Calgary’s best trade assets

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In the wake of Mark Giordano’s contract extension earlier this week, Calgary’s cap crunch going forward has become even more clear. With big money also due to both Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau for the 2016-2017 season, the Flames are going to be right up against a salary cap that isn’t expected to rise dramatically. Calgary is going to have to make some tough decisions, and some of those choices might have to be made during the coming season. Let’s take a look at their most valuable, and most likely, trade assets for the coming year.

You’ll notice these guys all have one thing in common: they’re in the final year of their contract. I’m not saying the Flames need to trade all of these guys, because that would be silly. But strategically moving one or two of these players could help them with their cap situation while also adding to their asset stockpile. Also keep in mind some of these players may simply walk in free agency at the end of their contract.

Jiri Hudler

This is the highest profile name on the list and also one of the toughest decisions Calgary has to make for next year. While I don’t think it’s out of the question the Flames would sign him to an extension, the reality of it suggests there’s a decent chance Hudler won’t be a part of this team’s long term future.

Here’s the problem: Hudler is due for a substantial raise, but he’ll also be almost 33 years old when an extension would kick in. I know the Flames just went down that same road with Giordano, but to have two contracts of that nature would be quite prohibitive down the road. Hudler’s below average foot speed is also a worry as we’re all well aware how that can catch up to player’s startlingly fast in this day and age.

The only circumstance I could see making sense for Calgary would be a short term extension for Hudler. If they could get him to agree to a one or two year deal, then you could probably make it fit. However, if Hudler has another year similar to last season, then how amenable to doing that will he be?

The biggest dilemma with Hudler might end up being whether to resign him or not, but rather whether to trade him or let him walk. The situation with Mike Cammalleri a few years ago comes to mind, but there’s far more benefit to keeping Hudler past the deadline even if bringing him back isn’t in the cards. For the coming season, Hudler is going to be an integral part of Calgary’s push to get beyond the second round of the playoffs. For that reason, the Flames just may not be willing to trade him.

Kris Russell

View image | gettyimages.com

At the risk of igniting another advanced stats blood feud, I’ll put Russell on this list. He’s on this list because he’s a trade asset the Flames need to think about moving. Much like Hudler, Russell is probably in line for a decent sized raise at the end of the coming season. With a cap hit of $2.6 million right now, seeing Russell come in at around $4 million on an extension isn’t out of the question. Saving some of that money by moving him is something that has to be considered.

I know for some Flames fans, even suggesting this would be sacrilege. Russell embodied all of what was the whimsical narrative of last year’s team. In reality, though, Russell is can’t be considered an untouchable player and would actually carry some solid trade value.

I have Russell on here instead of Dennis Wideman because I think the 28-year-old is a more tradeable player. Sure, you could move Wideman and his big salary somewhere, but you likely aren’t getting a ton for him because of that big price tag. Russell, on the other hand, is far easier to fit in financially and the reputation he has around the league would have a few teams eager to acquire his services.

Losing Russell isn’t the end of the world, especially if you’re okay with moving out Wideman. The two blueliners are comparable in terms of where they slot on the depth chart, and one isn’t a large upgrade on the other. With Dougie Hamilton’s addition and increased organizational depth on the back end, I could see Russell being a viable trade asset for the team this season.

Joe Colborne

I know that a lot of people like to group Colborne in with the rest of Calgary’s young group of forwards, but he’s actually not that young anymore. He’ll turn 26 in January which is no longer in the “young and promising” column, at least for me. Now, I’ve really liked Colborne’s progression over the last two years and I still think there’s still some nice potential. That potential, however, isn’t enough to keep him off this list.

Colborne is in a strange limbo land when it comes to the Flames. He’s not a part of their young core group of Monahan, Gaudreau,  Bennett, etc. But he’s also not established enough to keep him in the long term plans as a veteran like Giordano, Backlund, or Frolik. When determining Colborne’s future with the team, one has to be pretty measured.

Colborne could absolutely have a regular spot in the lineup this season, I don’t doubt that. But he hasn’t done anywhere near enough to have that spot nailed down for the future. I don’t see Colborne in this team’s top six at any point, and I don’t know if he’s well suited to play a two way role in the bottom six. But on a team where he could get top six time, Colborne could be a nice fit.

