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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

What would adding a goaltender cost?

Barring one goaltender going absolutely bananas, the conventional wisdom in the National Hockey League is that contending teams need to have two reliable goalies to succeed. The Flames have one reliable goaltender in David Rittich, but what would it cost them to acquire some insurance via the trade market?

The price of goaltending insurance depends on the degree to which the Flames are aiming to shore up the position. Looking at trades involving goaltenders made since the beginning of the 2017-18 season, they tend to fall into two general categories.

Trades for more options

Over the past few seasons there have been a handful of swaps where teams just needed another decent body in their system to help carry the load. The acquisition costs generally weren’t overly expensive.

  • Vegas trades Calvin Pickard to Toronto for Tobias Lindberg and 2018 sixth round pick [Oct. 7, 2017]
  • Montreal trades Al Montoya to Edmonton for a conditional 2018 fifth round pick [Jan. 4, 2018]
  • Florida trades Michael Hutchinson to Toronto for 2020 fifth round pick [Dec. 29, 2018]

None of the acquisitions were seismic, nor were the price tags, but they gave their club additional options that they didn’t have prior.

Trades to upgrade the position

If your thought process is that Mike Smith isn’t the best backup option for the Flames, but you’re not sure if Jon Gillies can carry the mail either, the price tag to upgrade the backup (or third string) position is a bit higher than just adding a depth body.

  • Arizona trades Louis Domingue to Tampa Bay for Michael Leighton and Tye McGinn [Nov. 14, 2017]
  • Detroit trades Petr Mrazek to Philadelphia for conditional 2018 fourth round pick and conditional 2019 third round pick [Feb. 19, 2018]
  • Los Angeles trades Darcy Kuemper to Arizona for Scott Wedgewood and Tobias Rieder [Feb. 21, 2018]

Obviously all these situations were a little different from each other, but two of them featured clubs trying to upgrade their depth by swapping an existing body (with a depth piece) for a better option.

The Mrazek swap might be most interesting to the Flames, in that they added a goalie on an expiring contract for a pair of conditional draft picks. The Red Wings got a fourth round pick just for giving up Mrazek, but the pick converted to a third based on Philadelphia making the playoffs (and Mrazek playing a specific number of games) and would’ve been bumped up to a second had they gone further. The other conditional pick was tied to Mrazek potentially re-signing with the Flyers. This might be up the Flames’ alley given their lack of high-end prospects beyond the NHL level these days.

Sum it up

What a goaltending trade would cost would obviously depend on how drastically the Flames wished to shake up the position. But based on recent history, adding depth would likely cost a mid-to-late draft pick, upgrading existing depth would likely have a similar price, while adding something more substantial (akin to the Mrazek trade last year) could involve conditional picks.

As far as potential trade targets, Pat Steinberg will be digging into them later this week.

  • buts

    As much as I want a move for a solid backup because Smith has aged and is almost done, the 2 in Stockton have a .865 save percentage and we are playoff bound we can’t give up draft picks and overpay. Shop someone like Kylington and I’m sure you could get a solid backup. I like McElhenney and a 4th round in return for Kylington. Again FN if Rittich goes down our season is waisted. BT has to cover his bases.

    • Flint

      No way. The only way we could trade one of our young stud D’s is if we were getting a stud D in return. And even then. No Way. We no longer have strength AND depth on the back end…. we just have strength. We start trading away what we’ve taken so long to build back there and he might as well just paint our jerseys blue, white and orange.

      • Greg

        I mean, I’d trade Kylington if it meant getting a Mark Stone type forward into complete our top 6. But even then, only if Valimaki is back, and the forward agrees to a contract that leaves room to resign Rittich and Tkachuk.

    • Jessemadnote

      I’m not into this idea at all. Kylington is way more valuable than a draft pick, even a first in the 25-31 range. He has looked good and his style translates well to the new NHL. Do not trade Kylington for 35 year old rental goalie. Trade a 3rd.

      • The Beej

        If Kylington is moved it needs to be very well thought out. He is basically the last prospect of our big stockpile of defensive depth that we had. Once you move him its over and you cant get him back. Our depth on D will be gone.

        He still has loads of potential. Are there any other such prospects at his age that have 5 years of pro experience?

        Any return you get for him has to be something that will boost this team for years to come. Moving him now for a 4th rounder and a backup could haunt this franchise for years to come.

