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WWYDW: Is this the season the Flames should go for it?

This season, the Flames are a top team in the NHL. They have some of the league’s top scorers, they have one of the best records, and they have some of the best underlying numbers. This continues to beg the question, though: are the Flames a true Stanley Cup contender? And if they are, is this the year to go all in?

The Flames’ rebuild probably officially kicked off when they drafted Sean Monahan with the sixth overall pick back in 2013. It was their highest draft pick in years, and they got a pretty good player out of it.

Now in his sixth season in the NHL, Monahan has lived up to his promise, particularly as the Flames have added an increasingly talented cast of characters around him: Johnny Gaudreau. Matthew Tkachuk. Elias Lindholm. Travis Hamonic. Noah Hanifin. Players like Mark Giordano, Mikael Backlund, and TJ Brodie were already there, but the Flames have gone from a scrappy team with a handful of good players to a relatively young group loaded with talent. There have been some bumps along the way, but it’s pretty much exactly how a rebuild is supposed to play out.

The next big item for the Flames, then, will be the NHL’s trade deadline on Feb. 25. It could be what makes or breaks their playoff hopes. Because, as good as the Flames are, they could still be better: they need a backup goaltender they can count on; depth defencemen ready to provide more than talented, but green, rookies can; and another top six forward and/or more reliable depth scoring. Adding one or two of those positions would probably give them another leg up on the rest of the Cup hopefuls; adding to all three positions could make them unstoppable.

Unfortunately, in order to get quality, the Flames are going to have to give up quality. It’s probably safe to say those aforementioned nine players, plus David Rittich, are safe and won’t be traded; anyone else could potentially be up for grabs, but they wouldn’t yield as good of a return. That means, in order to upgrade their roster, the Flames will probably have to give up something else of value: be it one of Rasmus Anderson, Oliver Kylington, or Juuso Valimaki; high draft picks; or perhaps both.

The problem with doing that: after trading a number of picks in order to build this team, the Flames’ cupboards are pretty much bare. There’s hope for Dillon Dube and Andrew Mangiapane, and maybe Matthew Phillips is pretty awesome, too. There’s the three rookie defencemen, who all look to have graduated to the NHL (or at least will have officially by next season, in all likelihood). And then there’s, uh… well… nobody, really? Not any time soon, at least.

That’s all well and good for the present, because most of the Flames’ best players are still relatively young, but things could spiral out of control within just a couple of seasons if there are no additional replacements from within. (As good as the Flames have been this season, we’re starting to see it a bit already: there’s a forward spot open in the NHL because nobody has outright grabbed it yet.) It would likely be in the Flames’ best interests to retain at least some of their picks and prospects.

Besides: even if this year continues to shape up to look like a year in which the Flames will contend, that doesn’t mean it’ll be the only one. Next season could be the year, too. Or the season after. Giordano has continued to defy age (and even if he doesn’t, four of the Flames’ top seven defencemen of present are 22 and younger, so defencemen’s ages may not be the biggest concern), and Gaudreau will still be signed to a laughably low $6.75 million cap hit for another three seasons after this one. This is a team that has the potential to be good for a while longer yet, and it isn’t as though the 2018-19 season is Cup or bust.

At the same time, it’s really tough to win a Cup, so if the chance to do just that presents itself, wouldn’t the Flames have to go for it? There’s no guarantee they have four forwards scoring well over a point-per-game in any other season. Combine them with another top six forward, and this team could be lethal.

So what would you do? Is it the right time for the Flames to go all in and spend big, or should they play it a little more conservative, see how this year goes (probably with at least a minor upgrade here or there), and keep regrouping for the next few seasons instead, all without completely selling their longer-term future?

What are the expectations for the Flames this season – and can they match them, with or without going big?

  • Flamesforever

    Bide our time. Build our team smartly and efficiently from within. If a trade is to be had to upgrade our current group then do it. But without mortgaging our future. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if we play our cards right, draft and develop the way we have then there’s no reason we can’t be a contending team for the next decade. In Tre we trust. The window has been cracked open. GFG ?

