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The 2018 Playoff Chase: The trade deadline looms

The Calgary Flames have 20 games remaining on their regular season docket. They lost several games this week, but remain very much alive in perhaps the most chaotic playoff race the Western Conference has seen in years.

Here’s how things look as we approach the trade deadline.

Where they stand

(Sorted by points percentage.)

Team
GP
W
Pts
Pct. ROW
Div
Chances % Change
Golden Knights 60 40 84 .700 38 PAC 100% none
Predators 60 37 83 .692 32 CEN 99.9% +0.1%
Jets 60 35 79 .658 33 CEN 99.4% none
Wild 60 33 73 .608 30 CEN 74.4% +16.8%
Stars 61 35 74 .607 31 CEN 76.5% -9.2%
Sharks 61 33 74 .607 29 PAC 78.8% +2.5%
Blues 61 34 72 .590 31 CEN 58.4% -12.6%
Ducks 62 31 73 .589 27 PAC 63.7% +28.1%
Kings 61 33 71 .582 31 PAC 77.5% +11.7%
Flames 62 31 70 .573 29 PAC 32.9%
-25.7%
Avalanche 60 32 69 .575 31 CEN 39.0% -11.0%
Blackhawks 61 26 60 .492 25 CEN 0.2% none
Oilers 60 25 54 .450 23 PAC 0.0% none
Canucks 60 23 53 .442 23 PAC 0.0% none
Coyotes 60 17 44 .367 16 PAC 0.0% none

(Chances courtesy Sports Club Stats.)

Vegas, Nashville and Winnipeg are in. They’re not mathematically in, but they just need to not collapse in on themselves over the last 20 games.

From there, it’s a big clump. Two of San Jose, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Calgary get Pacific Division spots. One of Minnesota, Dallas, St. Louis and Colorado get a Central Division spot. The two wildcard spots go to whoever’s the best of the rest. It’s a gigantic jumble.

The Flames dropped like a stone this week due to their few losses. But they’re still very much in it. Their margin for error has very much shrunk, though.

This past week

The Flames lost three of their four games this week. They lost to Florida, Boston (in OT) and Vegas, but beat Arizona.

This coming week

The Flames play three games this week, straddling the trade deadline. They host Colorado on Saturday afternoon, then play in Dallas on Tuesday and Colorado on Wednesday.

  • The Fall

    (re-post)

    “You have to stop requesting (players),”

    “Let’s look internally. We’ve got people internally that aren’t getting it done. That’s the bottom line. There’s not enough you can do, by looking outside, if you’re not …

    “There’s no saviours out there. I’d like to see if we can get things done internally here. I just listed a checklist of things we have to improve on quickly. That’s the biggest request.”

    “You would like to see a little more desperation based upon where we are in the standings,”

    “Our team game, right now, is lacking,”

    “You look at the production throughout the lineup — lacking. We have one or two guys that are scoring regularly. Spotty special teams. And inconsistent goaltending.

    “You take messages from your team, and they’re giving us a fairly clear message the last few days,”

    “But certainly when you see performances like we’ve seen. That gives you a little time for pause.”

    Tre is not happy.

    • dontcryWOLF

      That guy knows what’s up. Good to hear. Just be a frustrating position to be in, as a GM, watching the team you’ve built underpreform. I wonder how much of the accountability for the Flames season long wibbly wobbling he puts on GG? My guess is quite a bit, but less than FN posters.

      GG seems like the kinda guy who rocks an interview and says all the right things. His ability to guide the psychology of a team, however, seems tenable. Doubt he gets a renewal, unless nobody better is available (people saying fire GG all year long, please remember this VITAL part of the letting go/hiring process)

  • FL🔥MES

    It’s playoffs or bust considering we don’t have a first round pick. If Tre is waivering and has lost faith in the team (coaching staff) then expect a big move in the next few days to recoup a first round pick.

  • The Fall

    The big issue is the schedule: no meaningful divisional games until mid march. I suspect the Flames will be +/- 4 points from being in or out until then. Those div games will seal it.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Can’t see very much being done by trade deadline. No chatter about any players on the roster or Stockton. BT made his move last year and it’s not looking like that worked out. No draft picks to give up, his hands are tied.

    • everton fc

      “BT” could be alluding to using internal solutions (Andersson, for example), and moving someone like Brodie, for a first, which he’d probably fetch for us. Another guy not getting it done is obviously Bennett. The 4th line, as well. I don’t think we are as organizationally deep as we think. After Andersson… Maybe Mangiapane… Maybe Klimchuk… Maybe Kylington… Maybe Wotherspoon, who I hope gets a shot here someday… Now maybe Foo, and the darkhorse Shinkaruk… Where’s the amazing depth here?