Colborne has things that NHL GM’s like: size, skill, and a profile that says “first round pick” on it. He’s not going to get you a crazy return or anything like that, but a second or third round draft pick wouldn’t be a total stretch. Knowing that the Flames can live without him this year and beyond, trying to maximize his value this season could be a smart road to go down.

David Jones

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This is the one player I would be surprised to see spend all season with Calgary. That’s not even a knock on Jones, because I still think he’s a capable NHL forward. But at the age of 31 and with his contract, it doesn’t make a ton of sense for him to be with the team beyond this season. With that writing on the wall, and because he’s replaceable on this team, it would be a slight shock to not see him moved this season.

When I say Jones is replaceable, don’t confuse that with him being of replacement level quality. Instead, it refers to how deep the Flames are in the forward ranks. Jones is a bottom six winger and there are capable players who can fill his void if he is indeed moved for a pick or two.

If we’re pretty sure Calgary isn’t going to retain him beyond this season, and if he’s a player they can have success without, the question would be: why wouldn’t you trade him? Sure, Jones might only fetch a fourth or fifth round pick due to his high cap hit, but he’s not Hudler. There’s nowhere near as much benefit keeping Jones beyond the deadline as opposed to Hudler, so get what you can for him. It would also open up potential cap room if the Flames wanted to explore the rental route come February and March.

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As we mentioned already, there are going to be circumstances when not trading a player and risking him leaving in free agency is the right call. But all four players listed above should, and likely will, be discussed as potential trade chips this season. That’s where the Flames are now boys and girls; they are no longer in a cap friendly situation. It’s time to determine who’s expendable, even if that isn’t always the most fun exercise

  • mattyc

    Man, I really don’t want to see Hudler go. I love seeing him in a Flames jersey and he’s so good at helping our rookies develop. I really want to see his contract extended. I think he’s a great part of our top 6.

    Honestly (and I know it’s not all that realistic), I want to see Raymond, Bollig and Engelland traded, bought out or sent to the minors. I doubt we can trade them because they are poor assets. Right now they are taking up valuable spots and cap space. Since I’m pretty sure Treliving is using black magic to get all these great deals done, let’s hope he can use his dark wizardry to get rid of those three players!!

  • everton fc

    Treliving will find a way to keep both Hudler and Russell. They are both good role players, good guys to have around in an rebuild.

    I don’t think they move Colborne, though I would try. But the organization seems to like him. Bollig. Raymond. Stajan. Wideman. Grandlund. Ramo. Hiller. Jones. Engelland. These are the “usual suspects”. I’d keep Granlund, though.

  • PrairieStew

    Those are the best assets for sure. I think what the Flames also have is a series of pairs of assets, from which one could be offered as part of a package and not seriously impact the organizational depth.

    Young 2 way defenseman Sieloff an Wotherspoon

    Young Offensive d man – Kulak and Culkin

    Speedy 4th liner – Byron and Agostino

    3/4 centre – Arnold and Shore

    Goalie Ortio and Gilles

    First round forward – Klmchuk and Porier

    Hulking forward – Smith and Carroll

    Top 4 d man ? – Hickey and Morrisson

    There’s 16 guys – all of them are not going to play for the Flames – holding on to all of them seems redundant.

    • Toofun

      Why would none of these players suit up for the Flames? Klimchuck and Porier? Really? Two top prospects, 1 a much needed LW and a future top 6 RW? You can Never have to many of these types of prospects. I count 13 of your tradable players that “will not play for the flames”, as part of our future team.

      Don’t be so quick to dump assests. We just started a rebuild.

        • RedMan

          Yep. Miss read slightly.

          Though I still think dumping assets this early in a rebuild maybe poor asset management. We don’t know exactly who is what yet and waiting a few years to see who comes to the front maybe the best way forward.

