defence. The Flames spoke pretty well this year that none of those guys could handle the NHL (at least as of now), so trading defenders may not be the answer. Unless you want to trade the guy at BU.

          • SmellOfVictory

            Sven was a 13th overall in a so so draft. One could argue a 2nd in this one isn’t all that far off.

            But I look at things a little different. We have 3 future core guys of our top 6 & they have already performed admirably in their 1st playoff. Bennett/Monahan & Gaudreau are young & are locks on the core of the future Flames. Brody & Gio are probably considered up there in top pairing defencemen & I would not expect that to change for 3-4 years. They are exceptional players, with exceptional chemistry & they play for the Flames now. They are ours until we decide other.

            Our goaltending is capable of getting us to the playoffs. & we have some very good prospects coming up as well.

            I would say Ferland/Poirier/Shore/Arnold are 4 players to watch next year & any one of them could establish themselves as future core players.

            Really, we could put together a package of Backlund/Klimchuk/Wotherspoon/15th overall pick to either move up in the draft or acquire a very good twenty something player we badly need. I wouldn’t give up the #15 if we weren’t getting another 1st rounder in return. What I am saying is that we have more tradable pieces than you think.

          • MontanaMan

            I don’t want to trade any of the prospects, minimal at most where we have redundancies. We have several vets that are tradeable that likely aren’t part of the LT plan. These we should be looking to trade.

  • redhot1

    Why sell Russell and Wideman juts to replace them with more expensive and not much better guys in free agency? If any of them went we would need a young top 4 d back.

  • Absolutely to being aggressive.
    Absolutely not to being reckless.

    You can be aggressive without being reckless i think of moves Yzerman & the Lightening made this season as an example. Moves the Islanders have made last couple seasons as aggressive but not reckless. And therein is what the Flames should be looking to do. Deal if the deal makes sense from a hockey perspective. If not, don’t deal, keep building bottom up through the draft.

  • beloch

    As we’ve seen many times before, a great veteran core injected with some underpaid but massively talented rookies is a recipe for cup contender. If the Flames had possessed a solid veteran core before last season, the addition of rookies like Monahan and Gaudreau would have made them a very dangerous team. That core was not in place, so it merely made them a bubble team.

    If being aggressive means attempting to become a cup contender while Giordano is still a first pairing defender, then I don’t like the idea of being aggressive. The Flames would have to trade away a lot of picks and prospects to accomplish this because they simply don’t have enough developed capital in their system right now.

    Offering to trade Hudler might actually be a conservative move though. He’s the wrong side of 30 and just had a career year. His value now is likely higher than it will be at any point in the future. If the Flames can move him for a slightly younger player, especially a defenceman who might develop into a first pairing partner for Brodie in a few years… That’s a really smart long-term move.

    Improving next season is important, but today’s rookies and top prospects will likely be the veteran core by the time the Flames are a true cup competitor.

    • Colin.S

      That’s the dilemma here. If you don’t think adding a solid top 6 forward & a bonafide #3 defender is too costly or still doesn’t make the team a contender, then you have to change gears & add another elite future core player. We need to get in the top 8 for picking this year. I wouldn’t be broken hearted if that’s what we do. So what picks could be had in the top 8? Jersey, Philly & Carolina (5,6 &7) can be had & our #15 is a good part of the price. Would you give Klimchuk, Backlund & our #15 for the #5 pick? Can Arnold replace Backlunds numbers & can we replace Klimchuk with one of our 2nd round picks? Pretty big gamble but what an important piece to add for 2-3 years down the road with that #5 over all. Maybe Jersey would look at that offer.

      All I know is if we do nothing, we resign Schlemko to play with Engellend & hope & pray Wideman & Russell block a few more shots playing 18-20 minutes in the 2nd pairing, we’ll be picking somewhere 9th or 10th in the draft in 2016.

  • MontanaMan

    Won’t be a popular topic but being a GM isn’t a popularity contest. Giordano is a great defenceman and more importantly a great leader. If the culture in the Flames dressing room can sustain the loss of Gio, Toronto would be a great trading partner. The Leafs are a team that lacks leadership, tenacity and vision. Gio provides all three. Gio returns to his birthplace and provides the Leafs organization with instant credibility. And the return would be substantial.

