We’re three weeks away form the 2017 trade deadline and the Flames are in a dogfight for the final playoff spot. The difference between making the dance and not is likely going to come down to a couple of points between Calgary, Los Angeles and St. Louis.
Brad Treliving has gone on record as not being interested in a pure rental situation. That means if the Flames add anything by March 1, it will probably be something long term and significant.
That also means the acquisition cost will be higher. With a lot on the line and their eyes on a bigger prize, is it possible the Flames could move their 2017 first rounder at the deadline?
Who is available?
Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, Jacob Trouba, and Ben Bishop are some of the big names that have been tossed around the rumour mill this year. With the exception of Bishop, who is a pending free agent, all of these guys are young, signed through next season and represent real upgrades for the Flames.
It’s possible other guys will crop up the closer we get to the day (and the further away some teams get from the postseason).
Is the Flames’ first rounder expendable?
Draft prognosticators consider the 2017 draft to be fairly unremarkable. Currently no one is projected to be a generational talent and draft rankings become relatively undifferentiated even by the middle of the first round.
The middle of the first round is about where the Flames are likely to pick, unless something drastic happens between now and June (they miss the playoffs but win the draft lottery or they make the playoffs and go on a run). If the Flames do indeed miss the playoffs by a nose, their chances of win the draft lottery will be about 3-4%. So… not nothing, but close to it.
The 15th overall pick in any draft isn’t something to throw away, but in a thin year and with the chance to make a long term upgrade, it has to be considered.
There are some young, notable players rumoured to be available at the deadline this year. The Flames have clear needs all over their roster, are in a battle for the final playoff spot in the west and have a good but expendable asset in their first round pick to dangle in trade negotiations. Like the Dougie Hamilton trade, it could prove to be a worthwhile gamble.
So what would you do Flames Nation? Put the first rounder in play? If so, who would you target?