      • RedMan

        did you misunderstand him? easy enough, given the way it was written. he wrote

        “all of them are not going to play for the Flames”

        but i am pretty sure he meant

        “Not all of them are going to play for the flames”

        • slapshot444

          I’m guessing it was not a misunderstanding, just a disagreement. I disagree too, as I’m expecting at least a dozen to play for the Flames and several of his pairs I wouldn’t even consider trading at this point, I.e Klimchuck & Poirier.

      • BurningSensation

        “Don’t be so quick to dump assests. We just started a rebuild.”

        Incorrect, but we ARE pretty close to finishing one.

        A rebuild (as opposed to a ‘retool’) is when you change your core players. For the Flames circa Darell Sutter that was;

        Iginla, Regehr, Bouwmeester, Kipprusoff, Tanguay, and maybe either of Jokinen or Conroy.

        The rebuild began when Feaster pitched Regehr to Buffalo, and the core was completely wiped when Iggy and JBo were dealt.

        It is also pretty obvious now who the new core will be;

        Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett, Brodie, Hamilton, Backlund, one of Gillies, Ortio or MacDonald in net, a wi ger like Ferland, Poirier or Klimchuk, and perhaps one or more of the stud prospects on defense (Morrisson, Hickey, Kyllington).

        With it highly unlikely that a new core piece enters the equation, it is almost time to declare the rebuild ‘over’, and make moves to shore them up.

    • RedMan

      The Flames are finally starting to assemble decent assets. We just made the playoffs for the first time since hell froze over and you now quickly want to dismantle and give away our hard earned assets.

      Your fired!!!!!!

      • PrairieStew

        Yes, what I meant was some would end up playing for the Flames but not every single one. With Gio, Brodie and Hamilton locked up for the next 5 years why would you need to hang on to Sieloff, Wotherspoon, Culkin, Morisson and Kulak, with Kanzig, Kylington and Hickey also coming in 2 to 3 years? 8 guys for 3 roster spots? Some of those guys have value now, but will decrease in value over time. Including a couple them in a package now to improve the team is not giving up on the rebuild, instead it is accelerating it.

        Same at forward, if you resign Hudler, have Johnny, Monahan, Bennett Backlund, Frolik and Bouma all locked in for the next 5 years, thats your top 7. how many from that prospect list is there room for? Ferland, and Arnold maybe, but will there be room in the top 6 or 9 for both Klimchuck and Poirier? Doesn’t look like it. I wouldn’t trade both players from any one of those groups but I would trade one from 2 or 3 of those groups if it is the right fit now and going forward.

        What the team needs right now is a quality second line winger, and while I like prospects as much as the next guy, they are just that, potential but not proven players. I’d give up 3 to get a quality guy, just like we gave up 3 assets to get Hamilton.

        My point is this, there are some good assets in the system and they can and should be leveraged into actual players. We begin this season with a team that is 3 significant players better than the one that won 5 playoff games. I like the top 4 defenceman alot, the top scoring line and the checking line. Frolik is one half of the bookends required to put Centre Sam Bennett in The Calder discussion, but the options of Colborne and Raymond are not good enough. If you can get a good scoring veteran winger you are now 4 players better this year!

        • wot96

          Not sure your assumption that we don’t have another winger to go with Frolik and Bennett is correct.

          Bennett is likely to get good O-zone starts and, to the extent possible, weaker competition. Bennett should thrive on that especially with a good possession driver like Frolik to help. IF Raymond has had a good off-season of training and has his confidence back, he may have enough offensive touch to fill in on that line.

          Raymond can be a useful asset and possibly one other teams would be interested in. Eventually.

          Several big, big, “IFs” there but I don’t know why you wouldn’t at least try to put Raymond into a position to succeed. Hopefully the team gets some value for his contract and maybe, eventually, for him in a trade and we get to talk about something other than bad contract.

          • PrairieStew

            Yes Raymond is the obvious choice of who is the roster. I think he is a competent choice on that second scoring line for a middling team. He’s not top 9 on a Cup contender though. Nor is Colborne. If there is a deal out there for a legitimate scoring winger then Treliving should be open to dealing is all I’m saying. By listing 16 young players I’m not saying they should all be traded for expiring veteran contracts, but to use the abundance to upgrade the top end of the roster.