  • Orrwasbest

    I have never been a rent a player fan and think the Flames need to stop trading draft picks now as long term success is dependent on a steady flow of low salary players playing on entry level contracts filling out the lineup. I would only make trades that won’t hurt the teams future. Trade Neal or any of the other bottom six forwards if they can net us a backup Goalie. Beyond that live with what we got, its a strong team and can make a run with the talent they already have. Trades don’t always enhance sometimes they screw up existing chemistry.

  • freethe flames

    This is the first year of a 4/5 year window. I am torn between the go with them that brought you and the all in group. IMO the Flames should not use their 1st rounder for a rental; they must get back a player with term or a RFA that makes them better at one of the three positions mentioned. If the other draft picks can be used as part of a deal that brings the Flames closer even if it is a rental then I am okay with this. The problem I see is that the assets the Flames have are not seen as valuable outside our market. The one guy who might be tradeable and get something similar back is Frolik; some sort of hockey trade. Unfortunately the guy that most of us would like to move is Neal is almost untradeable; we would likely have to pay to move him. BT also has to balance the whole idea of team chemistry which none of us are close enough to the team to understand. Are Mike Smith and Rittich close; does Smith give Rittich a sense of security? If so moving Smith might hurt Rittich; last year it did seem to impact him.

  • 谢谢兄弟,我爱你

    Having lived through the highs (86, 89, 04) and the lows (almost every other year), I would not mortgage the long term contend-ability for a one-off cup run. Especially with a group of players that have practically no experience with a deep Stanley run. A decade of “Young Guns” isn’t worth it.

    • Jessemadnote

      I don’t know if I agree. I could get behind a move like Winnipeg made last year: A 1st, a 4th and Eric Foley for Paul Stastny. Winnipeg was essentially in the exact same boat as we are and I doubt they go to the conference final without Stastny. That’s valuable experience for the young guys.

    • Rudy27

      I agree. Although winning the cup is the ultimate goal, I’d rather have a very good, entertaining team (with chance at the cup) for years than a one cup run followed by a decade Oilers type hockey.

    • slapshot444

      Patience, that only comes with the next NHLPA negotiations, as early as next September, if they get it in the deal and if there is no extended lock out.

    • The Beej

      Folks need to have more patience with Neal. People were saying the same thing about Hamonic last year. It took a while but he has melded his game into our system nicely.

      Neal has a super low shooting% and that is not going to last forever. Also he doesnt get top 6 minutes on this team and part of his role is to give young guys some skill to play with. He is generating chances and we shouldnt get bent out of shape over short term results.

      At this point we would likely have to give up assets to move his contract. We dont have many assets to spend and there is a better way to spend them than on moving Neals contract.

      That said we cant wait forever and Neal does need to start producing.

      But for the time being.. patience patience. Knee jerk reactions can tend to backfire.

      Consider if we made a knee jerk reaction and moved Hamonic for pennies on the dollar last year. That would look real bad now.

  • Pete80

    We have some big contracts to sign coming up, so anyone we bring in will be another potential Brower, or will be a rental. I don’t like giving up value for either. It will have to be a good value contract on a younger player to make sense. I think we can get depth defense and a backup goalie for cheap, but big splashes are a bad idea

  • Heeeeere’s Johnny

    There’s no guarantee they have four forwards scoring well over a point-per-game in any other season.

    Unfortunately there is no guarantee that they continue their torrid pace this year either. Im not all in on going all in. Stay the course, continue to make great hockey moves. The young .d may be the key to this whole thing. Give them another year and then see where we are at.

    • Flamesfan419

      Chances are Michael Stone will either be moved or not return from injury, so that frees up 3.5M plus Smith comes off the books which is another 4+M, so we could fit in a goalie anywhere from 3-6M depending on who.
      That’s my feelings anyway.

  • Skylardog

    Many of you already know where I stand on this issue. It is not just what we have, it is also how the competition fares as well and how we match up against them.

    If we were in the Atlantic Division, with the strength of Tampa, you probably bide your time.

