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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

WWYD Wednesday: Trade for a defenseman?

It’s no secret that the Calgary Flames need another top four defender. It’s also no secret that the free agent pool for blueliners is rather shallow this year. If Cody Franson has his heart set on staying out east, for instance, Calgary’s list of clear UFA targets dwindles rapidly.

The only other option is a trade. Obviously, Calgary can’t swing a deal before the expansion draft (since the Flames will already be protecting Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton, and T.J. Brodie), but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a deal later.

So who is out there? And what would they cost to acquire?

Tyson Barrie, Colorado Avalanche

Coming off a career high 13 goals and 49 points, Tyson Barrie suffered a step back last year (like the rest of the Colorado Avalanche). As a result, word is the right-shooting 25-year-old is on the auction block.

First, the bad news: Barrie costs $5.25M for the next couple of seasons, is not very big at 5’10”, 190 pounds and is suspect defensively, with his primary weakness being shot suppression.

Now, the good news. He’s the right age range for the Flames given their core group and he is way above average offensively. Given that Brodie is an above average shot suppressor, Barrie might make for the ying to Brodie’s yang:

The other bad news could be Colorado’s asking price. The Avalanche organization is trying to re-set their rebuild, meaning they won’t just be giving guys like Barrie away. The asking price will likely be Calgary’s 2018 first rounder or a collection of their quality prospects and/or a good, young roster player.

Sami Vatanen, Anaheim Ducks

Even if he somehow makes it through the expansion draft without being chosen by Las Vegas, Sami Vatanen may be put on the market by the Ducks anyways. Anaheim has three quality younger defenders they will need to extend over the next 12 months: Josh Manson, Cam Fowler, and Shea Theodore. With Hampus Lindholm already making $5.25M, Anaheim may look to get out from under Vatanen’s $4.875M deal sooner rather than later.

Like Barrie, Vatanen is on the smaller side and better offensively than defensively. That said, he’s been a fairly solid second pairing guy for Anaheim over the last three seasons and could likely survive with a guy like Brodie in the Flames’ top four.

Like Barrie, though, Vatanen wouldn’t come cheap. The Ducks are not only a hated rival of the Flames at this point, they won’t be pressed to trade him this summer if the deal isn’t right since they can wait until the trade deadline or next summer before re-signing the other guys.

Chris Tanev, Vancouver Canucks

The 27-year-old Canucks defender has cropped up in trade rumours recently. Tanev is signed for another two years at $4.45M and is the exact opposite of the first two options.

Tanev is 6’2″, 200 pounds and his career high in terms of points is 20. However, he is one of the most effective shot suppressors in the league. Most people probably don’t picture Tanev when they think “defensive defenseman”, but that’s exactly what he is:

Whereas Brodie and Barrie or Vatanen could be deployed as offensive support with, say, the Monahan line, Brodie and Tanev would be a pure shutdown pair, perfect to skate with the 3M line.

Of course, the challenge in acquiring Tanev goes without saying. The player is signed for two more years to a reasonable deal and the Canucks are going to be reluctant to move him to a close, divisional rival. It’s almost certain there will be a lot interest in a player like Tanev this summer, and the price to the Flames will be even higher than other suitors.

Radko Gudas, Philadelphia

Fans looking for more bite now that Deryk Engelland is (probably) leaving the team will like the inclusion of Radko Gudas on this list. During his two seasons in the AHL, Gudas recorded 402 PIMs. As a sophomore in Tampa Bay, he collected 152 PIMs in just 73 games.

So he’s mean. But surprisingly, he’s a guy the math likes as well.

Seriously. Gudas puts up sneaky good underlying numbers. Particularly shot generation rates, which is exactly the opposite of what you might expect:

Oddly, his scoring at even strength was strong in terms of rates last year as well, although he didn’t play enough at ES or on the PP to put up great totals (six goals, 23 points).

Gudas is signed for two more years at $3.25M and is 27 years old. And although his name has popped up in trade rumours the last couple of years, there’s no real impetus for the Flyers to deal him. Although he’s not the type of marquee name who will necessarily command a big return, the package will have to be compelling enough to get Ron Hextall’s attention.

Conclusion

This isn’t an exhaustive list of trade targets, in part because we can’t be really sure what the market will look like until after the expansion draft. For now, these are some key targets to keep in mind, although the price of admission for any and all of them may be too much for the Flames to get involved.

However, assuming Brad Treliving will be in the market for a second pairing guy in July, who would you like to see the Flames get?

