Report: Reeling Flames ‘would be willing to deal a top young player’ in pursuit of Lightning’s Stamkos

USATSI_8156542_168381338_lowres

After a busy offseason the Calgary Flames were a sexy pick to rocket up the Pacific Division standings this season. Instead, the 1-5-0 Flames have yet to win in regulation. They’ve laid an egg out of the gate, which is enough to send general manager Brad Treliving scrambling in an effort to shake things up.

Sportsnet’s Mark Spector is reporting that Treliving is burning up the phone lines, looking to make a move. It’s often hard for a team in Calgary’s spot to shake things up though. This isn’t Mario Kart, and rival teams aren’t generally keen to provide their opponents with a steady stream of Turbo Stars and Lightnings. Instead, they throw anvils. 

Which is perhaps why the Flames are, as part of their efforts to make a move, hunting bigger game. Like Sasquatch-sized game. 

According to Spector the Flames have, as part of exploratory trade talks with the Tampa Bay Lightning, kept tabs on super sniper Steven Stamkos, an unrestricted free agent at seasons end. And they’d reportedly be willing to move one of their bluechip young stars to make it happen.

Here’s what Spector wrote of the Flames’ apparent interest in Stamkos:

No small trade is going to fix his Flames, who are entirely broken right now, and word is out that Treliving is willing to talk about a very big deal if he can find one. We even heard that his conversation with Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman was all about the Lightning’s obvious issues with signing soon-to-be unrestricted free agent Steven Stamkos.

The Flames would be willing to deal a top young player, perhaps Sam Bennett, to acquire Stamkos at this point. That’s risky but wise, in our opinion. But there’s one problem: This early in the proceedings (a full five months prior to the NHL trading deadline) the conversation from Tampa’s end would start with centre Sean Monahan, who we believe to be the most untradeable Flame.

We have no doubt that Treliving is asking about Stamkos — why wouldn’t he? — and he’s not the only GM interested. If everything was perfect in Tampa, Stamkos would be signed by now, and the fact he isn’t makes us wonder if Lightning GM Steve Yzerman is resigned to losing him, and as such, will try to trade the asset.

(Our personal feeling is that no one will meet Yzerman’s price, he’ll sign Stamkos in Tampa, and if the two sides can’t mend fences then a trade will be found that will largely be controlled by Stamkos and his agent Don Meehan. That way Stamkos gets market value and goes where he wants — Tampa or elsewhere —and the Lightning are not left empty-handed.)

It’s probably an understatement to describe that as scintillating stuff.

Trading Sean Monahan should be a non-starter, obviously, and Spector implies that indeed it is. Though he perhaps benefitted from some favourable bounces in the offensive end, the list of players who’ve scored 30 goals in a season before turning 21 as Monahan managed a year ago is extraordinarily impressive. None of those players were ever dealt in their prime, and there’s a good reason for that. 

You might be able to understand parting with Bennett if it nets you Stamkos, but the Flames should only be willing to do that if they can work out an agreement on a contract extension prior to pulling the trigger on the deal (and honestly, maybe not even then). You can’t send away Doug Gilmour 2.0. to a team wearing Blue and White in exchange for a rental, even if that rental is one of the best goal scorers in the game…

Obviously the Stamkos stuff is fun, but a bit farfetched as Spector makes clear. There’s a lot of moving pieces, and more than anything, Spector’s reporting just underlines the aggressiveness that has characterized Treliving’s Flames tenure. The Flames may get bit by regression this season, but we can rest assured that Treliving will leave no stone unturned.

The other big picture takeaway is that Flames brass isn’t too impressed with their team’s start, and could consider something radical in the coming weeks. Spector lists defensemen Dennis Wideman, Kris Russell, Jiri Hudler and Mason Raymond (in a contract dump-type deal) as players that Flames would be willing to move. 

Considering the club’s need to preserve cap space for Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau, and where they are in their rebuilding cycle, netting a quality return for the expiring contracts of Russell and Hudler would seem prudent. There’s no rush to make those deals though, and unlike the spot they find themselves in today, Calgary will be in a position of relative negotiating strength at the deadline. 

Still, if the Flames aren’t contenders yet, and it sure seems like that’s the case, they should keep their eyes squarely on a year or two down the road.

    • BurningSensation

      Have to disagree.