          • PrairieStew

            Sounds good in theory and it may see the light of day. Personally I believe Bennett will get targeted and I’d be much happier if Ferland was able to fill that LW role. My perfect Line 2 would be Bennett with Hudler and Ferland, with Frolik going with Monahan and Gaudreau.

          • PrairieStew

            It all depends on how the chemistry is and whether the Flames can win while placing Raymond where he might succeed.

            If Raymond takes off…great, maybe he gets to stay. If he is merely okay and becomes a tradeable asset, that’s okay too. If he is awful, the Flames can shuffle some other player there. No really bad scenarios there IF the Flames are winning.

            If the Flames aren’t winning the I would expect all bets to be off and blender Bob will show up.

        • PrairieStew

          Although in general I agree with the assessment, there are some problems. First off and the primary issue, you’re looking to give up way too much for far too little.

          You haven’t put anyone forward that’s even mildly interesting, and certainly not for three top-level prospects, any one of whom could turn out better than the proposed addition given 1-2 years further seasoning.

          The guy I often hear about is Kyle Okposo. Okposo is a 27 year old pending UFA (next year), a RW, his best year he scored 27 goals but is averaging 20-22 goals and ~50pts/year. He is big and likely tough (never really watched him, so probably a Flames type of guy. He hasn’t played a full season in his career except the lockout year and is likely at peak, at best.

          Another I hear about is Jeff Skinner. Skinner is a 23 year old smallish LW with a history of concussion issues which have seriously hindered his play and raised questions about his long-term play. He is signed for $5.725 for 4 more years. He has scored over 30 goals twice and won the Calder his rookie year. Last year was an off year, scoring only 18 goals and 31 points.

          Frankly, I wouldn’t mind either of these guys, but not even close to a 3-1 deal, probably not even a 2-1 deal. I’m expecting both Poirier and Klimchuck to duplicate what Skinner does, both probably more in terms of what each brings in agitation, toughness and two-way play. And neither have injury history or issues like Skinner, especially. If BT can swing a deal for Skinner and give up, say Granlund and perhaps, say Hathaway then great. Or a goalie, say Ramo or perhaps Ortio 1-1, fine. But its not all upside here with Skinner and Okposo is an established guy of what we have coming in Smith, Carroll and others.

          So, make a deal, sure, but you can’t be throwing out three potentially sterling prospects within a year or two of full-time NHL for guys that each have issues and are far from certain. We can bring along our own prospects and with the number of them gamble with high certainty that if one doesn’t turn out someone else will step in.

          Caveat in all that is a truly fantastic guy comes along and your risk diminishes greatly, then sure. Strength for strength, no problem. But I haven’t seen any proposals yet for anyone like that.

  • mattyc

    but a second or third round draft pick wouldn’t be a total stretch

    I think a 2nd or 3rd for Colborne is a total stretch.

    I’m also surprised you didn’t mention any of the 3 goalies. I’d be pretty surprised if they’re all still with the org. at the end of the year…

  • JayCMcG

    I always kind of wonder about this “we need to get good return” impulse when it comes to expiring contracts. I get it, don’t get me wrong, but it tends to play out with way more weight put on it than I think is really fair/realistic.

    Cammalleri walked, sure, but agonizing over “we could’ve got this, that, and/or this other thing” feels hollow; rings of too much NHL15/NHL1* armchair GMing. I mean the way I watched that whole situation play out is everyone was all find and good with him on the team until he wasn’t and turned around to criticize management for not “getting something for him.”

    I mean if you’re the receiving GM of an offer for a player in Hudler, Jones, Colborne, or Russell’s contract situation why would you give up an asset when there’s an equally high chance you can sign him to your own contract down the road. The reason being given for Jones, for instance, to be moved is the exact reason why a GM would not even bother. The exception being trade deadline kinds of stuff where you feel like you need that one extra piece.

    I know that much of what’s included here isn’t really implying anything but that “we need to get something” sentiment bothers me. Given we have a good crop of talent in the system I really don’t see the harm of allowing certain contracts to run their course as needed.

