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WWYDW: How do you tackle the Flames’ logjam on defence?

After trading for Travis Hamonic and re-signing Michael Stone, the Flames were supposed to have one of the best defences in the NHL, at least on paper. On the ice? That hasn’t quite come to fruition, though recent improvements do provide some hope.

What they definitely do have, though, are a lot of capable players on the blueline – and even more knocking on the door to join them.

On a good, healthy day, this is the Flames’ defensive group:

Mark Giordano Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie Travis Hamonic
Brett Kulak Michael Stone

In addition to those six, there is also have quite the stable of high-caliber prospects. Rasmus Andersson could, and maybe should, be in the NHL right now. Juuso Valimaki and Adam Fox are coming off of stellar World Juniors performances, which have all been a part of what have been overall exemplary seasons since both defencemen were drafted. And don’t forget Oliver Kylington, already in his third AHL season, even though this is just the first year of his entry-level contract.

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As difficult as it already is to see into the future, figuring out just where all 10 of these guys fit down the line is especially tough. There just isn’t that much room. Brett Kulak is playing in his first full NHL season; is he expendable? T.J. Brodie, Hamonic, and Stone all have three seasons left on their deals. Dougie Hamilton seems oft underused, but a couple of timely goals as of late could be putting him in a better light he should have been in all along. And age will likely be a question with Mark Giordano for the remaining five years of his contract, because that’s how professional sports go. Prospects are exciting in part because they have so many years ahead of him, and Giordano is on the wrong side of that.

At some point, somebody is going to have to go: whether it be a prospect or an established NHL veteran. A trade could see the forward group upgraded, while perhaps recouping some picks, or making room for a kid with massive upside (if it’s mid-season, then Andersson is the most likely candidate).

So what would you do? Try to ship someone out not only for assets, but to make room for a prospect, as well? Does it make more sense to do that at the trade deadline or in the offseason? Or would it be better to cash in on the high value some of these prospects have to bolster another area of the team that needs help, even if it could come back to bite the Flames?

Who’s the best player to trade, both in terms for the optimal lineup, and in terms for maximizing a return? Or would it be better to simply stand pat and wait for everything to work itself out?

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The Flames have a logjam at defence, but it isn’t an immediately pressing concern. What would you do about it?

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  • Sven

    Excluding Kulak and Stone – who I dont think would bring back much return
    I think there are moves that could be made now and going forward

    I think Hamonic may be the worlds best person-
    but I wouldn’t have a problem moving him now

    i would think that if given the opportunity Andersson would likely outplay him this year –
    and i wouldnt think that slotting in Wotherspoon (current NHLE of 24) would be that much of a step down

    and going forward our 19 year olds wont be too far from the big club at next seasons start

    Valimaki 6’2 200 could likely play now (NHLE of 25)
    Dobber prospect ranking B+ / potential first pairing defence man

    and Fox – although smaller 5’11 180 – has an NHLE of 17
    Dobber prospect ranking B+ / potential second pairing defence man / PP specialist

    interesting to note that two of the top three rookie defence men currently rocking in the bigs are both 20 years old or younger , 19 yo Sergachev in Tampa and 20 yo Charlie McAvoy in Boston

    Im thinking the Flames could move Hamonic now for offensive help

    and TJ at season end

    • deantheraven

      Me too. From the chatter on the broadcasts lately, Brady sounds the bigger chip off the old block.Would not want to have to play against a Tkachuk without one. Better to have two.

    • supra steve

      What would it have taken for you, as Flames GM, to move the #6 pick that Flames used to select Monahan? How about for the #4 pick that they used for Bennett, or the #6 pick that got us M Tkachuk?
      You would not have taken an undersized/highly skilled college junior D-man plus an AHL goaltender who is having trouble taking the next step….would you? So why would anyone take such a return for B Tkachuk?

      • cberg

        That’s nonsense. Both Gillies and Fox were better than Brady Tkachuk pre-draft and each has been very good to outstanding since their drafts. Just because we got MT and his brother appears to be in the same mold doesn’t mean he will be as good, nor that he has proven anything, yet.

        That being said, I might do that trade, even with the overpayment, simply because we are dealing with two strength positions for a position of need.