    • MontanaMan

      All the Leafs have is a bunch of over-hyped players by the Toronto media that are not worth the money they are given..it took a while but Toronto finally realized that Phaneuf is not a star player…and trading quality for quantity never works…team that gets the best player always wins a trade. See Doug Gilmour trade to Toronto!

      • MontanaMan

        The Leafs have two young quality defencemen that would look good in Flames jerseys and a series of high draft picks is also appealing. i don’t recall recommending aging high priced veterans.

        • Franko J

          ..and I wasn’t just referring to their aging high priced veterans either, all their players including prospects are over-hyped in Toronto.

          ..and I agree with Nik, Gio is of an immense value to the Flames.

      • MontanaMan

        Nope. I like Gio as much as anyone but he’s an aging defenceman on a team that won’t truly compete for another 2 to 3 years. A good GM thinks with his head and not his heart. Likely won’t happen but worth considering.

        • beloch

          A good GM understands the value of leadership and skill..both of which Gio excels in. A good GM understands Gio’s history with injury and wellness and realizes Gio has 4-5 high value years left. A good GM understands the significant positive impact the Gio has had on the entire franchise including player development. A good GM realizes the current state of the rebuild and the essence of having a quality individual and leader like Gio. A good GM understands the defensive gaps the Flames currently have and will not compromise that further by trading Gio. A good GM simply looks to the Oiler rebuild disaster and treatment of veterans and appreciates the value Gio brings the Flames. A good GM BT is..a good GM you are Not!

        • MattyFranchise

          With how well Gio reportedly takes care of himself I don’t see 2-3 years being that much of an issue. I can see him being a legit number 1 d for another 3 years easy. At least until Brodie surpasses him and that’s not far off.

        • OKG

          An Aging #1 can still be an elite #3, heck an elite #1.

          Some examples:

          Bourque was 40 in 01

          Chelios was 40 in ’02

          Stevens was 38 in 03

          Pronger was 32 in ’07

          Niedermeyer was 33 in ’07

          Lidstrom was 37 in ’08

          Gonchar was 34 in ’09

          Pronger was 35 in ’10. No they didn’t win but they were definitely a very legit contender

          Chara was 33 in ’11

          • The Last Big Bear

            Giordano is just not on the same tier as guys like Lidstrom, Chelios, Neidermayer, et al.

            He’s more on the level of guys like Gonchar/Foote/Zubov/Jovanovski. These are underrated #1 dmen, who can even be the horse to carry their team to win a Stanley Cup. But they are not hockey legend 1st ballot Hall of Fame triple-gold type players.

            Guys like Lidstrom, Chelios, Neidermayer, Bourque, these guys were beyond elite when they were teenagers. They were Calder Trophy nominees, and WJC captains, and Olympians and top-tier NHLers at an age when Gio couldn’t get a one-way contract.

            And this is not because they were early bloomers, they maintained that top-tier level of play for 20+ years. Because we’re talking about some of the best EVER.

            It’s like saying Hudler should be expected to keep being awesome into his 40s, because Jagr and Selanne did that. Hudler led the NHL in even-strength scoring, so don’t let anybody tell you that he is anything but one of the best hockey players in the world right now. But he ain’t no Jaromir Jagr. Or Teemu Selanne.

            Mark Giordano is easily one of the best defencemen in the world today. But he ain’t no Chris Chelios. And he sure as heck ain’t no Nik Lidstrom. It is foolish to expect Giordano to replicate the late-career trajectories of players who were better than him early in their careers, and were better than him in their prime.

          • OKG

            He does have one heck of a chemistry with Brodie & if they can give us 20+ minutes of prime 1st pairing defence for the next 3 years. You can’t move him. You have to resign him. As he regresses in 3-4 years & is capable of 2nd pairing minutes, that isn’t bad. 5 year deal would be what he would want & palatable for the Flames. Any longer & you have to entertain offers.

          • Franko J

            Not sure what your point is, other than to say Gio isn’t one of the Top5 D of all time? Yeah, so what.

