FlamesNation Mailbag: Goalies, and also Dillon Dube

The Flames are first in the Pacific, the best start in recent memory, and we’re all still worried about goaltending.

Which is fair. The Flames have made their name so far on being able to outscore their opponent, as the Colorado game has proven (it will likely go down as their signature regular season win). But there’s always the lingering feeling that they won’t be able to keep it up forever. Can they come back from down 4-1 with 20 minutes left forever? Probably not.

At some point, they’ll have to address the goaltending. The team is clearly too good to allow bad goalies to keep sinking them. Mike Smith has established that he’s not a starter anymore. David Rittich is good, but not starter good (yet). Where do the Flames go from here?

Also, Dillon Dube.

(If you’re out of the Twitter loop: Sportsnet suggested the Flames trade Mike Smith, a 2019 first, and one of Jon Gillies/Tyler Parsons to the Blue Jackets for Sergei Bobrovsky.)

In a vacuum, no. If there’s one goalie who is up there with Carey Price, it’s Bobrovsky. The Flames have so far proven that they can outscore bad goaltending (9-1 games excluded), but if they’re already a pretty good team with lousy goaltending, they could be unstoppable with great goaltending. Bobrosvky is a great goaltender, so let’s do this.

Of course, reality dictates that yes, it is a bad idea. If Bobrovsky is up there with Price, he’s also going to get Price money ($10.5M x 8). That’s not money the Flames can afford, especially with a certainly expensive Matthew Tkachuk contract coming up. It’s also worth mentioning that Bob is over 30, so that contract may be good for half of those years. This is even if he wants to sign in Calgary, which isn’t guaranteed. I can’t even imagine that the suggested Sportsnet package could get it done, so it’ll be very, very expensive for a goalie who may either leave after a half-season or stick you in cap hell. Trading for Bob is a bad idea.

I don’t think that Pekka Rinne getting an extension is going to affect Juuse Saros’ availability in any major way. The Preds don’t have any goaltending depth behind him, and with him locked up at $1.5M for two more seasons, there’s no real reason to move him unless he gets grumpy. The Preds are in their contention window, so they don’t really need to trade their cheap and good backup just because. Saros has hype, but he’s still a backup for now, so that’s probably why they extended Rinne. The Preds don’t need to make a future decision right now (the looming Seattle expansion draft also might play in here: they have a lot to protect, so keeping Rinne around as a dangle piece could be valuable), so they won’t.

If Saros was available, I think that it would be a package somewhere between Philipp Grubauer and Antti Raanta: a higher end draft pic with maybe a prospect, and with a salary dump tacked on. Maybe that’s worth it for the Flames, but given that they haven’t had a first round pick since Juuso Valimaki (and sparing amounts of seconds and thirds) they might be hesitant.

Trade rumours are what they are, but I can’t see why either team would want to make this trade. They both have goaltending issues, I’m not sure why adding Calgary’s goaltending issue to the pile would solve anything. Those teams may be desperate, but not that desperate.

If there is steam, I can’t imagine the Flames could get much for Smith. It would probably be similar to the Niklas Backstrom-David Jones trade the Flames made a few years ago, where they swapped one high-salary, old disappointment for another one and maybe got a late round pick out of it (though that pick turned out to be the promising Matthew Phillips, so).

I think that there’s not much more to worry about than Brad Treliving ensuring that he has an open connection to Smith (and more importantly, his agent) in case the offseason goes really, really wrong. If you want to get bleak, the Flames still don’t have a starter for next season. Rittich is untested as a starter and Gillies is blowing his audition in the AHL. Treliving is certainly loyal to a fault and is willing to dance with the one who brought him here. I don’t think they’ll re-sign Smith, but he’ll keep the option on the table as a last resort.

But the quip about Smith having less mileage and ergo deserves a higher risk contract than what teams usually give out to 35+ players is hooey. Smith has been a starter since 2011-12 and has seen 50+ games in five seasons. Since Smith became an NHL regular in 2006-07, only nine other goalies have played more games than him. If the Flames want to consider re-signing him just as insurance, that’s at least justifiable. But they really shouldn’t buy into that “less mileage” hype and give him something ridiculous.

I think they need to give him a test drive as the starter right now. At this point, he’s quite clearly the better goalie than Smith. Since the Flames don’t have any goalies next year, they absolutely have to start testing it out. If he proves that he can handle multiple starts, good. If he doesn’t, back to the drawing board. But the important thing is that you have to find out. You can’t do that if you keep Smith as the nominal starter.

