Photo Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Florida’s Jonathan Marchessault “potentially available” due to expansion issues

In life, opportunities come from strange places. For the Calgary Flames, the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft may be one of those strange places. A Twitter report from Sportsnet hockey guru Elliotte Friedman indicates that one of hockey’s better value pieces may be available on the trade market before the roster freeze at 1 p.m. MT today.

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Marchessault, 26, is one of the league’s great success stories over the past year or two. While not particularly big at 5’9″ and 165 pounds, he left Tampa Bay last summer as a Group 6 free agent and landed in Florida on an incredibly inexpensive two-year, $750,000 per deal with the Florida Panthers. Then he put up 30 goals and 51 points, finally converting his reputation as a good AHL scorer into some NHL success. While it’s unlikely that he’ll have the same offensive production in 2017-18, he’s probably the exact type of depth that the Flames are probably seeking this summer: a right-shot player that can play center or the wing.

If Marchessault’s available, as noted by FlamesNation teammate Mike Fail, it’s because Florida’s trying to protect eight skaters and a goalie in an effort to hold onto more of their young defenders. It’s likely they’re protecting a group resembling Sasha Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trochek, Nick Bjugstad, Alex Petrovic, Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad and Mark Pysyk, with Yandle’s no-move clause – which Florida gave him voluntarily, mind you – gumming up the works. That protection group leaves guys like Marchessault, Reilly Smith and Jussi Jokinen in the wind, with Marchessault’s age and cap-friendly deal making him a prime option for plucking by Vegas.

What would it take for the Flames to land Marchessault? It’d probably be a conversation centered around expansion-exempt prospects or reasonably high draft selections. In terms of prospects, one has to wonder if the Flames would be willing to part with some of their young defensive depth – Oliver Kylington, Rasmus Andersson, Adam Fox or Brandon Hickey – to shore up their forward group for the immediate future. In terms of picks, perhaps the Flames could dangle next summer’s second rounder, given they were so eager to trade this year’s for Curtis Lazar – and given that Marchessault is already a better NHLer than Lazar is likely to become. He’s basically a right shot Paul Byron, and the Flames have been missing Byron since Montreal claimed him off waivers two seasons ago.

In terms of protection, acquiring Marchessault probably wouldn’t cause too much of a ruckus since Florida likely wouldn’t acquire from Calgary anybody who would change the Flames’ protection list. Slot Marchessault into the last forward spot – the protected forwards would then be Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Mikael Backlund, Michael Frolik, Sam Bennett, Micheal Ferland and Marchessault – and leave everything else the same.

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It might be far-fetched to imagine the Flames could land Marchessault, but given the alternative for Florida is losing him for nothing it’s probably worth a shot and – given Brad Treliving’s previous wizardry in grabbing Dougie Hamilton without losing a roster player two summers ago – seems oddly up his alley.

    • Lucky 13

      I agree, however I don’t see them exposing Reilly Smith.
      I read there’s a possibility of Panthers exposing Petrovic as well.
      Hate to imagine what Florida is thinking right now, but there are some good players exposed!

  • BendingCorners

    Maybe Curtis plus Brandon Hickey for Jonathan? If Vegas takes Curtis they still have a good D prospect in return. And if we need to expose Curtis by picking up Jonathan then better to include him in the trade if we can. Not sure Florida gets enough back for that to work, but maybe.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Age 26! Could be an eight-day wonder. Another small player on an already small team. This team needs some bulk and skill. Kid might have the skill but not the bulk. Pass.

  • Trevy

    Ah yes, I can see the future Flames with Gaudreau, Mangiapane, Phillips and Marchessault. I don’t mind small skilled players, but enough. You’ll most certainly have to have protection for these guys in our division!

  • freethe flames

    Heard earlier today that the Blue Jackets were prepared to give LV a 1st rounder and a prospect to protect their top end exposed players; that’s a heavy price. I like Josh Anderson but I would pay a 1st rounder to get him. It will be interesting to see how the next few hours will play out.

  • Denscafon

    If BT fails to acquire Raanta/Grubauer from the original teams or from vegas, then sure look into Marchessault but to me, and from what BT has said before you build from the net out first. Our lack of RW skill/depth is the not as important as fixing our goalie and top 4 D situation.

  • Garry T

    Beyond our core group of guys, we do not have a lot of trading power to obtain serious need ie. A top winger for Monny and a top 4 D to play alongside Brodie. What the hell is Tre doing giving up another 2 rounder
    When he has two NHL ready tenders in Stockton. Smith for two years ….
    What a freaking joke to use a Treliving comment. We need a 4D, we need two quality right wingers. How are we going to obtain them? I think T should go back to delivering pizzas. He says he used to get lost doing that job. I think he is lost in terms of upgrading our team. If you look at our team, it is all on the scouting staff in terms of picks. What a bloody mess.