Nothing Is Unpossible!


Calgary Flames have a few options open to them this summer. They need defensemen and some high-end depth at the wing. They have a surplus of cap space and a wealth of middling prospects as well as three 2nd round picks and two 3rd round picks this June and a full round of picks next June.

Off the top of my head here are five things (with apologies to Ryan Lambert) the Flames could try this summer.

  1. The Flames could trade for Alexander Semin (and the 5th overall pick).
  2. The Flames could submit an offer sheet on Brandon
  3. The Flames could trade for Patrick Sharp.
  4. The Flames could submit an offer sheet on Dougie Hamilton
  5. The Flames could trade for Zdeno Chara.

The Semin deal is, well, interesting. Here’s why: the Flames need a defensive stud prospect and the right side of the roster is, after
Jiri Hudler, rather barren. The Hurricanes need out from under that deal and would
be motivated to move the contract. The deal will have to be creative because the 5th overall pick in this year’s draft is slightly more valuable than fish-wrap, even if that fish is Semin at $7 million for three more years.

Elliotte Friedman mentions the Hurricanes shopping Semin and that the 5th overall pick may be in play.

Brandon Saad and Patrick
Sharp are in some ways linked in this scenario. The Flames could submit a
reasonable offer sheet on Saad forcing the Blackhawks to match which puts them
over the cap. $5 million would probably be enough to put the screws to them and the compensation in that range is a 1st and a 3rd round pick. If they don’t match, you’ve just acquired a 22 year old center
with some very good potential. If they do, you can turn around and make a trade
offer for Sharp, a $5.9 million cap hit for two more years, and because of the
corner you’ve put them in likely walk away without paying full price. Say a 2nd
and a prospect like Markus Granlund. The Blackhawks might get better offers
elsewhere for Sharp, so we’ll put this one aside for now and continue on with Semin.

What would a deal for Semin and the 5th overall pick look like? There are several variables to consider. Are we making the trade today or on the draft floor when the pick reaches peak value? Are we putting aside NMCs and the like for the time being? Let’s say we can ignore NMCs right now and that Ron Francis is smart enough to wrangle a few verbal offers prior to the draft but waits until the 3rd overall pick is taken before re-engaging other GMs. We know that it’ll be McDavid and Eichel 1-2, #3 goes to Arizona and word is that they are interested in Strome. That leaves Toronto to make a pick at #4. I think they take Hanifin at that spot leaving Carolina with options ranging from Ivan Provorov to Mitch Marner and so on. How much is Ivan Provorov worth to the Calgary Flames? How much is he worth to the Hurricanes relative to Alex Semin’s boat-anchor contract? I’d wager that the Hurricanes would consider moving that pick for the 15th and 45th picks, Markus Granlund, Patrick Sieloff and Kris Russell.

Russell and Granlund are the parts of the hockey deal the Hurricanes are going to demand, Sieloff isn’t a Burke/Treliving pick and they have no loyalty to him, the 15th and 45th picks are the price to move up in the draft order and help Carolina restock the cupboard. Eric Staal is a UFA at the end of this season so if the Hurricanes decide on a major rebuild they may be looking at adding more draft bullets, taking quantity over quality right now.

On paper it looks like a steep price to pay for Semin, but he isn’t really the target here, just some sleight-of-hand to get the pick the Flames need. Provorov is the top-rated non-NCAA defender in the draft and is perhaps only one or two years away from the NHL with top-pairing potential. After June 26th the price on that player/prospect is likely only going to go up.

Let’s switch gears away from Semin and over to acquiring an impact NHL player.

Submitting an offer sheet on
Dougie Hamilton would be a very brave, and perhaps very lucrative, move.
Boston would have to match all but the most aggressive offers, so it would
likely have to be somewhere close to $6.7 million a year, which is the upper
end of forfeiting a 1st, 2nd and 3rd round
pick in compensation (source). Let’s say $6.5 million on a seven-year offer sheet.
Boston could match, but then they are dumping one of Zdeno Chara or Milan Lucic
to make some space under the cap. Lucic is a $6 million cap hit for one more
year while Chara is a $6.9 million cap hit for three more years.