    But they only become a team we have to beat in the Finals, not in the first or second round. We showed we are very close to their calibre in the shootout loss.

    We also have the number on almost all of the Central division. We have the number of Nashville and Winnipeg, who are likely to be a conference final opponent.

    That leaves the Pacific contenders, Vegas and San Jose, and likely first round opponents if you finish first in the Pacific. That means Dallas, Minnesota, and Colorado. Anaheim is looking more and more unlikely.

    We have Colorado’s number, the same cannot be said for Minny and Dallas.
    We are currently in a tossup against Vegas and/or San Jose. We play one or both in the first 2 rounds.

    These are the 4 teams (you can add in Anaheim as the fifth) that have the ability to shut down the first line most nights. They can beat us in a 7 game series because on 4 nights out of 7 they could hold Monahan’s line pointless at 5v5. It becomes a real tossup on whether we can get by any of these in a 7 game series.

    It would be a shame to do all we have done so far, finish first in the Pacific, and go out in round 1 in game 7 against Dallas, when you realize that just a minor tweak to get secondary scoring is what would have got us through to the second round.

    We need one more top 6 forward.
    We need Stone back, or one more veteran defenseman with size.
    We need a backup.

    On the goalie front. There are back ups, but most are struggling. Howard is the only one that is
    1) Having a good season, 0.918 ish Sv%
    2) On a team that is not going to the playoffs.
    3) Has a contract that ends at the end of the season.

    If we don’t take him, guess who will – Winnipeg or Pittsburgh. Everyone else that is headed to the playoffs has fairly solid goaltending. And if he goes to Winnipeg, our advantage over them is lost. Sometime when you can win, you make a move so the opposition can’t.

    JG-Mony-Lind
    Tkachuk-Janko-?
    Lazar-Backs-Fro
    Bennett-Ryan-Neal/Hath
    Dube-Mangi or Quine

    2 scoring lines
    A shutdown line
    And a line that if the opposition doesn’t pay attention to, will either run you over (Benny and or Hath) or pot some goals if they can find their scoring touch (Neal)

    GFG
    This is the year. Can ya feel it?

    • Jessemadnote

      I’m not sure I trust Backs or Janko as a 2C. If we could make a move to wheel Schenn or Hayes that would be the type of move that could put us over the top IMO.

    • cjc

      Re. Top 6 forward
      Not really. The 3M line is one of the best shutdown lines in hockey when they play together. They are well ahead of their competition in GF% at 5v5 this year (and we now how much goal differential means to you 😉

      Re. Stone
      Stone was on the bench in favour of Andersson before injury. If anything, the team is probably hoping they can shut him down for the season so he can be LTIR’d for cap relief.

      Re. Backup
      We need a backup, but Howard is a starter and the acquisition cost will be quite high. Thinking they will want at least a first, which might be fine since ours will probably be in the 24-31 range. Would the pick be enough though? Seems Detroit would want something more. Plus Smith would need to agree to it and Calgary would need to find additional cap space.

      Re. Lazar
      Why on earth would the team bring Lazar back to play in a third line role, higher than he was ever playing last year (and higher than Bennett/Neal)? I understand that people get sentimental about mid-20s guys who can tear up the AHL, but he is not what is missing – last time I checked, the team has been a lot better without Lazar on the roster. Maybe he sees a few games on the 4th line as an injury replacement during the r/s, but he won’t be in the playoff lineup if the Flames are healthy.

      Re. lineup
      Also, I doubt Jankowski gets a mid-season promotion to 2 C when Backlund has been doing everything asked of him there.

      • withachance

        Everything here. Asking prices for Howard and premier players in midseason will be astronomical for their value. Dont understand the fantasy proposals on here for Schenn (a top tier Center) or Kapanen (top 6 winger for a contender).

        The Flames dont have the assets to even get the other teams to the table right now, without hemorrhaging the team’s futures. See what this lineup can do deep in the playoffs and reassess in the offseason.