            I think the previous comment was that it is not a stretch to think Gio can keep up his elite play for at least another 3 years and even 5. Gio leads the Flames in many ways, including coming to camp regularly as the fittest of all.

            I’ve got no problem with Gio for the next 5 years.

          • The Last Big Bear

            Yes, my point was exactly to say that Giordano is not one of the top 5 defensemen of all time.

            Because I was responding to someone who was trying to make a point by comparing Giordano to several of the top 5 defensemen of all time.

            He is one of the top 5 in the world now, but people are trying to project his career by comparing him to the best players in the history of hockey.

            There are only 2 first-pairing defensemen in the NHL today who are over 36, and one of them is Zdeno Chara. This is why I think it IS a stretch that Giordano will continue his elite play for another 5 years. Because its exceedingly rare for anyone to do that, and most of the players who jave done it are on an entirely different level from Giordano.

            (edited to add: I also have no problem with Giordano for 5 more years, I just don’t expect him to be a 20 minute player anymore by the end of it)

          • I know Chelios was a really good but for some reason I never saw him in the same tier as those other 3. Looking over his stats, he was more impressive than I realized. I still can’t believe he had 3 Norris trophies.

            MacInnis, Coffey, Pronger for recent Elite of the Elite D (not including the old boys like Orr, Harvey, Robinson, ect). Maybe Housley. Keith is getting there. He is friggin good.

            I don’t see Gio in that group. At least not yet and it would take a decent sized step to get there. Of course he would also need to stay there for years.

    • Rockmorton65

      I’m genuinely curious as to how you define “substantial”. Im not against the idea of trading Gio, but it has to be an amazing offer. I honestly dont see a realistic package from Toronto that would fit that description.

      • The GREAT Walter White

        Leafs have lots of good pieces if they really wanted Gio :

        This years first.

        Next years first.

        Morgan Riely.

        Jake Gardiner.

        Kessel with salary withheld.

        Just a few examples of some pieces they could offer if they REALLY wanted Gio…..

        WW

          • The GREAT Walter White

            Not sure if I am misreading you but are you saying you think getting Jake (aside from what is given up) is a bad idea?

            I often disagree with Walter, but Jake being good isn’t really up for debate..

            If you look at the Hero charts at http://ownthepuck.blogspot.ca/

            Jake plays 1st line minutes, Generates shots at the rate of a 1st line guy, Suppresses shots at a 1st line rate (in fact I would say his CA/60To is pretty much ELITE (better then Ekblad, Hamilton for example)

            His Individual Scoring and SOG Rates are at that of a 2nd pairing guy.

            At the age of 24 I would say he is likely going to get better, and if he played with a decent partner like Brodie…..

            NOT DEBATING ANY TRADES HERE, just saying Jake Gardiner is good.

          • The GREAT Walter White

            The comment was mostly about the frequency at which Walter brings up Gardiner. That aside, as well as the stats you gave, Gardiner has been a bit of a house on fire at times. Though I don’t recall seeing him much last season myself, he may have quitted his game down a bit and he’s a hell of a skater.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Toronto would no be a good trading partner. They just started their rebuild, and aren’t going to give up anything of value for a 32 year old player.

  • MontanaMan

    Kevin R.

    “Really, we could put together a package of Backlund/Klimchuk/Wotherspoon/15th overall pick to either move up in the draft or acquire a very good twenty something player we badly need.”

    Dealing a pack of prospects with Backlund just to move up in a deep draft is pure stupidity. A 15th pick may turn out to be better than a 5 pick and some later round players turn out to better than some first rounders.

    • everton fc

      I agree.

      One deal I might look at is moving our 1st (15th pick), Russell, Granlund and some other asset or pick to see if we could get Hamilton from the Bruins. Probably not enough to get that done, and is not, I’d pass. But he’s an interesting commodity.

      That said, he’s also an expensive commodity long term. We have to consider contract down the road to Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett, Brodie… Ortio and/or Gillies if they pan out.

      As for Franson, me thinks the price tag will be too high. We could draft Roy, sign d-man cheaper via free agency, and stay the course.