    *Don’t want to see Hudler or Russell go though*

  • This article starts with “most valuable assets” and then lists Joe Colborne and David Jones. LOL.

    If we want value we will have to trade value, not our scraps.

    Hudler has value now, but it’ll be draft picks by the trade deadline so if we want to do much it’ll have to be soon.

    It’ll be interesting to see how management handles this year. I hope they continue to accumulate young assets and build. But I fear the cinderella run is going to cloud judgement and lead to trying to fast track this thing leading to more Iggy style indecision resulting in selling off assets at all time low once the trade deadline hits and we have no leverage.

    • Rockmorton65

      Read the title again – “Calgary’s best TRADE assets”

      Nothing BT has done this offseason hints at clouded judgement. Almost the opposite, really. Adding younger pieces for the future and staying away from high priced veterans is not the model for “going for it”. BT is nothing if not controlled. Every time a good 20-25 year old player/prospect is available (either signing or through trade), rumors have the Flames interested. The fact that he hasnt landed more of them tells me he isnt going to pay too much or give up his leverage.

  • Toofun

    Good article Pat.

    Lots to think about for sure because Calgary has generated so much optionality by developing young talent, re-signing guys at great contracts and filling organizational needs with Hamilton and Frolick by only using up cap space. They are well positioned to negotiate from a position of strength whenever the best opportunities arise, whether that’s before the season starts, when another team runs into injury problems or at the trade deadline.

    It’s a great position for the team to be in and it also creates internal competition for ice-time and buffers Calgary against their own injuries through the long season ahead.

    I think there will be trades in our future but who goes and who stays could be “trade return dependant”. Treveling and Burke will know a good deal when they see it. This is still a re-build and the objective continues to be to make the team better.

  • Toofun

    I thought that Colborne was just starting to figure out his size in the playoffs. He did end up taking it too far and taking bad penalties. If he can translate that physical play into the regular season, while learning to do it responsibly, we could have a legit bottom 6 guy on our hands.

    Trade him or not I hope he can take advantage of his size and get himself to the next level.

  • PrairieStew

    I am in the keep Russell/Hudler camp. I am hoping BT is getting an indication from the Hudler camp what he is expecting & if he is interested in keeping with the spirit of his signings & leave some $$$ on the table so they can surround him with good players to win the cup. If BT doesn’t sense this, I think Hud’s will be gone at the TDL unless the return does not equal the potential of a long playoff run come the end of Feb.

    I say keep Russell over Wideman all day long. He’s younger & his 4.0 mill projected cap hit will fit what a 2nd pairing dman should get. Unless performance dictates early in the season, Russell stays put, Wideman is traded at the TDL. Wideman won’t get the return Russell would, but I don’t think we would have to relinquish an asset to move him either.

    Colborne would be tasty target for teams like New Jersey or Arizona, in fact I could see the Canucks being highly interested.

    I am also in the camp that Raymond should have been on this list & Stajan & Smid. Don’t see high returns for any of these guys, hopefully we won’t have to give up any assets to move these contracts.

    Bollig isnt a concern, there will be zero concern if he is healthy scratched on many nights. He could have some use as we get into the season & intensity levels get notched up.

    I agree with Prairie Stew in that we may have some older prospects that need a chance but won’t get the opportunity. Besides getting 3rd or 4th rounders, I would rather forgo the return & package with a few players like Raymond or Jones to clear $$$ & opportunity for guys like Arnold/Shore/Granlund. I just don’t agree with some of Prairies selections that he targeted redundant. Morrison & Hickey are not going anywhere.

    • Toofun

      Colborne has progressed as a Flame but at a snail’s pace. I doubt that the Flames would getting anything higher than a fourth rounder.

      Jones would have good trade value at the TDL with teams looking for insurance bodies for the playoff run and playoffs.

  • Toofun

    Probably in the minority here, but I say move all of them with the exception of Russell; plus, hopefully, Raymond, Bollig, Smid and Engelland go as well.

    Clear the cap space now and make some room for guys like Wotherspoon, Shore, Granlund.