  • Rusty Shackleford

    If Anderson shot left, I would say trade Brodie for a top 6 winger who can score. But, unfortunately that’s not the case. I guess send Stone to the press box and call up Anderson, however I don’t see that happening.

  • CMC

    As good as Brady Tkachuk is likely to be it can be scary having brothers on the same team if something goes bad for one of them. Sedins have been an exception but could have been a train wreck

  • Brodie. Brodie. Brodie. It sucks but he has the best value of return and his departure can be absorbed, besides other guys are going to get paid. I just don’t see them trading away Hamilton or Hamonic at this point and no way is anyone giving us a first for the latter. Brodie is the odd man out with high value. Stone could get moved to put the return wouldn’t be nearly as high. See ya TJ, at least you found your wings bud.

  • WillyWonka

    wait, i don’t get it – you say, “where do these 10 fit in” but in reality there are 14 pro-spots for defensemen, 7 in Calgary, 7 in the AHL, plus there is the ECHL.
    where’s the logjam??????

  • canadian1967

    TJ is the guy to trade. He still has value because he is the team’s ice time leader and can wheel.
    We need a scoring winger FAR more than we need a D-man who coughs up the puck as much as Brodie does.

    • The Beej

      Is Kylington ready to fill 2nd lind LW? Not so sure about that. This isnt a bad idea but it has potential to be a trade that fills a hole only to create another.

      If there is a LW D in FA or if Kylington can take that next step then this could work though. Brodie will bring back far better value than Stone or Hamonic.

      Doesnt address the logjam at RD though which needs to happen by summer of 2019 if we want to sign Fox. Which is why if we can find a partner that will give value for Fox it might be prudent to at least explore moving him.

  • The Beej

    3 ways to go.

    1. Move a Hamonic or Stone for picks.
    Pro: opens up a spot and replenishes draft pick holdings a little.
    Con: neither has much in trade value at this point so you wont get much back. You wont be able to upgrade the roster and may get back less than you originally gave up (I say “may” because as long as incompetent GMs like Chiarelli are allowed to run around unchecked anything is possible.

    2. Move a prospect to fill the hole at RW. Maybe a Fox for Marner or Hoffman or a Stone. Im sure you can think of more RWs you would like.
    Pro: brings back better value and fills a roster hole.
    Con: moves a potentially great future player before full value is realized… so I think for this option to be realistic BT needs a dance partner that will pay a high price.

    3. Upgrade the D itself. Does Fox+Hamonic+Kylington+1st 2019 get a convo started on Erik Karlsson?
    Pro: well a star like Karlsson would give us by far the best Dcore or at least rival Nashville.
    Con: well we would be giving up a lot. To be worthwhile we would also need to resign Karlsson. That could be tricky but there will be huge cap increases the next couple of years.

    #3 is really just a pipe dream but I think we have the assets to pull it off. We could set up OTT Dcore for the future.

    Hell throw in Dube Gillies and more and see if they will throw in Stone. Lets dream big.

    • Atomic Clown

      Im sorry, but that is terrible asset management. All the players you are willing to give up are worth far more as a sum than Erik Karlsson. Calgary would also have the highest paid d-core in the league. Need I remind you of Chicago? Hoffman and Stone are the most interesting trade targets on the Senators. I do believe Dorion said Stone is part of their core, so it will take quite a bit to pry him. Hoffman on the other hand is a sniper on a reasonably decent contract. Despite him being left handed, he would be a huge boost to the PP. Ottawa will either go full rebuild, or they want dmen/goalies. Flames dont have goalies that would help Ottawa immediately, however Brodie/Stone would be very appealing to the Sens.

    • Trevy

      You clearly have forgotten to take the effects of the salary cap into all these equations. Hoffman makes over $5 mill, Stone is going to get more when his contract is up this year. Karlsson will get 8 figures and all we’re giving up is prospects? We’re already close to the cap, no way any of these scenarios work

    • We just got Travis for a 1st, we are not getting that back unless he somehow lights up the league with 60 points and his corsi magically raises. Stone maybe but his contract is a bit iffy and you’re basically getting maybe a third rounder OR a player that plays like one. Brodie is the most expendable with the highest return. I joke about getting Karlsson, but there exists in reality a salary cap, and if Karlsson comes in long term, say good by to one of or more Gio, Tkachuck, Monahan, or JG because we can’t have a whole team of $5 million plus players, EK is going to be $10 million and just think of who we would also have to give up just to get him, I don’t believe in selling the farm and faces of the franchise to get one guy who also gets injured alot. I’d rather move Brodie and a prospect for a proven top 6 forward on a term friendly cap.