The way he’s playing, yes, he gets extended. I think the Flames move on it quickly before other teams start sniffing around and boost his value. It’s a long shot, but if the team can get him on the Saros deal ($1.5M x 3), that’s pretty good. If he’s good, he’s cheap; if he’s not, well he’s still cheap.

The other side of making Rittich the starter is that you have to do something with Smith. Although they’ve parked expensive options for periods before (has anyone heard from Michael Stone recently?), it’s much more difficult to do that with a goalie. He’s going to have to play sometime.

I think the Flames might try a 1A/1B style with Smith as the 1B goalie. If he can be average on most nights, or at least not a disaster, the Flames can certainly make the playoffs with him getting significant minutes. But it is very important that they also plan around him not being the goalie that gets them there, because that ain’t happening.

I feel that they’ve been trying to move Stone for a while now with no buyers, hence him in the press box. If you have two rookies who have taken his spot without anyone noticing, it’s a hard sell to any other club. Why would anyone want the guy who is owed $7M over the next two seasons when players with minimal NHL experience took his job?

Rasmus and Juuso, no. They had options instead and have done away with all of them. Those two have earned their job, and an uncharacteristic fall from grace is the only thing that prevents them from going down.

Dube is in more skeptical territory. While he’s had his bad luck (he should certainly have three goals by now instead of three moments where NHL veterans have tried to kill him), you could still make the case for him to go down. There are areas of his game that need refinement, and that’s what the AHL is for. Him getting more minutes can arguably improve his game, so it’s something they might consider. It really depends on how Andrew Mangiapane or Spencer Foo do, as they also need a compelling case to replace Dube with one of those players.

I said there’s a case for sending Dube down, but I don’t buy it myself. I think that he does things better than a replacement-level player could at the NHL level, and if he wasn’t snakebitten, these questions probably wouldn’t pop up.

I don’t think a Curtis Lazar comparison is workable though. Lazar was essentially forced onto an Ottawa team that, as we have learned, isn’t entirely responsible or smart with player development. The Sens had an open spot and gave it to Lazar because they really had no other options. The Flames gave Dube an opportunity, and he seized it. He’s earned his keep. Among many options with more experience, he rose to the task and took the spot he deserved.

The Sens really should’ve been patient with Lazar, but I’m not sure that would’ve made him better. Comparing Dube to Lazar also ignores that Dube has been an overall better player every step of the way. Dube had more points in the WHL in fewer games during his draft year than Lazar had. If you prorate the next season, Dube still had more points. Lazar was probably never cut out for regular NHL hockey despite the insistence of his GMs. Development was mishandled, sure, but if the Sens did it properly, he would probably be closer to a regular fourth liner than a regular top sixer.

I like what he’s been doing in the bottom six. He seems to be a bit more buzzy with Derek Ryan against other teams’ bottom sixes, so if those two could become strong depth players, that seems to be workable. I also liked when he was with Sam Bennett and/or James Neal. He was an aggravating player to play against in the WHL, which I think is one of his greatest strengths, so pairing with a similar player could be the key to unlocking him.

The blender is fine. I think that Bill Peters puts together some interesting lines that have garnered results when he pulls out the blender. Among the forwards, I don’t notice any blender lines that obviously stand out like they’ve never played together before.

I just wish he stuck with some of the lines. The Tkachuk-Backlund-Neal line looked great against Chicago, but it’s probably not going to stick around longer than that. He’s teased Gaudreau-Monahan-Tkachuk (and Neal) before too, which should see more ice time. To put it simply, I think that Peters shouldn’t have to wait for the team to be down two goals for him to put some offensive weapons together.

  • freethe flames

    Generally speaking I think that BT is going to let the goaltending situation play out unless one or both Smith or Rittich real flop.
    A Dube/Lazar comparison has some credibility but we will not know this for 2-3 years. Deepending on if he actually has a concussion after the hit on Saturday he might be better served to spend some time in the AHL having some success.

    I had hoped that BP was going to build a 4 line team this year but based upon both the performances of some players and his player preferences it appears that this is a three line team with spare parts and remains top heavy and I fear that in the long run this will not be be good enough.

    • Kevin R

      Dont agree with your last point. Not many teams have a top 9 forward group that can come at you like the Flames. We see it as Peters shortening the bench but really, top 9 decent player should be all you need. That 4th line is for rookies & some skilled ruffians when things get a little out of control in a game who get anywhere from 6-9 minutes a game. Why everyone thinks we can have 4 lines that score & roll them is beyond me. You have to match lines as most teams have pretty decent top lines you need to focus & shut down, those lines get double shifted & extra minutes which throws your line rolling all out of whack in short order.

