FlamesNation Mailbag: Trade defencemen, sign free agents

I get the feeling we aren’t really going to see any dominoes start to fall until the playoffs are over, so if other teams can just get on with that, then maybe we can get a clearer idea of what’s to come.

In the meantime, this team is totally one Michael Stone trade and John Tavares signing away from five straight Stanley Cups. Or… something.

You have to think they’re going to do something regarding the defence. Not only did it not live up to its billing last season, but they do have prospects pushing for a spot. (One question asked where John Carlson will sign, but I think we can be confident it won’t be here: it’s really difficult to see the Flames acquiring more defencemen.)

On Stone, he’s the one the Flames should be targeting to move the most: he’s the weakest of the group, and his cap hit relative to the amount he plays on the third pairing isn’t worth it. I’m not sure how much demand there is for him, though. When the Flames traded for him he was coming off of a 36-point season. He’s had 25 points total over the past two years. Whatever value he accrued is likely gone, and all the Flames had to pay for him to begin with was third and fifth round picks. I could see the Flames holding on to him and trading someone else (TJ Brodie?) and using him as insurance in case one of the kids isn’t ready to step into a top four role. Not saying it’s the right move – just that it could happen.

As for Dougie Hamilton, it would have to be a hell of a return. The Flames got him for a first round pick and two seconds; since then, he’s been signed to a team-friendly deal and has been one of the NHL’s top-scoring defencemen, all before his 25th birthday. If the Flames trade him they’d better be getting a young, bonafide top line right wing and then some for him. That’s the only way in which it could possibly be worth it – because remember, they don’t have to trade him, and he’s one of the last problems with this team. They’d also have to replace his spot as a top defender, and maybe Brodie can reclaim that role, but he probably won’t be as good as Hamilton is now, and that’s even if he’s able to regain his peak form.

Unless they’re getting an overpay, trading Hamilton probably isn’t worth it.

It’s interesting to think about, and honestly, I kind of want to see it happen in a preseason game; just a meaningless outing where we have fun and get a little weird with things.

At the same time, though, it’s probably not worth it. It’s the same deal with trading him: yes, the Flames need help up front, but if you remove Hamilton from the top pairing then you just made your top pairing worse. He’ll play more minutes as a defenceman, and he’s still keeping up offensively. Hamilton likely has more value as a defenceman, both on and off the ice. Especially if the new coach recognizes him for his potential and plays him in the situations he deserves (i.e. first unit powerplay time).

It makes sense to look at trading Giordano: he’s not getting any younger, but he still has a lot of value. Really, if professional sports were fully professional and didn’t carry any emotional ties, the Flames might even explore that. But that isn’t the case: Giordano is the captain, by all accounts a great person, and he’s still delivering on the ice. Look at how long it took the team to recognize it had to trade Jarome Iginla, except this time, the Flames aren’t entering a rebuilding period.

If Giordano were to be traded – and I don’t think the Flames are even entertaining the notion – then he’d have to bring back the kind of return Hamilton would: a top line forward. Giordano is too good to be traded for a shot at signing Tavares, too. The Flames traded an expiring Jordan Leopold’s rights and a pick for Jay Bouwmeester, and as much as Tavares is better than Bouwmeester, a top pairing defender with four years still on his contract for an asset that may or may not sign isn’t worth it. (I think the ultimate dream here is that the Islanders highly value Stone and take his contract for Tavares’ rights, but… yeah, that’s not going to happen.)

As for that above tweet about Juuso Valimaki and Rasmus Andersson, I think at least one will fight their way onto the starting roster. Remember that, with Matt Bartkowski’s contract expiring, the Flames don’t have a seventh defenceman at the moment. That’s not to say that one of the rookies will be a healthy scratch, but there is leeway for at least one of them to push someone else out of the lineup with no other moves required.

I mean… Tavares could realistically sign here. We don’t yet know what next season’s cap will be, but presently, the Flames have $61.6 million committed to next year, and that’s assuming no buyouts or trades, which seems unlikely. They still have to sign another five forwards, two defencemen, and a backup goalie; assuming the cap stays static (it likely won’t) they’d have roughly $13.4 million with which to do it.

Say one of those forwards is Tavares. The rest are pretty much depth roles: it’s hard to see Mark Jankowski, Nick Shore, and Garnet Hathaway costing too much; same would apply if another forward prospect makes it. David Rittich, Brett Kulak, and a defenceman on an entry-level deal likely won’t take up too much cap, either. The room is realistically there. It’s even there for the future: the only player in line for a big raise that’d be worth it any time soon is Matthew Tkachuk, and the Flames could easily make other moves to free up cap before then. (For instance: Troy Brouwer will have one year left on his deal by the time Tkachuk’s deal is up. If my math is right, I believe buying him out then would free up an instant $3 million.)

