There’s about a month left to the trade deadline. That means the Flames have a month, or 13 games, to do one of two things: put themselves firmly back into the playoff race or drum up as much interest as possible in their key UFA assets.
The former goal is a long shot. Unless Calgary becomes the hottest team in the league over the next dozen or so matches, their dreams of repeating last year’s unlikely playoff berth are done.
The second objective will depend on how a handful of players perform – in particular Jiri Hudler, who has the next 30 days to make himself into a hot rental commodity and potentially revive his value as an unrestricted free agent to boot.
The deadline and the draft dominate this week’s edition of the mailbag. We’ll talk about the draft lottery, potential trade partners and the potential for moving some of the Flames’ less notable trade pieces.
— David Perron (@Dperr28) January 29, 2016
I mentioned some other options in this recent article, including Joe Colborne, Josh Jooris and Derek Grant. Of course, teams may also come calling for some of the Flames more noteworthy prospects, like Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington, Mark Jankowski and Andrew Mangiapane, but I don’t see the Flames parting with any of those guys absent some major deal (ex: in a package to get Jonathan Drouin).
The Flames may look to try to dump some bad deals as well by retaining salary. Which brings us to…
— Geoff Grebliunas (@flamesfanatic04) January 29, 2016
We saw the Kings and Flyers hook up in one of these deals this year which saw Vinny Lecavalier and Luke Schenn (two awful contracts) get moved, so it’s possible. Obviously it depends on what other teams will be looking for around the deadline and just how much the Flames are willing to retain to get rid of one of these contracts. For now we can only speculate.
The likeliest target for this kind of move is Dennis Wideman, despite his rather abysmal performance this year. He’s just one year removed from a 50+ point season and can still shoot the puck, so one of the contenders might be tempted to take his deal if the Flames cut his $5.25M salary in half ($2.625M). Wideman as a third pairing, PP specialist at over $5M is grossly overpaid, but a relative bargain at less than $3M. The question then becomes, is it worth it to the Flames to pay Wideman $2.625M not to play with the team next year?
— Scott MacMahon (@Scott_MacMahon) January 29, 2016
I’d be favour of taking Auston Matthews, but I’m not sure that necessitates the trading of Monahan. Matthews will be relatively cheap for his first three seasons, so his addition won’t really force a move from a budget perspective.
The only change a Matthews addition might have is shunting Sam Bennett to the wing permanently. The new depth chart would look something like this:
Gaudreau – Matthews – Frolik
Bennett – Monahan – Ferland
Bouma – Backlund – Jooris
— daniel knapp (@danielknappkins) January 29, 2016
I’m not sure the team who ends up in that position would make the offer, which isn’t a knock on Monahan. The issue is, the Flames centre is about to become rather expensive, while the team choosing second overall gets a shot at a player who is likely to be as good or better than Monahan down the road. The new kid will also be cost controlled for the his first three pro seasons.
— David Perron (@Dperr28) January 29, 2016
I imagine they have started already to some degree, though my guess is they get going in earnest around March or April. Treliving will need to have things in order by July 1 so he know what the org’s cap budget looks likes heading into free agency.
— Ryan Gee (@redricardo) January 29, 2016
That’s the thing – we really don’t know the Flames’ flexibility until the trade deadline is over and the Monahan and Gaudreau contracts are signed. Things change drastically if Treliving retains some of the club’s UFA’s, dumps a bad contract or two, or gets a bridge rather than a long-term deal for either of the wunderkids.
— Rod Thick (@karasu8989) January 29, 2016
As I noted here, I’d be very interested in Andersen if I was Treliving. The 26-year-old net minder is huge (6’4″) and has put up sterling results at every level, including above average numbers in the NHL so far. He also won’t cost and arm and a leg to re-sign.
Andersen isn’t a slam dunk to come in and solve the Flames’ long-term netminding question marks, but he’s a decent bet to at least be a capable starter.