      All that said, I think BT will push to sell some of the under-performers (Brodie being the obvious one, to me – should be Brouwer, as well, and maybe he’ll be able to surprise us and move the other millstone here), try to get some picks… Leverage Versteeg as a “new body”… And let GG sink or swim, with the group he has. To me, BT’s comments seem more directed at the coaching staff, as well as the players: see below;

      “Our team game, right now, is lacking,”

      “You look at the production throughout the lineup — lacking. We have one or two guys that are scoring regularly. Spotty special teams. And inconsistent goaltending.

      “You take messages from your team, and they’re giving us a fairly clear message the last few days,”

      To my eyes, these point to the coaching staff.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Sure trade Brodie and promote from within but how on the roster is capable of playing solid second pairing minutes? Kulak? Stone? I would say yes to either if the team didn’t have a snowball’s chance of making the playoffs, but while they are still in the thick of the hunt, moving Brodie would be madness unless you have a solid second-pairing guy coming back in a deal.

      No problem promoting Wortherspoon, but no third pairing defenceman on this team is capable of playing alongside Hamonic in the heavy going.

  • Joeyhere

    we don’t have assets to trade (no one values the prospects we want to give up (Gillies) as much as we do and no way should we trade the guys with promise (parsons. Valamaki, Fox, Anderson) – so Trev has no moves to make other then selling Brodie or Stone and for that he has a better chance at the Draft. They get in on who we have or they don’t. What this team is missing is bigger then one additional third line winger – he’s going to have to revamp in the off season and assess who these guys really are once he gets an actual NHL level coach.

  • Off the wall

    Here’s the thing.

    We jettisoned Chiasson, Wideman, Engelland, Bouma, Jokipakka, Grossman, Elliott and Johnson last year. That alone should have made a difference to the makeup of this team.

    This season we moved on from Freddie Hamilton and Eddie Lack. Also Jagr now playing overseas. Good luck Jags.

    Our team is better with Jankowski, Mike Smith, and Hamonic added to the team, wouldn’t you say? We’ve given some of our prospects looks at the NHL. Some have made the jump, others need a little more seasoning. To be expected.

    Yet, here we are again, instead of entrenched in the postseason berth , we’re still fighting for a consistent game and walking the tightrope between plunging or making it across to the playoff plateau.

    No wonder Treliving is losing his mind over this. Does he add or takeaway? What difference would it make after all the positive steps he’s made?

    If it takes your coaching staff 50-60 games to implement decent Special Teams, make sound decisions on player usuage and deployment, then perhaps Treliving knows that doing nothing at trade deadline is the best option.
    He’s given GG plenty of help, GG hasn’t helped himself unfortunately. He’s stuck on old school mentality that doesn’t work in new school reality.

    If Treliving is being truly honest with himself, he knows the best and most practical thing is to ride out this season and give the current coaches the same speech , much like he did to Bob Hartley,
    “We thank you for your efforts, however you’ve taken us as far as you’re capable.”

    Hopefully we hear something along those lines after April 7, 2018.

    There are no longer TDL acquisitions to consider, the luxury of buying isn’t enough.
    What would the point be, it would take 50 games to get the new shiny player deployed properly.

    Yup, see ya at the Draft Table Treliving. Your best work is is waiting for you..

    • BlueMoonNigel

      One problem with bringing in a new coach at the end of the season is that most of the new coaching staff, the vets and Spencer Foo will be singing the Red China blues next autumn as the Flames need to split time between here and Beijing.

      Not saying it’s a deal breaker to bring a new coach on board, but normally it’s not until US Thanksgiving before any sensible reads on a new coach can be made. That timeframe will have to be extended for the new Flames’ boss man.

      How forgiving and understanding will Flame fans be if the club this October once again bumble, stumbles and fumbles out of the starting gate? Blame it on the new coach, China, Bettman, the schedule or some deeper problem.

      If Tre is going to fire Gully at the end of the season, let’s hope Bradley doesn’t dick around too long before he hires the new coach because more than ever, the new coach is going to have hit the ground running because of the Flames truncated summer.

    • everton fc

      Agreed on all fronts. The challenge is this; what if GG makes the playoffs and wins a round? We all want this… But most want GG gone, regardless. A bit of a conundrum.

  • Stockton's Finest

    Stand pat and do your selling at the draft.

    I am being a little selfish here, but both the Flames and Heat are in a playoff race. If you trade Stone or Brodie, you pull Wotherspoon or Andersson from Stockton. We have some depth, but to take a top 10 scoring defensemen off your team hurts. The Heat are solidly in 3rd right now, but the percentage margin between 2nd and 7th is like what the Flames are in right now…a 3 game win streak gets you in or a 3 game losing streaks relegates you to the lottery (or in the Flames case a higher pick for NYI).

