We’re less than a week away from “protection day” when all teams must have their protected lists submitted to the NHL, but all is silent on the trade front. Part of the issue is likely the recently completed Stanley Cup Final, but the other is the weird complexity of the expansion draft itself.
By all accounts, Vegas is charging hard to leverage their position and collect as many assets as possible. That makes life difficult for the NHL clubs lining up to convince the Knights to either ignore one of their valued exposed players, or to take one of their lousy contracts. No doubt there’s a market shaping up on either side of the aisle and a lot of the action will occur closer to the 11th hour (as is the case with the trade deadline).
As for the Flames – they are still looking for a netminder. They don’t absolutely have to land someone before the expansion lists are submitted, but prices on the trade market are more likely to go up after the draft.
Other than for a goalie (no fleury pleeez) do you see the #flames being active on the pre-expansion draft trade market?
— Ed (@Ed_Ward42) June 9, 2017
It’s hard to predict anything when it comes to the expansion draft since it’s relatively unprecedented. I get the sense that Vegas is trying to become a kind of middle man in a lot of deals where they are able to take and flip players that are of interest to other clubs.
If McPhee is able to conjure an active “flipper” market, we may see as much action after the expansion draft as before it.
Either way, I think Brad Treliving will be interested, although Calgary’s lack of picks in this draft may tie his hands a bit. Prior to the draft, I expect he will prioritize a goalie before anything else. If Vegas becomes a clearing house for other positions, I’m hoping he looks at a top six winger and top four defender if possible as well.
So much is invested into top free agent signings, who do you believe will be a solid depth addition to the team this summer?
— Darcy Hume (@realdarcyhume) June 9, 2017
It’s pretty slim pickings this year. If Calgary can’t entice Cody Franson or Justin Williams to move west, the list of possible quality additions gets short very quickly.
As always, free agency is about the mistakes you avoid as much as it is about the big names you land. Look no further than Troy Brouwer’s now regrettable deal as proof. As a result, I am just as interested in what landmines Treliving can avoid this summer – re-signing Deryk Engelland, or inking Karl Alzner long term for instance.
How do the Flames convince VGK to take Brouwer? Trade them a pick or an ahler?
— Atheist Roadie (@The_Beeker73) June 9, 2017
Unfortunately, we don’t know Vegas’ level of interest in the player so it’s hard to guess what they’d want in exchange. If I was the Knights’ GM you’d have to start with 16th overall for me to even consider it. However, George McPhee has a history of valuing Brouwer and may be convinced that last year was just an “off-year” for the player.
If so, then it might take a relatively low-value sweetener to make the deal. Maybe a mid-level prospect or middle tier 2018 pick?
Without casting aspersions, can you guesstimate Brian Burke's role with the Flames? Reports are Tre had to check w/ King on trades not Burke
— Scott McArthur (@LoganPhive) June 9, 2017
A lot of “President of Hockey Operation” types around the league seem to be mostly figureheads: long-time, well-respected “hockey men” who are kept around for their Rolodex, high-level recommendations, and to imbue their org with gravitas.
I suspect that’s true of Burke in Calgary as well. When he was brought in a few years ago, the Flames were… not a joke, exactly, but had certainly suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks. Burke came in to stabilize the club’s reputation and is now around in a role that is partially advisory, but probably more symbolic than anything.
Which expansion draft eligible non-protected prospect would you hate to get taken?
— Sasha (@konnie7889) June 9, 2017
None of the Flames kids who are going unprotected would break my heart. Of the guys available (Hunter Shinkaruk, Brett Kulak, Emile Poirier), Kulak would be the biggest loss. He seems at least poised to become an everyday NHLer, albeit as a third pairing defender.
Would you be satisfied with an expensive stop gap like Fleury or Smith as rumours have noted if the price is right?
— Austin Lowry (@AustinCLowry) June 9, 2017
I’ll be fairly disappointed if the Flames can’t leverage the current goalie market to grab a younger guy with upside, honestly. Mike Smith and Marc-Andre Fleury both had pretty good seasons and seem like they could provide at least competent netminding, but their ages and price tags give me pause. All that’s needed is a modest step back for the Flames to be thrust back into the position of “looking for a starter”, except they’d also be saddled with an aging, expensive anchor in the crease.
Do you think the flames may be interested in eating some salary to get rid of a contract? Instead of trading an asset to get of x player.
— Mauricio Cardoza (@Msea91) June 9, 2017
I’m guessing they’d be willing to do with this either Troy Brouwer or Lance Bouma. Both guys seriously underperformed their deals last season and aren’t good bets to suddenly turn things around. If Treliving can find a partner who will take either guy at high price, it may be a good option. I can’t imagine the club is eager to enter the season with a $10M fourth line.
Which current Flame takes the biggest leap forward next season??
— Jared Jones (@jones2emit0) June 9, 2017
It’s got to be Sam Bennett doesn’t it? The highest pick in franchise history, Bennett was said to have first overall upside in his draft season.
Unfortunately, he has more or less run in place during his first two seasons in the league. He wasn’t gifted the best linemates or circumstances last year, but the lack of apparent development is also on the player – at some point, he needs to figure out how to translate his offense at this level.
Bennett becoming an impact player completely changes things for the Flames up front. It would give Glen Gulutzan three quality forward units and a wealth of matchup and deployment options.
— daniel knapp (@danielknappkins) June 9, 2017
Coyle is definitely an above average scorer, although he doesn’t have nearly the shot impact that Niederreiter does. I wouldn’t say no to Coyle given his cap friendly deal ($3.5M), but I wouldn’t pay the same premium for him as I would for Nino.
That said, I also don’t think the Wild will choose to move Coyle given his relatively low cap hit.
Should the flames be in on Evander Kane? Post expansion draft
— Lumin8 (@21lumin8) June 9, 2017
Evander Kane is a great goal scorer but not much else, so he’s a guy who has to be managed a bit on the ice in order for him to succeed.
If his past is any indication, Kane also has to be managed off the ice. His time in Winnipeg was tumultuous including numerous healthy scratches for flouting team rules and disagreements with his teammates, ending in him being shuttled out of town.
So… let’s just stay away from Kane.