The sun is shining, the snow has melted and the Stanley Cup has been awarded (to the Chicago Blackhawks…again), so that must mean it’s NHL entry draft time. That also means it’s time to resurrect the FN weekly mailbag feature for a little while, starting today.
Topics of interest are…well the draft, free agency and trades of course. Oh, and the Flames strange interest in changing their goaltending situation, of course.
@Kent_Wilson What is Joe Colborne and a second round pick worth on the trading block?
— Duncan Kinney (@duncankinney) June 18, 2015
Probably not a whole lot. Certainly not enough to move the Flames up in the draft. You might get a marginally better 20-something on the wing in return, but I’m afraid Colborne (who is also a pending RFA next summer) probably isn’t enough to really get anyone’s attention.
— asmae #FreeStace (@asmae_t) June 18, 2015
My guess is at least a couple of the Flames RFA’s won’t be qualified. I fear one of them will be Paul Byron thanks to his injury, size and perceived lack of room for him on the active roster, though I really think he should be retained. The other kid I think will leave is Max Reinhart. He ran in place this year and doesn’t seem to have much of a future with the organization.
— Ed (@Ed_Ward42) June 18, 2015
The Flames desperately need NHL calibre RWers, so it’s not impossible they will target Williams. His counting numbers took a hit last year, but he’s been a great possession player for years.
On the other hand, he’s also 33 years old and his output has fallen the last two seasons running. Ideally, the Flames would want to limit themselves to 3 years or less and south of $4M per year. I kind of doubt that gets it done given Williams’ pedigree, but we’ll see.
@kent_wilson Another scenario for the mailbag. What would it take to get Ryan O’Reilly and (pick Avs D prospect here).
— Duncan Kinney (@duncankinney) June 19, 2015
It’s going to cost a lot to pry O’Reilly out of Colorado, even if they have no plans to re-sign him. You’d likely have to start with a top-6 player or top-4 defender + Calgary’s first rounder and go up from there. No doubt the Avs would inquire about TJ Brodie, Sean Monahan, Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett, but in reality they might settle for Dennis Wideman or Mikael Backlund + the first + a decent prospect. And I am probably being optimistic by including Wideman there.
I don’t think you could pry a defensive prospect out of Colorado though. They need all the blueline help they can get.
— CA (@ChinookArchYYC) June 19, 2015
I think (hope) the team has decided to move on from Brandon Bollig in light of the advancement of Lance Bouma and Ferland. I also suspect Mason Raymond may go away and perhaps Paul Byron as mentioned. Some of this may depend on if they keep Hudler or land anyone in free agency as well.
— Cameron Hilton (@cameron_hilton) June 19, 2015
Not without significant improvement from everyone else. Calgary doesn’t just need improvement at the bottom of the rotation. They need to find a way for everyone not named Backlund, Brodie and Giordano to push play. Some of the kids may do that organically, but there are still big gaps in the top-6 up front and top-4 on the back-end.
— DOTFRAS (@dotfras) June 18, 2015
If I was Brad Treliving, I would definitely investigate the trade market when it comes to adding another first rounder, moving up a few spots, or packaging a pick and a player to improve the roster.
If none of that works out, I would look to grab at least one of high talent kids who may slip to the second round, including Daniel Sprong or Anthony Beauvillier.
— Earnest P Willygonk (@buckgnarly) June 18, 2015
— DOTFRAS (@dotfras) June 18, 2015
I left the goalie trade talk till the end because it demands the most attention.
Calgary has been rumoured to be shopping Jonas Hiller for a few weeks now and recently they were also connected to NYR back-up Cam Talbot. The apparent interest of the organization to not only walk away from Ramo but also bump Hiller through trade is kind of baffling to me.
Ramo, at this point, is a mediocre, but capable, NHL goaltender. He makes for a fine back-up, but probably isn’t starter material. Hiller, on the other hand, had an above average season for the Flames last year. His overall SV% was six points better than Ramo (.918 vs .912). His even strength save rate of .927 was better than expected and the second best season we’ve seen out of a Flames goaltender in the last 5 years (Kipper managed a .928 ES SV% in 2011-12).
In fact, Hiller’s ES SV% was 13th overall amongst goalies who played more than 30 games this past season. Those are solid results and a big reason the Flames made the playoffs (rather than plumbing the depths of the Western Conference again).
Which is to say, there doesn’t seem to be an impetus for moving Hiller this summer, at least not from the outside looking in. The Flames have a completely natural succession plan in place with Ortio set to battle Hiller for the starters role this upcoming season. If Ortio falters, Hiller is good enough to continue to take the reins for another season. If Ortio usurps Hiller, then he has proven to be NHL-ready and Hiller’s deal expires at the end of the year anyways.
I don’t know what has happened to cause Treliving and company to consider deviating from that plan. It’s not the availability of guys like Robin Lehner and Cam Talbot, neither of whom are a guaranteed improvement over Hiller. Both have a decent pedigree, but neither has enough of a resume in the show to ensure a step up from what the Flames have now. In Talbot’s case specifically, he has only played 57 games in the NHL. Granted, with great results, but that’s a minuscule amount of information when it comes to evaluating net minders.
Anyways, this suggests to me that something is going on behind the scenes. Either the team has lost faith in Hiller for something aside from his on-ice performance, or the player has asked for a trade for whatever reason. If the team is set on moving on from Hiller, the availability of other options like those guys mentioned is going to make it a lot harder to deal him and get any kind of return too.