FlamesNation Mailbag: Gotta trade ’em all

Well this is all miserable, ain’t it?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

  • JoelOttosJock

    Although you are probably right that the Flames will not move Brodie, it is just plain wrong. Brodie’s struggles started way before the season at hand. He was brutal last year with Wideman and Stone. Maybe those Brodie supporters should consider that his above average skating and a decent season under a run and gun coach manipulated us into believing he is better than what he is. The team and player need a change.

      • JoelOttosJock

        That is complete and utter BS! I played defence growing up, and am a left shot. I played up to the AJHL and did prefer playing the right side, you have to be interchangeable in such a fast game. Do you ever think a RD stops at a certain point on the ice and says can’t cross here i do not shoot left and i am not a LD? This isn’t the NFL where LT and RT train for a specific side for the blind side (which some tackles are able to overcome this and suceed). If this is truly why Brodie has struggled, (again..which i find BS) than the Flames should be more than happy to get rid of him. Not a very talented professional athlete if that is the case.

        • With Respect

          I agree with JOJ the Russians at their peak in the eighties only had LD on their team so most NHL dman have the ability to play both sides. Brodie is fine he will have a bounce back year.

    • Fat Tony

      The flames and the leafs a long history of trading players and signing former players of each others team. With Burke at the helm, the man who brought JVR to Toronto, I can see Burke Making a bid for him in free agency to try and give Johnny and Monny an actual goal scoring winger to play with. Patches would cost too much in assets or a TJ Brodie, given that Montreal would likely want a established D man.

      • JoelOttosJock

        JVR wouldn’t be a good fit here. Not with Ferland and Tkchuck, unless GG or whom ever takes over the coaching reigns realizes Ferland is 3rd liner tops. I personally would like to see a talented, quick, right handed shot..

  • JMK

    Watching the Irish rugby team win over the weekend with a large portion of their team as young inexperienced players hammered it home even more that a good coach is very important. Interestingly, that coach said after the game something along the lines of “you can’t coach courage in players”; which I think is more modesty than anything but it also has a ring of truth to it. The players need to take a look at themselves and some changes need to be made but if Glen Gulutzan is still in charge come next September I hope the only reason is that no one better (or just no one) was available.

    • JMK

      Would love to be a fly on the wall for the player-GM meetings come April 9th or which ever day that week. And yes I’ve given up – even though I reckon 92/93 points might get it done, Calgary have given up too from what I see.

  • Off the wall

    4.5% of making postseason as of this morning.

    At least we stay execution for one more game? It is the Coyotes. Or is that asking too much?

    Happy Monday FN!

  • moodyblue2

    Brodie, Stone, and the Captain obvious players all gone next year. At least if we lose, it is with the young guns willing to learn and play with some jam!

    • JMK

      Can’t see Giordano going anywhere. Now this might be recency bias playing into my view, but I don’t remember too many instances of Giordano taking a big leadership role this season. He’s played solid but nothing inspires players more than seeing your captain take a game by the scruff of the next. There was one game recently where he did and he scored a goal after a colossal shift but can’t remember many other instances all season.

    • supra steve

      I had to double check on an online dictionary, thought it possible that I didn’t have a good understanding of the meaning of the word “obvious”.
      Nope, I had it just about correct…so I guess it’s you then who should look it up.

  • Flint

    What trading Brodie would accomplish would be moving on from a guy who is obviously trending down, getting an asset for him while we can and making a mid-significant change to the team.

    Teams don’t often change their true core ‘untouchables’ – Tkachuk, Gaudreau, Hamilton, Gio, Monahan, and changing prospects doesn’t influence the today scenario, and changing fourth liners and 7th defenseman does little because there are so many of these low-minute/pressbox players… they are a dime a dozen.

    The important guys to building a winning team are the top-support players. The Hossa’s, The Kessel’s, The Kesler’s etc.
    Chicago is with Kane, Toews and Keith until they are ineffective. Same with Malkin and Crosby. Same with Getzlaf and Perry. Same with McDavid and Draisaitl….. (insert record scratch).

    So, what’s the difference with McDavid and Draisaitl, it’s that the Oilers management of those key support players is brutal.

    We have serious questions to ask regarding Brodie, Hamonic, Stone, Backlund, Ferland, Frolik, Bennett. And the question isn’t “Are these good players on paper?” Because the answer is mostly yes.

    The question is are these good players on this team and will these players bring this team to a Stanley Cup. In many cases the answer is NO.

    Therefore, you’ve gotta make those changes. Every other team is asking the same question. It’s finding the right mix of players, the right culture.