    • Porcupine at a balloon party

      Gave your post a ‘cheer’ despite being a fair different than my point of view. But there are a few points I like:

      1) take the environment we are in… Winning the West and going through the Pacific with Nashville or Winnipeg on the other end seem to be a pretty good scenario for the flames based on how we’ve played against them. This is one of the most direct routes to Stanley Cup the flames have had in years (or ever??). But it’s still no guarantee. I’m in disagreement about loading up due to our empty cupboards, but I do agree that the situation does call for some tweaking to plug the holes (backup goalie for sure).

      2) Addition by subtraction (trading Smith + middle round pick for a backup) might be our best bet

      3) a top 6 forward would be great, but don’t think we can leverage that right now (however treliving has a way of making magic happen). If we can add without mortgaging future I’m all for it.

      4) I would like to see a solid second scoring line + a shutdown line but it’s a little tougher than I think you’re making it out to be. I’m not convinced Jankowski is ready for second line duties yet, or that he would be a better scoring option than Backlund. And there’s still the question of who’s going to be that second line scoring winger. Moving Lindholm to second line center or rw night work, but how much does that effect 13/23??? Might be a net gain, might not… Probably evens out overall.

    • Quinteco

      I agree with everything except the reasoning behind acquiring a backup. The Flames need one to get through the regular season, not for the playoffs themselves. If your backup is seeing lots of playing time in the playoffs, you’re probably doomed regardless. So, in Winnipeg gets Howard and the Flames don’t, that doesn’t really change the advantage because in an ideal world, he’d never even play in the Conference Finals.

  • Fat Tony

    I know we all roll our eyes when we read these elaborate trade proposals in the comments. But if we don’t get a backup goal tender before the playoffs, we wont make it past the second round. That’s not a knock on Rittich and his abilities, we just don’t quite know what we have in him yet for at least another year and some playoff hockey. Chicago isn’t doing anything this season, I think they would take on Mike Smith’s expiring contract for the remainder of the season and maybe a pick to sweaten the deal to acquire Cam Ward. He’s a a capable, reliable back up with playoff experience and success. Thoughts?

    • Skylardog

      On goalies, go look at stats.

      It is either Howard or Howard.

      No other options are an upgrade to Smith, by the numbers this season, or on a team that is not in a playoff spot.

      Tell me who else is available with at least a 0.909? (10 saves, 1 GA)

      • withachance

        How do you get Howard?? DET probably wont let him leave for less than at least a 2nd rounder + prospect… way too much for a half season rental thats going to be gone next season.

          • Joeyhere

            Skylar that post didn’t mention Howard – it mentioned lesser goalies
            Detroit is asking for a first plus a prospect for Howard – if indeed as you suggest they would take Smith and a second then …maybe, only bc we will need a second goalie under contract next year not just for this years run

            Ps. They would have to settle for second for 2021 as we don’t have our 2020 2nd round pick )

      • cjc

        Elliott will likely be available from Philly when he is back from injury. Much cheaper to acquire than Howard, has a .911 this season. In a backup role, he wouldn’t be any worse than Smith has been.

        • Keith Chucky

          Ahhhh maybe he IS worse than Smith….You seem to forget that he only had 9 good games for us. Those were in the 9 game winning streak he had that matched our past winning streak and then all H..E double hockey sticks fell through, just like before those 9 games.

          • cjc

            Maybe so, but there’s not much evidence for that if you look at the larger sample size.

            If you look at Elliott’s game log, he had 26 good games for the team, out of 45 starts (58%) and a .910 overall. He wasn’t good in the playoffs, but his team also couldn’t buy a goal. His bad games were bad, but he had his moments, too. Since leaving Calgary, Elliott has been about the same (0.909 S%). Compare to Smith, who in 77 games with Calgary has a .909 S% and 42 good starts (54%). Overall it’s a wash, but at least Elliott’s game has been stable, whereas Smith’s has been in steep decline. Elliott is a few years younger, and he’s cheaper (maybe allows another piece to be added at the TDL). I’ll add the caveat that I’d want to see how Elliott plays when he returns from injury.