    As many have said in previous posts, it would be better to have a new coaching staff in place to evaluate what you have in the cupboard before you go shopping. It also allows you to see where you are salary-wise and spend on needs, not just trade for the sake of trading.

  • smatic10

    Mangiapane scratched for Stockton.
    Possibilities? Ferly more injured than we thought. Mangiapane could be fighting something. Or a trade. Prolly not that last thing but you’d have to think if that was the case, the return would be significant, he’s currently our best RW prospect.

  • rusty_shakleforde

    GG:

    “You can’t look at your opponent as a must-win — we’ve beat the top teams in the league, but you’ve gotta collect points from everyone,” said the Flames head coach. “We’re not at the point where it’s a must-win. We’re still in control. We still play the teams that are ahead of us. You get those must-wins in those last few games when there’s no room for error.”

    He just doesn’t funking get it.

    No wonder the boys got no fight in em

    • everton fc

      How could GG and BT be on the same page?

      “Our team game, right now, is lacking,”

      “You look at the production throughout the lineup — lacking. We have one or two guys that are scoring regularly. Spotty special teams. And inconsistent goaltending.

      “You take messages from your team, and they’re giving us a fairly clear message the last few days,”

      “But certainly when you see performances like we’ve seen. That gives you a little time for pause.”

  • Burnward

    20 games left.

    COL
    DAL
    COL
    NYR
    PIT
    BUF
    OTT
    NYI
    EDM
    SJS
    VGK
    ARI
    ANA
    SJS
    LAK
    CBJ
    EDM
    ARI
    WPG
    VGK

    Called it on a previous thread: 14-5-1, 100 points and playoff bound.

    • FL🔥MES

      Predicting 100 points with that schedule ahead of us is ballsy. To me it feels like when I was young cramming for an exam and you get that “oh bollocks” feeling when you realize you should have worked harder earlier in the semester.

      I really hope you’re right but then the fire GG side of me doesn’t want us to go too deep into the playoffs. After Hartley and now GG I’m more than ready for a coach who makes common sense decisions, specifically when it comes to player deployment.

      What a crazy world when you want your team to win but also not win.

    • Franko J

      No way this current group of players will win more than 10 games.
      Two reasons:

      No Smith between the pipes to cover up all the mistakes they make in their own zone.

      Too inconsistent from shift to shift. The Flames have thoroughly proven they lack the intensity and drive to take it to the “next level”.

      At this time of year they should be gearing up for the playoffs, instead they more appear to be a team gearing up the golf course.
      I do hope I’m wrong in my assessment.

  • Skylardog

    St Louis has been slowly coming back to the field over the past couple of months after a fast start. They may be catchable by seasons end.

    So it comes down to this. To get in, the Flames need to catch 2 of Anaheim, LA, SJ, and StL.

    We put the nail in Chicago’s coffin a couple of weeks ago, we now get a chance to put Colorado in the ground. If we don’t, there is no way we get in.

  • Hockeyfan

    and yet tree you sign the ballyhooed overrated swede backlund to a huge overpay for huge term for accomplishing nada. Are you chia? that contract may be an albatross next year, nevermind in 2020. brouwer the useless and backlund the hype. 10 mil of wasted dollars.

  • Franko J

    Honestly I don’t think this is right time for BT to be making any bold moves at the TDL. For one where is this team going to “find” that top RW without giving up a solid prospect. Secondly, even if they land that so called coveted forward, there are too many other holes in the lineup to begin with. If I was BT I would walk in the dressing room tomorrow and I reassure that
    nobody is getting traded and I’m not giving up any more assets. Therefore it is up to this current collection of players to figure things out for themselves. Just like Tkachuk said the other night after the loss to VGK.

  • Franko J

    Added comment: Even if this team has tuned out the coaching staff, now is the time to start playing for one another and become mentally and emotionally engaged.

    • everton fc

      Yep. And I get a sense we have some prima-donas in the room. The right coach will realign these types, less towards themselves, and more towards the team.

  • BendingCorners

    Back to my original thought:
    Brodie for Gallagher and two 2nds.
    And now… Cole from OTT for Mango and Wotherspoon.
    I’ll miss Mango but this fills two holes in the current lineup.
    Of course, with a coach that doesn’t think winning is important, filling holes might be less important than creating a vacancy.

