WWYDW: 3 Moves

This season has been well, horrid so far for the Flames and despite some bright spots (T.J Brodie, J.T Diebor, T. Jorbdie, and Michael Frolik’s somewhat Vulcan-ish appearance), many are calling for rolling heads, call ups, line switching, and the return of the Flames retro sweaters. Well, maybe I’m just piling on with that last one but you get the point.

There’s no shortage of opinions out there regarding what the Flames should do, so let’s assume that you have the power to be the GM of the Flames but with a restriction on the number of moves you can actually make. Think you could fix the Flames in three moves? Let’s get into it after the jump.


Hey, good for you! Through force of will, nepotism, or the strength of your CV, you’ve been hired as the GM of the Calgary Flames effective immediately. I know this must be a big day for you and you have a lot of people to thank. Get yourself cleaned up and pick up a shiny object for Ken King to play with, it’s a brave new world!

However, on a more somber note, you’ve been hired as the GM of the Calgary Flames effective immediately. Yikes, sorry about that, you’ve got some work to do. Also there’s one catch, because it was a sadistic hockey genie that granted you this power: you can only make three moves. That means only three players can be removed from the current roster in order to fix the team, including sending players to the AHL or trading players to other teams. It’s time to start prioritizing. 


Let’s get started on this hypothetical exercise

So, not to tell you how to do your job or anything, but there’s a bit of a problem in net for the Flames. Namely, the problem is that you can measure the timely saves the Flames are getting with a lunar calendar. Oh! And the Flames haven’t just been getting bad goaltending, they have been getting an interesting variety of bad goaltending!

Between Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller, and Joni Ortio, the Flames have had no success in achieving anything resembling league-average puck-stopping and many have been quick to blame the menage-a-trois that started the season. The Flames have some hope for the future with Jon Gilles in Stockton, but, I’m not sure about baptizing him on the HMCS Dumpster Fire that has been the Flames start to this season. But hey, I’m not the boss. You do you. So, do you spend one of your three moves acquiring a goaltender? 


Outside of the aforementioned demi-god T.J Brodie, the Flames defense has been exceptionally disappointing this season. Dougie Hamilton looks uncomfortable, Dennis Wideman looks geriatric, Kris Russell looks, well, dreadful, and Mark Giordano looks like an over-worked mother of quadruplet boys, who just wants a warm bath and a vacation.

If you want to know how bad it has been this season, I have said genuinely nice things about the play of Deryk Engelland. I did not know such things were possible. 

Okay boss, you have an expiring asset in Kris Russell who has garnered interest from teams as late as last season. However, Russell is a sucktastic minus-15 this season and looks absolutely horrendous in his own zone. That should uh, temper his trade value. Do you move Russell, even if it’s for very little? Does that ‘fix’ the Flames? Do you try and find a home for Wideman and his massive contract? Use your moves wisely.


Ooh, yeah, sorry boss. Things aren’t a lot better here either. 

Aside from Johnny Gaudreau, there have been essentially no regular contributors on offense to start this season. Frolik has played well but aside from a delicious hat-trick against the Oilers, struggled to score despite numerous chances. Over the last few games, Sam Bennett has started to look like the player the Flames are hoping for but it would be unfair to expect him to carry the mail offensively as a teenager.

Sadly, Hudreaunahan is but a memory at this point. Sean Monahan has struggled mightily out of the gate and probably should be moved down the depth chart for a little while. That being said, Bob Hartley has tried a zillion line combinations so far this season without any real progress. Have a look at a snapshot of this from the player usage from last night:

Also, as has been noted on a number of occasions, there is a lot of dead weight in the bottom two-thirds of the Flames lineup, most of which are tied to largely immovable contracts like Mason Raymond and Brandon Bollig. As with players like Wideman, to move them would require the Flames to retain salary or take back another bad contract. Hardly the bold change the genie hired you for. So, keep that in mind boss.

How would you shake up this group? Waive someone? Trade someone? Who would you recall? 


Okay big shot, what are your moves? I suspect the answer a lot of you are going to formulate is: “You see Taylor, this team needs more than three moves. I can’t be expected to fix this team with such restrictions.” Well, to that I would say that three moves is quite a substantial number of revisions to make to a roster and if three seems too far-fetched, then the extent of the Flames troubles may be brought into tighter focus. 