      Note Morrison is a righty. So is Ramage, but I don’t think he makes the team ever, even though I’d like to see him do well.

      Unrealted – sort of – did the Flames give a contract to Yevenko?

      • OKG

        I would overpay for Franson within reason. I like his size and with the proper coaching he can excel given his high skill set. It also keeps him away from the Canuckleheads. He lives in Calgary and could perhaps agree to a 3-4 yr term with more dollars or longer term with reduced dollars.

        I agree as well on Ramage..I like the kid but he is past his opportunity point. Some of the other veteran UFA defensemen intrigue me but only as gap players.

        Morrison is going to be a surprise at camp…..Who is Yevenko?

        • OKG

          Yevenko is a kid out of Belarus who played in the NCAA last year. He was signed by the Heat at the end of last season. He’s 6’7″ and could be Kanzig’s wrestling buddy. I really have no idea how good he is but he’s big.

          • Interesting info when he was signed to an ATO by Addy: How did I miss this BIG signing????

            “One of the more intriguing players among this year’s collegiate free agent crop is towering UMass senior defenseman, Oleg Yevenko. At 6’7” and 230 pounds, it’s hard to miss the Minsk, Belarus native.

            Yevenko, who serves as one of the Minutemen’s assistant captains, has posted five points (all assists) in 33 games. He leads UMass with 72 blocked shots and ranks second on the team with 49 penalty minutes.

            Yevenko is a physical, defensive defenseman who uses his enormous frame, strength and especially long reach quite well in taking away space and shutting down opposing players. He is one of the nation’s best shot-blockers and excels on the penalty kill. Although Yevenko doesn’t rack up many points, he does have some offensive ability. He possesses a very heavy shot and can get pucks to the net. His passing skills are also quite good. In addition to his sheer size, scouts have also taken notice of Yevenko’s physicality. He does an excellent job of finishing his checks and can deliver some bone-jarring hits.”

            WOW! A big player that actually uses his big bod!! Second coming of Zdeno Chara?? Here is hoping!

  • Franko J

    I think as an organization and even Treliving has mentioned on the radio and in print that there are still a number of holes that this needs to fill to compete at the next level. Short term gains is what got this team in trouble in the first place.

    Nobody is going to argue that in some way the season was magical due to low expectations. Throughout the season a number of players over achieved and performed way past many Flames fans expectations not to mention the media.

    I would like to see the team be assertive in their approach come draft day and into free agency, while tempering it with long term thinking.

    I agree totally 100% with Johnny Be Gaureau that the team should kick every tire and take every offer into consideration. Yet be cautious or wary of what the effect will be. Every strong organization just doesn’t look to the next day, but plan for a better and lucrative future. Same can be said with the Flames right now. I like the way the team is heading and planning.

    Bottom line is the team will only be better if they continue to have strong and productive drafts and develop prospects who will challenge each and every season for a spot in the lineup. The foundation is in place now is the time the Flames focus on building. Last season was an abberation from the norm, however it doesn’t mean it has be or should be a mirage.

  • McMoneyhands

    I’m of the opinion yes we had a great year and yes we could next year by all means. But that being said I think being aggressive would be a bad decision some people seem to be starting to forget we’re only in year 2/3 of a rebuild we can’t jump the gun and start signing big contracts we need to keep on the path we have set and build bottom up. I do agree we need better 3 and 4 defenders but we can’t go out and spend lots of money as the cap space situation were in is perfect for are situation sit on it unless something to good to be true comes along and preferably wait to dish out the money to the young ones who’ll deserve it in the next couple years to come.

    –_McMoneyhands

  • Franko J

    Heart and Soul, new found leadership, respected by all the players in the dressing room; liaison between the coaches and players; conveys the message set forth by the coach both on and off the ice. Face of the organization; best exemplifies the identity of this team; and if the Flames don’t see a need for him another 29 teams will. Our captain.