Here’s where we could get
really creative. If Boston matches the offer sheet on Hamilton, you could
submit a trade proposal where you take Chara and Marc Savard, a $4 million cap
hit for two more years who is almost guaranteed to spend every day of it on
long-term injured reserve, in exchange for Deryk Engelland, John Ramage, Max Reinhart and a 2nd
round pick.

Savard’s contract expires at
the same time as Engelland’s while Chara is a far more effective player at that
position and you’d be slotting him in as a 2nd pairing with Wideman
behind Giordano and Brodie. Boston needs some defensemen and centers in their prospect pipeline and both Ramage and Reinhart have pedigree, that goes a long way with NHL GMs. I think Boston may be highly motivated to turn the page on the Marc Savard experience at this point as well. 

But what would be the
knock-on effect for Hudler, Monahan, Gaudreau, Colborne and
Giordano, all of whom need to be re-signed at the end of next season? Monahan
and Gaudreau may end up signing bridge contracts for a year or two before
signing their next big contract that eats into UFA years. So we can assume that
something south of $5 million over two years in that scenario. Colborne and Arnold are not the kinds of players you want to spend too much
money on. Sign them to affordable deals or let them walk.

Hudler is a different matter.
With the shortage of effective right-wingers on the roster the Flames may want
to try to lock him up for another three years. His current deal is very
affordable for the team, so let’s assume he asks for a pay raise that puts him just
north of Radim Vrbata at something like $5.5 million or $5.75 million a year.

Then we’ve got Mark Giordano.
TJ Brodie signed a very affordable extension this past season that covers the
Flames for the next five years. Giordano’s boxcars look better than Brodie, he’s
the captain and he’s a veteran. I think we’ll be looking at something just
below the Chara line, perhaps between $6.25 million and $6.75 million over say
four to five years. I can’t see it being more than that, and frankly it if is
less then you’re just coming out ahead.

What would that cap situation
look like?

To begin with, we have some
expectation that the salary cap next season is going to be roughly $71 million
as the players are expected to use their escalator clause in the CBA. Without
it the cap was going to be closer to $69 million.

Flames Semin

On a $71 million dollar cap,
the Flames would be carrying $61.45 million towards the salary cap leaving them with a considerable cushion for trades and free-agency.

In the second year, 2016-2017 the Semin/Chara route would have the Flames salary cap at $65.78 million.

Your forward lines would
include Monahan, Gaudreau, Hudler, Bennett, Semin and Backlund in the top six.
Bouma, Byron, Colborne, Stajan, Bollig and Raymond would rotate through
the bottom six or could be used as trade assets.

The defense would have Brodie
and Giordano as a top pairing with Chara and Wideman as the 2nd
pairing and could chase Mike Green or Cody Franson as 3rd pairing defenders and powerplay specialists. 

Now, substitute Dougie Hamilton in place of Chara and you save a little bit of cap space while still adding a phenomenal young defender for the 2nd pairing. 

Ivan Provorov almost certainly returns to the CHL next season and could slot in for the 2016-2017 season to a blueline that already boasts Brodie, Giordano, Wideman, Chara/Hamilton.

The cost to the organization
in terms of players, picks and prospects would be Russell, Engelland, Sieloff, Ramage, Reinhart, the 15th overall pick and three 2nd round picks. Alternatively, 1st, 2nd and 3rd round picks in the 2016 season if you go the Dougie Hamilton offer sheet route rather than a 2nd round pick, Derek Engelland, Patrick Sieloff and Max Reinhart. 

Let’s return to the Patrick
Sharp idea for a moment and see how that might turn out instead of Semin. 

Flames Sharp

Sharp is a $5.9 million cap
hit for two more years, and if the Blackhawks were offered a 2nd and
Granlund, that clears the cap space for them to re-sign Saad. He is listed as a
left winger and so is a less-than-ideal for the Flames needs but could provide
an attractive alternative for Hartley in creating a solid one-two punch down
the wing alongside Gaudreau. But could they afford to add both Sharp and Chara
without dumping Smid and Jones?

Yes, they could.

