Lots of trade talk, far less action for the Flames in Buffalo

The Calgary Flames were admittedly involved in a ton of trade conversations over the 2016 draft weekend in Buffalo. At the end of it, though, the Flames had made just the one deal with St. Louis despite arriving at the NHL’s annual convention with ten picks. While one trade might fall short of the expectations set by all that fun speculation, it doesn’t mean Calgary’s weekend was a disappointment.

I thought Brian Burke laid it out really well on Saturday morning. The President of Hockey Operations joined me on Sportsnet 960’s draft broadcast and explained why speculation rarely leads to consummation, especially on the draft floor.

“The way this business works, really, truly, it’s like, you’re lucky if you chase seven deals hard, you’re lucky to make one,” Burke said.

“I’m not talking about one phone call. [I’m talking about] where you talk about a framework, follow it up with another phone call, another phone call, another phone call. Now you’ve invested three or four hours in this deal with your staff…and a lot of them at the end the other teams says no or you say no. You chase a lot of rabbits in this business that go down holes. You only catch rabbits, you know, once in a while. We spent a lot of time leading into this draft, we spent a lot of time [Friday] on the floor at this draft, and came up dry with a lot of things.”

It seems like the Flames were very much in a rabbit hunting mood this weekend. We all saw the Twitter conversations and the television shots on Friday night. We all heard the growing speculation of something happening between Calgary, Edmonton, and Columbus and their first round picks. Nothing ended up happening, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying according to general manager Brad Treliving.

“There was lots of discussion the last couple days, even in the hours leading up to the draft starting on different scenarios,” Treliving told me. “You know, a trade, a three way trade, we had some different things that we looked at.”

I wasn’t overly surprised to see the Flames stand pat on day one. Moving into the top five is so rarely seen these days and even though Calgary tried their best, the price was just too high. It didn’t matter anyway; Matthew Tkachuk, the guy they were trying to move up to pick, fell to the Flames at number six overall.

Day two was where I thought we might see a few moves from Calgary, but more of the minor variety. Treliving packaged some picks last year to move back into the second round for Oliver Kylington, for instance, and I thought moves like that were more likely. They used all eight of their remaining picks, though, and Treliving gave the impression of a much quieter trade market.

“I wouldn’t say any of the discussions [on day 2], other than, you know, we looked at a couple things in terms of moving picks back and forth. I would consider it as future talks for things at a later date.”

Making all eight of their day two selections is just fine, as is leaving Buffalo with nine new players. Actually, make that ten thanks to Friday’s acquisition of goaltender Brian Elliott. The Flames did make one trade, let’s not forget, and it was a pretty major one. It’s even more significant they got that deal done with St. Louis in what is a rather stagnant climate.

“The market is kind of stalled right now,” Treliving disclosed. “You can see this happen, again, financially, people trying to move contracts, you’ve got free agency, and so it’s a bit of a plugged market right now.”

Hey, it might have been a clogged marketplace, but Calgary still mined some gold from it. Elliott makes them better right away, and nine new prospects improves them down the road. Was it the sexiest Flames draft ever on the trade front? No, probably not. But they made their team instantly better and didn’t get fleeced. I think we can chalk that up as a win.

    • freethe flames

      I just did and I have also been saying that I believe they have been working at it, but that does mean that I get any less impatient.(this is on me not BT) Hopefully and I suspect something good will happen. I suspect that they may have even laid ground work for the trade deadline.

      None of these lessen the facts that there are deadlines looming; such as when you can announce deadlines, when you have to qualify RFA’s and when they FA can be signed. All of this work and their own top UFA’s to sign mean they continue to be busy and I continue to wish them the best in getting the job done.

      • MontanaMan

        I think it’s a tough market to move players with budgets, contracts, expansion and a few other factors. If anyone needed to make some moves it was Chia and I have no doubt that he worked hard to achieve it but came up empty. That in itself, illustrates the market.

        • freethe flames

          I agree with you that it is tough market and I suspect that building relationships and discussing trade ideas takes a long time and a great deal of effort. Maybe one of the ideas floated(1 in 7) comes to fruition and if it’s the right one everyone walks away as winners. I suspect BT has tried hard to move Wide’s, Raymond and maybe one other contract and probably won’t use the buyout until he thinks he has exhausted all his options. IMO I think Wide’s still has value especially if the Flames eat salary but I’m not convinced that Raymond does; he cleared waivers twice last year and that makes it likely no one wants him at his salary.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            If Wideman gets traded before the buyout period, I see Smid as the best buyout option, if he’s cleared to play.
            I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Flames start the season with Raymond on the wing, because I don’t see the Flames buying out 2 players. It’s a tough pill to swallow for anyone, including billionaires and I wouldn’t want to be the operations staff that needs to approach ownership with that solution.
            If Wideman is not traded, he would appear to be the best buyout target.

        • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

          I think Chiarelli did a great job in reading Columbus GM. During the talks he saw that he had no intention of drafting Puljujarvi and therefore did not use any assets to trade up and he got the 6’4″ 210 pound two way winger that he wanted with great wheels.
          As far as a defenseman goes the market will open up. He is not going to just overpay like the previous regime did. There are teams that need offensive help and those teams that also have the d are the ones to target.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            What would you expect them to give up? Seriously you guys want him gone more than Edmonton needs him. Why pay his salary when you can try and sign a dman in free agency anyway?

            Really I don’t think he is part of the solution.

          • MontanaMan

            But Chia has a gun to his head and said so himself so he MUST make a move for a 1/2 d-man. The previous regime didn’t, shrugged their shoulders and finished in the basement (again). I don’t sense that this is an option for Chia.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            Finish in the basement has been an Oiler option for nearly a decade. It’s now bred into the DNA of the organization. From the owner to the towel boy, tanking is what they do.

          • MontanaMan

            I don’t disagree but it’s not in Chia’s DNA. He’s a fiery competitor and history shows (right or wrong) he’s ready to pull the trigger. He has the forwards to move but desperately needs D. Which side will blink first? The other factors involved are a) other teams know he is desperate and can wait him out and b) Edmonton is not on most players lists as a favorable destination. Lots of examples but the latest is Shattenkirk. So Chia is limited who he can even try to trade for – when he finds someone willing to take the trade, he will overpay.

          • The GREAT Walter White

            Let’s not overthink this; Chia did nothing… and got lucky…..

            Nail Puljujarvi looks good on paper, but you never know how the European game translates to North America…


          • Kevin R

            Wow you must of been part of that interaction to have such insight. Was a pretty simple interaction, Columbus wanted Dubois, Flames wanted #3 for Pulji but the only way Columbus could get Dubois was if they were to pick no later than #4 & Oilers wanted a Dman. Pretty tough to make a deal with these 3 teams, one in Cap hell, one in dire need to get a top 1-2 Dman & no one in the league is going to do it without making the Oilers pay dearly for him & Flames who were not about to part with Hamilton to move up to #3. I imagine a lot of tweaking was going back & forth but all it did was put on a show for the panels.

            So, I am curious why all of a sudden you think the market is going to all of a sudden open for a top pairing D? How has anything changed, who is out there that RNH is going to bring back for that elusive top pairing piece?
            UFA market may bring you back a 2nd pairing guy paid like a young top pairing. You guys are going to have to overpay on the trade front & optics will be horrible on the deal but it’s the only way to hit the restart. The window may have just started to open for McDavid but it’s closing on some of your top end picks from yester year.

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            With the good fortune of drafting Puljujarvi there are other assets to trade. Pouliot is a possibility with yak NUGE Eberle. There are more than enough assets to acquire some one. It doesn’t have to be Karlsson or PK. There are other d that are not as expensive . Think outside the box

          • Baalzamon

            Sure, but I don’t think Pouliot is worth all that much as a trade piece. He’s not a shiny new toy, as they say. He’s just an effective, versatile winger. Like Frolik.

            You’ll get more for Eberle, and you’ll probably miss him less. People pay for offense.

          • Kevin R

            But really what bonafide, no questions asked top pairing Dman is available for any of these guys you mention. Crap your own MSM is saying Yak’s value is a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Nuge couldn’t get you Seth jones. Problem is how do you package both Eberle & Nuge for one. The value is there with those 2 but who can fit 12.0 mill into their cap without sending a bad contract back. Thats the problem & that’s why Oilers may have the same D going into next year.

          • cberg

            Chia said there are only 10-12 true #1D in the whole league. So, who do we think they are? Here’s the top 12 D scorers:

            1 Erik Karlsson OTT 16 66 82

            2 Brent Burns SJ 27 48 75

            3 Kris Letang PIT 16 51 67

            4 Roman Josi NSH 14 47 61

            5 John Klingberg DAL 10 48 58

            6 Mark Giordano CGY 21 35 56

            7 Oliver Ekman-Larsson ARI 21 34 55

            8 Dustin Byfuglien WPG 19 34 53

            9 P.K. Subban MON 6 45 51

            10 Shea Weber NSH 20 31 51

            11 Drew Doughty LA 14 37 51

            12 Ryan Suter MIN 8 43 51

            Out of those 12, I see zero chance the Oilers will get one in trade, due to NMCs but especially since each would likely require 3 solid pieces and how the Oilers notoriously overvalue their own players. So failing here, how about the next dozen ?