    • Jessemadnote

      To play devils advocate: In 08-09 a 36 year old Chris Osgood had an .887 save percentage over 46 games in the regular season, then a .926 save percentage over 23 games in the playoffs. It’s not like a turnaround from Smith would be unprecedented.

      • Rudy27

        If we are stuck with Smith, I wouldn’t totally right off the prospect of him bouncing back for playoffs. From my observations, his faults this year revolve mostly around bad positional play (either too deep in his crease, or poor body positioning), and shots sneaking between his arm and body with the new, smaller equipment. Fix that and he can be adequate again. His shaky confidence since his injury is probably why he is hugging the goal line too often. Struggling goalies often do that.

    • Jobu

      How many back up goaltenders have we seen play in the playoffs NOT resulting in injury or poor play of the starter? Not many, jobuthinks.

      Theres no point in having a solid backup for the playoffs if Rittich plays well. Even if he doesn’t then we’re likely already down a couple games and probably out of the series (a backup wont save you).

      We WOULD, however, be wise to get a backup to ensure we finish tops in the West and get that sweeeeeet home ice.

    • mrroonie

      Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Ron Hextall, and Cam Ward were all unproven in the playoffs and won the Conn Smythe with only Hextall not winning the Cup to go with it. Roy’s opponent in the 1986 finals was Mike Vernon who was also unproven in the playoffs.

    • Alberta Ice

      The goalie position is the weakest link after Rittich. It is concerning that Smith, Gillies, and Parsons all seem to be struggling this year. Yet, the past history of bringing in a goalie has not gone well either. So one hopes Smith might regain some old form and confidence back or that maybe Gillies just being given the chance to perform at the NHL level might raise his game. There is no doubt that every other position on this team is deep and the present and future look bright. (Also, I find it interesting that Cam Talbot and Mike Smith almost seem to be having exactly the same struggles this year after having some impressive previous years. The one thing I still like about Smith is he is a fighter. Not sure how much his injury last year has disabled him this year, but he sure hasn’t been the same.)

      • Rudy27

        It’s concerning that Gillies and Parsons are struggling along with Smith. Our hopes for one of them becoming our number 1 or 2 are now shaky. Perhaps we do need to find someone to replace Smith for a 2 -3 year stint.

  • Flamesfan419

    I would be on board with small tweeks. As we get to the 2nd week of Feb, it will become more clear who’s selling. But, that might be too late as the bidding wars will have begun for coveted players. Which means Treliving should be out front of things, which also allows more time for any new acquisitions to settle in before the heat of the playoffs start.
    Names I’d like to see the Flames at least inquire about are Simmonds (PHI), Kronwall (DET), Nyquist (DET) givin his friendship with Backlund he could really boost that line with Tkachuk & Backlund, Hagelin (LAK), long shot might be Maroon (STL) just for his playoff production.

  • Skylardog

    Why you get a scoring top 6 forward now, not later.

    Because you have no one else in the hopper that can give you that.

    Phillips may be capable but is far from ready, unproven, and challenged by size.
    Gawdin may have the talent set, but is far from being ready or proven as even an NHLer at this point.
    Mangi has shown he is not going to be the guy.
    Quine, Lazar, Rychel, Lomberg are not top 6, but could be bottom 6 NHLers.
    Foo is a bust.

    Dube is going to be a top NHL shutdown guy, not a top 6 scoring winger.

    So if we don’t have one, but will need one in the window (next 2 to 5 as many of you say), then go get one now. Because as I say, the window is now.

    • withachance

      How are you going to get yet ANOTHER top 6 forward without giving up a stud D man or a top pick?? The Flames have 4 premier forwards, and arguably 2 more mid tiered forwards.

      For me, Kylington, Ras and Vali are untouchables, Brodie and Gio have too much chemistry to split up via trade, and Hanifin is a staple in the Calgary D for the next 5 years. Hamonic brings the toughness in the D, so no one in the D should be traded. Trading forward for forward makes no sense, and the Flames are already thin in prospects due to all of them up with the big team.