Adding Chara
and Sharp and without adjusting for new contracts for Shore, Arnold, Wolf, Agostino,
Elson, Schlemko, Diaz, Potter, Ramage and Ramo the Flames would have a cap hit
of $67.34 million (a shade less if they were to land Dougie Hamilton instead), leaving them just shy of $4 million under the salary cap. Schlemko,
Diaz, Potter and Ramo are free-agents while Shore, Arnold, Wolf, Agostino,
Elson and Ramage are RFAs. The Flames may need to move another contract to
create a little more space or will have to make some decisions to winnow the

In the second year of the Sharp scenario the Flames would have a cap hit of $73.5 million.

Either the Saad or Hamilton offer sheets,
while costly in terms of picks, could add a stud blueliner to build around for
another decade alongside Brodie. Picks forfeited to the offer sheet could be
recouped by trading expiring UFAs such as Hiller (2nd round pick), Jones (3rd
round pick), Hudler (1st round pick), and Russell (2nd round pick).

Regardless of whether you
were to choose the Semin/Provorov, Chara, Hamilton or Sharp/Saad route, the Flames will have added
high-end talent where it is needed and strengthened the roster while giving up relatively modest assets. 

This exercise isn’t to advocate for one of the above ideas, but rather to offer them up as possibilities, explore the relative costs as best we can, determine whether they would be advantageous or not, and discuss.

That being said, if Noah Hanifin should fall to #5 and Ron Francis is still taking your phone calls, you make the deal and run the hell up to the podium grinning like the butcher’s dog.

(All salary cap data taken from

(Draft pick information courtesy of

  • everton fc

    Too much going the other way for Semin. They need to dump Semin more than we need him, though he is a RW. I say stay the course. We need young defencemen who can perhaps play next season. I go back to the Islanders as a potential trade-partner. They are chockfull of young, decent d-men.

    And I’d still kick tires in Toronto to see what it would take to get Kessel cheap. Meaning the Leafs eat some salary. Kessel’s a RW who will score 25-25 goals a season, guaranteed. And he never gets hurt. What about our #15 and Engelland (or Smid?) for Kessel, trade up one of our 2nds for a lower first, see what it takes to pry one of these young defenders off the Island…

    • SmellOfVictory

      I agree. I know 5th overall is worth quite a bit, but with 15 going the other way I don’t think both Granlund and Russell have to be going to Carolina, and I don’t think 45 has to be involved in the trade, either.

    • Flamesfever

      agree, they need to get rid of Semin and here you suggest giving some key pieces. Not in favour of that deal.. or any of it.. stay the course. this draft is deep, even in 2nd round u can get some key players, and we got 3-2nd rd picks

  • Keverman34

    I’m not entirely opposed to the Semin trade. Get Provorov (or Hanifin if miracles exist), trade Hudler at the deadline, and give Semin some turns on Monahan’s right to give him that “shiny toy” feel for the deadline before his dead expires.

    Or settle for 15th, and hopefully grab Roy/Chabot, or maybe one of Andersson/Dermott in the 2nd round. Not a bad plan either.

    Note: I’m the least qualified arm chair GM of all time.

  • everton fc

    Just imagine Bennett/Backlund/Kessel.

    Or Ferland/Bennett/Kessel.

    That said, if Bennett’s moved back to centre, we are slim on LW.

    It’s worth kicking tires for Kessel, though. We’d be devastating on offence. Perhaps move Jones the other way, or Engelland. Or Smid’s contract. Or a prospect (not Poirier, and I have a bad vibe if we move Granlund it’ll come back to bite us. He’s a very mature player for his age and experience).

    Put it this way; I’d rather have Kessel than Okposo. If both can be “had” for our 15th, I say kick those tires in Toronto real hard!

  • MattyFranchise

    “Arnold are not the kinds of players you want to spend too much money on. Sign them to affordable deals or let them walk.”

    Disagree. We need Arnold to replace Stajan in the near future. Players of that type are commanding more and more value every season. What seems unreasonable now will likely seem very reasonable in the future.

    • everton fc

      Arnold will play a long time in this league, and probably give similar offencive #’s as Bouma’s last season. He is the heir-apparent to Stajan, especially if the org decides the like Bennett on the wing, versus down the middle.