  • DangleSnipeCelly

    I’m good with Gudas just because his acquisition cost is lower…no thanks on Tanev. He gives you next to zero offense, has a terrible shot and takes a ton of punishment. He’ll be injured half the season…

    Throw Kulak in there and see what happens. (assuming Vegas doesn’t take him)

    • deantheraven

      Agreed on the Tanev no-go but not sold on Gudas. I like a guy who plays on the edge. Problem is Gudas finds himself on the wrong side of it too often. Hard to play against is good, but dirty hits won’t help erase the Wideman Effect this season.

  • Trevy

    Stay away from Barrie! Tanev or Gudas would be a nice addition. In the free agent market, Brendan Smith would be ideal, if not, then Franson. I would try and make a deal with Vegas for Manson if they grab him from the Ducks though, the man is a beast. We need a little muscle back there to handle some of the big boys in our division

    • Jessemadnote

      I disagree with the idea that Brendan Smith would be ideal. He’s very poor in terms of giveaways, penalties, point production and he’s not very physical. Not a fan.

  • Backburner

    I really like the idea of Chris Tanev, I think he would fit in nicely with the Flames. Both he and Gudas bring a little more size and toughness to our D.

    Could also see BT in the mix for Shattenkirk. I know it’s not very realistic, but great fit for Brodie.

  • Kevin R

    I like the Gudas option myself. Sure would be interesting to see how Brodie & Barrie would pair together, that could be better than you think. That could also be a draft deal where we send our 1st & one of Klimchuk, Shink or Magniapane or Hickey.

    Afetr the stupid rumours of Bennett moving, if, heaven forbid, we were ever to move Bennett, OI would rather talk to Carolina & see if we could pick off Hanafin (didn’t have as stellar of a year) &their 1st this year. At least I could see the value coming back.

  • T&A4Flames

    I wouldn’t mind Gudas. The other guy I would look at his Hamonic from NYI. He, as well as Gudas would add some muscle and nastiness as well as some defensive stability.

  • Jessemadnote

    The only issue is all these names are like 2/3 defensemen who will be very expensive. What kind of #4 guys will be available after the dust settles from the expansion draft?

  • The Sultan

    Hard pass on all of the names listed in the OP.

    Seriously, when players are expensive (Barrie), either small or play small (many of the Flames), and are suspect at the one thing they’re supposed to be doing (playing defense) why are they even considered?

    The Flames need to wake up and smell the coffee. Signing washed up UFA’s to large/long contracts is a bad move and sets the rebuild back. What they need to be doing is building from within and promoting players from the AHL.

  • everton fc

    I would love to see Gudas here. But the Flyers would be nuts to move him. (Incidentally, he’s only had one injury-plagued season in the NHL, none in the AHL, and no issues w/injuries as a Silvertip)

    I wouldn’t mind Dumba either.

    • Digit19

      I did see that Dumba was on the block. I believe he is a Calgary kid and just starting to hit his potential. I would absolutely see what the cost is. Would consider a decent prospect and a pick the other way.

  • flamesburn89

    Definitely interested in Tanev, although the cost would be a lot. Still, it’s about time the Flames went out and picked up a bonafide top 4 defenceman. Enough time has been wasted treading water with guys like Stone, Engelland, and Wideman getting second pairing minutes.

  • deantheraven

    I’m still in rebuild mode. I want to see at least 2 of Kulak, Anderson or Kyllington in the 4-5 D spot. I’d even be happy to keep Stone and/or Bartkowski as 4 &7.

    • Puckhead

      Or dump Stone and Bart with the expectation that the team will be better this year and can make it into the second round of the playoffs. I think I would rather put Tspoon in the #7 position. He had a good season last year and would be a safe defensive D-man. I think he’s earned a chance.

    • Just.Visiting

      I’m very much with deantheraven on this one, and had hoped that Hickey would have been in this mix too. I’d prefer to have some growing pains in the upcoming season in order to position to be a serious contender for a window after that. I’d be fine with Wotherspoon as a potential 7, but question whether he would want to resign again if he had other choices that were interesting. That being said, I’d be very interested in trying to pick up one of the young Anaheim defencemen if LV ended up with one in the draft.

  • freethe flames

    I wonder who will shake loss because of the expansion draft; it might be less expensive dealing with Vegas. No need to make a trade until after the Expansion draft. I am still hopeful the writers will do a series of articles on teams they think will be open for trades prior to the expansion draft and who might be available to be picked up.

  • Garry T

    Hickey, Kulak and Wotherspoon are 5,6 and 7. Culkin a keeper. Flames need to hang onto this guy and use him as a 1/2 guy in Stockton next season.
    If we can’t pick up a true 4 via trade, then I would look to the Swedes or the Finns who both churn out great D Men. Give the kids the opportunity they deserve.