      • freethe flames

        Playing 4 lines is not the same thing as rolling for lines with identical minutes, what it means is having for lines with clearly defined roles and expectations. The guys on the 4th line can’t just sit for entire periods; they need to be able to kill penalties and take some shifts each and every period. A Dube/Janko/Hathaway line could be your secondary D line; which could give better minutes to other lines.

      • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

        Kevin I agree if we are talking about a good, competitive hockey team that can make some noise. I’m not sure I agree if we are describing an elite, legitimate cup-contender. Our goal should always be 4 lines that are tough to handle by their counterparts

    • calgaryfan

      there is not enough ice time to keep rolling four lines. The top guys will be unhappy sitting, also the Flames have been playing from behind a lot, so any team would shorten the bench. If the team starts playing with a lead I am sure Peter’s would play the fourth line more.

    • Jessemadnote

      I disagree with the idea that Smith is just not a starter. This time last year Smith, Allen, Bobrovsky, Quick and Holtby were all in the top 10 in the league for save percentage. Now each one of those players is in the bottom 10. It’s a volatile position and it’s ridiculous to make a declaration based on less than 20 games.

      You can say it goes back to last season but from Feb 28, 2018 until now you know how has the worst save percentage? Cory Schneider. You gotta ride these skids out. If Smith fell off a cliff then things like the Nashville shutout and the win against Toronto wouldn’t have been possible. Let Smith ride this out and we’ll see him come around to the league average goalie he’s been throughout his career.

    • Chrissu

      I like Bobrovsky as much as the next guy but we’re really tight in cap space. Besides, his contract is up this year and, from the looks of it, he’s going to be wanting more than an already steep 7.5 million contract

  • Kevin R

    Good mailbag Christian! Absolutely no to Bobrovsky if that’s the price tag. Surprised you didnt mention Schneider as I had heard rumblings Flames may be lurking in the shadows. 6.0 mill for 3 more years after this for a 32 year old is more palatable & no rush, let Jersey get him back into game condition. Kinkaid has been a revelation for them.
    Meantime I go the hot hand route & let everyone know thats how the starts are going to be allocated. You win & you’re in.

    Stone must not have any value right now, maybe TDL but then, we already have his cap space handled, he would probably be the best depth option for us. I would probably suggest a conditioning stint down in Stockton for 3-4 games. Looks to be a buyout candidate next summer so we can cap space or perhaps we can throw some former 1st round prospects as a sweetner, like Klimchuk to one of these rebuilding teams next summer.

    Only way I see a Florida deal is if the Panthers look at Bobrovsky (Luongo is a perennial hurter) & Florida want cap space,
    Maybe Smith & a prospect for Reimer who has 2 more years after this at $3.4mill. Who knows.

    • Baalzamon

      “Win and you’re in” is the worst way to run a bench. Was the Colorado game a reason to give Smith another start? Was the Montreal loss a reason to sit Rittich (in spite of the fact that he, you know, made forty saves)?

      The correct answer to both questions is no. You start the goalie who gives you the best chance to win, not the one who was the beneficiary of timely/frequent scoring from the team. If a goalie wins a game while making six saves on eleven shots, he should probably sit out the next one since he basically almost lost you that game single-handedly.

  • 左翼二

    I don’t think the Flames are going to trade Smith because I don’t think any of the 30 other teams want him.

    I don’t think trading Stone is a good idea because if they do then they suddenly have 0 depth at D if someone gets injured. By all accounts, no one in Stockton is ready for the big time. The way around this would be to get back NHL calibre D in the trade, but who would do that for Stone?

    • Avalain

      Well, I think that Kylington is ready. Or close. Or close enough if someone on the left gets injured. But I don’t know of anyone else on the right who would replace Stone.

  • cjc

    Think they need to look beyond the biggest UFA names. Varlamov from Colorado is an intriguing UFA name coming up – but again, over 30 and injury history, so you don’t want to commit long term. Would be cheaper than Bob though. Question is whether he’d like to stay in Denver.

    Robin Lehner could also be a good target – and he is a bit younger than other options available. He’d be cheaper than Bobrovsky, and maybe even Varlamov. That said, he seems to like it in NY.

    A lot of teams have no starter lined up for next year – Detroit, Philly, Edmonton, Calgary, Columbus, Colorado, Carolina all have starters on expiring contracts. So the competition for starting goalies is going to be fierce.

  • Greg

    If I recall correctly, Stone had a higher game score than both the rookies. I’m not a fan of his in particular, but I sure would feel comfortable heading in to a long playoff drive with him as the #7 guy.

