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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Gillies, Andersson lead the way of likely trade assets

With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, Flames general manager Brad Treliving has made it no secret he’d like to add to his forward group, if possible. Assuming Calgary is looking to supplement without removing anything from their current roster, the conversation becomes one about organizational assets.

The problem is, the Flames have depleted those resources over the last year thanks to acquisitions of players like Travis Hamonic, Michael Stone, and Mike Smith. The team isn’t running totally empty on tradable assets, though.

I split things up into three categories to assess Calgary’s trade chips, based less on my opinion of the assets in question and more on what seems realistic from the team’s standpoint.

PROBABLE

Jon Gillies. Calgary’s 2013 third round pick finds himself in a bit of an organizational logjam. With David Rittich excelling at the NHL level and Tyler Parsons (more on him later) presenting a high ceiling, the Flames have cultivated a position of strength between the pipes. As such, Gillies seems like an obvious candidate for this conversation.

Rittich is the guy getting the NHL work right now, while all the intel I’ve gathered suggests Parsons is considered the true “blue chipper”. Considering that and the trade value carried by Gillies, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see him on the move prior to Feb. 26.

Gillies has a lot going for him. He just turned 24, so is still relatively young, especially by goaltending standards. He’s also bounced back very well from the hip surgery that wiped out his 2015-16 season, staying healthy since the two seasons since. Finally, Gillies is having a solid season in the American League; he sits 14-12-2 with a 0.915 save percentage, one of the league’s better totals.

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Rasmus Andersson. This is a tough one, because I think Andersson is a stud and could be a huge part of Calgary’s blueline going forward. Looking at the organizational depth chart, though, you don’t have to squint to see the team using Andersson as a trade chip. With Dougie Hamilton, Travis Hamonic, Michael Stone, and Adam Fox all wielding right shots, the Flames are definitely deep on that side.

I can’t think of an NHL team that wouldn’t be thrilled to welcome Andersson to the fold. He’s 21, is an extremely gifted skater, and has outstanding offensive instincts; with 28 points in 40 games, Andersson is one of the AHL’s top scoring defencemen this season. If it were me, I’d be dealing one of Hamonic or Stone to make room for Andersson on the NHL roster.

If the Flames do decide to trade Andersson, though, the hope would be he’d be part of an acquisition of a true impact maker. Trading a defensive prospect like him for a mid-level rental would be really tough to see. Personally, I don’t think trading Andersson is the way to go, but I could absolutely see it happening. If that’s the case, let’s hope he’s not thrown away.

2018 draft picks. Calgary doesn’t have a ton of picks this year, but the ones they do have could be used as part of a package or in a deal involving a lower impact player. Here’s a look at how things shape up for the next three drafts:

Draft Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
2018 X XX X X
2019 X XX X X
2020 X X X X X X X

Per the intrepid Ryan Pike, there are some conditions surrounding the team’s 2018 third round pick, making it more complicated to move. But trading one of their fourth round picks this season combined with one of their later round selections could probably net the Flames a bottom six forward, if that’s the route they wanted to go.

Honourable mentions. Knowing the team is relatively deep on the back end, I could see Calgary dealing either one of Oliver Kylington or Tyler Wotherspoon prior to the deadline. I can’t see either player garnering much of a return on their own, but as part of a larger package it might be more realistic.

POSSIBLE

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Parsons. As we mentioned above, Parsons is the team’s highest rated goaltender, so it would have to be a pretty sweet deal to see him go. The only reason I put Parsons in this category is because of what we mentioned prior: the organizational depth chart.

We all know how well thought of Parsons is in hockey circles. He’s young, he’s athletic, he’s wired in an impressive way, and he wins. Because scouts have seen Parsons excel in recent high level situations (2016 Memorial Cup, 2017 World Juniors), he already has a solid cache across the league. The fact his first professional season has had ups and downs shouldn’t hurt his trade value much, if at all.

Adam Fox. So much of what we talked about with Andersson applies to Fox, except the latter is two years younger. Otherwise, there are myriad similarities: Fox is a right shot, a gifted skater, and possesses impressive offensive instincts. I just wonder if the Flames would be more hesitant to include him in a trade because of his age.

Fox’s college situation could drive his value down a little, if only slightly, which also puts him in this category as opposed to probable. Fox has the option to become a free agent come the summer of 2020, which is a valid, if small, concern. That said, his skillset and performance at this year’s World Juniors would make him extremely attractive. Just like Andersson, the only way Calgary can trade Fox is if they’re getting a big time return.

2019 first round pick. The Flames won’t draft in the first round this year, and dealing their first round pick in 2019 would make it two years in a row. Furthermore, if this pick were to change hands, Calgary would be without a selection in the first three rounds of next year’s draft. But, if the team wants to acquire one of the bigger name wingers available, they might not have a choice to include a first rounder.

UNTOUCHABLE

Juuso Valimaki. While the Flames are nice and deep down the right side of their defensive depth chart, things aren’t anywhere near as flush on the opposite flank. So, not only does Valimaki look like a bona fide top four NHL defenceman (at the least), his left shot makes him even more valuable within the organization.

Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, and Brett Kulak are Calgary’s left shot D-men at the NHL level, while the aforementioned Wotherspoon and Kylington are options at the minor league level. Well, Giordano will be 35 next season, Brodie has struggled this year, and neither Wotherspoon nor Kylington are surefire NHLers. For that reason alone, trading Valimaki seems like a no go.

That point is underlined when you factor in how good Valimaki looks as a prospect. The 2017 first round pick is a point-per-game player with Tri-City, has appeared in two straight WJCs with Finland, and isn’t out of the question to challenge for a roster spot next year.

If Valimaki pans out as hoped, it opens up options for the Flames. It could allow them to use Brodie as a trade chip down the road, or at the very worst, would allow the team to have a replacement upon Giordano’s eventual decline (if that ever happens, of course, as the dude is a freak). Plain and simple, trading Valimaki has to be off the table.

Dillon Dube. You might do a double take seeing Dube on this list, but I think his inclusion is for good reason. One of Calgary’s two 2016 second round picks, Dube is fresh off captaining Canada to a World Junior gold medal and is having a great season with WHL Kelowna (38 GP, 25 G, 31 A, 56 P);  that alone would make me reticent to trade him.

But, with Mark Jankowski an NHL regular, Dube also represents the team’s only true prospect down the middle. Knowing top teams are built with strength down the middle makes him a key future cog to begin with. Dube becomes even more important when you consider Mikael Backlund’s uncertain future with the organization.

If the Flames don’t lock Backlund up longterm, it leaves a massive hole down the middle and one I’m not convinced Jankowski will be able to fill, now or in the future. Dube is no guarantee in that sense, either, but man, everything I’ve seen from him leads me to believe he’s got the capability. I wouldn’t be eager to see Dube live in any circumstance, but the Backlund factor should make him truly untouchable.

  • Mitchell

    Okay, I’m just putting this out there, but as the market is right now I don’t see us getting Hoffman, Pacioretty, or any other player of that caliber. The price is simply too high, the management is not going to want to give up too many future assets, or roster players. It’s just foolish to think it’s going to happen.

    • everton fc

      Unless there’s a bombshell move, agreed. I don’t think we are “in”, on Hoffman. There’s whispers and comments linking us to Pacioretty, but then you’re talking either Brodie, or a combo platter that might include someone like Andersson. I see neither happening.

      What we need is a forward as an upgrade to Hathaway. I think we’ll see more of the Bennett-Jankowski-Tkachuk experiment. So you have Lazar/Hathaway-Backlund-Frolik. We need a forward who can play both wings.

      When Brouwer’s back… When Versteeg is back… Do you bench Hathaway? That, to me, would be crazy. Do you bench Stajan, and go w/Lazar?? Do they put Versteeg w/Bennett and Jankowski, or w/Backlund and Frolik (more likely), and have a 4th line of Hathaway-Lazar-Brouwer? Then you don’t really need a forward do you – unless a froward is going the other way…

      We shall see, soon enough. A quality right-handed wing who can play both wings… Would be ideal. If we could dump Brouwer’s cap hit to a team that needs to make the cap floor… That, too, would be ideal, if we can get a forward back.

      • Greg

        I could see them giving up on big fish and just trying to shore up the 3rd line wing. But if versteeg is going to come back before playoffs, they might see him as their deadline “acquisition” and hold on to their assets.

    • deantheraven

      I hope you’re right and i hope Tre sees that too.As much as we all want to be ‘contending’, we’re still rebuilding. Both of Hoffman and Pacioretty have upside but not long term, and they’d still be high-priced rentals in the short term, disregarding the long run. Girodano will be replaceable, someday, but not for another year or two. Ok, maybe at the draft…
      Brodie is replaceable now. Stone is replaceable now. Kulak is replaceable now. Two of those spots can and should be filled from within by next year.
      Or, one or two of those prospects who would fill those spots- Wotherspoon or Kjlington on the left and Andersson on the right- will be dealt in an attempt to upgrade the forward corps. That upgrade had better be a long term solution, or we’re going to have a gun- cleaning accident to explain.

      • Mitchell

        Kulak is younger than wotherspoon, and is in the NHL now. I’d much rather keep him than wotherspoon, he has more upside in my opinion. Kylington won’t be ready next year. He just doesn’t have the defensive game to excel in the NHL for now.

  • MKAA

    TJ Brodie, Glenn Gawdin, to Toronto
    1st and Kasperi Kapanen to Calgary

    Toronto 1st, 2018 Jon Gillies, , Adam Fox, Troy Brouwer to Buffalo
    Matt Moulson and Buffalo 1st 2018 (unprotected) to Calgary

  • Sol Goode

    I would trade Fox before Andersson. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes the free agent route when it comes time to sign him. Andersson is going to be a stud.

