Earlier today, Mark Spector mused on the Sportsnet site about the possibility of the Calgary Flames making a trade to shake things up after their tepid 1-5-0 start to the season.
He even posited some players that Brad Treliving could possibly dangle to trigger a trade, naming Dennis Wideman, Kris Russell, Jiri Hudler and Mason Raymond as possible bait. I’m not sure that most of those players could be moved, though.
Here are the five Flames assets that we think could be headed elsewhere.
He’s a pending unrestricted free agent. He’s a guy that probably doesn’t fit under the cap for the Flames going forward, given they have Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie and Dougie Hamilton signed long-term (and several defenders signed to expensive deals that they won’t be able to get rid of). [Aside: Spector notes that they’ve tried to move Wideman for three years in vain, so I doubt they can pull it off now.] But Russell’s probably the most tantalizing asset to other clubs; he’s a hard-working, young-ish defender with leadership capabilities.
Another soon-to-be free agent, Hudler’s a very good offensive player but is fairly inconsistent. He reportedly wants a big-money, long-term deal to stick around Calgary, something the club probably can’t handle. And given that Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan have arguably already surpassed Hudler in terms of their progression as offensive talents, it seems wise to cash out on Hudler now while they can get something that can be of value going forward.
Left-handed defenders who are probably ahead of Tyler Wotherspon, Jay Feaster’s 2011 second round pick, on the depth charts: Brett Kulak, Ryan Culkin, Oliver Kylington and Brandon Hickey (whenever he turns pro). Given that Wotherspoon, for whatever reasons you want to choose, has failed to gain a foot-hold on the NHL roster despite having some opportunities, I think he’s a player that can be thrown into a deal that has value to other organizations. He’s young, he’s good, but I’m just not sure what the fit is with the Flames anymore.
Granlund’s a weird case. He’s a really good player, but he’s a center without a huge physical component to his game, nor is he amazing at face-offs. In the Flames organization, he’s fighting with Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan and Sam Bennett for NHL duty in the top nine, which is a fight he’ll probably lose given his face-off (lack of) skills. And Calgary’s also pretty stocked up on the wing right now, should they decide to convert him. Like with Wotherspoon, I’m not sure what the fit is within this organization.
He’s off to a tremendous start to his senior year of college. There’s value there. Should the Flames not want to gamble on Jankowski’s development progressing towards the NHL as a pro, right now there’s probably an opportunity for them to cash out and get some value for him rather than risk it any further. That said, I probably wouldn’t trade him until you see if there’s a niche for him within the Flames organization after he signs, but they might be rather risk-averse and looking for a move.