    Unless moving his contract frees up cash that actually gets deployed elsewhere (goaltending), I think he has more value than what you’d get back, especially when you tack on whatever you’d have to pay at the deadline to replace him as Brennan Evans insurance.

    • cjc

      I think his higher game score is largely due to his 4 assists in 10 games. On the surface Stone’s numbers haven’t been too bad and some of the possession numbers have been better than the rookies – though with some of the softest zone starts. One area he has been really bad is high-danger chances against, and it may not be a coincidence that the last 5 games have seen far fewer of those.

      If you accept that Stone is a high-end 7D, then that can be replaced fairly easily on the trade market – late round pick would most likely be the cost. Or, maybe they are okay with Prout in the 7D role.

      All that said, I doubt Stone gets moved for the reason you stated above (insurance). I also think he’ll relieve the rookies from time to time, especially if a few losses pile up. Then they buy him out in the offseason to free up cash (a buyout would save them 2.33 million next year). A suitable 7D replacement could be signed for Prout money or thereabouts.

  • Jobu

    Jobu thinks a lot of people are forgetting the impact the goalie equipment changes have had. Apparetnly its an issue with the arm pads. Jobu believes this is a major reason for some goaltender issues. Why else would all the other stud goaltenders are also having a hard time?

    Real question is, can these goalies re-educate and overcome the differences with that change. Being pros, one can hope its only a matter of time.

  • redwhiteblack

    If we had a .915 .920 tending we would be a great team. You can go far with an elite tender alone. BT has to be making some calls, looking at options. I think it is becoming a front of mind topic each passing day. It is unfortunate none of our prospects are rounding out. There was certainly positive promise in the draft choices. Goal such a crap shoot.

  • Iggyfan2001

    “Lazar was essentially forced onto an Ottawa team that, as we have learned, isn’t entirely responsible or smart with player development.”

    I would dispute that statement. I actually think they are pretty good at drafting and developing and I would say Lazar is more the exception rather than the rule. I mean for every Lazar there is a Mark Stone, or a Mike Hoffman, or a Ryan Dzingel, or a Thomas Chabot, etc. And this is only there more recent history. It’s the terrible trades that are killing them.

  • Justthateasy

    There are only a handful of goalies in the league now that are invincible and even those have bum nights. I think we should lessen Smith’s ice time so he has plenty of rest and that Riddick go 50% at least. When you trade because of a need you may not win but if you trade because of somebody else’s need your chances are greater. Goalies on a new team are a crap shoot.
    With regard to Dube, there is bad luck involved but also it may have to do with his style of play. He is trying very hard, maybe too hard.

  • Off the wall

    I’m not panicking over our goaltending situation. To me, the important factor is HDSC. In the last 5 games we have kept the opposition to under 10 per game. That’s going to make the difference this season. We’ve garnered points in all of those games- and won 4 in a row. That’s really good.

    Give any team a chance to get double digit HDSC and they’ll capitalize. That’s where Smith is having the most difficulty. 10 bell chances. Limit them, you’re going to win most games.

    Based on 15 games, Rittich has started 5 of them. That would translate into 27 games over the season.That would put Smith at 55 games.

    I honestly don’t know what the magic numbers should be.
    Limit HDSC and I think we’ll be just fine.

    • MDG1600

      Limiting HDSC isn’t that easy which is why high quality goaltending makes such a difference to a teams success. The Flames simply aren’t going to keep scoring 5 and 6 goals a game and when they don’t they aren’t going to win with Mike Smith quality goaltending.

      • Off the wall

        Au -Contraire my friend. They have proven that they can limit HDSC Against. When you can do that 5 games in a row, I believe the result speaks for itself . Good defensive play wins most hockey games.

        I don’t disagree that Smith needs to be more consistent, however when the team plays as structured as they are, it breeds confidence. Smith might get that back, if the team in front of him, gives him some help..

        • HAL MacInnis

          I agree with OTW.

          In the game against Chicago, Peters mentioned that they never deviated from the game plan. Being down after 2 periods was just circumstance and not a strategic failure on their part. It could also be coincidence, but there was very little offensive points from our D last game as well. Maybe Peters is pushing for the defencemen to help our goalies more and let the forwards do their thing?

    • FlamesFanOtherCity

      Won games where we’ve had to cl;aw back from terrible tending. Rittich was fine against CHI, if a bit unlucky, but Smith puts us behind the 8 Ball most nights. He is really bad in HDSC, if not the worst in the league among starters.