  • RedMan

    wow, did you guys read devon setoguchi’s comments about last year?

    you just new there was something, and rumors swirled, but wow!

    from fan 590 via matchsticks n gasoline

    “First off, I have to say thanks to Calgary anyway. They gave me a chance. I told them going into camp that I was straight, I was going to stay sober for the year and not drink. That lasted all of a couple weeks. There’s a lot of things that went on there that were all me and my problems. I didn’t really take advantage of an opportunity with a team like Calgary. That was tough for me because I had a lot of expectations. I had a good summer of training but not quite as good as I have had this summer. I just went in there and had a crappy attitude. It was the coach’s fault, and then it was the guys’ I was playing with fault. Once I got sent down, it was everybody else’s fault. It was never my fault, and that’s when things turned bad. There was a lot of things in my head that I just needed to clear up; personal problems.”

  • Nighteyes

    The Hudler situation is definitely a difficult one. The obvious number crunching and age-related concerns would suggest we should trade him or let him walk. But, he really was a huge part of the Flames’ success last season–not only with points but with his leadership for the young players, his personality and, his class. I mean his acceptance for the Lady Byng award pretty much wraps that up. We do, after all, need to retain some veterans to provide us with the intangibles during a deep playoff run. He’s won the cup before and I think playing for Babcock has really influenced how he conducts himself on and off the ice. I think it would hurt the Flames’ locker room for him to leave, honestly speaking, but it that might be the only answer if we are to resign the Gaudreau’s and Monahan’s.

  • slapshot444

    “Here’s the problem: Hudler is due for a substantial raise”

    I don’t think that assumption is correct, based on his age. I suspect the Flames will re sign Yuri only because of his mentoring relationship with the young forwards. BUT because he is 33 AND there weren’t any off the wall signings this summer for “older” players I’ll bet he gets 4.5m per for 3 years,and well worth it.

    • RedMan

      I agree .I think Hudler is very comfortable here and why wouldn’t he be. He has chemistry with this young group and a opportunity to be around when the team becomes potent.

      I won’t be surprised if he exceeds last years expectations this year and signs a home town 3 year extension

    • Greg

      If Hudler will resign for 3 years @$4.5M per, that’s an absolute no brainer. TBH, the flames cap situation next year will take some finagling to fit even that in, but you’d find a way to make it work.

      If he’s back in top 20 (let alone top 10) for league scoring again this year though, he’s fetching $6M per as a UFA easily. Even if he leaves some money on the table to stay, you won’t be able to make it work unless some of the bad contracts magically disappear.

      • slapshot444

        Re Hudler

        “If he’s back in top 20 (let alone top 10) for league scoring again this year though, he’s fetching $6M per as a UFA easily. Even if he leaves some money on the table to stay, you won’t be able to make it work unless some of the bad contracts magically disappear.”

        The only 33/34 plus year olds who get that kind of money are names like Hossa, Iginla, Spezza,Datsyuk and Zetterberg. I’m not sure that Hudler is in that category. As well most recent Flames resignings, as opposed to UFA signings, have taken the home town discount.

      • RedMan

        one has to wonder how much it means to players to get a chance to win the cup… if Hudler has another season like last, he will be worth a lot to any team pushing for the cup as a rental.

        Does Hudler want to stay and see if he can make a run with this group, which he seems to fit well with and which he seems to enjoy (let’s be honest, Flames seems like a team that the players, with the exception of Baertschi, enjoy playing for).

  • BurningSensation

    Give up Bollig, Smid, for any type of pick. Use the cap space to give both Russell and Hudler a raise and an extension.
    Next year might be a tough year to be a UFA with all the other high profile UFA’s as well.

    Win for both sides if they sign before the deadline.

      • JayCMcG

        Well Jones & his 4.0mill is off next summer & you know either Hillers or Ramo’s contract won’t be there either & Ortio will be resigned for similar money he is getting now. That’s 8 mill approx without having to give up any assets. Assuming Russell outperforms Wideman & will obviously outperform Smid, I honestly can’t see either of those contracts on the Flames by this time next year either. That is a lot of cap space freed up that I don’t see being a negative impact on the expectation of this team. That doesn’t even touch possibilities with Stajan. & Raymond & Engellend will only have 1 year left on their deals, so the buyouts are pretty reasonable if you can’t through in a 3rd to sweeten them up in a trade to cap floor teams. I don’t see any panic for cap space if BT decides that resigning Hudler, Russell, Monahan & Gaudreau are his priority next summer.

