WWYD Wednesday: Should the Flames be buyers or sellers?

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The 2017 trade deadline is less than two weeks away. The Calgary Flames are currently one point out of a wildcard spot in the West, with their nearest opponent (the Kings) owning two games in hand. SportsClub Stats puts Calgary’s chances of making the postseason at just over 30%.

So the playoffs are within reach, but the club is in a precarious position. Any sort of extended losing streak over the remainder of the season will surely sink their chances of making the dance. 

So what should Brad Treliving do? Are the Flames buyers or sellers?

Buyers

The Flames (59 points) are competing with a handful of clubs for the final playoff spots in the West. Aside from the aforementioned Kings, there’s also the St. Louis Blues (63 points), Nashville Predators (62 points) and Vancouver Canucks (56 points). Calgary only needs to beat out two of these four clubs in the final quarter of the season to make the playoffs. 

As noted by Dimitri Filipovic recently, the Flames are a team with very clear roster needs, suggesting they could dramatically improve their performance (and therefore their playoff chances) by making a few key moves:

Unlike most of their competition that lacks the means to address holes in their lineups, Calgary possesses a rare combination of clearly defined needs and the flexibility to actually go out and do something about it. 

Whether it’s at the trade deadline or this summer, there are two notable things that GM Brad Treliving and his staff need to explore: find a complementary third wheel for Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, and give T.J. Brodie a defence partner who can keep up with him.

A top line winger and/or a competent top four defender are painfully obvious areas of need for the Flames. If they could firm up their attack behind the 3M line or get Dennis Wideman away from top six competition, it will make the top of their rotation far more imposing on a nightly basis. 

To do this, Treliving can either shop for a rental or a more expensive, longer term solution. 

Potential rentals include:

  • P.A. Parenteau
  • Thomas Vanek
  • Radim Vrbata
  • Jaromir Jagr
  • Drew Stafford
  • Cody Franson
  • Brendan Smith
  • Michael Stone
  • Patrick Wiercioch
  • Dmitri Kulikov

Longer term “buys” include:

  • Matt Duchene
  • Gabriel Landeskog
  • Evander Kane

The Flames can likely afford two of the cheaper rental guys listed here or one of the more expensive contracts. Keep in mind the big names will come with much bigger price tags and could contribute to cap headaches beyond this season.

In return, the Flames have a few things they can offer. Almost any name on the Stockton Heat could be in the conversation (including Mark Jankowski, Andrew Mangiapane, Hunter Shinkaruk, Emile Poirier, Oliver Kylington, Rasmus Andersson and Jon Gillies), as well as high-end prospects like Brandon Hickey, Adam Fox and Tyler Parsons. 

Calgary could also dangle their first round pick, which could settle anywhere between 10-20, depending on how the rest of the season goes. Depending on the return, a guy like Sam Bennett might be the key to a package as well.

Sellers

Instead of gambling worthwhile future assets on a relatively low chance at the playoffs, Treliving can sell off expendable pieces and then iron out his roster problems at the draft and free agency this summer instead. 

Calgary doesn’t have a lot in the way of desirable commodities (that they’d be willing to part with), but they could certainly put guys like Deryk Engelland (UFA), Dennis Wideman (yeah right), Matt Stajan (one year left), Kris Versteeg (UFA), Lance Bouma (one year left), Alex Chiasson (RFA), Garnet Hathaway (RFA), Jyrki Jokipakka (RFA), Tyler Wotherspoon (RFA) and one of Brian Elliott (UFA) or Chad Johnson (UFA) on the auction block.

Trading some of the depth players probably wouldn’t represent a true “sell” by Treliving (he could likely do this without really harming the Flames’ playoff chances), but moving guys like Versteeg or one of the goalies would certainly signal a focus shift to next year over this one. 

Conclusion

So what would you do? Keep in mind the Flames have seen a big upswing in their underlying numbers since December and Brad Treliving does NOT have a contract for next season. In his position, would those two facts compel you to buy aggressively at the deadline? Or would a conservative strategy be more prudent given the Flames’ place in the standings and the options available?

