FlamesNation mailbag: Big moves ahead

Well what else is there to look forward to besides the alluring promise that this is all going to get blown up?

Yeah, probably. I’ve moved from “hard no” to “understanding, but skeptical” and now “just do it.” I really like Sam Bennett, and it would still hurt to trade him, but it’s clear that he’s not much help with the Flames.

He’s stuck in first gear when the team really needs him to get going now. I figure the Flames bet a lot of their secondary scoring woes would be fixed if he got slightly better circumstances and better linemates (which is still up for debate). They bet wrong, which is fine given they didn’t invest much into the bet, but the question becomes where do they go from here?

Bennett is mostly name value at this point, because his stats (both conventional and advanced) have gone south since his rookie season. A second round pick sounds like an underpayment, but seems to be the going rate for reclamation projects (Frank Vatrano, Michal Kempny, Nick Holden all got a third this season, and they hold way less value than Bennett). Perhaps the trade partner throws in a sweetener pick or prospect, and that seems like the deal you can get for Bennett. I think teams will lowball the hell out of the Flames, so not any deal is going to work.

The nagging point that restrains me from pulling the trigger is the fact that Bennett seems to at least be functional when moved away from the third line. The Bennett-Monahan-Gaudreau line clocked in at just under 60 CF% and 60 FF% (57% shots for, for what it’s worth) over 74 minutes of play. I feel that the team would’ve stuck with them if their on-ice shooting percentage wasn’t 6% and the save percentage not .882. Bennett’s likely the passenger on that line, but he’s a hell of a passenger. If he can be a functional top six winger in that regard, I don’t mind him sticking around.

Also, can the Flames find a replacement for under $1.95M that can contribute 30-ish points? An internal solution could be Andrew Mangiapane, but that’s still optimistic (besides, don’t the two seem complementary to each other?). Free agents who produce around 30 points tend to want more than Bennett’s salary, and those who will take less are over 30 and will likely not be contributing 30-ish points next year. If you can remove the fourth overall expectations, Bennett is an alright player and that’s something you can work with.

So I guess I’ve just convinced myself that it’s still not time yet. Oh well.

Unlike above, I don’t think I’m circling around on this one. I think it would be smart to move T.J. Brodie. Again, this stings, but Brodie was clearly the benefactor from playing next to Norris-level Mark Giordano on a team with no other defensive depth. He was once an incredibly valuable asset, and now he isn’t. That happens in the NHL. With a plethora of prospect defensive depth, you can easily sacrifice Brodie for some return on investment.

Optimistically? You get a Hamonic return. Brodie’s also a big name who’s had a fall from grace but is under 30 and on a cheap enough contract that the chance you get him back at his peak justifies the price. If the Flames can get a deal like that, I’m not sure they turn it down. A top six winger will also get it done.

Joel Quenneville will make me happy. He’s one of the best coaches in the NHL, and if the Blackhawks are willing to let him go, let them make that mistake. However, his love for older, dependable guys like Brent Seabrook concerns me. Given that he also won a Stanley Cup with Troy Brouwer on his first line, perhaps he might try that again for old time’s sake.

Otherwise, Darryl Sutter seems interesting. If he comes in cheap (another thing to watch out for: Flames ownership is certainly not going to splash the cash on a coach), I think that the team constructed as it is will play to his strengths. He can seemingly turn any team with a few strong pieces into a juggernaut, provided he isn’t GM of that team.

Otherwise, no names really intrigue me.

This rumour pops up over and over again so I’m going to say it again: no.

The Flames do some frustrating things with Dougie Hamilton (i.e: not putting him on the powerplay after 50 games even though the entire thing pretty much bottomed out), but I feel they recognize his value relative to the team. He’s certainly the best right-handed defenceman on the Flames, and probably one of the best offensive defencemen in the league. Perhaps his defence isn’t solid (more solid than it looks), and his penalty uptick a bit annoying, but overall he provides more good than bad. We haven’t even mentioned that he’s 24 and just about to enter his prime.

If they ever move Dougie, the first thing they would go looking for is another Dougie to replace him. That pretty much is why they shouldn’t trade Dougie.

If you want meaningful hockey in these upcoming months, make sure you check out Glenn Gawdin and the Swift Current Broncos. With the CHL’s best line, they’ll probably be the best chance to make the Memorial Cup. Second place is Juuso Valimaki and the Tri-City Americans, who are already up 2-0 on the Kelowna Rockets after two very strong performances.

Aside from them, hopefully all of the prospects lose early so we can see them in professional action sooner. Sorry, not sorry.

Non-hockey related/hockey adjacent questions

If they’re going to be utterly disappointing with a very young roster, they could at least look the part and wear the pedestal jerseys.

It’s a cat.

I don’t know much about Marvel movies, so sorry if this answer provokes a lot of nerd rage because of ignorance. Thanos would be any non-playoff team. The Flames are those henchmen that you see for five seconds, say one witty line, and then instantly die.

Blog overlord Ari, who has just finished a marathon of all the Marvel movies [ed. – Actually I haven’t rewatched Black Panther yet. Might have done this a little too early…] and certainly more qualified to speak on this subject, says Thanos is Ken King.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I see it.

  • Chucky

    Great idea to trade Brodie. Maybe they could get two firsts and a second. Obviously to offer one of the proven elite right defencemen in the league for less than the Flames paid for Hamilton (at that point unproven) would be just plain stupid. Of course to maybe they could get a trade where the other team agreed to play Brodie on his wrong side until the end of his current contract, that way it would seem like the Flames had not spent two seasons trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, also the other team would look brilliant for recognizing the talent when they moved him to the right side. In that case the Flames might have to take two fourth round picks to cover up how bad a coach Gulutzan was.

