FlamesNation mailbag: the floodgates open

Thank you to the Montreal Canadiens for pushing over the first domino for an offseason that can hopefully produce as many wild trades as their Max Domi for Alex Galchenyuk trade. Perhaps the Flames are involved in a few of those, though not as lopsided.

Shipping out Michael Stone ($3.5M, probably some retained) and T.J. Brodie ($4.65M) opens up a lot of cap space immediately (while potentially bringing back draft assets and maybe a top six forward, but that’s besides the point). Buying out Troy Brouwer ($3M in savings for the next two years) would also open up a bit of cap room and a forward spot. All together, that’s about $11M in room, which might be what it costs to sign John Tavares.

The negative side is that the Flames will still have to add five forwards, four defencemen, and a goalie with a shade under $15M (assuming an $80M cap + the $9.6M existing cap space) in this hypothetical. RFAs like Nick Shore, Mark Jankowski, and Brett Kulak should come cheap enough, and you can probably pencil in Spencer Foo and Andrew Mangiapane, so that might be around $4M-$5M in salary. Rasmus Andersson and one of Oliver Kylington or Juuso Valimaki will be up, so that’s an extra ~$1.5M gone. David Rittich and Jon Gillies should cost about $1M each, and only one of them will be in the NHL, so just an extra $1M on the books.

That’s about half of that $15M already gone, and the Flames kind of didn’t upgrade in any position besides centre. That’s $7.5M to stick with the status quo. Perhaps getting Tavares offsets the need for a top six RW, but the Flames still do not have a top six RW in this hypothetical, and who knows if there’s one to acquire for $7.5M. They’re also putting a lot of trust in AHL kids to solidify the depth, which is not a very safe bet at all.

So basically the downside to making room for Tavares is that you need to fill up the rest of your roster at a reduced rate. Some of that is doable, but you might have to ignore some of the Flames’ more pressing needs.

If you haven’t heard, other July 1, 2016 signing regret Milan Lucic is apparently asking for a trade out of Edmonton. Given his buyout proof contract and low production, the Oilers are happy to comply.

The caveat is that they’re going to trade him for a higher priced yet shorter term player. Corey Perry and Jason Spezza have been floated around as players underperforming relative to what they make (rumours from various internet sources, not official speculation). The Oilers may take on a bit more cash, but with less term (Perry has three years left, Spezza is a UFA after this season), and free up that spot more quickly. Spezza and Perry are also contracts you can buy out, so that’s another factor. I can’t see the Flames taking back a bad contract when Brouwer’s isn’t even that bad relatively speaking. He might earn more than what he’s getting paid, but that’s a contract you can live with if need be.

Lucic also has a better pedigree than Brouwer. A down season for Lucic was 34 points, which is slightly less than Brouwer’s average points per 82 games over his career. Even in his older age, you can bet that Lucic will bounce back a bit. Players don’t just go from consistent 50 point producers to ice cold like he was last season.

None of that is true for Brouwer. He’s not going to bounce back, he is just a declining asset whose best years are far behind him. I would say the same for Lucic too, but he at least had one good season before having a really bad one. The numbers are pointing in another direction, but you can at least sell Lucic as a guy who needs a change of scenery. Brouwer’s numbers indicate that he’s a player past his expiry date, and it’s hard to sell teams on that.

In the end, it’s hard to gauge what exactly GMs value in players (Brandon Bollig was traded for a draft pick this year) but you can probably bet that Brouwer is not the player GMs are interested in. You’re not crazy for thinking it’s possible, though. It was rumored to be close to happening before the season started.

Travis Hamonic might be a second and a third this year. I think being (hypothetically) on the block a year removed from one of the bigger trades of the past season kind of dampens his value. He’s still a high end defenceman in name value, but if the Flames (hypothetically) moved on from him already, he would look like a lemon to other NHL teams.

If you didn’t read Pat’s article, it’s here.

I agree and disagree with Pat on this one. I disagree on the surface level: TJ Brodie is making very reasonable money to pick up 40 points a year and generally be trusted to eat up minutes. Even in a down year, he still put up 32 points and played heavy minutes. A first round pick might be an underpayment for a team desperate enough.

But circumstances matter, which I feel Pat was trying to convey but didn’t quite do so, and that’s what I agree with him on: Brodie won’t get a first round pick at this draft. Teams tend to value their draft picks more around draft time, understandably. Moving up into the first round is much harder at draft time, given that there’s a time limit of literal hours to actually acquire the pick. The team that owns the pick can really put the screws to a potential suitor because the suitor is constrained by hours while the selling team doesn’t have to lose anything. If a trade doesn’t materialize, you still get a first round prospect while your trading partner is left hanging. The onus is on the buying team to put up a package in enough time to get that pick. It may not be fair value, but that’s the reality of trading around draft time.