Buyer or seller? What do you think the Flames should do?

  • Old Goat

    I believe they should resign Versteeg for a two year deal. If we move him we will just spend the next two or three years trying to find the same player. Good guy,good citizen and a proven winner. Best part is we already have him. Scary to think if he signed with the lottery kings

  • SydScout

    Call me crazy but I don’t see the point of trading away future assets for a rental when no one believes we’re in the running for the Cup. Try mightily to get to the playoffs, but not by using a rental. If we’re the 9th placed team in the west, so be it. We’re on an upward trajectory, not a middling team per the iginla years.

    I’d be trading one of the goalies, any of the aforementioned replacement pieces ex Versteeg and Stajan (whom I hope sticks around beyond next year on the fourth line – he’s been great this year).

  • Franko J

    The past two trade deadlines under BT the trend is to pick up 2nd round picks. To Treliving he sees picks in the 2nd round as currency or future assets for the draft.

    Example:
    Elliot for a second.

    I just don’t see any of the players we can offer or trade garner a second round pick. I would like to see the Flames be more of a seller than buyer. Although most “experts” feel the upcoming draft is weaker than the past two, I still feel that the more picks at the draft the better.

    With the upcoming expansion draft changing the whole dynamics of the trade market I think it is very unlikely that Calgary will be involved in any “blockbuster” deals.
    Short term: second pairing D.

    Any consideration of trading Bennett would be unwise unless it is for a top 3 pick or grade A player.

  • freethe flames

    We frequently say on this sight that you draft best player available and trade or sign FA to fill your needs. We have had the same needs for 3 years; upgrade in net, upgrade or RH player pool whether it be RHD or top 6 RHF. The trade deadline is another time to explore and discuss your needs.

    Short term: we are in a play off race and quite frankly as tight as the race is BT should be buying to fill at least one of our glaring needs. A RHD even if it a rental might be enough to get us in the playoffs. If the player works out you might be able sign him. Just don’t overpay. There have to be a few RHD that are upgrades over Wides and or Engs.

    We could also use a RHF who is an upgrade over e Chiasson or Brouwer. Are there short term solutions I believe there are, Again just don’t over pay.

    With the expansion draft coming up we could add a long term solution upfront. We currently only have 5 forwards that I would be committed to protecting, if somehow BT could land us an upgrade over Brouwer I would be prepared to expose him.

    None of us know the market but we can see what has been done so far. Fiddler got a 4th. Tell me our rentals are not at least the same. Don’t be afraid to make package deals; move the late picks and B prospects. Don’t expect any of the top names unless your are prepared to lose the First rounder and either one of our top prospects and or a player we would protect.

  • Flaymin Frank

    Prediction: We’ll be fence sitters.

    With all the blood in the water these days from coaches getting it in the neck I wouldn’t be surprised if something happens in that department. I don’t like seeing a coaching carousel but I don’t think G.G. is fooling anybody with his serious lack of interpersonal skills.

    The trade deadline is coming at about the same time as our fate in terms of a potential play off schedule vs. the early golf season. I think the Flames will go home with the girl they took to the dance.

    But if I find that crystal ball I’ll be sure to let everybody know.

    GFG

  • freethe flames

    How can he not do both? There are rentals that might get something back which in turn will likely be used to get other peoples rentals.( I can see both Engs and Versteeg as depth players on a team making a run at it) I doubt he does anything significant which is too bad as with the right tweak we could enjoy playoff hockey again.

  • Derzie

    Buy or sell? We are against the cap and no one wants our garbage, so to speak.If Brad unwisely goes all-in on GG, expect him to trade away a core player. If not, he doesn’t do much.

    • Stan

      Brodie and Hamilton are worth much more than either Duchene or Landeskog. Would never happen, but if it did, the Avalanche would be adding not us. Just look at what the Oilers had to give up for Larsson, who is objectively not as good as Brodie or Hamilton.