I cannot imagine three enormous moves being made to this roster by Brad Treliving and that is perhaps for the best. If this season is to be a lost one, then the moves are likely to come later when the Flames can trick teams into acquiring less-than-useful players for assets (see: Glencross, Curtis). However, it is cathartic to imagine what moves could be made to the team as it is presently constituted. Let’s see what you’ve got. 

  • Burnward

    1. Trade for a goalie. Spend some capital on an established, cost effective AHL goalie stuck behind an established NHL starter like Hellberg or Murray. Send Ramo to the minors. When Hiller gets healthy, he goes on waivers.

    …that’s all I got.

  • ronipedia

    3. Use the voodoo I used to become GM to trade Russell for a draft pick and Zamboni parts. Replace him with Kulak. I assume here that callups don’t count as moves.

    2. 3rd round draft pick for Ben Scrivens. He will play great for us because, as per last night’s events, God hates the Oilers

    1. #TradeWideman for a forward who also got 50+ points last year. The voodoo will help with this but we will still need to retain some salary. Replace him with Nakladal.

    boom. oh god these three moves don’t do anything about Bollig or Engelland. *drinks from water bottle full of scotch*

  • OKG

    This comments section hurts my head. I’m pretty sure I just read someones comment describe Torey Krug as a tough/defensive defenceman and suggested trading Jones and Wideman for him and Erikkson….

    Sweet jesus.

  • OKG

    BT is loving this I am sure. Think about it, next years salary troubles are solved. Monahan won’t be getting a huge raise, nor will Hudler if they choose to resign him. Only player in line for a big raise is Johnny H. This is good news. Flames saw what their players can do last year, this year accept the slump to re-sign some players on the cheap, then go for gold next year…. All that to agree with a few others here and BT should do nothing except grin at what a lucky SOB he will be this off season.

  • MontanaMan

    If you get three moves, make them bold. What kind of pantywaist says “do nothing?” My moves don’t include moving Russell (I’m for being patient – looked better last night), Bollig, Engelland, and half dozen others (not worth anything) Let’s get at three bold moves, telling the world that the Flames are rebuilding: 1. Trade Hiller for a band aid goalie until Gillies is ready to roll (2 years); 2. Trade Hudler and Backlund for youngsters and/or draft picks; 3). Trade Wideman for youngsters and draft picks. The Flames season is over so let’s call it a year, lose some salary, gain some youth a reset for a better year next year. PS: If there was any doubt of the future of the game, check out what speed does for a team. I doubted McDavid would have a major impact in year one, but his speed (and hockey) skill make a lot of veterans look very slow. This means slow defenders like Wideman and Engelland are history in this league. Replace them with skilled, defencemen who are contributors in all three zones.

    • Rock

      you actually watch the game of hockey. I agree that some the older slower vets should go like Wiedman. I always keep posting to get rid of Hamilton that is just to piss off the non hockey people. He has been bad and has been out of position all the time but he is young and soft but maybe he can improve. Ortio could be the band aid he has only had 2 games just need to give him a chance. Trading hud and backs would not be a bad idea as long as the return was good enough. I don’t think the year is over yet but it is time to start checking out options for next year.

    • The Real Slim Brodie

      So tell me…you suggest trading Wideman for youngsters and draft picks…but you say he is slow…why would another GM take on over $10M in contract remaining on Wideman and give you skilled youngsters and draft picks in return…..???


    • The Real Slim Brodie

      I find it hilarious you actually think Hiller or Wideman have any trade value right now, let alone “for youngsters and/or draft picks”.

      If that was a joke, well done.

      If you’re serious, go get your head checked.

      • MontanaMan

        Glad you were amused. The return is based on the need of the team. I didn’t say either would return first round picks or top end youngsters. Stockpiling draft picks in rounds two through five are critical for a rebuilding team as evidenced by last year’s draft. Players can be found in every round but getting assets for aging veterans and cutting expensive contracts is the goal.

        • The Real Slim Brodie

          Of course that’s the goal, but it’s not even close to a realistic one with Wideman or Hiller at this point. Both of whom you specifically mentioned.

          • PrairieStew

            Wow some of you are actual delusional. You’d be lucky to get a 6/7 for Hiller. And the only way you’re even getting ANYTHING for Wideman is if you eat at least half his salary.

            But keep living in Fantasy Land. The rest of us will stay here in reality.