      All in all, I dont think rentals/trades are a viable option this year unless Tre can work some magic with a backup like Howard (but very doubtful). Should just stay the course, let talent develop, and bring them up when ready for the bottom 6 in the next few years

    • cjc

      Why you don’t get another top six forward now:

      Cap space: The team needs to sign Tkachuk and a goalie next year, that will eat up most of the remaining cap space. How will they re-sign said top sixer (or sign Tkachuk/goalie if they bring in a salary)?

      You say there is nobody in the hopper. You give up on Mangiapane, but he has been used very sparingly. You give up on 20 y.o Dube after just 23 games. You’re discounting Phillips because of his size when the league is increasingly starting to realize that small, skilled forwards can excel. If Bennett and Frolik aren’t good enough, then why haven’t Mangiapane and Dube been given a chance there (or on the powerplay?).

      Teams need good young players on ELCs/cheap contracts to maintain success. If they sell the farm and/or picks for a rental now, it only handcuffs them down the road. The TDL is not a good time to buy on this stuff either, prices tend to inflate.

      This was the logic when the team went out and acquired Olli Jokinen, and it really hurt them long term.

  • Rudy27

    I don’t like the prospect of giving up one of our young (or any) D-men currently playing to bolster a run at the cup. Good D-men are harder to come by than adequate forwards, and one weakness on defense is much more noticeable (detrimental to the team) than a weak forward (remember how Wideman would get burnt for a goal almost every game?). You can overspend on going all in and still not win the cup. Right now the smart money is on Tampa, but a lot of things can happen before the last game of the SC Finals, including a key injury or a good goalie having a rough patch.

  • JusAFlamer

    go for it = YES, should always be the goal regardless

    make big splash at TDL = NO, while trades have gone well for flames lately, the TDL is bad for asset management. What do we have left for prospects (had some make the jump to NHL depleting our future stock for now) BT does well at offseason trades while TDL is more of a pressure move (similar to FA time) and that where we have not come out so well. Cap space is tight, rentals not worth it (unless cheap : future consideration – 5+rd pick)

    make “some” moves at TDL = YES, Not in terms of buyer/seller mentality BUT in terms of trade to ensure extra distractions removed. Really like Frolik as player and he fills big role for team (was huge part of what got us here), but do we need the distraction while on playoff push? Potentially grab a extra 7th D unless certain our D-depth will be out of injury trouble by then. Think goalies will need to stay as is dont see paying big to trade Smith for an unknown goalie (voodoo)

  • SgtRoadBlock

    We need to plan for next year, and the year after with Seattle..Vegas this year could be 1st again…BIG Buuut if you going to toss Draft picks and kids away for a run of some kind this year.
    i look into cap friendly players like Esa Lindell, Brayden Schenn , Ryan Reaves, and Grubauer, Philipp
    4 Players that we need in key spots and plus they match the core age for this roster long goal…

    GFG

  • Justthateasy

    Answer is no. There is no playoff experience at this time. Experience has to be built upon. Don’t sell the farm on a long shot which is what this would be.

    • BendingCorners

      Best answer I’ve seen yet.
      The core will be good for a few years but playoff experience is necessary.
      I expect BT to do something at the TDL but not likely anything huge or expensive.

  • FLT

    Tre inherited a roster with a lot of holes, and had to spend to fill some of them. Now that the team is competitive, I hope he shifts focus to building a sustainably successful team through the draft and shrewd acquisitions – not leveraging future assets for short-term help.

    If material upgrade is available for CHEAP, by all means go for it – but trade deadline buyers seem to be losers far more often than not. Same goes for July 1.

  • Joeyhere

    Thanks FN members – The comments today for he most part make a lot of sense
    We can’t acquire Stone or Tarasenko for nothing. This core is good! We would sink our self back to years of “young gun” mediocrity if we mortgage our future
    Yes a few more adds may (stress May) mean we go further this year but may also flop. We need to be realistic make smaller tweaks and be competitive not just for this years cup run but a contender for years to come

  • Flint

    Personally, I say go for it! But, with calm, patience and strategy. IMHO, anyone who is not currently a regular on the team + Kylington, Valimaki, Andersson are off limits this year with the exception of Neal (not going to happen) Smith (not going to happen), Czarnik and Hathaway.