      • JimmyV1965

        Hamilton is better than Larsson, but I wouldn’t say Brodie is. They’re two different types of players, but age wise and contract wise I take Larsson over Brodie. The price for Duchene is Brodie, plain and simple.

      • freethe flames

        And if we lose either of these two who do we have ready to replace them? No one. The chance of us landing a top end top 6 player in trade is none. Might we be able to add someone who is an upgrade or a young guy who may get better now that is possible.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    “Trade him! Are you nuts! He’s only 20! You don’t trade 20-year-old first rounders. End of discussion.”

    What was said by Islander fans about 20-year-old Griffen Reinhart and by Oiler fans about 20-year-old Nail Yakupov.

  • Backburner

    I’m starting to think the Flames would be better off as sellers.

    They don’t at this point seem to have enough gas in the tank to make a push for it, or go deep.

    Maybe the best decision at this point would be to set themselves up for the expansion draft/ off-season.

    They’ll have some bad contracts come off the books, hopefully acquire a few assets, and with the new cap space add a solid top 4 D, or top line RW.

  • Stan

    I would look to pick up two pieces IF (and only if) the price is cheap:

    1) Parenteau to ride shotgun with JG & SM for the rest of the year. Then look to obtain a true, long term 1RW in the offseason when we have a bunch of money off the books and deals are easier to make.

    2) Franson to fill out the top 4. Then hope to make a handshake deal with him before the expansion draft, wait until afterwards so we don’t have to protect him and sign him in UFA.

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      I don’t have a problem with this pair. Would need to offer LV something for not taking Franson, though.

      If we were able to swing these, then we can say bye-bye to Wideman, Bouma, Jokipakka, and possibly Chaisson. PAP bumps the RW’s down. I suppose Chaisson on the 4th line RW would be ok. Ferland is better on LW anyway.

  • everton fc

    My opinion on these “Potential Rentals”:

    P.A. Parenteau – No
    Thomas Vanek – No
    Radim Vrbata – No
    Jaromir Jagr – No
    Drew Stafford – No
    Cody Franson – Perhaps
    Brendan Smith – Perhaps
    Michael Stone – Better than “perhaps”
    Patrick Wiercioch – Perhaps
    Dmitri Kulikov – Better than “perhaps”

    Longer term “buys” include:

    Matt Duchene – Yes
    Gabriel Landeskog – Yes
    Evander Kane – We have enough problems! NO!

    As for this;

    “Put Engelland, Jokipakka, Bouma, Stajan, Wotherspoon, Hathaway on the block, move them as all are replaceable, even this season, internally. Pick up assets, clear out log jams, get some depth picks in return.”

    No one wants Wotherspoon. We don’t even seem to want Wotherspoon. Moving Engelland, unless you get a considerable return (remember, next years draft is seen as less then deep) would be a mistake if we are truly pushing for the playoffs. Moving Hathaway makes no sense for a team with no guts or grit. Bouma and Jokipaaka are good “chips”. Maybe Stajan is, too, but I say “hold”.

    Our first should be on the table. Brouwer should be shopped. Would you rather have Duchene here than Bennett? Might take something like that to pry him out of Denver. But using Jankowski, Jokipaaka, our first… Bouma.. Brouwer… in some sort of package for Duchene… If only dreams came true with these posts!

    Oh, almost forgot – DON’T MOVE FERLAND! Again, we have a team with NO GRIT and NO GUTS. And everyone wants to “move” Ferland… Hathaway… Engelland…

    We need to ADD this type of player, one w/skill, skating ability, and so on. A kid like McGrattan w/the Habs. That should be the target – a player like that. If available.

  • BobB

    Neither. The Flames should be builders. None of the following four players are significantly helping us win over replacement level players:

    Wideman, Engellend, Brouwer and Bouma.

    Sell them for any asset(s) coming back. Add a goalie to the list (whoever gets the best return between Elliot and Johnson). Shop Stajan.

    Half those players are addition by subtraction.

    Then build where/if you can. We all know the needs, so try and fill them with a good value contract, decent player. But honestly, I don’t see the market supporting changes that will help us either way and likely no one will give us anything for our unwanted guys.