    You sit on these players and expect a big turn-around and you will fail. Not always, but with THIS team, with THIS make-up. It doesn’t work. We have to make changes. Brodie should be an easy change, and he is a necessary change.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Well put. My only caution would be to give up on a player like Bennett before a coaching change. You may recall that GG identified Bennett to have a breakout year but didn’t know how to harness the stallion. I don’t want to see another mistake like we had with Marc Savard.

      • Flint

        Totally fair. I listed 7 players the GM and management need to think long and hard about this offseason. If it’s me, there are three on that list I would most certainly keep without too much fuss – unless a miracle offer came along. The other four, they’re in play to me, if we got comparable return (for some) or picks (for others) I wouldn’t be too upset to see them go

    • Derzie

      Until GG is replaced, we don’t know where Brodie is. Play him on his proper side and go from there. Selling low is just that. If we do, we’ll be the immediate losers of the trade, in all likelihood.

      • MontanaMan

        Brodie is playing brutally because of Brodie not Gulutzan. You can blame GG for a lot of things, but Brodies play isn’t one of them. The stupid decisions he makes every game are his alone.

  • FL?MES

    If Brodie is better on the right side (which I believe that be true) and Ras is ready to graduate to the NHL, this gives us 5 RHD for the top 3 spots. So maybe Brodie and Stone could both be gone?

    • Flint

      Exactly. The only question left with Brodie is the LD/RD mystery. Ok, let’s say it’s RD. Who you going to pencil him in ahead of? Hamilton (you’re joking right?) Hamonic (no way, Hammer is one of few who brings what we lack). Stone? Maybe… so Brodie becomes a #3RD? Then he’s ahead of Rasmus and Fox? … forget it. Brodie doesn’t fit on this team. Trade him to someone who needs him and get something we need back. We need less Brodie, not more.

    • Derzie

      Handedness doesn’t matter as much as side played. That’s what’s important. GG made handedness an important thing. It is a tiebreaker, not a rule. Play a guy on the side he has played his whole life, regardless of hand.

  • KKisTHEproblem

    Ari, Brett Kulak as the 7th D? What? No chance, he has been improving almost daily, he has done a really good job with an anchor for a partner. He has been gaining confidence and leading rushes into the ozone. When did we see Stone do that? The 7th D should be Wotherspoon if he would stay. If I was him though, I would run as fast as I could from the Flames as he’ll be a UFA shortly and has been treated like crap by this organization in my view. My god, having Bart over him is a joke..

  • Skylardog

    Keep in mind, that the leading 5v5 point getters in the playoffs, over the past 2 times we’ve made it are….

    Brodie, and Bennett.

    You don’t give up on playoff performers just because a coaching staff had no clue how to use them. Those are the guys you want playing for you when it matters.

    • deantheraven

      I hope those two get at least one more chance to prove they are playoff performers. If they prove anything, I’ll be happy. As far as replacing either of them goes, it looks to me like it could be done from within. Ras is up for a look now, but unless Stone is hurt I can’t see GG playing a call up until the Fat Lady drops the mic. And Fox won’t play for the Flames for at least another full season, either at HAHvard- where he should stay, or in Stockton, which wouldn’t hurt.
      The Flames need space next season on LD for either Wotherspoon or Kjllington before Fox, unless of course two of those three get dealt for picks or a roster player by the draft.
      Best case is Brodie & Stone vacating the roster and Ras + 1LD step up in September. But Tre will have to bring some pretty packages to the table if he plans to get an upgrade at FWD and/or picks at the Draft. Stay crafty, Tre!

      • ThisBigMouthIsRight

        What really irritated me about her last night was her seemingly always bringing up Jank’s missed open net, Well from the 1 replay I saw, his shot Deflected off a defenders stick(the blade precisely) and went wide.. That is just unbelievable dumb luck.

  • Flaming Arrow

    I’ve said in an earlier posting 7 days ago that we need to trade Brodie. He is a top 4 defenseman with upsides and down sides… but a good asset to trade to make room next year for another rookie Dman.

    Best trade I see would be with Philadelphia. Philly needs a top 4 defenceman so this could work for both teams.

    TJ Brodie plus a 4th in 2018
    One of Phillies 1st in 2018, 2nd in 2019 and Minor league RW Nicolas Aubé Kubel. (From Slave Lake)
    We would get back a 21 yr old who was 2nd round 48th o/a. Playing well in Lehigh Valley he had 41 pts in 61 games. Basically recovering from the Hamonic trade and get a RW with a possible upside.

    The 2 return picks could then be used to get that top 6 RW. I really don’t care about the high rates draft picks. They are not a sure thing to make the NHL. Ask the Oilers that one.