  • RexLibris

    Thanks Rex! I love this type of banter & trashing & hypothetical speculation that usually never happens. But there are good ideas that come out of it.
    I think whoever we get at #5 would be a huge part of our rebuild. I know some Carolina threads mention they need a 2nd pairing veteran defender & the mention of Wideman has come up as a possible of several different targets. Wideman had a great year & once we see what Petry &the likes of Franson & Green get for UFA deals, that $5.25 mill looks OK.

    Semin always seems to follow up a trade with a decent year. I think he could be a little tantalizing in our top 6. He definitely has skills when he wants to be. Instead of Russel I would suggest Wideman & Granlund our 15th & our 53rd. The cap hit for Calgary isn’t as bad the 1st two years. Even though Carolina are retooling/rebuilding, they would get a 3rd line NHL ready centre in Granlund, a 2nd pairing dman in Wideman capable of points , power play & playing 18-20 minutes. They also will get 2 more very good, young future prospects in the 15th & 53rd picks. Im all over that.

    Love the scenarios. I think Florida is a potential deal with the flames to get that #11. Take Campbells final year at 7.0mill & flip them Ortio/Wideman & our #45. I would add more like Granlund to be able to keep the 15th & acquire the 11th. Resign Ramo & next year find a young up & coming goalie like Jones or Ranta or someone while Gilles & Macdonald develop.

  • CanadianManiac3

    perhaps the deals for Semin or for Sharp or Chara could be done and immediately buy them out. Don’t we still have a compliance buyout or 2? Get want we want without carrying the expensive dead weights against the cap.

    • CanadianManiac3

      No more compliance buyouts. The Flames didn’t use theirs.

      There was an earlier article on buyout targets that the Flames had internally that necessitated how the buyout system works. It is worth a read.

  • CanadianManiac3

    There is no way Boston will trade you Chara after offer sheeting Hamilton and same goes for Chicago with Saad and Sharp. It’s frowned upon to do so and Brian Burke has come out against offer sheets. So the only real option would be Semin, and there’s no way they’re going to trade the 5th pick to get rid of Semin’s contract. It would be more likely they trade Ward to a team who needs a goalie to gain some cap space. They’ve also had interest on Skinner which they could move for assets without ridding themselves of any. Lastly, they are 13mil below the cap and like stated the cap will probably go up to about 71mil. That leaves them with approximately 28mil for next season without really any need to sign significant players. It’s nice to dream tho.

  • Franko J

    Great speculation on what Treliving might or could do. I ‘m most intrigued with what the Flames have in the pipeline and in the prospect pool and see what happens in training camp.

  • KH44

    This was ridiculous. Those all sound awful! The Flames are overstocked at center, Sharp isn’t necessary, and neither is Saad, to be honest. The Semin deal is way too costly if Russell, Granlund and Sieloff are both going back, as well as a first and a second. That’s two NHLers, a former second rounder D prospect, a first and a second, for a #5 pick that won’t be ready for a couple years and a talented winger with a bad contract. Find a way to do it without giving up multiple players and picks, great. Currently, the Flames are way too thin on D, both in the NHL and the AHL, and you want to give away one from both? Deal from positions of strength, not weakness. What about Semin and the 5th and Ward for Hiller, the 15th, the 45th, Granlund and their choice of Colbourne/Jooris/Bollig? We get them out of the Ward deal a year early, save them 1.5 million there, save them 7 million on Semin, and they get back 3 mil, 2 picks, a prospect and a young center? This trade assumes the advantage of getting out from Ward makes up for the lack of Russell. They get rid of two ugly contracts and get 2 picks and 2 young players out of the deal.

    • TheoForever

      Rex’s trade scenarios for the Flames always seem like a better idea for the Oilers to me for some reason. Imagine Edmonton drafting McDavid and Hanifin/Provorov. They could then move Yakupov for a solid veteran D. Semin is losing it IMO, but put beside McDavid and Hall on an offense-bent team and he probably puts up huge points. He would certainly out produce Yakupov.

      So: Semin replaces Yakupov, a solid D vet is added and Haninfin/Provorov joins Klefbom, Marincin and Nurse.

      The Oil would now be free to trade J. Schultz as part of a package to get Talbot out of NYR.

      Like I said, better idea for the Oilers than the Flames.

      • RexLibris

        Interesting. There has been talk of the Oilers flipping Draisaitl to Arizona or Toronto for the pick that would become Hanifin, so perhaps some of this sprang from that idea.

