Photo credit: James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports
It’s trade deadline week, and the Calgary Flames have already been kind enough to give us something to talk about. For the second year in a row, they’ve engaged in a prospect-for-prospect (or close to) swap with the Vancouver Canucks, and for the second year in a row, you have to feel pretty good about it if you’re a Flames fan.
Sven Baertschi was a prospect who wanted out; Markus Granlund was a kid seemingly stuck in the mud with the threat of waivers soon to stare him down. In both cases, the Flames got something they could use out of each of them: Rasmus Andersson and Hunter Shinkaruk.
We’ll have more on Shinkaruk later today (today is basically Hunter Shinkaruk Day on FN).
But that’s not all there is to this trade deadline. At least, hopefully there will still be more to come, as the Flames have some pressing matters to take care of. Granlund was under team control, but still, evidently, trade fodder; the Flames are still awash in centres, and have a couple of upcoming UFAs to get something in return for over the course of this week, too.
Let’s see what the hockey world is on about, and what the Flames could be up to.
Elliotte Friedman’s Reddit AMA
Yesterday, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman took to Reddit to answer questions on the trade deadline. We were going to recap it then but, well, the Flames made an actual trade, so.
So you don’t have to go through the entire thread – although it’s pretty interesting – here’s everything he said that pertains to the Flames and their possible deadline plans.
Elliotte_Friedman: Last I checked, they were still talking. But I think it’s more likely than not he gets dealt. Reported last week CAL was hoping to get a long-term possibility in goal, but that might be hard for a rental.
(He also mentioned he abbreviates Calgary to “CAL” and not “CGY” because he’s basically just trolling at this point.)
We know that the Flames have asked the Penguins about Matt Murray. Perhaps there’s a connection here: use Russell to try to get a goalie? They both block shots, but one plays 60 minutes a game and has significantly more protective gear.
A deal centred around Russell and Murray could actually happen yet – Friedman believes the Penguins may be in on Russell.
Elliotte_Friedman: They asked about Matt Murray, a nice PIT prospect. So, they want to make a change. What happens in places like ANA & STL could also impact their plans.
(More was asked – including the idea that Friedman would rather fight Boomer than Rhett, because Rhett was actually a professional athlete once – but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just roll with this for now.)
Anaheim currently has John Gibson and Frederik Andersen as their goalies, with Anton Khudobin buried in the AHL. Gibson, 22, probably isn’t going anywhere. But Andersen – 26, with a .917 save percentage and set to become an RFA after this season – has been discussed on this blog as a potential option for the future before. The Flames need a goalie; do they have assets they’d be willing to give to the Ducks to get him?
For what it’s worth, Friedman doesn’t see Andersen moving at the deadline.
As for St. Louis, they have Jake Allen, 25, and Brian Elliott, 30. Both are set to become free agents after next season – Allen an RFA, Elliott a UFA. Elliott has played 30+ games for the Blues four of the last five seasons (the other season was during the lockout year). Maybe he could be a stopgap option for the Flames while they hope Jon Gillies gets back on track, or they continue looking for another future answer?
Friedman also mentions in the replies that he believes Los Angeles will go after a forward and a defenceman. The Flames have a forward and a defenceman that should be available! Maybe another team to keep an eye on.
Elliotte_Friedman: Last year, Winnik went for a second and a fourth. Hudler’s a better player, so I’m sure they’d be hoping for better than that.
Yeah, I think I’d prefer a better return than a second and a fourth for Hudler, too.
Elliotte_Friedman: Gaudreau extension will not be easy. Few comparables for what he does. Long-term, I can see the ask being Tarasenko — at a minimum. As for Monahan, not sure how much both sides are talking now, but I bet they know what all the comparables are. If they want to go long, we’re probably in the $6.5M range, at the minimum.
Personally, I wonder if the best option for the Flames may be to Tarasenko Gaudreau, and give Monahan a bridge deal. Gaudreau doesn’t really have in-roster competition – he’s kind of far and away the team’s best scorer now – but Monahan does have Sam Bennett who may be gunning for his first line centre job. A “show me” deal with him could be beneficial for both the impending cap crunch, as well as the long term, so the Flames aren’t hampered by a big Monahan deal if he does fall down the depth chart some.
Elliotte_Friedman: Calgary and Edmonton.
Yay! Let’s get crazy this week! Go nuts! Trade Ladislav Smid for Laurent Brossoit!
Miscellaneous stuff: Tampa may be looking to add a defenceman, and Jonathan Drouin could finally be traded (Kris Russell?); don’t look for too many first round picks to be traded; don’t expect Travis Hamonic to go anywhere before the deadline, maybe; Arizona, Carolina, and New Jersey may be undecided on whether or not they’re actually going to sell – which could suggest the Flames know they are (that’s my own speculation); Johnny Gaudreau is one of Friedman’s favourite players to watch; and Friedman didn’t touch this top-rated comment asking why the Oilers suck, which, haha.
Montreal is interested in Mikael Backlund?
Every now and then – typically when Markus Granlund was recently recalled, and performing well – you’d see an opinion come up: Granlund could replace Backlund.
That clearly isn’t an option anymore, but it’s not going to stop other names like Mark Jankowski or Bill Arnold from being thrown out there. But they’re likely not ready to take on the highly defensive role Backlund excels at – and should continue to excel at, even as the Flames continue to grow and develop as a whole.
Point blank, Backlund should not be traded. The only in-system replacement for him right now really is Matt Stajan, who is both older and inferior. Backlund should be a part of the Flames’ long-term plans.
According to Sportsnet’s Eric Engels, though, the Flames have had two scouts at Montreal’s games the past couple of months. Also: Montreal is interested in adding Backlund. Remember, they claimed Paul Byron – who’s kind of like a lesser Backlund – off of waivers at the start of the season. But unless the Canadiens are willing to pony up, it’s hard to see Backlund being on the move: not when he should still be a big part of the Flames’ rebuild, especially so after the Granlund trade.