        The chances of a fourth rounder panning out? How much tread does McElhenney have on those pads?

        Not much for our future in a move like this?

  • 420

    I’d like to see the Flames move Brodie. Now, before I am crucified, consider this:
    Brodie is a defensive liability. He is riding Gio’s unsustainable coat tails. By moving Brodie for a goalie, this could help alot the d a little better.
    Gio Andersson
    Han Ham
    Kyling Vali
    Would also open up some needed cap space. I believe Andersson is better defensively than Brodie and would benefit Gio in the long run. I would look at shipping Brodie to Torontto for Sparks,

  • cjc

    I think it depends on the quality of goalie being acquired. Mrazek was a guy who had been struggling a bit but had a good track record. He wasn’t going to be re-signed by Detroit.

    Another issue is Smith’s NTC (he can submit an 8 team no-trade list). Still, there aren’t a tonne of obvious options that scream “upgrade” on Smith and would be cost effective. McElhinney, Kinkaid, Howard (playing well enough he would be quite expensive), Miller (if he’s healthy in time, not sure Anaheim trades in division). After that it’s sub .900 save percentages all the way down (or backups and 1Bs on competitive teams who are unlikely to be traded, like Copley and DeSmith).

    You might laugh at me when I say this, but what about bringing back Elliott? He’s a bit cheaper than Smith, was playing pretty well before getting injured (.911). He should be back from injury soon, so if he regains form then maybe Philadelphia would part with him for Smith and a conditional pick?

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        I think the problem with Elliott-even if he was no good-was attitude. He seemed way too…serious, or something. Nobody could talk to him, it seemed.

        With Rittich it’s all Big Saves and spices-on-the-win. Like night and day.

        • cjc

          Sure, I am not suggesting they run him out instead of Rittich though. Just think he’d be better than Smith in a backup role. He wouldn’t need to say much to the media if that’s the issue.

          • Greg

            The other issue with Elliot is his recent playoff performances have been stinkers. I think Smith is done, but if I had to pick one of those two and hope they could win a series, I’d probably bet on smith over Elliot.

  • CalgaryBornandRaised

    A pick, Smith and Frolik for Howard and Nyquist out of Detriot

    I know Detroit said they wanted at least a first rounder, but I feel that BT could sell ice to the North Pole so could find a way to make it work

    • Flint

      I don’t think there is any way Nyquist is leaving Detroit for anything less than a 1st, and why would Detroit trade a .917 aging UFA goalie for a .886 old UFA goalie? If you want Nyquist for less than a first you gotta sweeten the pot not piss in it.

      oh… and Carl Hagelin please. He’s 3/4 the player Nyquist is (except speed wise) and I’ll bet he can be had for a fraction the cost. Mark my words Hagelin will move for a third/fourth rounder and a good prospect, or a second rounder and a nobody at most.

  • Garry T

    Smith is a hero in Az. He could help them with attendance which is not great and he will come out of his funk there. They have a lot of young D and good young forwards.
    And still has lots of cap space. I would make the call. A young goalie to replace Gillies who you could move out for a 2 and a 3. You should be able to get a fairly good NHL or NHL ready goalie.

    I like Kylington better than Anderson. I move Anderson and someone from Stockton or a 3 pick in 2021 to Toronto for Kapanen. Toronto has tons of young guys ready. You put Valimaki back in the lineup and you have filled all the holes. A backup, some new D for Stockton. Maybe a forward and now you have 9 to 10 picks instead of 5 for the 2019 draft.

    There are 12 teams below 43 points in the standings right now.
    There is bound to be a good forward there that we could get for Czarnik or Hathaway or both.

    Vegas loved our boy Neal. How about Neal back to Vegas for a 2, a 3, and a good younger D. Or better yet , two younger D and a 2 pick and a 7 pick this year.

    Tre are u reading this site.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      Here is rhe reason why you don’t give up on a player like Ras. He has had well documented issues with his diet and fitness which he has worked to correct. It is safe to say that he has made significant strides in the last couple of years since being called out be Tre.

      Ras has a high hockey IQ that has allowed him to excel despite weak fitness. Just imagine what he can do with a ramped up fitness program, specialized diet, and a elite skating coach. The same things that most of his teammates and opponents do religiously. Once his skating improves he could be a top 2 defender.