      Why not look to BOS, who may be looking to go in a different direction with Rask. He’s in danger of losing his starter net to Halak. He’s signed for another 2 years and limits BOS’s options this off-season. Smith for Rask. They get a guy that may rebound well, and at worst is signed for this season only. Not sure what the adds would have to be from our end, but we should explore and ask for some retained salary on their end.

    • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

      What’s crazy about Flames goaltending (read Smith) is that it isn’t HDCA that are killing them. It’s the shot that absolutely never ever should go in.

  • MDG1600

    If the Flames want to improve their goaltending future perhaps they should skid Sigalet. Goalie development was a dumpster fire before he got here and as far as I can tell all he has done is add gasoline.

    • HAL MacInnis

      Tkachuk and Rittich at the very end of the Chicago game was worthy, as well. I know it wasn’t a goal hug, but it was pretty good.

      Somebody has to make a compilation video, but each hug needs a unique soundtrack song. Otherwise, what’s the point?

  • Off the wall

    James Neal has no defined role on this team. Paying a player that kind of money for seldom 1st or 2nd line duties is kinda whacked?

    Give him an ‘A’ , feed his ego.
    Maybe that lights a fire in his belly?!

    • HAL MacInnis

      Giving him an “A” would feel like a participation ribbon at this point. In fact, participation ribbons usually have the reverse effect. I think salary should not be a determining factor for where a player does or doesn’t play in the lineup. Salary is a management thing. Player usage is a coaching thing.

    • oilcanboyd

      Tim and Sid with Burkie this afternoon played a video clip at time out with Flames leading 6-4. Neal was chewing Smith out for playing the puck when it would have been icing on Colorado. You could see Smith saying.. “I didn’t know it was icing”. Say what? Keep your head in the game. More Neal, he serves a purpose.

  • Rocket66

    The Calgary curse
    Hiller and Ramo had a pretty good year the next year couldn’t stop a beach ball
    Elliot fell Johnson smith one good year and now question marks What is ruining these goalies is my question
    Would a good coach not make them stay at the same level or better?

    Not defending Neal but what if tre told him if you sign with flames you play with Johnny only to find out the coach has different ideas. Would you be pissed if you were Neal I’m not saying this is the case or even an excuse for his play
    Just throwing a scenario out there

    • Alberta Ice

      Calgary curse excepted, let’s trade Mike Smith and ????? for Brady Tkachuk. Doesn’t solve the goal tending problems but it would be sure fun to see what the these two brothers could do together on the Flames. (The Sens need a goal tender and there would be no expectations on Smith. Yep, a purgatory trade for Smith, but hey, dreaming about getting a Bobvorsky is quite a dream too.)

    • cjc

      “What is ruining these goalies”

      I don’t think any of these examples qualify as Calgary “ruining” a goalie. Age, and not being that good in the first place are better explanations. Hiller was 33 in his second season, Ramo only posted between .909 and .912 with Calgary. Elliot was 31, posted .910, Johnson was 30, posted .910.

      Smith has fallen off a cliff since his most recent injury, but is also 36 and a career .912 goalie, so not that amazing. It’s nothing the coaching staff has done. People want to blame Sigalet. At this point I’d love for him to be fired so I could bet a decent sum of money against a new goalie coach getting better results. I’d even share my winnings with Sigalet to soften the blow. The only goalie coach I really think might make a difference is Mitch Korn, but that is based on what is really a small sample size, and even then Holtby struggled under him last year.

      If I were Neal, would I be pissed? Not really. I think the 5.75 million for the next 5 years would go a long way to soothing my ego. It’s not like Neal’s career was on HoF pace to begin with. His play hasn’t really been that bad though, he has just been unlucky. Still, it’s a bad contract in the long run.

  • Stockton's Finest

    I would ride Rittich and Smith in Calgary this year, but would look acquire someone for the future (and for the Heat this year) like Charlie Lindgren, Filip Gustavsson, or Tristan Jarry. I would package Gillies and either Stone of Kylington for one of those netminders.

    Pittsburgh needs defensive help and are deep in net with Murray, DeSmith, Jarry, and Alex D’Orio. This would put Gillies closer to home. Jarry would be the target and he is signed through 19-20 at $675,000 per year.

    In Ottawa, Mike Condon is 28 and will take over for Anderson once he decides to hang them up and it sees there is no room for Gustavsson. Stone could play with his brother. Gustavsson is signed through 20-21 at $761,666 per.

    In Montreal, Price will be there for the next 6 to 8 years so Lindgren could be had. They have a younger goalie in their system (Michael McNiven) who has put up decent numbers. Lindgren is signed through 20-21 at $750K per.