            13 Brent Seabrook CHI 14 35 49

            14 Tyson Barrie COL 13 36 49

            15 Keith Yandle NYR 5 42 47

            16 Victor Hedman TB 10 37 47

            17 Shayne Gostisbehere PHI 17 29 46

            18 T.J. Brodie CGY 6 39 45

            19 Kevin Shattenkirk STL 14 30 44

            20 Andrei Markov MON 5 39 44

            21 Torey Krug BOS 4 40 44

            22 Dougie Hamilton CGY 12 31 43

            23 Duncan Keith CHI D 9 34 43 1

            24 Rasmus Ristolainen BUF 9 32 41

            Out of this group, Yandle was just traded, and Barrie and Shattenkirk are supposed to be available, but each would probably take a couple of key pieces and again the Oilers seem to be balking at the price, or the player has them on their “No Go” list? Are these all “true” #1D? Likely, but ZI guess it all depends on how you define them. As you can see some teams have multiple players on these lists, including Calgary with the most, 3 of them.

            Finally, how about the third group of 12 scoring D? Perhaps these are up and comers?

            25 Jake Muzzin LA 8 32 40

            26 Nick Leddy NYI 5 35 40

            27 Marc-Edouard Vlasic SJ 8 31 39

            28 John Carlson WAS 8 31 39

            29 Sami Vatanen ANH 9 29 38

            30 Zdeno Chara BOS 9 28 37

            31 Justin Faulk CAR 16 21 37

            32 Alex Goligoski ARI 5 32 37

            33 Alex Pietrangelo STL 7 30 37

            34 Aaron Ekblad FLA 15 21 36

            35 Morgan Rielly TOR 9 27 36

            36 Michael Stone ARI 6 30 36

            That pretty much covers the actual #1D in the league, some better than others, obviously. Of this group only Goligoski was just traded and no others are apparently on the market.

            Tough times, Oilers. If you want one pony up to the bar with a few of those overpaid forwards and stop griping about the high cost of doing business. That’s just the way it is…..

          • Jumping Jack Flash

            I think Chia wants everyone to think that he was smart to not give an asset to move up. The reality, is that once the Columbus GM included Edmonton in his discussions with Calgary he lost all of his leverage. If he was locked on PLD then he likely needed a third party.

            I am assuming Edmonton would have taken PLD over Tkachuk. In a game of poker why would Keko let anyone know that he was not sold on Pujujarvi so far in advance. There will be some Business school strategy studies that will analyze this to death.

          • usetobewise

            The word out of Edmonton is that Oilers were going to take Sergachev at #4, or trade down and take a him later or even a different defenseman. It didn’t sound like they weren’t necessarily high on PLD either, but the Canucks were. Oilers draft strategy instantly changed once Puljujärvi became available. I’ve heard that both Edmonton and Vancouver thought Tkachuk’s skating was enough of a concern to not warrant using a top five pick to select him. Oilers and Columbus could have swapped picks and ended up with the same result, but that old bird dog Chia called CBJ’s bluff.

            *Is that Dallas Eakins in that picture?

          • usetobewise

            Well it must not be true if #97Train hasn’t heard anything about it. You would definately know better. I’m really sorry for bringing it up. So who were you, seen as how you’re a member of the Oilers brass, planning on taking?

          • #97Train/McDavidCopperfield

            Gregor heard he might have been their choice! Good one . I guess that’s a lock then . ?

            I guess a guy should spend his time on Twitter.haha

          • usetobewise

            Well considering he works the beat he’d likely know more than you d*pshit! Now go back to your parents basement and feel shame for opening your mouth before thinking.

          • usetobewise

            Considering that he works the Oilers beat he’d likely know more than you [edit]! Now go back to your parents basement a feel shame for opening your mouth before thinking.

          • Prototype369

            Ok, we all know 97train is an oilers fan, but he’s been civil, moderate and generally constructive. No need to be a [edit], he just hadn’t happen to hear about a draft plan that included sergachev.

  • DangleSnipeCelly

    Mr. Steinberg, whomever shipped out Lambert and acquired you should be the GM of the year.

    Nice work as always – really enjoy what you’re brining to this site. Great draft coverage Flamesnation.

    Thank you.

  • Franko J

    I think the Flames came to the draft and did what they had to do and they achieved their objective of obtaining a goalie for next year.

    Sure I wanted to see them move some undesirable contacts and free up some more cap space, but at the very least they made wise choices and made the trade that is most beneficial going forward.

    I agree with you Pat that the Flames didn’t get fleeced. Again Treliving continues to impress me as a GM.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    The Carolina Hurricanes are quietly accumulating some fierce young talent, especially on the blueline.

    I wonder if in a stroke of poetic justice, the Canes and their assemblage of high-end young talent will move to Quebec and win the cup a few years later just like the Nordiques with their stockpile of young talent (Sakic, Forsberg, Nolan, etc) moved to Colorado and soon after won the cup.