Sportsnet guru Elliotte Friedman pens 30 Thoughts every week. It almost always has interesting tidbits. This week’s edition was rather heavy on Calgary Flames discussion, with his “feature” section focusing on Dennis Wideman’s hearing with the National Hockey League’s Hockey Operations department.
But Friedman also had a couple thoughts related to the Flames as it regards to the trade market.
18. Remember Anaheim is overflowing on the blue-line, looking for young forwards. Dallas would like to add a defenceman, but there’s a possibility Jim Nill plays it more conservatively than we expect. He’s a big picture thinker, and may look at the Stars as going through the process, as opposed to being at the apex of it. Very intrigued to see what he’ll do. Minnesota would love to add scoring — the sooner, the better. Calgary controls the goalie market. That could change depending on late-season or playoff results, but the if the Flames wish to strike now for next season, they’d have more options than others before the market heats up. No idea what Vancouver’s defence looks like after the deadline, particularly if they are still in it.
Organizationally, the Flames presently have Mason McDonald and Jon Gillies signed for next season as far as goaltenders go. Jonas Hiller and Karri Ramo are pending unrestricted free agents, and AHL netminders Kevin Poulin and Joni Ortio are both pending restricted free agents. There’s no guarantee that any of these guys are back next season, but Ramo’s recent hot streak has given him some value as an asset. It’s possible that the Flames try to flip Ramo for an asset for next season – heck, they might also be tempted to retain him given how thin they are organizationally – or they may package assets to shore up the position.
19. Looking to see who takes a shot at Jiri Hudler. The hardest thing to do in this league now is score, and he can do it. It makes sense for the Wild, although they prefer size, too. He hasn’t been himself this year, and some of that undoubtedly is seeing Dougie Hamilton and Michael Frolik get paid while he hasn’t. The writing is on the wall. Get him into a new situation where he can score a couple of big goals and he’ll be motivated to do it.
Long story short: it appears very evident (from the outside) that Hudler’s days in Calgary are coming to an end. And he could be a very interesting rental piece for teams with dreams of playoff glory that want to add some scoring.
Combine these two factors: the Flames have assets to move around that other teams want – and that’s ignoring the possibility of them moving a pending restricted free agent or somebody with term – and they seem well-positioned to (finally) shore-up their goaltending in a post-Kiprusoff world.
If this chatter is any indication, the Flames may be quite busy with moves at the end of February.