Imagine if you’re an opposing GM. Brad Treliving comes calling, and he’s dangling Brodie for a first. Knowing the Flames don’t have a first round pick, the balance of power is in your hands. Yeah, you may need a defenceman, but this is a defenceman heavy first round (a various survey of mock drafts sees anywhere from 12 to 17 defencemen selected in the first round. Eight defencemen were selected in the first rounds of the five previous drafts, on average). So you ask for Treliving to sweeten the pot, knowing full well that he also doesn’t have a second or a third. He’s likely going to hang up at that point, because that likely involves multiple NHL assets and a top end prospect.

I also see the inverse being true. If a GM called Treliving asking about Brodie, it’s likely a lowball offer. An opposing GM might bring up Brodie’s struggles and say that they’re not worth the risk of a first round pick (if it’s a particularly smart GM, they might bring up the Hamonic trade and ask Brad how well that went). The best he can do is a second, and knowing that there likely isn’t another suitor asking for a first, that might be the best offer on Treliving’s plate.

This is likely what has been happening behind the scenes, which Treliving has been hinting at in recent radio hits. Pat is absolutely right in that Brodie would not fetch a first round pick at this draft. Any other time, yes. This week? Nope.

I don’t think Sam Bennett would’ve gotten you Alex Galchenyuk. Both Bennett and Domi have gone a bit backwards since their rookie seasons and have been treading water since, but Bennett has been a bottom six option most of the time whereas Domi is somewhere around a second line level.  Domi isn’t as great as Montreal thinks he is, but he’s easier to sell because he actually has some tangible NHL success. If this is Domi’s ceiling as an NHL player, then he’s still a pretty good player.

Bennett, on the other hand, is potential with no results. He has been an underachiever with little hope that he actually gets better except for the hope that he just does. If someone is going to give you a Galchenyuk for Bennett, don’t complain, but it’s unlikely he is viewed the same as Domi.

No. Brady is going to be a top ten pick, which is going to be near impossible to acquire, and the actual reward isn’t that great. Tkachuk the younger is likely going to take more time to reach the NHL, and his early returns suggest that he’s a bit overvalued. He’s certainly a good prospect, but he’s not the sure thing his brother was. There’s a lot more risk in trading up to take Brady. The Flames are locked out of the first round (and second, and third) this year thanks to taking a big risk. Doubt they do it again.

If you’re unfamiliar, Florida’s 2016 second round pick Adam Mascherin refused to sign with the team, and their rights to him expired on Jun. 1. Following that, the time for trading is over. Mascherin is no longer Florida Panthers property and has re-entered the draft. The Flames cannot trade for him (he would’ve been a third round pick at the very least, which uhhhhhhhhh).

Mascherin was a stud when he was available in 2016 and has been a stud ever since. He’s going to be a great mid-round pick for whoever scoops him up, but I doubt he falls below 93 though. Mascherin could likely step into the NHL next year, and that’s something that teams won’t pass on for long. The Flames are either going to have to trade up (even less picks?) or pray. It’s very unlikely.

Well, Treliving’s strengths lie in the later rounds. He’s picked up a fair number of prospects in the later rounds, so I doubt there’s much to worry about. Most of the players in the first round aren’t likely going to help the Flames next season anyways, so it’s not that big of a deal. It would be nice to have a high end prospect, but they’re not going to solve any immediate Flames problem. If Treliving can add an interesting piece or two with the picks he has, it’s a win.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Andrew Mangiapane fills in Tkachuk’s spot on the 3M line (Matthew is the top line RW) and picks up 40 points in his rookie season. If that’s not dark horse enough for you, I’ll say that Dillon Dube is that guy.

Maybe a real dark horse prediction is saying Jon Gillies steals the #1 starting job halfway through the season. I’ll go with that.

  • aye

    NHL’s 2008 re-draft has Hamonic at #20, and Brodie #21, and Mikkel Boedker ahead of both at #19. Hmmm… I think I’ll stick with Hamonic and Brodie.
    If you can’t even get a 1st for Brodie, then it’s better to hang on to him until trade deadline when people are paying much more.

      • everton fc

        Nope. They won’t be trading Stone. But they might want his brother, to not only keep him happy, but to fill defencive holes they’ll have.

        But I wouldn’t want Hoffman here.

        • TriPPiNvdUb

          Given what happened with Stajan and his family and the way the the entire organization ralleyed around him, I couldn’t see the players welcoming Hoffman and his gf with open arms.