      Getting a young super-duper star for a package of young unproven players (even ones as highly regarded as Bennett) is a solid move.

      Let’s assume the package is something like;

      Bennett, Phat Ras, and a 1st

      That is entirely reasonable for a 60 goal sniper in his prime, even if he is going to command top $ on his next contract.

      It also fits entirely with Burke’s modus operandi of ‘accelerating the rebuild’.

      The big key to make it sensible is having a contract extension for him in-hand before any trade is made.

  • Skele

    No doubt this is fun to think about

    But this team right now is not a Stamkos away from being excellent; never mind what subtractions from the roster would need to happen. The cost would be exorbitant, plus around a $10 million cap hit next year.

  • Skele

    Not sure I even believe this rumor considering the source. Bad idea. Year three of a rebuild, moves need to be made to get the team playing better, not to disassemble it.

  • BurningSensation

    Stamkos for Bennett? I’d do it. Never gonna happen though.

    Russell and Wideman can’t be moved fast enough though. Both are dumpster fires in the defensive zone.

    Bye bye Ramo. Yeah hey great you can stop the tough shot, but everybody’s just throwing pucks at you now because at least one of them goes in.

  • everton fc

    Yzerman will sign Stamkos, me thinks…

    If not, he’s certainly worth Bennett and “parts” (Hudler, others). He’s an elite player. He’s 25. He’s scored 60 goals…

    Perhaps Bennett and Hamilton, and “parts” gets this done? Stamkos and a pick this way. Frees up salary to sign him…

    • piscera.infada

      We’re already trading Hamilton?

      If Stamkos comes here and doesn’t play well in, say, his first 6 games, is he a bust too?

      This Stamkos crap is just clickbate for Spector–he’s basically a sensationalized Eric Francis.

      Edit: Look, I’m not a Hamilton apologist. He’s been horrid to start the year. Flames fans need to cut the kid some goddamn slack though. When Treliving made that deal it was: awesome we now have a 22 year old, with a lot of potential that we can slide in our top-4. When Brodie got hurt, it was: now the kid better be able to play top pairing minutes, with a new partner, in a new system. The Hamilton signing was always about the long-game–if the Flames simply wanted a high-floor, low-ceiling top-4 place-holder they would have signed Beauchemin to a short-term deal, and not “wasted” the assets. I said immediately after that trade was made, and repeated it all summer: we need to temper expectations for Hamilton out of the gate–but no, people saying that got trashed by the “best defense in the universe” speech. Now, you guys want to throw him in a pit and bury him. It sickens me how quickly the wolves turn on a guy.

      And no, this isn’t me making excuses for his play. I don’t want to hear that crap either. As is the case with a rebuilding team; there are no quick-fixes. Hamilton is not, and was never intended to be a quick-fix. Yes, he’s struggling, but I’d like to give him some time to try and work his way out of the rut.

      • everton fc

        I didn’t turn on the guy. Simply saying Stamkos is an elite player, and you have to give to get. Hamilton’s young. I’d actually rather hold onto Bennett and move others, even if it included Hamilton.

        And yes, our defence needs to improve. Agreed. But so does our offence. 50 goal scorers don’t come onto the market often (I don’t think he’ll ever be “on the market”, which I also stated). In fact, 50 goals scorers really don’t exist, these days…

        We’d be nuts not to talk and to listen…

        Monahan would be a non-movable player, regardless. Agree on that.

      • Zarny

        Same people that are calling Poirier a bust after half a season of pro hockey because he had an underwhelming camp.

        Or Klimchuk because he was picked in the first round but isn’t Gaudreau.

        Forget that both are right on track development wise given their age, if they’re not out-of-the-gate superstars by 20 then they must be no good.

        Hamilton is playing terribly right now, but the year before last was his his first full season and he was a healthy scratch sometimes.

        Year 3 of a rebuild. The team needs a significant kick in the @$$, but one still needs to see the forest for the trees and that means patience with the young players. Gio has been just as bad. Moves need to be made, but ditching a 22 year old with Hamilton’s pedigree would be foolish, as would moving any of the young guys.

  • BurningSensation

    I guarantee that BT will make Stamkos an offer he can’t refuse if he heads into free agency this summer, but then again so will a lot of teams.

    In my opinion, it might be better for the Flames to wait out the season before doing anything crazy, like trading Bennett.

