Well this is all miserable, ain’t it?
How do we make space for at minimum Fox and Andersson on the blue line next year? Never mind the possibility of Valamaki.
— Earnest P Willygonk (@buckgnarly) March 18, 2018
Someone in the core six has to go. It’s definitely not going to be Mark Giordano or Dougie Hamilton, which leaves us four players to look at.
T.J. Brodie has no doubt had a disappointing year, and Travis Hamonic has been up and down as he’s acclimatized to his first-ever non-Islanders team, with injuries getting in the way all the while. I’m not sure the Flames should be so eager to move on from either of them, though; they paid a lot to get Hamonic and not just for one season, while Brodie has been a steadfast regular on this team for years, and a consistent 30-point, big minutes guy. Moving either out would be a big disruption to the top four.
Which comes back to the tired-but-true finger pointing at Michael Stone. It’s earned, though. Why did the Flames commit to a three-year contract for him when they had just traded for Hamonic, still with three years left on his deal? How’s the excuse of defensive depth for this season working out when the year is going nowhere fast, and there’s a stable of prospects ready to take over seemingly any day now? Stone has scored six points all season. Sure he’s got a booming shot, but it’s rarely been of any actual use, and he’s the only regular defenceman who is under 50% CF.
In an ideal world, the Flames are able to find a taker for Stone. Maybe they have to retain some salary, but it’d probably be worth it if it gets Rasmus Andersson – who may very well already be a better player – into the lineup as a regular. In a non-ideal world, Brodie is probably more likely to get shipped out, but then you’ve got a left-right shot conundrum on your hands with a glut of righties.
Andersson is the only one who absolutely has to get into the lineup next season, I think. He’s the only one who has played professionally. But there is an option for someone else, if they impress enough at camp. It’s unlikely Matt Bartkowski is brought back, and the Flames will need a seventh defenceman. That could be Brett Kulak’s role.
When do we trade mr Brodie?
— chillidog (@IanIdeaman7) March 18, 2018
I’m not sure you do.
What does trading Brodie, at this stage, accomplish? There’s no sugarcoating that he’s had a disappointing year, but he’s still a defender one can regularly count on to play big minutes – and that isn’t something that can necessarily be asked of any rookie defencemen just yet, even if they do look like an impressive crop. Look at how long it took Hamilton to get any trust, and he’d already proven himself an NHLer long before the Flames acquired him.
Don’t forget, one of the reasons the Flames have the group they currently do is because they were reluctant to leave spots open for any rookies, and it still took eight games for Kulak to get into the lineup. And they likely still see this as being their window, not a developmental period.
If a trade does happen, though, then it’s difficult to see it happening until closer to the draft, when every team is done playing and every team is looking to the future. The Flames will probably want to recoup some picks and they’ve been active every single draft in which Brad Treliving has been the team’s general manager. It sure doesn’t seem likely they’ll go in with four late round picks and leave it at that.
Barring a coaching change, it’s unlikely there are any dramatic changes until draft time.
Where do you think Brodie and Bennett will end up in the offseason?
— Tamiq Haniff (@tmhaniff) March 18, 2018
Those two seem the most likely to get shipped out, eh? I don’t think the question is “where do they end up” so much as “what would the Flames expect to get for them”.
Brodie probably finds the Flames an upgrade in forward talent – top six or bust – but I can’t see what trading Bennett would upgrade in. His value can’t be that great at the moment, so maybe the best case scenario for him is a one-for-one swap for another struggling young forward with potential upside.
What do you think is on GMBT's wish list for this team? Is it a top line guy? A backup goalie? Lady luck herself?
— Khalid Keshavjee (@KMKeshavjee) March 18, 2018
Another top six forward probably has to be up there. Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan have proven they’re dependable season in, season out, but Micheal Ferland hasn’t. That isn’t a knock on him; he looked all world when he had an 18%+ shooting percentage, but that’s about it. He’s been deservedly stripped off of the top line multiple times throughout the year, and having him as a third line guy probably makes for a better lineup as a whole.
Goaltending hasn’t really been the problem this season. David Rittich has emerged as a reliable backup option. The real problem is going to be when Mike Smith turns 37 and his contract ends: do they have anybody ready to replace him? Will he even have a season as good as this one next year?
Better fortunes would be nice. If this team had the 2014-15 team’s luck they’d be laughing their way to a division title. Absolutely nothing can be done about that, though.
If ( I should say when) the flames miss the playoffs, how likely do you think the team will be leading up to the draft to obtain picks in a draft (not specific to year)? Does the draft lottery play a factor, pending where the isles from us lands?
— Jeremy (@Calgaryflames82) March 18, 2018
The draft lottery only affects the first round pick, so the only consequence for the Flames there is severe embarrassment. They aren’t getting into the top three though.
This is a tricky scenario because you have to give to get, and the Flames aren’t exactly in a position to sell. If they’re going to trade players away you have to think it’ll be for upgrades to the current roster, not with an eye towards the future. Gaudreau and Hamilton will be 25 next season, and that’s still relatively young for a team’s top scoring forward and defenceman. This is their window.
I’m starting to get the feeling the Flames used nine of their 10 picks in the 2016 draft knowing they were going to start dealing picks away in future seasons for immediate help.
Is there anyone from Stockton the Flames should bring up in a last gasp to try to make the playoffs and corollary: which Flame(s) should be scratched?
— Ian (@ianberg) March 18, 2018
I don’t think there’s an answer for this one. Mark Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway were two of the Heat’s better players to start the season, and they’re barely scoring at the NHL level, if at all. Andrew Mangiapane was one of the Heat’s top players and he went pointless through 10 NHL games. At this point in time there probably isn’t an upgrade on the farm.
I’m not sure who deserves to be scratched, either. When the Flames’ top players aren’t scoring they’re struggling, but nobody has been egregiously bad; the fourth line has been kind of alright at this point.
I’d aim more at Nick Shore getting games in than anyone else, especially if he’s to be the fourth line centre of the future.
Do you think this coaching staff will be back next season?
— Khalid Keshavjee (@KMKeshavjee) March 18, 2018
I’m 50/50 on this. The Flames are one of the top teams this season in generating scoring chances this year, the pucks just aren’t going in for them. That’s not the coaching staff’s fault.
There are legitimate grievances with Glen Gulutzan, including his player usage, but it’s an almost certainty that whoever the new coach is will also make baffling player decisions. Look across 30 other fanbases and you will find everyone, at one point or another, complaining about what the coach is doing. There will never be that one perfect guy.
I think it might come down to who’s available in the offseason, and how expensive they are. If the Flames believe they deserved a better fate this year and Gulutzan costs less than someone else, well, then maybe there’s no change.
Dave Cameron really should be gone though. Just no excuse for how horrible the Flames’ powerplay is, especially with a forward who has been in Art Ross contention most of the season. And how this was predictable from the moment he was hired.
Where did all the Lagostina cookware ads go? Is it now an inferior product?
— Ryan J. Phillips (@RStarPhillips) March 18, 2018
You know what this is a very good point and I’m pretty sure this is the reason why the Flames can’t score goals anymore. Someone get them some Lagostina. They need it.