  • Garry T

    Somebody floated a rumor that the Canucks really wanted Backlund. Let’s do it. Backlund to Vancover for Bo Horvat, their first rounder at number 7 this year and another prospect TBA. They have done real well drafting the last 3 years so there has to be someone there that we would like.

    In terms of trades for our D, the top four need not go anywhere. Stone maybe. I would think there may be a deal in the works, otherwise Hogstrom leads a pretty good life in Sweden and he sure is not coming here to play in the AHL.

    Someone posted that Vancouver really wanted Backlund. Vancouver has a good roster now and great kids coming. Backlund is really important to us but for the right deal, I would do it. Their first pick at 7, Bo Horvat, and another roster player in the form of a center would work for me. Throw in a 2nd. As incentive for us and I would get serious.

    It appears that Gio or Brodie may be going. The Rangers have picks coming out their ying yang. I would ask for Hayes, plus a 1st. two seconds plus a third. They have 3 firsts, 2 seconds, two 3s and two 4s in this draft plus later picks as well.

    In free agency, we obtain Grabner plus a center to replace Backlund for line 2. Pick up another right winger is free agency and we should be good.

    • Trevy

      That all sounds wonderful, but never going to happen in the real world. True Vancouver has always covered Bachlund and perhaps they would dangle their 7th for him, but Horgan is a young star in the making and no way they include him in any deal. You might snag Virtanen with the 7th but I’d doubt anymore. Besides, BT flat out said he doesn’t want to lose a good roster player just to get a high pick. Rangers do have loads of picks and are offering up Hayes. There might be a fit there but it would involve Fox for sure

      • Hockeysense9393

        Or even a good prospect that has already developed for a couple years, just to pick a “maybe” prospect that needs to develop for a couple years to become a good prospect? As the draft goes, I think this is going to be a long quiet weekend. A player like Hayes though for a logjam prospect pool (defence)…that is kind of intriguing and That type of trade is quite possible maybe? Not Hayes in general (3rd line left handed centre), but probably a winger with similar age and upside.

          • Jessemadnote

            I’m on an anti-Janko tear at the moment. If we exclude his final meaningless game, he scored 6 points in the final 35 games of the season. 6 points!! He was outscored by Brouwer in 4 less games, Outscored by Stajan in 2 minutes less per game. You want to fix the Flames bottom 6? Mark Jankowski should be on the trade block. Hayes had 26 points in 32 games over the same time frame.

          • Kevin R

            Im not convinced Janko is ready to be that 2nd line centre either. I want to see significant progress from him this year. But with wingers like Frolik & Magpie on the 3rd line, that may work ok. If Backlund can get the #7 & Virtanen back, I may be inclined to doing that deal. I almost think that the #7 pick could bring us back RoR & the #32 pick back.

            Christian, I honestly dont see Tre making a phone call to another GM to get “back into the 1st round”. He would be calling a GM because there would be a forward he thinks would be a good fit & that Brodie would appear to be a good fit going back. If we ever bailed on Bennett for a 2nd & a 3rd, I would bail on being a fan. That would be in MB/Chiarelli type of asset management.

      • deantheraven

        I think Fox is going to serve best in a package now. We have D-men that would be in his way here, and his value isn’t going to go up much (if at all) if we keep him down on the farm and see how those ahead of him fare. I honestly think that there won’t be a spot for him on RD this year, and he shouldn’t be a 7th here. let him play his way into bigger minutes in the ‘A’ next year. Phat Ras is next in, but only if Stone moves.
        But either way, there’s no way I’d gamble with Backlund on Virtanen and a 7th… Not this draft, anyway.

        • Hockeysense9393

          I can’t quite understand what you are saying about Fox? He has commited to one more year at school, so there is no chance he will be in the minors this year. He can even stay in school for one more season after 2018-19, so there really is no hurry for him. If say all three of Ras, Killington, and Valimaki made it up in the next 2 years…there should be plenty of room for him in the minors when he is ready to commit to pro.

    • Speed Kills

      Grabner is Garbage….. He was 1 of the top 3 players to Avoid this UFA Season… So No thanks.(Although, the Flames could use someone to score on an empty net like Grabner does well.)

  • buts

    Christian….Gillies has not come close to showing he can play in the nhl never mind steal the number 1 starting position. I will make a prediction and say this is the last week Dougie Hamilton is a flame. He’s going to Toronto for a forward, goalie and high draft pick.

