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Report: Flames calling about Rangers goalie Antti Raanta

As the Stanley Cup Final nears its conclusion and the National Hockey League’s expansion proceedings loom, the rumour mill is expected to kick into overdrive. Well, it has begun: the New York Post‘s longtime beat writer Larry Brooks is reporting that the Calgary Flames have made inquiries with the New York Rangers about backup netminder Antti Raanta.

If you take into account the situation teams are in regarding the expansion draft, trade discussions make a whole lot of sense for both sides.

The Flames have zero established NHL goaltenders signed for 2017-18, with both Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson being pending unrestricted free agents. The biggest “names” on the goalie market – guys like Marc-Andre Fleury, Mike Smith, Cam Ward, Jimmy Howard and Jaroslav Halak – are all bad combinations of older and expensive, which is precisely why their present teams wish to move them. In terms of goalies that could be defined as what Brad Treliving likes to call “age group assets” – players that will be with the Flames as their core pieces mature into a contender – the list is pretty short: Raanta, Washington’s Philipp Grubauer and Colorado’s Calvin Pickard.

In the case of the Rangers, Raanta is arguably their most attractive asset that will be exposed in the expansion draft. The others include names like Michael Grabner, Kevin Hayes, Kevin Klein and Nick Holden. Given that Raanta is playing behind Henrik Lundqvist, who’s signed for another four seasons and has a no-move deal, it’s incredibly likely that he’ll be exposed and claimed – unless the Rangers can convince Vegas that Grabner or Holden is the answer to all of their problems. If the Rangers do send Raanta away, they still have AHLer Mackenzie Skapski they can expose in the draft.

Plan B for the Rangers is swapping Raanta somewhere – ideally out-of-conference – for an asset instead of losing him to the Golden Knights for nothing. Based on the report of calls being made by the Flames, it seems increasingly likely that Plan B for the Rangers may be Plan A for the Flames.

  • Puckhead

    I wonder if Tre will let teams sweat it out and look for a last minute bargain. It doesn’t sound like many teams are looking for a #1 and there’s a glut of them on the market. Ranta would be good but after Elliot I wouldn’t want to overpay.

  • supra steve

    Don’t go out and buy your Flames Raanta jersey just yet. I’d be shocked if Tre hasn’t “inquired” about all of the tenders mentioned in this article. Something will possibly happen in the last few days before protected lists are handed in to the NHL, for Tre to make a move before that, there would need to be a very sweet deal on the table…and that could happen.

  • supra steve

    The Larry Brooks article mentions how the Blackhawks are needing to clear cap space. Anyone seen much Hawks hockey in the last few years…how is Hossa doing at this age/stage of his career? $5.275million/yr for 4 more seasons, will be 39 in January, 45 points in 73 games last season. First instinct would be no way do you add this player, but…could he be a top 6 F for 3 to 4 more seasons?

  • BendingCorners

    For NYR it depends on whether they would rather lose a backup goalie or a #4 defenseman to Vegas. If they think the defenseman is more expendable then I can see this deal happening. They might want Gillies/Rittich plus a 5th round pick though because they will be treating it as a straight hockey trade, not a desperation move.

    • FlamesFan62

      They’d want Vegas to take the #4 D-man for sure. And no way we trade Gillies. By the way, how is retaining picks for somebody who will get claimed for nothing a “desperation” move? It’s a hockey move, rather than losing him for nothing they get value.

  • Jobu

    This has always been the goalie I wanted Calgary to go after. I hear that NY is also looking to turn over some of their defensemen and low and behold, we could use a 4th D man ourselves.

  • jakethesnail

    Tre is likely kicking tires on goalies with a number of teams. Throw in a D-man? Not likely! Besides I would like to see the Flames graduate some prospects instead of dealing them away.

  • Skylardog

    A trade for Hayes and Raanta would have to be made in conjunction with a trade seeing Ferland go to a team that needs forwards and could afford either a first rounder or a really good dman that does not need to be protected. Rangers can’t take Ferland as he may get picked up if exposed on NYR’s roster. It is close though, as I see NYR losing Grabner or Fast in the ED. They will want assets that don’t need protecting.

    If Calgary could flip Ferland for the right deal, (I don’t think Ferland is seen as a great asset by the Flames coach and GM), then we could trade for Hayes and Raanta, in exchange for the rights to Elliott (who could get picked up from NYR saving Fast and Grabner, plus Klimchuk and a second rounder in 2018.

    Alternatively, Hayes and Raanta for either Gillies or Rittich, Klimchuk, and a 2018 second rounder conditional on resigning Raanta. Might take a 2018 4th rounder as well to get done.

    NYR is really trading to save one of Grabner and Fast, and get a young goalie prospect (exempt from the ED), a forward prospect (exempt) and a 2nd round draft pick. Shink also works here instead of Klimchuk as he would be safe from getting taken.

    • supra steve

      I believe if the Flames sign Elliott or trade his rights to another club, they owe their 2018 3rd rounder to the Blues…so trading him anywhere is not likely to happen, unless the value of the return is greater than that 3rd rounder.

  • everton fc

    Never thought of Nick Holden. He’d be a nice pickup. Holden and Brodie would be a nice pairing – and Holden’s cap hit is 1.6mill for one season. He’s 30, but he’s durable and adds some offence. You only add him knowing you can’t protect him, though. And you hope BT either parlays some deal to move Brouwer to Vegas, or Vegas takes a player like Chiasson. If they take Holden, you save Kulak. Makes some sense…

    Raanta and Holden for what, though?? Why people throw Ferland into these trade talks… Madness. I don’t think Hayes wants to play so far away from home, and Grabner’s a bit of a dice roll. Could we swap one of our goalie prospects (Gillies is an Easterner, but I bet they’d move Rittich, which this fan thinks is a mistake).

