We’re still just a couple of days away from trade deadline day, and as such, the trades are slowly starting to trickle in. There hasn’t exactly been a big rush just yet – though watching everybody panic over Jiri Hudler leaving warm ups a bit earlier than normal was pretty fun – but we’re starting to get there.
One of the bigger dominoes fell on Feb. 25, when the Winnipeg Jets traded Andrew Ladd. An upcoming UFA who scored 62 points last season, Ladd, along with Jay Harrison and Matt Fraser, got the Jets a top prospect in Marko Dano, a first round pick, and a conditional third.
But that’s just one big name so far. Are there any others?
A bunch of little names
Well, nobody else as big as Ladd has gone yet.
Still, we can do a brief overview of the little names to go, because the Flames have a handful of those available for trade as well; one of them is already gone in Markus Granlund, traded for a younger prospect with more upside who will be under team control longer in Hunter Shinkaruk.
Shawn Matthias, for example, netted the Leafs a prospect and a pick. Could the same happen for David Jones? Matthias is a bit younger, but their scoring rates are pretty similar, and Jones plays in tougher circumstances.
Mike Weber, meanwhile, netted a third round pick for the Sabres. Weber is a bottom pairing guy, serviceable enough but hardly spectacular. The Flames don’t really have anybody on the market to compare to that position; Kris Russell really should be a third pairing guy, but since he’s being billed and utilized as a top four defenceman, he should be able to bring back much more.
The rights to Philip Larsen for a fifth round pick are pretty irrelevant to us as well; unless the Flames are searching for a reclamation project, in which case we know the cost would be about a mid-level pick.
That just leaves another Leafs trade: Nick Spaling and Roman Polak for a couple of future second round picks (and a salary dump in Raffi Torres, but he’s staying on San Jose’s AHL team). Spaling could be another Jones comparable, while Polak kind of edges into Russell territory, in that he averaged nearly 20 minutes a night while occasionally putting up points.
Not many comparables thus far
Ladd is the first big name to get traded, and he might have set the bar for what the Flames can get for Hudler. Like Hudler, Ladd had a career year last season, scoring 62 points over 81 games. This year, he has just 34 points through 59 games; if he were to keep up this pace over 81 games, he’d finish with 47 points. Still good – but hardly what he did the year before.
Hudler, meanwhile, had 76 points in 78 games last season; this season, he’d be on pace for 52 points in the same number of games. So he’s outscoring Ladd – but, in fairness, Ladd is bigger, a couple of years younger, and plays in tougher circumstances.
Still, that should all balance out. We should recognize that a first round pick from the Blackhawks is likely to be a late pick, but if the going rate for Ladd is a good prospect and late first, then that could set the table for what Hudler’s worth, his poor start to the season be entirely damned at this point. This would pretty much be the best case scenario possible, though; it’s probably better for us, as fans, to set our sights lower, so we don’t get too disappointed.
The closest comparable so far to Russell is maybe Polak, but since he’s lauded around the league pretty highly, we should be able to expect more than two second round picks in return for him. Nobody quite like Russell has been dealt yet.
Jones is maybe comparable to Matthias or Spaling, and a pick or a prospect would be a fantastic return for him at this point, if feasible.
None of this covers Jonas Hiller, however: no goalies have been traded, so we have no idea what the market value for them might be, or if there even will be one.
As for the Flames’ available RFAs in Joe Colborne and Josh Jooris: there isn’t really a market set for them, either. The closest might actually be their former teammate, Granlund, in which the Flames could get a younger player with more upside for them; at this point, however, Colborne is much more an established NHL than Granlund is, so a greater return for him would be warranted. And Jooris still shouldn’t be traded to begin with.
Are all six of these Flames going to be traded? Probably not – but if they were, here’s what we could maybe expect, based on what’s happened so far.