  • BurningSensation

    The issue i see with this article is the worry about cap space this year specifically. We are under the cap with the deepest tean we’ve had in years. Why are we worried this year? I understand getting assets back for guys who wo ‘t resign but I don’t see it as a priority. The priority in my mind is locking up the core in a way that allows for flexibility. Treliving has been masterful at that so far. Therefore expiring contracts don’t worry me as much as the ones that expire in 2017.

  • Greg

    Also, we need some shorthand name to refer to the “bad contracts” collectively. I get tired of typing engelland, smid, Raymond, and sometimes stajan repeatedly…

  • Big Ell

    I am hopeful that Raymond starts on the 2nd line and plays like he did before he got hurt last year. Maybe his value can be pumped up a bit so he can be traded. I’d love to see the same with Smid, Engelland or Bollig but not sure it is possible.

  • PrairieStew

    Not all of the prospects I mentioned could be considered top level. If it was Kulak, Smith and Colborne for a 25 goal 50 point, positive possession guy that’s not a bad deal. To include one of the first round wingers, the goalies or Wotherspoon it would have to be someone that is under contract beyond this year. If Skinner is healthy then he is a target.

    I hope you are right that both Klimchuck and Poirier make it, but Klimchuck was not dominant in his last WHL season, his upside might be equal to Mason Raymond. Maybe Poirier is David Jones replacement next year, but does he really develop into a scorer?

    I’m concerned about losing Ortio for nothing on waivers, but also am pleased with goalie depth. I wouldn’t consider moving a young goalie if we didn’t have 3 of them.

    The bottom line is this. The top 3 D and top 7 forwards are known, only Hudler needs contract beyond this year. You have to leave room to let the prospects play themselves in but there is not enough space for all of them. Granlund is a prime example, he may have been passed already by Bennett for that 2c spot, but is not suited for 3c or 4c. Is his value being maximized as the 1c indefinitely in Stockton, or as a press box guy in Calgary? 3rd pair and 4th line can often be filled with competent low priced veterans so I don’t think we need to hold a bunch of spots for the prospect pool.

    Management may wait until part way in to this season to assess their chances but I expect that they are far more likely to be buyers rather than sellers at the deadline. Given that prices go up at the deadline, I’d rather see an aggressive move now.

    • PrairieStew

      I completely agree with your last line, something needs to be done now! We’re clearly three players over the limit and there is no way around them facts…

      Top 3D, OK. Top 7F….Monahan, Gaudreau, Hudler(ST?), Bennett, Frolik, Bouma(?), Backlund. I only see 5 certain LT forwards, Hudler would be nice(extended), and I’d keep Bouma. I don’t see much else as firm in the forward ranks. Guess I’m looking here for the LT versus perhaps just passing through. I’d like to add Ferland and Poirier this year to the “keepers”, but granted they haven’t earned it yet.

      If you can get Okposo for three of the rest (not prospects that haven’t made it yet) then fine. I might even take a flier on Skinner, but taking most of the risk contract-wise versus giving up lots in a trade. Again, like the concept, it all depends on the price.

      So, who else should the Flames be targeting that might work in a quantity for quality type trade?

      Besides the 2 mentioned, how about Yakupov with the Oilers
      with D going back, like Russell and Kulak/Culkin? Not sure if Yak will ever fully make it but it might be worth a flyer.

      How about the LAK, especially if the Richards fiasco turns on them and they get desperate?

      Later in the season the SJS if they continue to flounder and finally bite the bullet and look to a significant rebuild? How about Brent Burns?

      St Louis, are they done with changes or are more required? Stats you as a failed experiment?

      JVR in Toronto? How far are they willing to go versus really building their pipeline?

      Colorado again?

      Anyone have some other ideas?