    Get younger in net, not older, and bring in some competition for Parsons in Stockton.

    • cjc

      SF, none of the 3 goalies save Gustavsson are much younger than what the team has already. And all are putting up pretty terrible AHL numbers. Ottawa is destined for a rebuild, so what incentive do they have to move Gustavsson? He is only 20, so they don’t need to rush him to the NHL.

      • Stockton's Finest

        All 3 options I listed are younger (Lindgren is 24, Jarry 23) than Bobrovsky, Lehner, Varlamov, Cory Schneider, or any other goalie mentioned.

        My point is that the Flames need to start looking for the future. With Parsons’ recent health issues (I believe he is in concussion protocol) we need someone to fill in. It is obvious that Gillies in not the answer. But it will take more than a straight goalie for goalie swap, so you will have to sweeten the pot. That is why I suggested either Stone or Kylington.

    • Skylardog

      Well said Stockton. Younger, yes. They should be running away from anyone over 30 at this point. They need a long term solution, not the patchwork cures they have been trying to run with.

      • MDG1600

        They keep going patchwork because they thought Joni Ortio was a future starter… no wait, make that Mason Mcdonald … nope, sorry, that was supposed to be Jon Gillies…. oh crap we really meant Tyler Parsons…. nevermind – lets try that German guy we signed on whim.

    • SeanCharles

      I would only trade Kylington for a sure fire NHL calibre goaltender..

      I know he gets a lot of crap on FN but with Andersson and Valimaki in the NHL Kylington is our only legitimate defensive prospect left.

      AOM and Valiev may be decent depth guys but they will be hard pressed to become top 4 guys if they do ever make the big league.

      Kylington has high end potential and even if you have 3 <21 year old NHL dmen I don't think you trade your only other prospect for an AHL goalie.

      But otherwise I do agree we should explore our goaltending options because I don't have much faith in Smith, Gillies, McDonald or Schnieder and Parsons is years away from making an NHL impact.

    • Beer League Coach

      How about this for a block buster trade. Mike Smith, Jon Gillies, Mike Stone, Mark Jankowski, and Flames 1st rd pick to Senators for Brady Tkachuk, Craig Anderson, and Mike Borowieki (spelling ?), and the 2 second rd picks that Ottawa has in 2019 draft. Might seem like an overpayment to get Baby Byng but if Flames don’t get him Flames don’t do the deal.

      Logic for this trade is as follows. Smith for Anderson is basically a wash. Smith contract expires at the end of this season. Anderson is under contract for .5 mil more for this season plus next year. Anderson and Rittich could be a 1A, 1B tandem and this gives 1 more year for Parsons to develop in Stockton. Heat could keep Schneider to back up Parsons or sign that Faragher guy from Idaho who played so well for the Heat last year. Both Smith and Anderson have M-NTC. 8 team no trade list for Smith and 10 team no trade list for Anderson. Smith could move closer to home (Kingston) to finish his career and might be able to extend his contract for another year with Sens. Anderson was originally drafted by Flames but was not offered a contract at that time. He could buy Flames another year until Parsons is ready.

      Stone for Borowiecki. Stone gets to play on 3rd pair in Ottawa and also play with his brother. Might help convince Sens to re-sign Mark to a long term deal. Borowiecki could replace Stone on pop corn row at the Dome saving Flames 2.3 mil in cap space. Flames send Prout to AHL after he clears waivers. This would help solidify the D core for the Heat.

      Ottawa wants to recover a first round pick to replace the one they give to Colorado this summer. Flames give up their 1st rd pick for the 2 second rd picks that Ottawa owns. Ottawa has their own 2nd rd pick plus a conditional pick acquired from San Jose in another trade. That conditional pick is the higher ranking pick between Florida Panthers and the Sharks pick in round 2 in 2019.

      The Flames could then use one of the 2nd rd picks to draft a G and spend the rest of their draft picks for D prospects in this year’s draft.

      After all is said and done Flames would have $5,986,365 in cap space for this year and Ottawa would have $3,330,752 in cap space this year. I used the numbers available on CapFriendly to calculate the cap hits.

      What do you fellow Flames fans think? Am I thinking correctly or am I out to lunch with this trade proposal.

      • Beer League Coach

        Flames line up would look like this after the trade.
        Gaudreau, Monahan, Lindholm
        Byng, Baby Byng, Neal
        Bennett, Backlund, Frolik
        Dube, Ryan, Hathaway/Czarnik
        Gio & Brodie
        Hannifin & Hamonic
        Valimaki & Andersson

        Extra Borowiecki

        Goalies Rittich & Anderson

        If they call up another fwd to ride the pine Cap Space would still be just over $5 mil. That should leave enough to sign Byng to a long term deal next summer. Cap Space should increase but we won’t know how much until later in the summer.