  • KH44

    Sell for the short term, buy for the long term.

    Put Engelland, Jokipakka, Bouma, Stajan, Wotherspoon, Hathaway on the block, move them as all are replaceable, even this season, internally. Pick up assets, clear out log jams, get some depth picks in return.

    Pick up long term pieces. No long term defencemen can be added, due to the expansion draft, but forwards definitely can. Targeting one of Colorado’s duo seems like a good pick. Landeskog would be my preferred player (younger and signed for longer). Adding him to the current top six means there is another quality player for the core, giving the Flames Gaudreau, Monahan, Tkachuk, Backlund, Frolik, and potentially Sam Bennett. If Brouwer can recover from this season, a decent top nine could develop.

    As for the cost, the first rounder would definitely be gone, and that is fine. Two or three of the Stockton kids, depending on who Colorado targets, would also be involved. One of the young d men, definitely. As for a roster player, a guy like Ferland would be movable. If it is Bennett, it would probably eliminate the prospects in the trade, and be Bennett + first. Or Treliving could work his magic, and we get a steal. Who knows?

    • Ogie Oglethorp

      So… Let me see if I got this right. We should sell a bunch overpriced crap nobody wants.

      Then get landeskog for a 1st round pick in a weak draft, a couple failed prospects and Ferland (replacement level).

      Magic required indeed…

      Benette might get the conversation *started*

      • KH44

        See what you can get for the overpriced crap. Someone will often pay for something. Even if you get barely anything, its something. If you have internal options that can fill, why not try to sell? At least I didn’t suggest they try to sell Wideman.

        Yeah, that is a long shot bid, absolutely. A first rounder, multiple prospects that Colorado gets to choose, including our best prospects, and a roster player – I suggested Ferland because he is a young roster player that other teams can dream on. I honestly think that could be the start of the discussion. Is that all it takes? No, probably not. But for a team like Colorado, a package of prospects and picks with a roster player has to be attractive. Phil Kessel was traded, along with Erixon and Biggs and a 2nd, for Spaling, Harrington, Kapanen, a first and a third.

        Landeskog, while a 2nd overall pick, has a career high of 26 goals and 65 points (in 13-14, so not exactly recent), and .67 ppg over 400 career games. He currently has 11-12-23 in 44 games. He isn’t the superstar you may think he is.
        Brandon Saad, with a 17-22-39 in 55 games and a .64 ppg in 341 career games. The trade to the Blackhawks obviously had salary cap implications, but the cost was Saad, Broadhurst and Paliotta for Anisimov, Dano, Morin, Tropp and a 4th.
        So a 1st, their pick of (multiple) prospects, four of which are first rounders, and a roster player isn’t as outlandish as you may think. It may cost more than that, absolutely, but he isn’t Duchene or another high end player. By goals per game, Landeskog is not as good as Duchene, or Kessel, or Saad, or Monahan, or Gaudreau. His points per game are the same as Monahan, as a winger instead of a center.

        You may be right, Bennett and a 1st are the cost, as I also said. But that doesn’t mean the other trade is as lopsided as you believe. I may have understated, but you definitely overstated.

      • Stan

        Treliving Magic = getting Hamilton for 3 picks that all look questionable to be NHLers.

        Chiarelli Magic = getting Reinhart for 1 pick that looks like an absolute stud in Barzal.

        Go back to shelbyville, nobody wants you here.

  • Parallex

    On the question at hand.

    I think they should buy… but not buy big. Really what the Flames need is to reduce the excess minutes that bad players are eating up. Cheap Rentals that won’t cost much. PA Parenteau would be a good pick up (knock Chiasson and/or Brouwer down the line-up. Not sure about D-men, what I’d want there would be someone willing to negotiate a contract for next season but would be willing to wait until noon EST July 1 to actually sign it.

  • Parallex

    “Mark Divver ‏@MarkDivver 18m18 minutes ago
    Word is Flames will sign Bartkowski to two-way deal for rest of this season and next year”

    Whew… expansion draft requirement insurance met.