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Photo Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Flames scouts are watching a lot of Senators games lately

If there’s one thing that’s simultaneously fascinating and frustrating about the run-up to the National Hockey League’s trade deadline, it’s the attention paid to scouting lists at every game. Most of the time, they don’t matter one bit. But if you’ve been following Twitter over the past two weeks, one constant has popped up in many of the scouting lists: the Calgary Flames have people at just about every single Ottawa Senators game.

What’s happening?

For some background, the Flames brought in all their pro scouts for a family meeting prior to the Flames’ game with Winnipeg on Jan. 20. Everyone who works on the pro side of hockey operations was in town to plan for the trade deadline. Since then? The Flames have sent a lot of their key scouts to watch Ottawa.

Of the scouting lists for the Ottawa games that have happened since Jan. 20, the Flames have sent five different scouts to four different games:

  • Jan. 25 (Ottawa at Boston): assistant general manager Craig Conroy
  • Feb. 1 (Ottawa vs. Anaheim): director, pro personnel Derek MacKinnon
  • Feb. 3 (Ottawa at Philadelphia): vice-president, hockey operations Don Maloney
  • Feb. 4 (Ottawa at Montreal): director, hockey analysis Chris Snow and hockey analysis staffer David Johnson

With this many people checking and cross-checking Ottawa games, it’s probably safe to say that the Flames are very interested in a Senators player (or players).

Who could they be looking at?

Here are the three names that have popped up in reports from folks like Bruce Garrioch, Elliotte Friedman and Chris Johnston as being available.

Mike Hoffman (28)

A left-shooting forward who can play center and the wing, Hoffman is in his prime years and is signed through 2019-20. He’s making $5.188 million a season, though, so it would be a challenge for the Flames to acquire him and stay under the cap without sending something big the other way.

Hoffman’s one of the prime players reported to be available at the deadline, so it would probably take a big package of assets – including the 2019 first round pick and a key prospect – to land him.

Zack Smith (29)

Another left-shooting forward, Smith is primarily a center who’s also in his prime years. He’s signed through 2020-21 and carries a cap hit of $3.25 million. He’s easier to fit under the cap, but he’s also not really an offensive player. All due respect to the guy, but he’d basically be a left-handed Troy Brouwer. It probably wouldn’t cost a ton to get him, as Ottawa would probably be content with a B-level prospect just so they can save themselves his cap hit.

Jean-Gabriel Pageau (25)

The youngest of the three players thought to be available, Pageau is another left-shooting forward. He’s a better offensive talent than Smith and fits the Flames’ need for speedy bottom six forwards, but his $3.1 million cap hit is a bit pricey. He’s signed through 2019-20.

  • everton fc

    The more I think of what our team needs….

    1. Picks, or;
    2. A RW to replace Jagr

    The Leafs appear to be very much interested in a top 4 d-man. We have Brodie (though moving Brodie back to his proper side might be worth trying, first). The Leafs have Marner, Nylander… And Kapanen. Would the Leafs part with either Marner or Nylander, for Brodie? I wonder. Would they part with Kapanen and Leivo, for Brodie?? Is that a good trade for the Flames??? I wonder…

    • LannyMac

      You are exactly right about Brodie Everton. This is a guy that is most comfortable playing the right side. GG insists on ramming the left side down his throat GG is such an F-in idiot. In regards to getting one of the 4 players you mentioned from TO for Brodie you are delusional. Tree would literally have to hold a gun to Shanahan’s head for that to happen.

  • PlayitagainSam

    It’s time to package Sam in a deal to get a bonafide top six forward, one that will get us into the playoffs and over the hump.
    I’d hate to see him go but he is on pace for 28 points. Not enough

    • LannyMac

      Yes for a couple weeks this season Bennett looked like things were starting to click in his cranium. Not an F-in chance this guy is a bust. Just like Phaneuf before the rest of the league figured out his true value get something for him. By this time next year he will be worth a bag of chewed up pucks. If Tree had hit on that 4th overall draft pick this may be a Stanley Cup contender. As it is it is a wanna be team. For missing on a forth overall pick Tree should be fired for that alone.

      • KKisTHEproblem

        Yes, he is a 3rd liner and he is a bust (for a 4th). He is a decent 3rd liner but he needs to score more, luv his toughness but no hockey IQ. I agree, scouting and Tre should have seen that. Look at soe of the guys who went after him and who could be playing right now for the Flames: Pastrnak, Ehlers, Larkin, Fabbri, Scmaltz… Lots of guys who would make this a much better team. Imagine Pastrnak or Ehlers on this team right now. Bums me out

    • The Beej

      Trading Sam could burn us down the road…. sometimes the vets you acquire trend down faster than you think.

      Look at some of those trades over the years like the Bobby Ryan to Ottawa trade… didnt take long for Ryan to decline and now wouldnt you want any one of the assets Ottawa gave up instead of Ryan.

      Im not saying we shouldnt explore trading Bennett… but in 2 years Hoffmam will be 30 and Bennett will be 23.

      Will Bennett improve and reach his potential?

      Will Hoffman decline quickly?

      We dont know… but this is the type of trade that gets a GM fired. Likely we would have to give up more than Bennett to land Hoffman and I think a lot of fans and posters here are looking at this season only. If I am GM I looking at least 2-3 years in the future. In 2-3 years it very well could be that our 2019 first is better than Hoffman, Bennett could be better than Hoffman, Kylington and Andersson could be better assets than Hoffman by that time.

      If we have to package multiple assets to acquire a top six forward we better have an eye on the next 2-3 years at least because this could be the type of trade that prematurely closes our window of contention.