    Assets on the farm (Mangiapane, Lazar, Rychel, Gillies, Parsons, Gawdin, Quine especially + others I’m not remembering) can be moved to make the team better today. I’d also potentially move any draft pick from the 3rd round and higher from the coming year and beyond to make the team better today. I’d use conditional draft picks liberally.

    That’s about as aggressive as I would be…. should net us Carl Hagelin…. please.

    One bone of contention, can we stop being interested in guys who can’t skate, please… thank you!

    • Flint

      One more thing…. the reason we “go for it” this year (albeit conservatively) is this is the last year of both Tkachuk’s and Rittich’s ELC and we should consider taking advantage of those (albeit conservatively). Because next year we’re going to be paying them what they’re worth instead of getting 6million+3million (at least) production out of a measly 925k and 800k.

      That pay-raise is going to complicate matters for next year because I guarantee the cap ain’t going up by ~9 million. And we have little place to lose money for next season outside of Smith (4,25mil)

      So, if we don’t trade a Ryan, Neal, Frolik now, we’re going to have to trade them in the offseason, and then we have to replace them with equal or better (and likely cheaper) players IF we can trade them. I know people don’t like TDL deals but if it’s a coming UFA it does allow you to get very expensive players for short periods of time without blowing your cap, because you only pay them for 40 days.

        • Flint

          Fair enough, but everything costs something. Draft selections cost draft picks and much more often than not they become nothing. Developing prospects costs time and money, and prospects always exist, competitive windows built on your most successful prospects don’t.

          I hear what you’re saying, but at some point team have to put on their adult pants and say “We’re here to win.”

          We’re in the last year of the Tkachuk “golden window”…. Rittich’s as well. The future from here is financially much more restricted and complicated.

          Here’s a question for you: Can we even afford the exact same roster of this year’s players next year? Maybe not. And if not, then how can we rationalize “going for it” next year, if we didn’t this year?

          We’ll get rid of Neal and Smith and replace them with 2 league min? OK. That doesn’t even pay for Tkachuk and Rittich and then we’ve got two new rookies on the roster, that makes us more ready to compete for the Cup?

  • Porcupine at a balloon party

    I’m off the mindset that if you want to win the Stanley Cup it’s about getting to the dance as many times as possible. This team has not had a good track record of maintaining teams that can make the playoffs with consistency for almost 30 years. I understand loading up for a run, but the reality is we loaded up to get to where we are now. I would rather preach patience at this point. Agreed with forever flames initial point that if something can be done without mortgaging the future, do it. But don’t trade away the very limited assets we have for future viability. Let’s make Stanley Cup runs a routine ordeal, not a couple years and then rebuild for ten.

    Side note, I don’t have many complaints about BT but the asset management of our defence to start the season really doesn’t look good right now. Could’ve had a free year of development with valamaki in AHL, and he wouldn’t of been eligible for UFA a year early if we let him grow there. Kulak is playing great in Montreal and I really don’t understand the treatment of him over the summer and then trading him away and now needing exactly what we needed when we traded him away. Stockton has suffered immensely from not having quality defenceman, and one or both of kylington and valamaki would’ve really fixed that. O well, I digress, just nitpicking at this point. Go flames go!!

  • FlamesFan27

    If you trade one of the young (cheap) defenders on ELCs, you end up with a cap problem next year especially once Tkachuk gets his money. And, they would still need another defenseman, who would undoubtedly be more expensive.

  • Cfan in Van

    A lot of logical takes in these comments.

    Core players have a window of at least 3 years (Johnny), or more, as you go across the board. We’re going to need draft picks to fill the holes over the next 3-7 years, and stay competitive. After a couple years in a row of burning 1st round picks (last year not included), we need to hang on to those picks for a strong future team. Of course you keep the lines open to improve the current team, but not at the expense of the future, when we’re in our 1st year of actually having a shot. Just think if we mortgaged the future for another Neal scenario, as TDL deals can be just as over-priced as FA deals, just in picks instead of salary.