  • SmellOfVictory

    The Flames don’t need Stamkos; they need their defensive corps to play like they’ve got the mental capacity of six people instead of one in aggregate.

    • BurningSensation

      I think the defense corps will improve without making any moves.

      Giordano hasn’t played meaningful hockey in something like 8 months, and needs to round back in to shape.

      Hamilton has to adjust to a new system, coach, and defense responsibilities. He’s a fantastic talent, and is only 22-23, lots of room to grow still.

      Brodie needs to return from injury.

      Engelland needs to be waived/traded.

      Wideman and or Russell need to be traded.

      All those things would all improve the D without costing any meaningful assets.

      • Captain Ron

        Well Toddy Boy “Smurfy” would be the leading scorer on the Oilers right now. And that’s with a current shooting percentage of 7%. Slightly better your boy Hall.

        • Captain Ron

          Don’t worry, Sam Ganger got 8 points one night. I know whats its like to see a small little smurf get lucky a few nights. He’ll end up with 60 points, just like Gagner did. Decent player.

          Funny to compare him to a guy like Hall.

          I’ll take it back if he gets 85 pts this year. Thats what Hall did at 22.

          • Tomas Oppolzer

            “He’ll end up with 60 points like Gagner did”… um, you do realize Gagner hasn’t even had a 50 point season, let alone 60. Why are you so keen to hate Gaudreau. Did he sleep with your girlfriend or something?

          • DoubleDIon

            Gagner never scored 60 points. He’s never even scored 50. Gaudreau has already scored over 60 points and is on pace for 96 points right now. Something Hall has never done. He’s also better defensively than any of the Oilers kids except RNH who has never scored 60 points either.

            Oh, and we picked him in the 4th round, not 1st overall.

          • Captain Ron

            Oh we’re not worrying I can assure you. Actually what’s really funny is YOU comparing Gaudreau to Gagner.

            Now there’s a belly laugh for ya!

            Johnny is a better two way player right now than Hall has ever been. So if he gets 84 points this year I guess that makes Hall better in your opinion LOL.

            It pleases us to know that our 4th rounder compares favorable to your 1st overall though. So what would it be for you on a do over now “Taylor” or Tyler”?

          • Zarny

            Good grief. Gaudreau is nowhere near Hall’s level. A better 2-way player. Hate to break it to you but Gaudreau is worse than Hall’s.

            In terms of offense, Gaudreau had 64 pt in 80 games as a 21 y/o compared to Hall’s 80 pt in 75 games.

            Gaudreau is certainly better than Gagner, but that’s a closer comparison than the hobbit vs Taylor Hall lol.

          • Zarny

            Interesting.. but Hall was 22 when hes scored 80 points.

            And Johnny is on pace for 80 points this season.

            So the comparison of the Hobbit vs. Taylor “Jagger lips” Hall is quite accurate.

          • Tomas Oppolzer

            To compare the seasons they had at a certain age is beyond moronic. What’s significant is years in the league. Last year was Johnny’s rookie year, 21 or not. In his rookie year, Gaudreau finished with more points than Hall has had in 4 of his 5 seasons. I realize he’s had injuries, but that doesn’t matter. Point is, outside of his 80 point season, Hall hasn’t even cracked 55.

          • Tomas Oppolzer

            I have a hard time believing you believe yourself. But I know you do.

            That’s the funny part. Flames fans actually for real believe the kool aide they’ve been guzzling.

          • Captain Ron

            The comparison was started by one of your Oiler buddies not me.

            Your not breaking anything to me. I have seen both of them play many times. Halls two way play is practically non-existent at times. Oilers Nation post game comments regularly support my position. Argue all you want but you never here anyone complaining about Gaudreau’s two way play around here. Could care less if Hall gets a few more points per year that Johnny. G. Hall is too selfish you can have him.

      • DoubleDIon

        Gaudreau is on pace for 96 points and has been excellent defensively so far. The only players who have exceeded expectation to this point so far are Gaudreau, Frolik and Ferland. Gaudreau is the reason we aren’t 0-6 so far this year.

    • BurningSensation

      Gio and Ham were never meant to play together. They have the exact same style. Gio and Brodie are complimentary players, which is why that pairing worked so well.

      Ham needs to play with a stay at home defender.