      • Chucky

        Somebody that desperately needs a first pairing right defenseman.
        I assume that you would not jump at my offer and Brodie would remain a Flame until another coach has a go at him. Fine with me.

          • Chucky

            Nobody knows what Brodie is because he has been used in a position that does not suit his talents.
            MA Fluery is a crappy shutdown centre, Sid Crosby probably doesn’t make the NHL as a goaltender. What say Vegas and Pittsburgh play them in those positions and then test their trade value.

    • JoelOttosJock

      Thats b.s. if brodie cannot play on the left side and be productive, he is useless. A true elie player is able to adhere to adversity..look at Blake Wheeler playing #1 center for 6 weeks when Schieffle was hurt, moving from wing to center is a lot harder than moving from right to left d.

      • Chucky

        Total nonsense. No batter is equally good from both sides, no sprinter would change their start foot, try to hit a golf ball from the opposite side. Brodie’s reaction and turn to his left is noticeably slower than reacting and turning to his right, he also does not see the ice as well from the left side and this results in bad passes. It may be as simple as his dominant eye is the his left. Whatever it is that makes us one side dominant it is real and important.
        Centre is a different position than wing with different responsibility but mistakes result in loss of possession or missing a scoring opportunity. Defense is a totally different matter where a microsecond of indecision or a missed assignment result in the puck in your net. It is impossible to tell which change is more difficult but very easy to assert that the consequences of the difficulty are fare more evident.

        • JoelOttosJock

          Batting is different. That would be the ewuivelent of asking a left habd shot to shoot right..not play a different side. Curious Chucky, did you ever play? I played defence up to jr. A and i am a lefty who preferred to play the right side but was interchangable. The main difference in side is usually for d coverage..like if the other team has a strong rw or lw..a better comparable would be a left fielder playing right field..yes different but all in all the same thing

        • MontanaMan

          If it makes that much difference to his game, he’s definitely not a #1 pairing. I laugh at people who blame Brodie playing on his “wrong side” (whatever that is) for his terrible decision making, poor puck handling and lack of awareness in his own end. Since you seem to be stuck on this point Chucky, tell us how Brodie playing LD has impacted his game?

  • PrairieStew

    Stop trying to recoup draft picks ! How does that help this team over the next 2 years with Gaudreau and Monahan in their prime years ? If anyone is traded it needs to be to change the makeup of this group and impact the team next year. As for the lack of picks – Treliving and scouts will have to find college and junior free agents to line the prospect cupboard, like they’ve done with Foo and Gawdin.

  • oddclod

    Good thing you’re not management. Bennett is not going anywhere and rightfully so. 1) his value has been diminished but s*#% coaching deployment and 2) he’s a beast in the playoffs.

  • oddclod

    Same goes for Brodie. These assets need to be appreciated (im value) with a good coach. You just can’t trade from a position of strength after a season like this. If Brodie and a prospect nets you a legit #1 RW you do it, but he’s too much like Coffey when he’s got his pride to not bite you back if you trade him for a middling forward.

  • kirby

    “He (Darryl Sutter) can seemingly turn any team with a few strong pieces into a juggernaut, provided he isn’t GM of that team”

    I LOVE Darryl Sutter on the bench. Upstairs in the office? Not so much.
    For years, especially while watching the Kings runs, i can’t stop wondering where this team could have gone had we left him on the bench and hired a GM instead of doing it the other way around.

    Jim Playfair, Mike Keenan, Brent Sutter, one coaching disaster after another while a guy who was a better coach than all of them sat upstairs making baffling trades and draft picks, handing out NTC’s on every contract like candy on halloween.

    • ThisBigMouthIsRight

      To be fair to Mike Keenan, he did take the Flames to the Playoffs both seasons he was here.
      2007-08 – 42/30/10 = Lost in round 1
      2007-09 – 46/30/6 = Lost in round 1
      I’ve never been a Mike Keenan fan… but he did alright while he was here.

      • kirby

        He didn’t “lead” us to the postseason, we were already a playoff caliber team and he was hired to be that hard nose proven winner who got us over the hump. It was just more of the same underachievement, he never accomplished a single thing he was hired to do.

        He had more to do with us not being good enough to advance than he did with us being good enough to make it in the first place.

        He didn’t get anything more out of this team than Jim Playfair did. So if a guy with rings and pedigree didn’t even improve on freakin Jim Playfair, then how did he do alright? I’d say that was a big flop.

  • Misterbator

    Bring in a real coach like the Leafs did and stay the course. Don’t pull the pin on anything unless it is too good to pass up. We’ve seen this with other teams in the past.

    • The Beej

      Yup. Winnipeg, Tampa and Nashville have been super patient. Look at how Tampa struggled last year. It happens. 31st in shooting % is all you need to know. This team didnt just suddenly forget how to shoot and we put up a lot of high danger chances for.

  • The Beej

    Trading Bennett for un underpayment that does nothing to fix our secondary scoring wouldnt help anything. We have no upgrade waiting in the wings. Playing Bennett with better linemates might at least increase his value.

  • Franko J

    As far as I am concerned this team seriously needs an influx of tenacity, speed, and skill throughout the lineup. No matter how they get there via trades or free agency this off season, they really do need to change the on ice chemistry of the team. While there is undoubtedly going to be major changes in the coaching staff, I just hope BT ( or whoever the GM might be) will realize this team is not just one RW or second pairing defense men away from being a playoff contender and doesn’t trade just for the sake of one. However I do feel that there are a few guys who should be moved just for the fact a change of scenery will do them good.