And it’s not as though the Flames are totally pathetic. They have very high-scoring forwards Tavares could play with and a still rather good collection of defencemen. They’re a top-heavy team; if Tavares comes here he is going to get good linemates, full stop.

As for other teams? Well, Toronto does have a fair bit of cap coming off their books, and they look on the up and up (though we’re worried about Tkachuk getting a raise – they have to deal with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner and William Nylander). Vegas could probably realistically go after him. San Jose always seems to be on the cusp of doing something, and they have a ton of free agents, including Joe Thornton. The Bruins are presently relying on a fair bit of cheap talent, as well.

Realistically, the Flames can probably get just about anyone they want, provided they offer enough money. That’s generally how free agency works. And they’re just barely in a position to be able to afford to do so, and still have a brighter immediate future than other teams that may have more cap space available to them.

Another high-scoring forward would do wonders. The Penguins had three 80+ point scorers, the Flames had one. The Lightning had five 60+ point scorers, the Flames had two. Micheal Ferland’s 41 points put him sixth in Flames scoring; he would have been seventh in Pittsburgh, and ninth in Tampa. The Flames probably aren’t going to be able to be as top-heavy as the Penguins – few teams are – but the Lightning’s ambitions should be in reach.

They had some help, though. Yanni Gourde, a 26-year-old rookie, got a chance and scored 64 points. He’s also 5’9. Four of the Lightning’s top six scorers are under 6′, so it’s like the Lightning have embraced this very nonsensical idea that “maybe short people are good at hockey, too?” and are somehow finding success through that. Whodathunk!

The Penguins have also benefited from homegrown talent stepping in and stepping up. Jake Guentzel, Bryan Rust, and Conor Sheary have all come from their minor league system: none of them were huge names, but the Pens are winning Cups with them, so. It also didn’t matter that the Penguins had Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin when the bottom half of their lineup was trash; they suddenly started injecting players who can actually play and they started winning Cups.

If the Flames have any faith in their scouting department, we’re about at the time they have to start showing it. Three of the most exciting prospects are Andrew Mangiapane, Dillon Dube, and Matthew Phillips and oh no, they’re short, but they also might be really good, so when it’s their time, give them a legitimate chance. And fewer Tanner Glasses, more Nick Shores. This team is capable of putting a complete roster together, but they have to commit to it.

I don’t think so, if only because that could create needless drama. The players in the room know who their leaders are, and an extra letter on someone’s chest doesn’t really change that. Does it look silly seeing a guy who is ultimately a fourth liner signed to a big free agent contract skating around as though he’s a team leader? Sure, but ultimately, it’s inconsequential.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    if people keep thinking that r Rookie Dman r ready to jump to the main Roster next year… Then why not Trade Hamilton to Az to join his Bro Freddy? Az could fix the Rw we need + this year 1st round pick{ TKACHUK] i bet we could get..Because if you look at the AZ Roster in 3 years or less all them rookies will be asking for $$ and Az will never spend to Cap since the Nhl pay it bills..

    Then Move Tj back with Gio…and Test them Rookies people Keep talking about.

    • Baalzamon

      “Ready to jump in” does not mean “fully formed first pair defenseman.” The Flames have NO ONE who can replace Hamilton right now, full stop.

      Look at it this way. The Flames are currently banking on one of Valimaki or Andersson being able to full-on replace Giordano in like two years. If they trade Hamilton, that means both of them have to do it, and much sooner. And sure, there’s some other guys (Kylington and Fox) but the point is, as soon as you trade Hamilton, you’re looking for… Dougie Hamilton.

      Defensemen are worth more than wingers. Please, please understand that before suggesting trades like this.

      • SgtRoadBlock

        Tj can Replace him, Gio and Tj work very well, and the Return for Hammy would be Huge … Plus you can even sign a ufa Dman to slot in the top 6 and test this so called Rookies people r talking about.

        • Keith Chucky

          Then trade TJ instead…Don’t get me wrong, I like TJ but the amassed mistakes he made this year were way too much to replace Dougie who made a heck of a lot less errors.

          • Cfan in Van

            Exactly. Gambling on a sudden Brodie resurgence, then relying on him to take Dougie’s place would be a very large wager. Not to mention, Hamilton is probably BT’s largest single accomplishment with this team. He’s not going to trade the guy unless it’s a HUGE overpay.