    How about this;

    Raanta, Holden and Hayes for our first, Gillies or Rittich and Lazar? Then we protect Hayes, roll the dice on Holden, and keep Raanta. My only issue w/Raanta is he’s 28 and never been a full-time starter. So you don’t buy high on a guy who may end up like Ramo. (Personally, I like Pickard. 1mill cap hit for one season. Roll with Pickard and Elliott – I could live w/that. Better yet, perhaps – Pickard and Raanta – $2mill cap hit for two goalies)

  • freethe flames

    The Rangers are it an interesting position; if the go the 4/4 route they could lose a very good forward or a very good back up. If the go the 7/3 route they still could lose a very good forward, or a defender or a very good back up. Making a trade seems to make sense but as I read somewhere it means they will lose two good players. The return would need to worth it. What did Darling fetch?

  • RKD

    Please make it happen, Carolina traded for and locked up Scott Darling, Korpisalo signed a two year extension with the Blue Jacket. We got to act fast now, let Fleury go to Vegas. Raanta can be our guy, he ‘s ready to be a No. 1. He’s the right age and the right money.

    • Stu Cazz

      So have you thought about the ramifications of ‘Letting it happen now”? You will need to protect the players you traded for leaving guys like Ferland and/or others exposed. Sounds like your impatience will end up being a costly trade. I like that Treliving is patient!

      • freethe flames

        Trading for Raanta will not impact Ferland. If we somehow managed to acquire a high end RW it would not mean we have to expose Ferland but more likely Lazar and he is less likely to be drafted by LV. Earlier I suggested we might to add the rights of one of Elliott or Johnson so the NYR could have a goalie to expose; turns out they have a third goalie to expose.

      • Sober rock guy

        The Flames have no goalie that needs protection right now. They can make a trade for raanta and it affects nothing as far as forwards or defensemen who would be exposed. They signed Tom McCollum earlier this year specifically to be their goalie to expose in the expansion draft.

  • freethe flames

    I recently read an article by Haynes on flames from 80 where he outlines why a trade from a team like the NYR might not happen. It goes something like this: every team is going to lose one player to the expansion draft. If you make a bad trade to get something you lose to good players b/c of the expansion draft. So I doubt the Rangers will give Raanta away; the deal will need to make sense for them. (They probably can replace him with a quality back up via FA but probably at a higher cost).What might be a bigger concern for them is cap space; they have Zibanajad and Fast to sign; that will take up a significant portion of their cap space. They are also rumored to be Shattenkirk’s preferred destination. So while I would like Raanta I am not sure we get him.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Dumb headline as Tre should be calling every club that has a goalie who is of interest to the Flames and who may be lost by his current club in the expansion draft. If Tre isn’t making these calls to all, the dude isn’t doing his job.

    Raanta is an NHL career backup. He might or he mightn’t be ready to be a club’s #1. Let’s say the Flames get him. Don’t you think that pretty much means the Flames will bring in a veteran to back him up? Elliott or Johnson re-signed perhaps? I am not sure a Raanta/ Johnson combo works as both are career backups. Unless pickings elsewhere are much worse than imagined, Elliott likely does not return to Cal getting a backup’s pay. Raanta and Rittich? Flames are way too conservative to roll the dice with a career backup and a guy with virtually no NHL experience. I have no problem with the Flames trying to get Raanta, but if they do, expect a backup with some experience as a starter to also be brought in.

    • freethe flames

      I suspect your correct BT has been making all the needed phone calls but this is the only one that has been leaked and as we are starved for news we have gotten excited about it. But rather this than talking about the arena or guys we are unlikely to draft or some team we don’t really care about here on FN. 5 days until the expansion lists are in 6 days until we know. I also believe today is the day that teams have to have their list of players who have moved their NMC’s. It will be interesting.

  • freethe flames

    One last thought on Raanta. If acquiring Raanta is less expensive than the 3rd rounder we would have to give up for resigning Elliott then it’s a no brainer. If h proves to be no more than a very good NHL back up at $1m for a year it is also cheaper than resigning either Elliott or Johnson. It would be IMO worth the risk.

    • supra steve

      Agreed, if the Flames can just do like the Oilers did when their D was thin, it was an easy fix, right. Sign a college hotshot free agent like Schultz and you have a serviceable top pairing D man…oops. Or the Flames could sign an older veteran like Andrew Ference and it’s problem solved…. oh yeah, that didn’t work so great. But then they signed a younger guy, Nikitin and…crap. Remind us, how did the Oilers quick fix their D again? Oh, I remember, McJesus, let’s do that.

  • Baalzamon

    Lol Rangers fans are nuts–they think they’re getting Hamilton.

    Why would they think they’re getting more than they got for Talbot? Raanta’s results aren’t as good as Talbot’s were.

  • Unless Elliott and Johnson have told BT that they will not, under any circumstances, consider re-signing in Calgary, I can’t see BT making a move where he gives up any significant return for a goalie. What’s out there isn’t a major upgrade from last year’s tandem, both of whom arguably underperformed despite still providing solid goaltending down the stretch. I wouldn’t count out the possibility of one or both re-signing tbh.

  • jakethesnail

    When will TRE announce a big trade with Pittsburgh? To get MAF, of course!

    Would be happier if the Flames re-signed Elliott to a much cheaper contract than MAF and don’t give up anything; better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.