The big topic for Flames fans remains the trade deadline. Calgary’s players and management are still solely focused on an unlikely playoff drive (chances at about 16% after the win over the Canucks), but pragmatism has begun to sink in for just about everyone else.
I’ve actually liked how the Flames have played post-All Star Game. If the team can continue to play at this level, it should result in one of two positive outcomes: either they go on a fantastical run and make the post-season or they fall short and their collection of sellable assets grows in value.
After this season, Calgary is entering into the “get competitive” phase of any competent rebuild. As such, it may be their final chance to leverage a mass “selloff” at the trade deadline. Here’s hoping if the playoff bid falls short they’ll be able to collect some noteworthy pieces instead – something they too often failed to do at the onset of the current restructuring project.
This week in the mailbag we look at what the Flames should be selling and targeting at the deadline.
— Colin (@DragonsDeck) February 5, 2016
— daniel knapp (@danielknappkins) February 6, 2016
Predicting the trade market can be tricky, but I think it’s entirely possible both Hudler and Russell will be considered “top-30 pick or prospect” assets. Remember, the Flames managed to get a 2nd and 3rd for Curtis Glencross last year and a 2nd round pick for Reto Berra the year before.
That said, you never really know. A few years ago, the org couldn’t get more than 3rd rounder for Mike Cammalleri. Of the three players, Cammalleri was (and is still) by war the most impactful.
— Scott MacMahon (@Scott_MacMahon) February 5, 2016
Anything that can be considered a long term asset should be the primary focus. The only exception to that rule would be an established RW pending UFA, assuming the Flames have the ability and intention of retaining him next year.
@Kent_Wilson Flames go UFA shopping to address RW and D? Okposo, Eriksson, Lucic, Campbell, Yandle and Buff all appealing pending $ amount
— Earnest P Willygonk (@buckgnarly) February 5, 2016
It’s unlikely the Flames will be able to add another big ticket on the blueline given the persistence of the Wideman, Engelland and Smid contracts. The best the Flames can hope for is cheap, good value filler like a David Schlemko.
Up front the club has a very real need to add a top six winger or two, but we won’t know how much cap flexibility they’ll have until Gaudreau and Monahan are re-signed. Okposo and Eriksson are definitely two good targets, but there’s a chance the club won’t be able to afford them.
Q: How much does Wideman’s suspension hurt his value ?
Considering that Wideman probably didn’t have much value in the first place, it more or less wipes it out. If he doesn’t manage to get the 20 games reduced at appeal, Wideman’s suspension takes him seven games past the deadline, which is a big chunk of the stretch drive. It’s unlikely a club will want to give up anything of value for an expensive player with a year left on his deal who won’t even be around for 40% of the final quarter of the season.
— Ross (@Roscopeko79) February 5, 2016
Unless the Flames decide to re-sign one of Hiller or Ramo, no. There are numerous potential UFA and trade options, including Andersen, Howard, Bishop, Raanta… the list is long.
@Kent_Wilson do you think Nashville should sell?
— Ken (@PREDStotheCAP) February 6, 2016
This isn’t a Flames question, but in general I think most NHL general managers should be “sellers” at the deadline given the heightened demand and asking prices for players. Not too long ago Doug Wilson managed to get a couple of 2nd round picks for Douglas Murray, even though he had long since been a useful NHL defender. Though I don’t think Nashville should go in for a sell off like the Flames, they could certainly see if there’s opportunity to prune some dead weight.