    • deantheraven

      You had me for a bit there FA, except for the ‘return on the return’ idea. The Flames org looks to be set on D for the foreseeable window, but I’d imagine BT still wants to recoup some future since it looks like there may be a bubble in the pipeline, especially if the Mangiapanes and Klimchuks and Hriviks and Dubes and Phillips can’t earn a roster spot in the next calendar year.
      Playoffs or no, it’ll be an interesting off season.

  • buts

    I’d trade soft as a marshmallow. deer in the headlights, give a crap meter stuck on zero Doogie Hamilton in a heartbeat. He’s one of the many players that make our team the pansies of the nhl. We would probably get the most return for him in a trade out of any of our top D. Go ahead and trash FN

    • Flint

      Let’s just say your assessment of Hamilton is correct. I strongly disagree… but let’s use it for a minute. I would then ask you: Is Brodie ‘harder’ than Hamilton – No. Is Brodie less of a ‘deer in the headlights’ – defintely not. Does Brodie gives more craps? Who knows, but doesn’t look like it.

      Then I would ask. Is Brodie a right shot? Is he trending up? Is he one of the top three scoring defenseman in the NHL? Is he 24? No, No, No, No. Hamilton is all of those things.

      Is Dougie Hamilton perfect? Not even close. But we trade Hamilton and the defense is measureably worse. We trade Brodie, and we make room for one of our many prospects – Rasmus, Fox, Valimaki, or to a lesser extent Kylington or Wotherspoon.

    • YYCFlames

      I don’t necessarily disagree and being in the “heavy” Pacific division, I see your point about not being heavy enough. The reality is that if you use the players to their strengths and not weaknesses, something GG has not been able to grasp, I believe the team would be in a better place. The “new” NHL is about speed and skill, with a pinch of team toughness. The right mixture of these elements is needed but very difficult to get right, as captain obvious might say. Easy to say, hard to do.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I am not going to trash your comment because I have watched Hamilton away from the puck and it is not pretty. My only concern is trading a player that is around the average age of defenders just breaking into the league. There is no need to rush a trade since he is still young and his value does not seem to be going down. Brodie on the other hand can only be packaged as a Top 4 defender to some teams. These select teams will see his potential. I don’t see him fetching much more than a 1st and a B prospect.

      Despite not feeling Hamilton is a core piece in being a Stanley Cup contender I strongly believe BT could pick up the phone tomorrow and start a bidding war. It starts with, “would you be interested in a 6’6 220 lb Top 2 defender who is under 25 years old with a cap friendly contract”. ” Oh and by the way he skates like the wind and has a great shot”. As bad as a season we have had, BT does not need to be desperate. In fact, despite your bias can you think of many teams that have a better bargaining chip when you factor in position, age, size, skillset, and contract?

  • Korcan

    The Flames core pieces, those players on their NHL roster who I would be reluctant to trade, going into next season are (imo): at forward, Gaudreau, Monahan, Tkachuk, Backlund, Jankowski, and Bennett (he’s too young to give up on yet and his current trade-value is too low); at defense it’s Hamilton, Giordano, and I’m going to also include Andersson even though he has spent most of the season in the AHL. Apart from that group i am fine with any changes Tre chooses to make with this roster.

    Core prospects to hold onto are: Mangiapane, Dube, Gawdin(?), Phillips(?), Valimaki, Fox(?), Parsons, and Gillies(?). Apart from this group i am fine with any changes Tre makes to the Flames prospect pool.

    Calgary’s top two trade chips leading up to the draft (imo):
    TJ Brodie. He is at the age when most players are reaching their potential ceiling. I think we know what we have with him — a smooth skating dman who can log huge minutes, has some offensive ability, a lousy shot, and who can be a defensive liability. He is expendable and our best trade chip.

    Michael Ferland. He too is at the age when he is reaching his potential ceiling. Yes, he has scored 20+ this season, but for more games than not he has been invisible and has good size but too often refuses to use it. He is intriguing but too inconsistent. He is also expendable with good trade potential, and teams should be willing to pay based on what he ‘can’ provide them. Everyone remembers what he did in Calgary’s playoff series against Vancouver.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      You might be right, I was actually thinking about that the other day…. But I was Thinking, To Ottawa – Brodie, Ferland, Kylington… The Get back ~> Mark Stone (RFA) and Their 1nd round pick This year top ten.
      Unfortunately to get it there Ottawa might insist Bobby Ryan is included…
      Then the Flames anti up ~ Ottawa pays 50%(3.625) his 7.25 Mill over the next 4 years And they take Shinkaruk, Brouwer (2years Flames retain 1 mill), and they include their 2nd round in 2020.
      Stone might sign a good deal to play with his bro(I know ~ I know)… But something like that could possibly work?