        • PrairieStew

          The thing is – that trading Wideman at this point would only garner future draft picks, 2nd round at best. That means any asset is probably a minimum 4 years away, so is it really worthwhile to trade an established NHL player for a 40% chance of one 4 years from now.

          We are certain of at least 3 defencemen beyond this year Gio, Tj and Hamilton. There are 10 defence prospects(Wotherspoon, Sieloff, Kulak, Culkin, Morisson, Kanzig,Hickey, Kylington, Andersson, Bruce) acquired in the last 4 years that will be competing for those bottom 3 spots. The assets you would acquire in a Wideman deal now would be second tier that would add to volume but not the quality of prospects.

          Same could be said at forward – there’s depth Granlund, Arnold, Agostino, Poirer, Klimchuck, Jankowski but not a blue chipper.

          So, for me, as I said earlier, I will know Treliving gets it when he is able to leverage his depth of prospects for some higher quality ones

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    I’ll take all my moves in one..trade the next 3 1st round picks to the oilers for their 1st round picks.this ensures we do not have to tank..we can win as much a we want and we still pick 1st overall

  • Skuehler

    Im no coach or gm but i would suggest:

    1. building four lines around four centremen. Keep them together and forget the constant fidgeting and experimentation. Allocate ice time based on line performance. Assign the centreman the ownership of his unit’s performance.

    2. Focus on the goalie out. Ramo clearly isnt the answer. He has had 3+ seasons to become the answer. Trade for any asset possible or send him down. Hiller gets a ‘conditioning stint’ wake up call in the A after his injury. Ortio is given lots of rope to make his case. He did last season. Gillies gets a cup of coffee until Hiller is back

    3. Back to basics on the ice ans focus on off-ice issues with the team.

  • nikkomsgb

    Frankly no roster moves are going to fix what is happening right now. I would think they are better off just taking their lumps and letting the youngsters learn that success isn’t a given in the NHL.

    The three roster moves would be better served being used only after the team decides what it is going to do with Russell and Hudler. Both will have value at the trade deadline, no matter how they are playing now. They are coming off great seasons and are both affordable, especially in February or March. GMs will likely view their struggles as being tied to the struggles of the group as a whole.

    In my opinion Hudler is gone, age and his salary demands make keeping him near impossible. Russell can stay but only if Wideman goes, you can’t keep both. They of course can both go, but you still need to find NHL caliber defencement to replace them, and not overpay for them.

    The goalies situation they they mismanaged and it likely contributed significantly to the early struggles. They’ve sorted it out now and since there’s no white knight out there to save the day, ride it out and see what happens.

  • 1) First priority is to get rid of Russell for literally anything. He is on the ice for a ridiculous percentage of the goals against. Bring Kulak up to replace. That leads to number 2

    2) I am not sure what Hartley is watching if he thinks that Russell or Bollig are worth putting on the ice over Hamilton or Backlund/ Granlund (or many more). If he doesn’t change with the results in front of him, he needs to go.

    3) Hire a new special teams coach. Powerplay and kill are horrible.

  • RealMcHockeyReturns

    Ramo back to the AHL when Hills returns. Ortio is the backup. Pass or fail, that is reality. This is less a goaltending issue as it is an offensive defence. All of the goals are coming from within 20 to 30 feet out right where the defense self destructs.

    Demote Wides and Russ to the 3rd pairing. Award more minutes or promote based on merrit. Bench one of the 3rd pairing vets every 3rd game alternating a kid in whom you bring up from the AHL unless the existing players do well.

    2nd pairing is Brodie and hamilton.

    1st is giordano and england.

    keep the forward lines as is except more minutes and more offensive zone starts for backlund. Keep bennet flying with more responsibility.

    I think that is two moves. So with my third move we take sven baertschi back when vancouver puts him on waivers. We then add him as a prospect alongside ramo who we trade to buffalo for hodgson and a 2nd round pick. I think we would have to play sven though as part of the active roster. Maybe just ramo for hodgson. We have time so the trade can happen later as this season is lost.

    maybe we piss sven off enough that he becomes familiar with the defensive zone.

  • The Real Slim Brodie

    You don’t think a team that needs defense will pay anything for Wideman. .glencross got a 2nd and a 3rd..Berra got a 2nd..these guys have the rest of the season to build value..I guess we shall see