          • SgtRoadBlock

            tj would never get in return what the Deer could, BT need some balls now he on his 3rd Coach and 11 goaltender this Rebuild got knock of the tracks and in panic mode after the sweep to the Ducks lol…

    • Jobu

      Just for fun…
      For Hamilton, Jobu would want a hot injection of youth and picks, and some stability in the backup position.

      This is what Jobu would try for
      – Hamilton
      – Bennett
      – Rittich
      – Arizona’s 1st round pick 2018
      – Arizona’s 2nd round pick 2019
      – Dylan Strome
      – Tyler Steenbergen (Gawdin’s Linemate)
      – Darcy Kemper (A quality experienced backup – though he just extended 2 years with ARI)

      … and Jobu would pray that the hockey gods shine on Valimaki and/or Andersson as a D replacement.

        • Jobu

          Everyone’s a critic. 😀

          In all honesty though you wouldnt get anything more back in that deal.
          Bennett and Strome are equivalent gambles at this point in their careers.
          Kuemper is better than Rittch at the moment, and we need backup goaltending bad at the moment
          And Calgary got Ham for a 15th overall and two 2nd rounders – not that much different than a 5th overall, a 2nd rounder, and a promising and familiar prospect.

          Jobu understands and agrees that this deal would be bad for Calgary, but if youre expecting a better return than that, then you’re fooling yourselves.

          • HOCKEY83

            I don’t think Bennett and Strome are equivalent. Bennett has played and not done well at all over 3 full seasons and Strome has played 7 games and 21 games over 2 seasons. he hasn’t been given a shot yet.

          • T&A4Flames

            2 things. 1st, if that’s all you’re going to get, then we’re back to the obvious ‘don’t trade Hamilton’ logic. 2nd, sure we paid a 1st and 2 2nds for him but that is irrelevant. Since then, he’s been signed to a team favourable contract, got better in every aspect of his game including , most importantly, his point totals. That “what we paid” arguement has absolutely no bearing on his current value.

          • Kevin R

            You are getting trashed because what you think is fair is a poor deal for the Flames. Therefore, Tre walks away from such an offer. Dougie would be a very very coveted player by many teams. Sakic held out to a whacko haul for what I thought was a horrible deal for Ottawa to get Duchene. If Tre let teams know Dougie was available, especially now with the years, age & contract Cap hit, it would blow your mind what we could extort. Now if we didn’t already have such a young core just starting to find out that winning starts at wanting to win & then learning to win.But we aren’t about to start a rebuild. Why is everyone so anal that we value having picks instead of established players in this league? Same with Bennett, if theres more value to keeping him than trading him, well you keep him. Go with the devil you know than the one you don’t. Curious, with your thought on trading Dougie, then what? who plays top pairing? Brodie? But all I read here from trading Dougie advocates is that Brodie can play top pairing with Gio. But then in the next breath, Brodie will be lucky to get back a 2nd round pick. I’m confused, how does a top pairing D only get back a 2nd round pick then? Brodie is easily a #4. Even after these last two underwhelming years, he will get back much more than a 2nd round pick. If that is not the case, just like Bennett, you keep him. This whole trading Dougie has me totally confused on this thread.

    • rusty_shakleforde

      I just don’t understand how that wouldn’t be a step back. Especially considering he’s only 25…you don’t trade your henhouse to get more chickens.

    • SgtRoadBlock

      so in 3 years you ok when he going to ask for 8 million or more ? people have been asking how to get the 2nd Tkachuk this could be one of the best odd to get him if that what staff was after…

      But look at it this way Flames started the Rebuild then made the playoffs vs the Ducks and lost , The Rebuild got put
      on pause and we on r now on a 3rd Coach and 11 Goaltender and still with a weak Top 6… Pros vs Cons

      • Boundsy

        Why would you trade a sure fire, legitimate defenceman for a pick to take a kid that MIGHT, I will repeat..MIGHT pan out to be an everyday NHL’er. No guarantees. As nice as it would be to have Brady Tkchuck on the Flames roster, acquiring him still leaves huge holes on the roster including opening a new hole. Say Treliving does make this move. This leaves the Flames eith a top 4 of Giordano, Brodie, Hamonic and Stone. That is ugly. Especially after the last 2 years from Brodie and Stone. Stone is not a top 4 d man, he struggles enough penciled in at the #6 hole. Also, that is a lot of hope that Brodie is able to bounce bacck from 2 bad seasons. Putting Valimaki, or Andersson in a sink or swim position is not a good way to finish a rebuild. Allow them time to develop, even at the NHL level. As much as I would like to see Brodie moved, Stone should be the first dominoe to fall. That way Andersson, or Valimaki could slide into that hole with Kulak and see if they are capable of being daily NHL defenders. Then, if they prove to be succesful the team could look into moving Brodie.