  • everton fc

    With regards to 4th line minutes; Hathaway had 9:23 vs. Washington, 10:31 @ Toronto, and 9:06 @ Buffalo. The two 5 minute stints, I believe, were the result of the Bennett scrap (Peters basically alluded to this, did he not, in one of his “pressers”?) and the Dube injury, the latter being less of a reason to keep him on the bench. He is getting time on the PK. I wouldn’t worry about the 4th line, in terms of potential/inevitable usage. I do worry about Jankowski, Ryan, Czarnik, and Dube – my concern about Dube being the constant hits, and the lack of goals.

    I’d like to see Prout send to Stockton, and Foo brought up here. Or Mangiapane. Put some competition on that 4th line, for ice-time.

    As for goaltending… I say run w/Rittich, and pray Schneider surprises us all, down on the farm, as Gillies seems nowhere near NHL backup duty.

    • Skylardog

      Prout should go down. The problem is who to bring up. Neither Foo nor Mangi are better than what we have here now, in fact, they are downgrades. No point in bringing in guys who’s primary skill is scoring (at the AHL level), only to be put on a 4th line for 7 minutes a night in a role where they are not asked to score as the primary task. If Janko, who has so much more to offer than either Mangi or Foo is struggling in the current situation, how do you think those 2 will do?

      I am not a Czar fan, but he needs to hit the ice to see what he can offer, not be displaced by guys that could be getting solid minutes in Stockton rather than riding the pine in Calgary, and frankly offer nothing that we need right now.

      Waivers really complicates this and ties management’s hands.

    • SeanCharles

      I agree Janko and Ryan have been disappointing but Czarnik and Dube are both essentially rookies.

      Keep Foo and Mang in the AHL until top 9 winger minutes become available. With 13, 28, 19, 67, 18 and 93 healthy that isn’t an option right now.

      We could use a top 9 C however, but I’m inclined to try Czarnik there if Dube needs to sit for concussion protocol purposes.


      Swap Neal and Frolik if need be.

  • The Doctor

    Agree on Lazar comment in the article — he was never the scorer that Dube was in junior. Many of us saw Lazar with rose-coloured glasses that year he captained the WJC team, but if you look at his actual junior scoring numbers, they were underwhelming.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I expressed my concerns with Dube’s offense and how it would translate at the NHL level but then he lit it up in pre-season. This is the type of player I expected Dube would be, high energy, aggressive bottom 6. I used Lazar as a comparison for his floor and Bennett as his ceiling. Some people have used Brayden Point as a comparable…. wouldn’t that be nice.

      My concern is that unless Dube is a top 6 player with exceptional skill (Gaudreau) or great skill and size (Tkachuk, Monahan) as a rookie he will be better served in the AHL. He does not possess the NHL size or strength to be on the 4th line at this time. Personally, I feel that if Mangi was given the same opportunity with some PP and PK time he would have been on the team to start the season.

  • Jumping Jack Flash

    A question for those that follow the Stockton Heat…why is Phillips having a hard time cracking the line up? Is it just a function of size because I don’t see him getting his shot off and I doubt he has seen much top 6 ice time or PP time.

  • The Beej

    @ Tiberius

    Overall pretty well and good and I agree with most of your points but I have a few objections:
    1. Smith has established he is no longer a starter.

    Well maybe. That is a pretty small sample size to make that judgement. Yeah he has been awful so there is that but he also is a career avg goalie so there is a chance he bounces back right quick…. unless… he is injured. Man he sure seems to be in pain and difficulty. Slow to get up. Is this the reason behind his dreadful performance? Who knows and who knows if it is something that will heal in time for the season. So yeah. Concerning.

    But simply handing the keys to Rittich might not be the answer. When Rittich was the go to last year he floundered. But I agree it is time to play him more to see what we have. A 50 50 or 40 60 split might be better than throwing him into the deep end and would give Smith a bit of a break and hopefully help hom get healthy.

    2. Dube to minors. When you suggest that this is would not really be better for his development I gotta hold my nose. (Of course I have no data to back up my own view… for all the scenarios of past players we dont have a time machine to go back in time to make a different decision for comparison.)
    But with respect to player development I always go with what is best for the player not what is best for the team.

    Is playing Dube 8 minutes a night with Ryan and Hathaway going to help him become a top 6 F? Because that should be the goal.