    Mark Giordano will be extended heading into next season. Enough said. The only other D in the league I would consider at this moment trading for is Doughty. Maybe Weber. He means too much to the team right now and that is why he will be given a new contract.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    Aggressive? No, as this often implies being irrational. Intentional, yes. Last year I said we needed to upgrade the backend and we ended up signing Eng’s for too much money and term IMO. The Flames go into the Free Agent season with the same need as last year upgrade the backend. While most would agree that Franson would be the top choice the Petry contract may make him too expensive. TJ had 41 points, while Franson had 36 and Petry had 22; who would you rather have. I worry that if you pay Franson significantly more than TJ that there might be locker room issues. While I would prefer to see Russell/Wideman as the third pairing I would be okay with a third pairing that was close to them but a bit more defensive; so a McQuaid @$2.5-$3m for three years would allow the third pairing to take on the other teams bigger forwards. I am also prepared to see what Nakladal brings to the table.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    I would add Hiller to that list as well as Wideman and Hudler.

    I could see a few teams giving up their first round picks to add some depth: Dallas, Columbus, Detroit, Florida.

    I think that Treliving knows that the Flames will have to continue to build through the draft, glad to seem him being aggressive and working the phones.

  • The GREAT Walter White

    If we can get something similar akin to the Martin erat/Filip forberg trade, I would be ecstatic for any of our vets (wideman/hudler/Hiller/Russell). Preferably a very high end prospect that hasn’t been proven in the NHL but with a very large upside.

  • Bob's Hockey Stick

    Yikes after the flames have been burned by the leafs twice in trades… Can we stay clear of giving away our best players to the leafs please ?…

    Now if the flames and leafs were to do a deal that involved gio going to the leafs then it’s Morgan Riely, with the leafs adding. I don’t see the leafs doing that. Nor do I see the flames settling for less. which is why as others have put forth alot better in this thread. thaat the captain will be extended.

    What I could see BT doing is working the phones and perhaps pulling off hockey deals at the draft. Think more lateral moves like knight for shore types a moves.

    If were looking to do a bold move then I’d love to see us try and pry OEL from the yotes but I don’t honestly see that happening either.

    • The GREAT Walter White

      I thought about kicking the tires on OEL as well, but the problem with that is I don’t think that Arizona is ready to do a complete overhaul yet. They just got rid of Yandle.

      Having that said, if the price was right, I’m sure they would listen. OEL would be the defenseman to target for this team to fill out the top four.

  • everton fc

    Gio and Backlund for Marchenko, Larkin and a first. See if Detroit wants to take another run while their aging core can still get it done. Heavy short term price for us and long term for them.

  • The Last Big Bear

    In some ways I see the logic in moving Gio. When you look at his age factored in with idea that he’s a silver bullet in trade value return, it’s tempting to some degree.

    However, Gio is not Iginla 2.0. A few reasons why:

    – Gio is a far better leader by example than Iginla was, full stop.
    – Gio delivers a far more effective game now and in the future than Iginla did his last several years in Calgary.
    – Calgary then had no prospects to speak of. The team now has loads of young talent.
    – Trading Iginla was designed to kickstart a rebuild. That’s already happened, the rebuild is underway and the org is in a different place now. Still rebuilding, but well past Day 1.
    – The obvious biggest deficiency in the org is on D. Gio is obviously one of the two best D on the team. While aging, it’s not hard to envision him playing solid hockey for five more years. He may need to slide down a pairing, but he should still be productive at some level. Calgary never had the ability to drop Iginla to 2nd line RW. Point is, removing a first pairing D from the team will not help an
    already deficient D corps.

    IMO, Hudler being moved at the deadline makes way more sense.

    On the other side of the coin, the team needs to be patient and understand that moves like the NYI made last summer are the finishing touches, not part of the main construction.

    • OKG

      I don’t think you move Hudler either. He’s a top 6 winger & we have young tweeners wanting to get there but aside from Bennett, we have only Monahan, Gaudreau & Hudler that are performing as a legit top 6.

      Possession numbers will go up substantially if we got a real #3 defender to play with Russell & move Wideman down to #5. I would rather trade Backlund in a package for that for that #3 D. I think either Shore or Arnold could fill in for him & if we struggle, push Stajan up & play one of those 2 on the 4th line.