WWYD Wednesday: Forward, defense or goalie at the deadline?

We’re about a month away from the deadline and the Flames are still kind of in the playoff race. If they can put together a solid February, there’s a good chance they’ll still be in the chase when March rolls around. 

If nothing changes, Calgary should have just enough cap room to add one moderately sized contract via trade. That means if Brad Treliving is going to buy at the deadline, he’ll likely have to concentrate on just one of the Flames’ three main priorities: another scoring winger, a top four defender or better goaltending. 

So what should he prioritize?

A Top Six Winger

A rotating cast of less than ideal characters has played with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau this year. Troy Brouwer, Alex Chiasson, Micheal Ferland… none of them have proven adequate. As a result, the Flames have been a one line hockey team this year, with the Backlund trio doing most of the heavy lifting. 

Even if Gaudreau and Monahan rediscover their mojo in the final third of the season, adding another quality top six forward couldn’t possibly hurt the team. Aside from helping diversify the Flames’ attack, it would also push guys like Chiasson and Brouwer down the rotation where they belong.

Potential Targets: Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Thomas Vanek, Drew Stafford, P.A. Parenteau, Radim Vrbata, Patrick Sharp

A Top Four Defender

The Flames’ defensive rotation has been a sore spot all season. With T.J. Brodie struggling to drag around Dennis Wideman on the left side, Calgary has mostly struggled along with one effective pairing in Dougie Hamilton and Mark Giordano.

Another legit top four guy would give Brodie a more capable partner and move Wideman down to the third pairing where he belongs. 

Potential Targets: Cody Franson, Michael Stone, Dmitry Kulikov, Patrick Wiercioch, Ron Hainsey

Another Goaltender

Depending on how February goes, this may or may not still be considered an area of need. Both Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson have resumes that suggest they should be able to turn things around, but that remains to be seen. 

If both guys are still mediocre or worse over the next four weeks, Treliving may start looking to solve his current (and ongoing) goaltending trouble by acquiring one of the bigger names that should be available ahead of the expansion draft.

Potential Targets: Marc-Andre Fleury, Ben Bishop, Petr Mrazek

Conclusion

As you can see, there’s a lot of potential options. The big moderating factor, aside from the Flames’ available cap space, will be the cost to acquire one of the targets mentioned. Obviously adding Landeskog or Duchene would be nice, but it’s going to be much more expensive to pry them out of Colorado than, say, Vrbata out of Phoenix or Parenteau out of New Jersey. 

With all that in mind, what would you prioritize at the deadline?

  • freethe flames

    When looking at what we need to acquire we also need to look at what we can afford to lose. What assets are you prepared to move? What will those assets likely bring? Who might be interested in your assets? So here are my thoughts on what we have to sell and what I think we should expect in return: Eng’s a depth stay at home defender who might be a good 6/7 for some contender, Versteeg veteran experience could still help a PP and be depth for a teams top 9, Elliotte and Johnson could provide a team an upgrade as a back up; each of these guys could fetch a 3rd rounder. Wideman a depth defender who is a 7 for some team that is a contender maybe we get a 5th for him. Teams may also come asking about Stajan and Bouma and the likely value would again be around a 3rd for each. So who might be interested in our guys; possibly the top end teams that might want a depth player without impacting their current situation. There are 10 teams right now that seem close to be locks for the playoffs 5 in the East and 5 in the West. Montreal(no real cap space), Caps(modest Cap space) Penguins (no cap space), Rangers (cap space to do something), Blue Jackets(plenty of cap space). In the West; the Wild (cap space)Chicago(little cap space), Sharks (no cap space), Ducks(no cap space but a real need to move a defender; I expect them to move one of their defenders to Colorado for one of their forwards) and it hurts me to say it the Oilers (plenty of cap space).

    So could we move a couple of the above and then use those picks to acquire an upgrade at the RW position I think so. Who that would be I’m not sure; but a third and Bouma to the Islanders for Strome would at least be worth a look.

  • Just.Visiting

    It is illogical to me to move good assets for a potential top line RW when GG has to date resisted the temptation to try Tkachuk with Monahan and Gaudreau.

    Given that we look like a bubble team at best at the moment, why wouldn’t we give that a try for a few games now to see how it goes?

    If it doesn’t work, you have data on which to make a decision.

    If it does, you don’t have a RW problem any more and have added size, talent and grit to a top line that looks like it will be your top line for quite a while.

    This then enables you to try Sam on the Mike line to try to get him going, with a fallback to Ferland if that doesn’t work.

    While it is natural not to tinker with the one line that is working well, you aren’t going to go very far with a one line team.

  • Just.Visiting

    It is illogical to me to move good assets for a potential top line RW when GG has to date resisted the temptation to try Tkachuk with Monahan and Gaudreau.

    Given that we look like a bubble team at best at the moment, why wouldn’t we give that a try for a few games now to see how it goes?

    If it doesn’t work, you have data on which to make a decision.

    If it does, you don’t have a RW problem any more and have added size, talent and grit to a top line that looks like it will be your top line for quite a while.

    This then enables you to try Sam on the Mike line to try to get him going, with a fallback to Ferland if that doesn’t work.

    While it is natural not to tinker with the one line that is working well, you aren’t going to go very far with a one line team.

  • FlamesFanOtherCity

    The simplest move that the Flames could do would be for Luke Schenn. RHS to replace Wideman. Actually tough as nails. Used to have good offense, but still can shit down players. Chep cap hit and 1 year remaining. WOrse case is we expose him and he gets claimed.

  • Nick24

    Radim Vrbata would be someone that the Flames should look into. He’s till pretty productive, is scoring, and is a right shot. I’d be optimistic that he could fit onto the top line, but worst case scenario, he pushes Brouwer and Chiasson down.
    Mark Barberio is a player that could fit really well into your 2nd or 3rd pair, and do wonders. At least compared to what the current bottom 3 defenders are able to accomplish. Considering he just got put on wivers, he’d be a very savvy pickup.

    Barberio would probably have a similar impact that Schlemko did when he came to the team in stabilizing the lower part of the defense group.