  • Cheeky

    TJ – most value and he’s not getting any better. Don’t get me wrong, great 3rd rounder who became a top 4 but his resistant to shoot leaves him strictly as a passer (good one yes but still needs to shoot when presented with the opportunity). For some reason his cough ups and defensive gaffs have become worse lately (especially this year). I like Brodie but he would fetch best return…

  • YWC

    Don’t want crap on the enthusiasm and optimism, but as good as Rasmus and Oliver have been, they are still prospects. There is still time for them to prove themselves. And let them prove themselves first before doing anything rushed. The beauty of our d man roster is that we can be patient not like the oilers.

  • Burnward

    I take Brodie and package him with either Andersson, Kylington or Fox and eye an upgrade on defense.

    Karlsson, Doughty, Ekblad, Parayko…that level. Or you chill and play it out. Do not weaken the D no matter what.

    Other than that, keep it stable.

    • Trevy

      As I mentioned above…salary cap. Brodie out $4,650,000, Karlsson in at over $10 million. Difference of over $5 million. We have about $2,750,000 in cap space total. Never going to happen..

    • Kevin R

      I think we need a tough top 4 like Trouba. Brodie for Trouba is what we need. BVrodie is signed at a good salary for 2 more years, which a team like the Jets value & Trouba is a RFA. So this swap is closer than you think & rumour is Trouba is available out there. Then move Stone in summer & let the battle begin for the 5-6-7 spots. I like Kulak but he will need to be even better. If we can ink Fox this spring to a pro contract, I may be tempted to dangle Kylington in the trade market.

      • everton fc

        Kulak will be better. Hamonic for Trouba: Hamonic gets to go home, Trouba gets punted (Jets are a very good team, so for Trouba to want out now… Makes him look pretty stupid, but so be it). Toughness for toughness, perhaps… And I don’t think the Jest do the deal player-for-player.

        Just a thought…

    • Just.Visiting

      Funny…I had mentioned a potential shift of Dougie to RW to the guy in the office next to me yesterday. It would help with the upcoming log jam on the back end.

      In that regard, I still don’t understand the logic behind moving a huge package of picks for Hamonic if BT knew that Stone was going to resign, given what the Flames have in the pipeline. I have yet to see the big difference between them other than for Brodie looking better with Stone last year than he does this year and Stone having a bomb that he doesn’t use nearly often enough.

    • supra steve

      Flames have a young offensively capable right handed first pairing NHL D-man, about as valuable a commodity as there is in the league. You want to turn him into a scoring winger?

      Do you remember when the Oilers traded Taylor Hall to New Jersey for Adam Larsson? Larsson is also young (but older than Hamilton), not as offensively capable, and is probably more suited to a second pairing roll.

      So if it is possible to trade Adam Larsson for a scoring winger of the quality of Taylor Hall, who in their right mind would even consider converting Dougie Hamilton into a winger? You want to rethink that one?

    • everton fc

      I like Nelson.

      We need to get picks. I think that’s the sane/stable thing to do. Almost everyone here (myself included sometime!) whines and wails about the kids in Stockton getting a chance. “We want to see Klimchuk, Andersson, Wotherspoon, Shinkaruk, Poirier, Lomberg (Lomberg in the list because this fan loves his game. Another Hathaway, perhaps?!)…

      If we want to see our prospects, let’s see them. Where we lack depth, more than on RW, is we have no 1st/2nd round picks. Tkachuk can play RW. Ferland is actually a LW. Mangiapane was tried up here, on RW. Hathaway was tried on LW. And so on. You make due w/what you have. Hrivik, who I think is a “tweener”, cab play centre and wing. Brouwer has played both wings…

      Again, for now, get picks. Brodie will get a first, I think. His wife is ill, though. Chronic. Does he spend the off-season here, or in Ontario? Would Winnipeg be a better fit for Hamonic?? Would Stone consider Ottawa, which would keep his brother in the capital when his contract expires??? All off-season moves…