  • Chucky

    On a position by position evaluation the Flames must feel pretty good about their team. The question is only do they try to improve this season and sacrifice the future or wait for success.
    It would be very surprising to see Brodie traded because the replacement is Wotherspoon and for some reason the Flames seem to be happy to lose him to free agency this summer.
    It is highly unlikely that they will trade a right defenseman even though the replacement is Anderson and he appears ready in managements eyes. Hamilton is going nowhere, Hamonic cost too much and Stone isn’t worth enough to make a difference to this season.
    Trading Mohanhan, Backlund or Jankowski is not in the cards because the risk of them coming back to bite is too great. Nobody would take Stajan at this point in his career. It is reasonable to expect that Hrivik or Gawdin will get the fourth line next year with Dube and Phillips growing and seasoning in Stockton.
    As wingers Gaudreau, Tkachuck, Bennett, Ferland and Frolik are written in magic marker for the next two years. Trading Lazar would be an admission of a mistake, Brouwer has no value and the rest of the wingers together would not yield an impact player.
    Smith and Rittich are going nowhere this season.
    At the TDL Treliving will stand pat unless he can put together a deal that sends a couple of AHL prospects for a top 9 impact wing. Expect that they will promote the return of Versteeg as the piece they are missing. He will slot in beside Jankowski for 5 on 5 and join the second power play unit.
    Flames fans can sleep until 1 pm Monday and miss nothing.

    • supra steve

      You pretty much hit the nail on the head. Only thing that I could see changing things is if the Sens are determined to move Karlsson in the next few days. If they are, then I wouldn’t be shocked to see Tre make a significant offer. Not sure what it would take, but I could see Hamilton being a significant part of an offer if Karlsson were in play. Would it be wise?…time would tell, but it would certainly be bold.

      • flames2015

        I don’t see any interest in getting Karlsson, especially at trade deadline. First off, it would be an absurd ransom to pay. If any area needs upgrading, it’s on a forward not a defenseman. Karlsson is a UFA at the end of next year and he’s made it quite clear that he’s seeking $10 million plus on his next contract, he’d likely be able to get that on a cap friendly team. Dougie is just heating up for us, right shot, 24 years old and signed for 3 more years at $5.75. Gio & Hamilton are one of the top pairs in the league, and both finished in the top 10 for norris candidates last year. I’d keep Dougie and spend the money on a true RW over Karlsson.

        • supra steve

          Hey, I’m not saying that Tre should do it/or shouldn’t.
          But…Karlsson is a game changer, he took the Sens on his back and pushed the Pens to the brink of elimination last playoffs. All I’m saying is there could be an argument made that his addition could be attractive to the Flames…if they fancy becoming a true Cup contender.

    • everton fc

      Many players have put up #’s like Gawdin in junior, at age 20, and never made the NHL. He’s an exciting prospect, but nothing more. To me, Dube’s a better all-around prospect, than Gawdin. And I’ve always liked Gawdin. Phillips, like Mangiapane, is a looong shot (yes, I think Mangiapane’s a bit over-hyped here; hope I am wrong).

      I think Hrivik will either be w/another team, or head home. But I like a lot of what you posted, above.

      Lazar is beginning to impress many here at FN. He and Hathaway could be perfect 4th liners. Dube centering them could be interesting. The added winger is Versteeg – agreed. He can play both wings, is a cheap, experienced vet who adds to the PP and the room. He’s a battler. If he’s fully recovered, and would sign for the same contract next year, I’d retain him. You need guys like him to make sure any prima-dona’s don’t become “ambiguous” on the ice.

      I do think they’ll re-sign Wotherspoon.

      • Chucky

        I think that Gawdin’s number justify an NHL look next year and at his age it is hard to see a couple of the years in the AHL being a lot of help. It would not be a surprise to see him fill the 4th line spot to give Dube some time to develop.

        I really cannot see Wotherspoon signing with the Flames again. He has had two great years in the AHL and this year Last year 18 points and +30, this year 31 points +25 and third in team scoring. With most teams that gets him a serious NHL look. With the Flames he is 5th on the left side depth chart (Gio, Brodie, Kulak, Valimaki ahead of him). In the NHL he is going to make $759K in the AHL he is making $160K. What inducement can the Flames offer him to compensate him for no NHL shot?

        • Stockton's Finest

          The Flames will re-sign Wotherspoon only if they move Brodie or Stone at the draft. He, Andersson, and Kulak cod rotate between 5, 6, & 7 next year in Calgary.

          Watching Wotherspoon and Andersson this year has been a treat. The only way I see them next year in person is when we come to Calgary for a game or two or when the Flames play the Sharks or Knights.

  • The GREAT WW

    I’m starting to think we would have been better off letting Backlund walk for nothing in the summer than sign him to this ridiculous contract….

    WW