  • beloch

    Swapping Bennett for Stamkos straight up would be considered grand larceny, but it would create a real cap nightmare for the Flames. Bennett’s ELC really gives the Flames some breathing room right when they need it the most.

    As such, a trade for Stamkos would almost have to involve Monahan instead, and I’m not convinced that trade would be considered a win a few years down the road. Maybe Monahan will never be quite as good as Stamkos, but he’s not going to be far behind, and this trade would rob the Flames of five years from a quality center.

    • SmellOfVictory

      I don’t think it would be considered a win, period, unless Stamkos inexplicably signed at a significant discount. Using the Hawks stars as a guide, let’s assume Stamkos gets 10 million.

      I’d much rather have Monahan at 6.5 through the entirety of his prime than Stamkos at 10 through half of his prime and into the beginning of his twilight, just for the extra 10-20 (if we’re lucky) goals he’d provide. You can’t throw that many of your eggs into one basket, especially when that basket is going to be signed into his mid-30s.

      And that’s assuming that Monahan’s productivity remains stagnant. There’s a distinct possibility that he becomes good enough to make that type of trade a huge loss in the long term.

  • BurningSensation

    It’d be interesting to see how they’d make this work under the Flames cap. Tampa would likely need to take some salary back, and this wouldn’t be the trade they’d do it in. Stamkos is the 2nd best goal scorer in the world, and the team probably doesn’t want guys like Raymond as salary dumps (negative assets).

  • Skele

    WTF!!!! What a stupid typical hype grabbing useless piece of reporting.
    Here’s the phone call:

    BT: Hey Stevie! We need help! Interested in trading Stammer?

    Steve: Absolutely! Give us Monahan & your 2016 1st & maybe flip us Hudler & I think we have a deal.

    BT: Ok, sounds reasonable. But we need to have him resigned to an extension for us Stevie. Can you get that for us?

    Steve: Ummm……. maybe you should talk to his agent, he doesn’t seem to want to return our phone calls. Let me know how you make out with that.

    Click

    This team is year 3 of rebuild & in need of more high-end young players like Bennett, Monahan, Gaudreau, Brodie. We don’t trade these players period!!!!
    Hamilton is on that list now too. He is a high end high ceiling prospect that got lucky & managed to get a huge payday on his “bridge ” contract. It’s time to turn the clock back to this time last year & get our expectations of this team down accordingly. Ramo on waivers is the first step. Wonder if Buffalo snap him up.

    • Captain Ron

      There is no way Yzerman makes this deal without Monahan, and there is no way BT deals Monahan for Stamkos.

      If anything, BT would offer a combination of picks, prospects and roster players Not named:

      Gaudreau, Monahan, Hamilton, Brodie, and Bennett (all pretty much untouchables).

      Spector probably got wind that BT had asked about Stamkos, but then again, what GM hasn’t?

  • Joe Shmo

    Why would Stamkos agree to a trade to Calgary? Tampa is a better team and it looks like he is testing free-agency in 8 months anyway. I think if he waves to go anywhere this year, it would be to a contender.

  • MonsterPod

    The Flames need to take a huge chill pill.

    Last year was an anomaly, a ton of fun, but this is still a rebuild.

    Monahan just turned 21, Bennett 19, Hamilton 22, Johnny 22…

    Deep breath everybody, please, especially management. Drafting high this year might be nice. We’re waiting for Jon Gilles. He’s likely gonna need two years, unless Ortio somehow becomes the next Kipper.

    We are not a contending team. Look at us vs Anaheim last year compared to how Chicago handled them. We have a long way to go, and that’s fine. Hamilton and Frolik out, Hudler and Wideman eventually out. Getting younger, better.

    Stay the course Tree and build a winner the right now. No Stamkos, nothing crazy SVP.

  • Zarny

    Monahan should be a non-starter? That’s insane.

    Perhaps take a closer look at that list of players who scored 30 G before 21. Stamkos is on the list twice with 45 and 51 goals.

    Stamkos is considerably better than any current Flame. If the Flames, or any team, is going to trade for Stamkos you are giving up assets like Monahan, Bennett and Gaudreau. Why on earth would TB trade Stamkos for Wideman, Russell or Hudler lol?

  • Zarny

    Some things never change….The owners still run this team,they want back in the Play-Offs at any cost,regardless of who the GM or President is.

    Ownership…stay the goddammn course for once!!!