        • SgtRoadBlock

          you would be getting way more then just Tkachuk back in return in that trade, Az would add a Roster player and picks too for the Deer.. OH and half of the Flames Forwards miss the net 37% of the time each game, Fun fact lol

          • Boundsy

            So? Would you rather them hit the net 100 % of the time but shoot in to the goalies chest? Have you watched the playoffs? Watch how many goals are from shots going wide and are tipped or deflected in. Also, Calgary does not need anymore Arizona trash.

      • T&A4Flames

        You’re really stuck on this ‘trade Hamilton ‘ idea. It’s a terrible idea. Top pairing D that can put up the kind of points he can, you just don’t trade unless you’re rebuilding and even then, he’s under 25. What a colossal mistake that would be, regardless of return.

  • buts

    Dougie Hamilton is not a winner, he plays with no grit and is soft. He has tremendous talent but he doesn’t give a crap. Trade him while his value is high. TO is the team to target for a winger and draft pick in return. Go ahead and trash.

  • Off the wall

    Off topic a bit, but is Vegas the Cinderella team of the playoffs or what? Now how good does Fluery look?

    It’s unfortunate that either the Jets or Knights are going to be eliminated next round. I love watching them both.

    So happy Bruins are out of the playoffs. Marchand can get his giraffe tongue clipped back!

    Burke looks good on the HNIC panel with his tie on, love the slicked back hair too..

  • Off the wall

    FN, we’re not trading Giordano or Hamilton. Not going to do it.

    Either Brodie or Stone, hopefully both. Tavares will sign with Toronto before he comes to Calgary. Treliving is going to have to work magic to land him.

    • Fat Tony

      I agree with everything other than Tavares singing in Toronto. Leafs fans want him to sign but they have a long list of priorities before they take a stab at JT. Matthews, Marner, and Nylander all need new contracts, not to mention their main free agent focus will be on a top 2 Dman. By the time they get to Tavares he’ll already be a Calgary Flame (wishful thinking)

  • Jagrrrrr, baby. Yeah.

    Baal has it right: “…as soon as you trade Hamilton, you’re looking for… Dougie Hamilton.” And also this: “Defensemen are worth more than wingers.”
    So, BTre is not going to trade Dougie this summer.

    Hopefully he does sign Tavares or ROR though. That’d be pretty great.

  • MDG1600

    Trading Stone doesn’t really help much because we won’t get anything but a 4th or 5th draft pick. Not sure Brodie gets you more than a 2nd rounder after his play the last two years. I agree that trading Dougie creates a bigger problem than it solves. The real problem here is lack of forward prospect depth. Lack of depth for forwards was an obvious problem before the Hamonic trade which is why I consider it to have been a total blunder by BT. The only way out of this mess is if one of Dube, Mangiapane or Phillips turns in to a 20+ goal scorer in the NHL sooner rather than later. Or maybe if BT can rob someone blind in the trade market.

    • Fat Tony

      It doesn’t matter what Stone would get in return. It’s to clear up cap space in order to have more flexibility. Whether BT uses that flexibility to add a free agent or make room for a trade target is up to him but that answers questions about the forward depth

    • Mickey O

      One way that Treliving might play the defensive log jam is to keep Stone at the start of the year. Start off with a bottom 6 rotation of Kulak-Andersson and Stone. Then pull the trigger when another team is screaming for defensive help. Valimaki is the wild card. Peters will let his young d-men sink or swim in the NHL with little, if any time, in the minors. If Peters thinks Valimaki is ready, then Brodie is as good as gone.

  • Theo4HoF

    Hamilton, Johnny, Monahan, and Tkachuk would be my untouchables. Hamilton would be my corner stone franchise D-man. Can’t believe it’s even a thought to trade him. Tavares is a pipe dream, but if it’s possible hell ya you get him.

  • Trevy

    I think BT will listen to all offers, but won’t be actively shopping Hamilton. I still believe there’s a deal to be consummated between the Leafs for Brodie in exchange for a RW, which is what we need. I also believe Bennett will be dangled along with Stone. I would love to see a deal of Fox plus to Wash for Grubauer and Wilson. I know he’s a bit of a loose cannon, but if properly channeled, can be a very effective player

    • Beer League Coach

      Forget about Wilson. We don’t need the problems he would bring. Pick up Brett Connolly instead. Big body and he is also physical without the stupidity that Wilson would bring. He might even regain the scoring touch he had when he played for Prince George in the WHL. Tkachuk, Janko, & Connolly or if that combo doesn’t work put Connolly with Johnny & Mony.