  • Garry T

    Thanks for your input boys and girls. I was a little over the top on the Rangers deal but one can wish! Whether it is Brodie or Gio , they are great players. Brodie has been mismanaged and I would rather keep both than trade either but if you are going to move one or the other, Hayes, a first and a second or Hayes, two seconds and a 3rd. is the minimum I would accept.
    The Rangers website states they have had a number of calls on Hayes and with their re-build in progress, they may move him. Sure would make Johnny a happy boy and I think Hayes would be a great fit on our first line.

    As for Grabner, take a look at his stats for points last year. If he can replicate that at between 1 and 2 million, he is indeed a steal. He would be a great fit with our second line.

    Thanks for your input everyone! I was a little over the top on the Rangers but one can wish. In terms of Vancouver, Horvat is young, is a top producer for Vancouver already and his value to any club is going to move up exponentially for his speed, skill and size. Horvat is equal value at the end of the day because we have Backlund for 3 maybe years and he moves on whereas Horvat is special and we have him for years. Vancouver, if they indeed want Backlund know they will have to pay for him and they know it will be more than a first so if they make a move, it will be their first, someone like Horvat who I want and either another pick or another roster player from Vancouver. That is where the value is for Backlund.

    • Kevin R

      No Vancouver would never trade Horvat in this scenario. As mentioned, the #7 & Virtanen may be the max you could extract. Which by the way would be incredibly tantalizing.

    • Speed Kills

      Sorry Garry, but some stats can be misleading, Almost 1/2 (or more than? I can’t remember) of his goals last year were Empty net goals(almost set a record actually). There is a lot of risk that comes with him. He has already shown that he is capable of falling off statistically, he has dropped off steadily over the past 3-4 years. This was proven during his brief time as a Devil this season, In 21 games with Jersey, Grabner only scored two goals and 5 points. If he continues this kind of production into next season, it will be a very long season for him and whoever signs him. Given the fact that he is 30 as well, it will not be surprising to see a further dip in his production.

  • Mickey O

    “Don’t tap the aquarium.”

    Not sure if you’ve heard that one, it is a poker expression. In a nutshell – keep the fish happy. It should be clear by now that Marc Bergevin is in Peter Chiarelli territory on how to undervalue assets that you have. To me, the Galchenyuk for Domi trade is entering Hall for Larsson territory, it is that lop-sided.

    Which brings me to Treliving and Bergevin. Something happened between them, and Treliving is some “annoyed” at Bergevin. There was a quick video at the last GM’s meeting in March involving those two.

    Bergevin was coming out of a building and Treliving was walking into it. Bergevin stuck out his hand to shake Treliving’s. BT looked down at him, totally blew him off, and kept walking. Mr. Bergevin had done something pretty appalling in Treliving’s eyes. There could have been a trade on the table that Bergevin bailed on somehow, possibly involving Galchenyuk.

    But Brad, you keep the fish happy at all times. That was a very bad play on your behalf, because you have no idea what the live-one is going to do next. Keep it cordial, Mr. Treliving…and don’t blow a relationship with another GM who clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      Thanks for the insight Mickey. As usual, a keen eye. And logically Montreal has been a great trading partner for us on paper, always wondered why we didn’t make a deal.

    • Mickey O

      It got a tiny bit of play…Bergevin was wearing a flowery shirt, and Treliving was in a suit and tie. It was posted on Twitter. I tried looking for the video, but couldn’t find it. But Treliving was some pissed.

  • Mickey O

    The reply buttons disappear after a while, so I figured I’d start another post to reply about Janko.

    I’ll play Devil’s Advocate. Gaudreau – Jankowski – Monahan could happen sooner than you think. Wrap your heads around that one…

    • Kevin R

      Why would you put a 30 goal scoring centre on the wing? His value as is would be huge. Im open minded enough that would be intrigued to see how that would work, but I honestly think Bennett-Janko-Tkachuk would make better sense & even yet, I would gravitate to Bennett-Backlund-Tkachuk as the 2nd line & move Frolik to the 3rd line with Janko, where I think he needs to start this year. JMO

      • everton fc

        I’d love to see Ferland and Tkachuk on the same line. But you have to spread your “truculence” out a bit. I’d also like to see Tkachuk wearing Brouwer’s “A”, when the season starts.

        Intriguing idea, Lucic for Perry. If the Oilers could move Lucic for Spezza, that’d be a nice piece of business, financially. I think!

      • Mickey O

        Just throwing it out there, never seen it posted before. Somewhat of a mild indictment of Monahan. What’s Monahan really good at? Getting open for Johnny to find him, and a great, quick release. Johnny is the puck distributor on that line from the wing.

        In a way it reminds me of the Giroux – Couturier situation in Philly. Giroux is a centre through and through, but the Flyers wanted to give Couturier a bigger role last year by playing a big centre in the middle.