  • redwhiteblack

    Stone and TSpoon for a RW (or a first rounder)… consider adding someone like Klimchuk if the return is really good. Makes room for Ras but only if we get something decent back.

          • Off the wall

            According to Wikipedia here’s my latest findings,
            “ A player who has reached the milestone of 1,000 NHL games, shall be awarded the Silver stick, hereby affectionately referred to as the “Stajan”, for posterity reasons.”

            “If the Silver stick player is to be traded, the team in possession of said player, will be granted the equivalent of two first round picks, as outlined in the new CBA contract terms”
            Non negotiable.

            It’s seems pretty clear to me, what compensation is awarded to the Flames should we choose to trade Stajan. Could you imagine how expensive a Silver stick is? It could buy you a new franchise.

            Btw, You won’t find this in your version of Wikipedia, as I have the NEW and latest one that may or may not have been slightly altered.

          • Off the wall

            Hey Sgt. Road Block, it’s pink lemonade friend. You’re welcome to chime in , but please no trade requests from you.
            I’ve seen them. Are you Ottawa’s GM by any chance?

  • Jeremy

    While I really hope that Tre’ could trade a guy like Stone or Hamonic, Andersson does make sense.

    There are few I’d be interested in but Sam Reinhart to join a line with Jankow and Benny would be cool. Youth for Youth would seem a fair price in this case.

    But more likely Tre’ does very little and rolls the dice with the current squad.
    Then he’ll do his work at the draft again.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      Na, That is just because Flames Brass are keeping them a secret stash hidden down on the farm with little to zero player support around them! Watch them Blossom once Dube, Gawdin & Phillips get down there!

    • The Doctor

      A bit disappointing, but they were both low first rounders. I hold out more hope for Klimchuk, I think he could still turn into something. Reviews from Stockton have been God this year.

      • dontcryWOLF

        That’s what people have to remember about picks. Everyone so horny to replace our first rounder for this year just think of guys like poirer and klimchuk and remember that is what 80% turn into. 1st round picks are still big time gambles, let alone any other round.

        • Atomic Clown

          The thing I don’t understand, is if you’re looking for cheap and fast bottom 6, why not play Poirier and Shinkaruk and Klimchuk? How much worse than Stajan and Hathaway can they be?

  • Stu Cazz

    No need to move a prospect! They are the future. The Hamonic trade has eliminated high draft choices BUT it has enabled a veteran D to be moved for much needed RW….Brodie for Gallagher…Alternatively Brodie for Pageau…

  • Puckhead

    Potential top 4 D-men are money in the bank. Keep them, develop them, bring them into the fold, and gradually trade our older top 4 D men for picks, prospects or NHL ready players.

    There is now way that Tre would flip Ras now unless MAYBE the team was a legitimate cup contender.

    • Greg

      I think Valimaki is the only untouchable, but if they are trading any of Anderson, Dube, or next year’s first, it HAS to be for a player they truly believe pushes us into contender status. I’m fine with all the futures they’ve traded given the returns are all playing in our top 4 and still under 27. And they’ve done well at drafts lately so there’s still enough in the cupboard. But if you’re going to start emptying that cupboard, it can’t be for just a “nice to have” upgrade.

  • Just.Visiting

    I’ve lately started to look at my investments through the perspective of relative value. Is what I have better than what would be the case if I made a shift?

    This is the way that I look at how best to deploy Byng.

    Keeping him where he is helps the 3M line be a good (but not necessarily great) line. The role also does not use his offensive talents fully.

    We have a third line with two players with high upper limits who badly need a RW who can drive play and take them to a different level this year and beyond. Byng played RW in junior and has a very high hockey IQ.

    I believe that the uplift we would see from moving Byng with Janko and Bennett is significantly greater than the drop in team performance we would see by moving Byng away from Backlund and Frolik. For now, I’d have no difficulty with moving Hathaway into that spot, with a shift to Brouwer or Versteeg when they are healthy and a hard look at Dube next year.

    Would a move of Byng from that line negatively impact their performance? Most definitely…

    However, a scoring third line would solve a much bigger problem and position the team to go deeper into the season than the current line configuration. Strong performance from the Janko line would also require the other team to defend the Flames differently, which could create some additional opportunities for the Monahan line.

    Janko’s goal last night demonstrated why this change should be taken for a road test. If it worked, I believe that this move offers a bigger uplift than any trade that the Flames are realistically likely to be make without giving up assets today or in the future.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    Big mistake to consider trading Ras he is just scratching the surface, fitness concerns seem alleviated. Interesting how the article describes Ras as a great skater since I think that is the only part of his game that needs work. He scored another 3 pts tonight, including the tieing goal which was his second goal of the game.

  • Frank the Nose 👃

    Keep all our prospects. Look at how well JAnk,Hath, Rittich,Kulak are doing let’s at least see what these guys can do in NHL before you decide there value . We should keep Gillies and Anderson ,Dube,
    Dube will be a good NHL player I can see that without him playing an NHL game kinda like I picked Barzal to win the Calder at start of season .