    Has he earned it yes. Is he the best option of the young guys. Probabaly. But is Mangiapane really that far off that you wouldnt make a swap… giving Dube 18 minutes a night in offensive situations.

    I dont know and we never really know what thw best option is… but I would be tempted to send him down. At least for a little while.

    3. Stone.

    I am not arguing his case here but I dont think he is being shopped really. And yes I agree 3.5 mil on the bench is not ideal.

    But the NHL season is a long one and he is experienced depth. If you move him for a bag of pucks and we run into injury trouble… we dont have much past Kylington.

    We dont really need to move him right now unless we have a pending trade for a goalie.

    He is serviceable depth. I say keep for the season. Trade him in the summer to replenish a pick. Then trade Frolik (not a hater. Love Frolik) to replenish a pick or two. Add in Smiths cap hit and Voila there is your Bobrovsky.

    Yeah not likely… but if the Flames get creative no reason they cant address the goalie situation when they need to. Still time for Smith to bounce back though.

    • oilcanboyd

      Who will Dube displace on the top 6? Dube will be bottom 6 in the foreseeable future. Sending him down and replacing him with Mangiapane – no. Call Mangi up when there have been injuries. Cazrnik, before Mangiapane though.

      • The Beej

        Im just worried about him.

        He tries so hard he does put himself into harms way and is a little reckless. He has been hit hard in a vulnerable position 3 times now.

        Maybe they need to dial it back with him for a little bit.

  • Lazyboy GM

    I think its time to give Rittich at least 50% of the starts for the next 10-20 games, then re-evaluate the situation. If Rittich can’t handle it and Smith is continuing to struggle then start shopping BT. We can not afford to lose this season because of goaltending.

    • Vernon30

      BT can’t afford to lose this season because of goaltending. His job is on the line. I think Rittich plays better knowing he doesn’t necessarily need to be the guy. Having Smith there as a security blanket is a very good thing. Well, assuming Smith is ok with his dwindling minutes.

  • Sven

    —–“Mike Smith has established that he’s not a starter anymore. David Rittich is good, but not starter good (yet). “—–

    and why not yet?

    “In Chicago, Hašek spent time as the backup to Ed Belfour, and played only 25 games over two seasons with the Blackhawks, splitting time between the Blackhawks and the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL.
    On November 6, 1990, wearing the number 34 (31 was worn by backup goaltender Jacques Cloutier that year), Hašek made his first NHL start at the age of 25”

    “Miikka Kiprusoff moved to North America in 1999, and after two All-Star seasons in the American Hockey League (AHL), made his NHL debut with the San Jose Sharks, where he served primarily as the team’s backup. A trade to the Calgary Flames in 2003–04 brought Kiprusoff into a starting role at the age of 27”

    “Pekka Rinne joined the Predators during the 2007–08 season. He served as the team’s back-up goaltender in the latter half of that season.
    On 1 December 2008, Rinne became only the second Predators rookie goaltender ever to record a shutout at the age of 26.

    David Rittich is 26 years old

    if Hašek began his ascent toward sainthood at 25
    and Rinne joined in at 26
    followin Mikka who made his move at 27…..

    why should Rittich be excluded as “not starter good yet ” at 26?

    His 5 on 5 save %age of 94.45 is 6th leaguewide
    His ‘goals saved above average’ score of 5 is 5th in the league


    his ‘high danger save percentage’ score of 88.24 % is 7th in the league

    where is the evidence that “David Rittich is good, but not starter good (yet)?”

      • Sven

        1377 minutes on ice NHL career games to date
        (23 full games)

        2.75 goals against 0.910 save percentage

        and as previously posted:
        this year : games to date:

        his performance against the league goal tending average ranks him 5th in the NHL- giving up 5 fewer goals than would be expected by the NHL “mean” goaltender (as compared to Smith who sits at a rock bottom 47th out of 47 Goalies league wide)

        and his ability to turn away the “High Danger Scoring Chances” is second in the league overall (as compared to Smith at 31st league wide)

        small sample sure-

        but after 23 games – the data on Hašek , Rinne and Kiprusoff was equally limited

        • Yes, he has a small sample size. That means you shouldn’t be making this argument until there’s enough data to actually support it. No one thought those three goalies were going to be great goalies at the 23 game mark. If you remove the narrow scope, you can find plenty more goalies who looked good in about a 20 game sample and then stunk it up for the rest of their careers.

          And just for the sake of it: since he’s joined the NHL, Rittich is actually 42nd of 64 goalies who have played at least 1367 in save percentage, and Mike Smith ranks higher than him in HDSV% over the same time period. Remove the blinders.