          • Mickey O

            Peters has said he likes pairings though. Can’t see him splitting up Gaudreau and Monahan somehow.

            I’m almost at the point of putting Derek Ryan on the roster. He was the 3C in Carolina last year; great in the face-off dot; is a RHS; figures to get PP time and has a big fan in the coach.

            He actually won’t come cheap even though he’s 31. There should be lots of interest in him with what little is available. There’s your (addition) player at 3C or 3RW, and Shore as the 4C.

          • Burnward

            I hear ya. I’m doing the same thing in my head. Didn’t want to get too presumptuous though. Ha!

            Also like that he’s a right shot who seems to have a quick little release for PP2 maybe

        • Kevin R

          I actually thought Monahan was making progress on his face off proficiency. Would he be able to be in such good position for the goals playing the RW is the question. I love the potential of what Janko can become, just not sure he’s ready for a prime time top 6 role yet. Maybe later in the year if he really makes some strides. But after watching Vegas this year, I am a lot more open minded with unproven talented young players thats for sure!

        • Baalzamon

          Monahan is certainly not a perfect player, but his overall game has steadily improved every year. At the rate he’s going, his defensive game will be average at worst next season, probably above average, and his offense is so good that, if that happens, he’ll be one of the better centers in the league.

          Remember, he was producing at a PPG pace this season before that slew of injuries hit him. What will he be able to do, healthy and a year older?

  • Fat Tony

    I’m liking the dark horse predictions, although they are based on the assumption that we do no pick up an established right winger via trade. Tkachuck obviously has the ability but by having him on the top line our depth becomes weaker.

    • Mickey O

      FLT…Good find, knew it was out there someplace. I got the details slightly wrong, but do remember that revolting shirt. That was definitely another golden spittoon move from Treliving.

      • Off the wall

        Thanks FLT.
        I watched this about 10x. Clearly Treliving didn’t wish to make any acknowledgement of Bergevin.

        Treliving should learn to keep his friends close and his enemies even closer, even if he has to ‘fake’ it. Bergevin is ripe for the picking.

        Doubt we any trades with Montreal now…

  • Just.Visiting

    I’d be open to trading Fox for a pick in the 7-12 range of the first round if we found the right trading partner and the right player were still available (Oliver Wahlstrom?). That would be a pretty good return on Fox, who projects out particularly well for someone thin on defence prospects.

    Wingers of interest to me would be Anthony Mantha (Brodie?) or Daniel Sprong or Kasperi Kapanen (Ras?).

    • Kevin R

      Larry Brooks had a speculative column on Sunday & once again mention of Fox & a desire to unite him with Lindegren who is Ranger property & the two played well together at the WJC’s these last two years. Also a hint from a Ranger blogger that there was some rumble Fox really doesnt want to play in Canada. Yes I know, unsubstantiated & we heard all this with Gaudreau. But if Brodie cant get what we want & Fox can, I am not opposed to trading him.
      Hayes would be interesting & change our top 6 dynamics.

  • Korcan

    Barring any summer trades for a forward (an unlikely scenario), next season’s forward lineup could look something like:
    Johnny, Mony, Tkachuk
    Mangiapane, Backlund, Frolik
    Bennett, Jankowski, Ferland
    Lazar (or Klimchuk?), Shore, Brouwer

  • Korcan

    Matthew Phillips is a rhs, correct? I’m wondering if Stockton will convert him to RW. Though it won’t help them next year, he could provide the Flames a good productive RW in a couple of years down the road.

    • freethe flames

      I think you can be pretty confident that he plays RW next year for the Heat and from everything I have seen and read about him he may be readier than you think. If the Flames are not able to trade for a RHS then I think it’s important to sign a FA to give a year to develop. I have been suggesting the Flames look at Vanek on a one year deal for that very reason(Vanek’s last two contracts have each been 1 year deals at a reasonable cap hit I can’t see him breaking the bank); it gives the team a RHS who will help the PP, it buys Phillips and Gawdin some developmental time and if either of these guys or Foo steps up Vanek on a 1 year deal would be easy to move.

      Saying this I am still hopeful that BT can make a trade to add a younger RHS that has a future with the organization rather than sign Vanek.

      • Beer League Coach

        Check Royals web site in the dub. Phillips won 3 out of 4 faceoffs all season during the 17/18 season. That is not a ratio. It is a total of 4 faceoffs taken. Sure looks like he played RW all season for Victoria.

  • callmeElvis

    How about this, trade Gio for the second or third overall, draft Tkachuk. get Brody Tkachuk. Spend the money and get Traverse. Keep Stone, who is better than Hamonic and Keep Bennett who will be better when the team started to play for thier coach.