        Yakupov’s new contract has tremendous value, and if they could move Schultz and a pick for Talbot I’d be pretty content with that.

        I try to use my outsider status to apply ideas to the Flames and get discussion going on different topics.

        *FOR EVERYONE*

        When I created the Semin deal I intentionally overpaid on the Flames part so that we could go that far and then pull back to what would seem reasonable rather than undersell.

        Propose a trade that you feel the other team wins but still gets you what you want and you’re probably on the right track.

        • TheoForever

          Rex, IMO, Edmonton moving Draisatl is as bad of an idea as Calgary moving Backlund. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards anymore. It’s not exactly a secret that contenders are built around a strong core of C and if Draisatl is your 3rd line C (which is where he belongs), that’s some pretty impressive depth. You let him develop there, out of the limelight and then see what happens and take it from there.

        • Robs

          Love your articles Rex because of your “outsider status”. Would love to see your articles on FN more.

          Don’t see the offer sheet because of Burke’s history.

          Would do a Semin and #5 deal starting offers low and adding what you offered until they said yes.

          Semin does well after trades and in contract years. Watch a motivated Semin with his new linemates and would move him at the deadline of his contract year for more assets.

          #5 picks usually go back for a year then play right away if not stay following their draft year. If that’s Provorov, the Flames have filled two needs right away with a young stud D and a scoring RW.

          Again, love your articles Rex.

  • TheoForever

    I don’t the mind the idea of trying to move up to 5, but I agree with those arguing that taking on Semin’s contract is us doing Carolina a favor and not the other way around. He’s rapidly on the decline and a 21M hit. To me, I only take Semin in order to get the 5th and Carolina can take Bollig back.

    In general regarding our 2nds and 3rds:

    This is a very solid draft with lots of D. I say barring a home run deal, keep those picks and grab as many D as possible (without bypassing an obviously better player at a different position – but if it’s close, take the D!) and a diversity of them as well. There’s some big ones that can skate and a couple of smaller ones that have huge potential, but may slip due to their size. Use this rare opportunity and stock up!

  • Bob's Hockey Stick

    Isn’t Semin bit of a headcase/ prima donna ? Do we really want to risk detabilizng the locker room to bringing in that kind of player?

    I’d not be opposed to sending to the ‘canes: Hiller, two of our seconds, and one of granland or colbourne. In exchange for ward and the 5th overall.

    the canes get Hiller for Ward,and we get to move up in the draft with two seconds, and a good prospect. I still highly doubt the ‘Canes would make this trade. but is fun to play what if.

  • KH44

    I can see from all of your fantasy scenarios that you’re an Oilers fan. This isn’t “GM mode” on NHL15. Go back to Shelbyville and daydream about a Dougie Hamilton offersheet.

    • Robs

      Eh? Was that for me? Nope, I hate them with a passion. Doesn’t mean though that I can’t have a friendly hockey discussion with one of their fans. Check yourself.

  • It is fun to dream but that is all that these are. Chara would be such a bad move and cost a ton of youth.

    Hamilton is the only one probably worth it but he will get match by Boston for almost anything offered.

    The 5th is worth a lot. Any GM that sells that with the key things coming back being moving way down the draft and burying a bad contract should be fired.

  • Robs

    What a bunch of hooey for a team that is rebuilding:

    Semin at 7 million for 3 years! NO THANKS Somebody the Oilers should pursue! After all, they are paying 6 million each for players even before they accomplished anything,much in the NHL. Would be a nice buddy for Nikitin….

  • JayCMcG

    I think if we HAD to acquire a established offensive talent any of Kessel, Semin, or Sharp would make sense, but I think there’s a big difference between improving a team by filling gaps and rushing the rebuild.

    Whether it’s Kessel, Semin, or Sharp we’re talking about a large contract that we still have when we’ll have to be offering larger contracts to some of the young stars that are in the system.

    If we absolutely HAVE to add a player and simply can’t use the players already in our system, then I’d look at what the cost for Sharp is, since it’s not as bad as Semin or Kessel, or look at signing Michael Frolik. If we’re considering RFA offer sheets, I would want to consider Toffoli over Saad or Hamilton.