      • Trevy

        He could be a good choice too, but as a top six RW, I don’t think so. Third line with Janko and Ferland for sure. I think Tre will go for a bigger fish for the top end

  • Flint

    With all this “trade this guy, or that guy” talk can people please tell me what the upside is: For example Bennett.

    Ok, trade Bennett…. upside, what a second rounder? a third liner? So, your second rounder has about a 1 in 10 chance of becoming what Bennett is today. Third liner for third liner… ok maybe… but who?

    Now, let’s talk downside: Second rounder flops, or third liner is a lifetime third liner. Bennett on the other hand comes of age in all his ancient 22 years old, and pulls a Mikael Backlund (at least), Kyle Turris(more likely) or Martin St.Louis (less likely) and becomes a solid pick.

    You’d trade that for a second rounder? not time to give up on Bennett

      • Mickey O

        Bennett had his best season when he had a coach who believed in him. It wasn’t just because he was part of the 2M line. Bennett tries to do too much out there, most of his struggles on the ice are mental more than anything. Peters won’t tolerate Bennett’s lazy stick penalties, so young Sam should be looking at the new season as a massive chance to get things back on track under a new coach.

        On one of the Fan960 interviews, Peters said that he was great in the playoff series against Anaheim. I don’t think that’s just a new coach blowing smoke, Rebar is a straight shooter and a student of the game. I bet he knows something about 95% of the players in the league.

        • BringtheFire 2.0

          I think if Rebar mentioned a player in that Press conference, that player is getting a chance.

          Also, Mickey, you’re good with the little things:

          At about the 16:10 mark of the press conference with BT and Rebar, BT is asked if he’s going to pick his assistants or let ‘Bar do it. Rebar gives this look before the camera pans to Brad, a kind of knowing, ‘oh yes’ type of look.

          Can I get your take on that ‘look’?

          • Roger the Shrubber

            I’d be 100% fine with those three on a line.

            I find it interesting that people give Sam Bennett a pass and then poop on Curtis Lazar. I want to believe in Bennett, but he just hasn’t showed anything other than bad penalties, tenacious play (which Lazar also brings), and an occasional beautiful play where you think to yourself “Where the hell has this been?”

            I’d like to see those two given a real opportunity. I don’t think Lazar would be good for top-6 but I think he’d be great as a staple on the 3rd line with competent linemates. The ceiling for Bennett should be higher, we just haven’t seen it yet.

    • SgtRoadBlock

      Flames best player is a kid TKACHUK 2nd is Jonny giveaways 3rd is Bob Bassen… But it funny some people here think the Deer the Next Nicklas Lidstrom and acting like we going for a Cup run next year with r 3rd Coach and a Goaltender graveyard lol

  • freethe flames

    Still waiting for the Flames to hire assistant coaches; I doubt any trades occur until then. The coaching staff will meet with BT and his staff to discuss team needs. All the fuse about possibly trading Hamilton is overblown by everyone; yes he’s a young RHD with lots of upside but he frequently struggles in his own zone and takes some dumb penalties; both views are correct. If he were to be traded the return would need to be huge and fill a number of other glaring needs. Do I think it will happen; probably not. If it did happen and we got much of our other needs; two top 6 players in their prime I would not be overly upset. I do believe that one of the defenders will be traded and that it will likely be TJ and I could see Stone being moved a package as well.

  • freethe flames

    One of the teams we frequently discuss as a trading partner is the Leafs; they have an abundance at forward and a need at D. However I think they will aggressively target J Carlson out of Washington. RHD 28 67 points this year; UFA. He might be their target nit Tavares.

  • Garry T

    Bernier as backup for 2 / 3 years.
    Buffalo , Buffaloes Tre and we get screwed every time. If Buffalo wanted Brodie, I want O’Reilly and our first and second back this year. Otherwise move on and pick up JVR in free agency. Toronto are not going to re-sign him.

    I could also see the following

    Johnny Monahan and Van Rymsdyke
    Frolik Backland Grabner
    Tkachuk Jankowski Bennett
    Klimchuk Shore And either Ferland or Foo

    Giordano and Brodie
    Hamilton and Kulak
    Harmonic and Anderson

    Forward spares Shinkaruk and Mangiapane plus maybe Poirier.

    You could maybe get a good prospect and a 2 pack for Poirier.