156

Pros outweigh the cons for aggressive trade deadline approach

What should Calgary do at the trade deadline? That’s the most thought-provoking discussion surrounding the Flames right now, and it’s one we’re not really used to having. Barring a massive collapse down the stretch, Calgary will enter the 2019 postseason as contenders for the first time in years. While there are myriad opinions on how they should approach the Feb. 25 deadline, it’s my belief there are more benefits to an aggressive approach than not.

When I talk about being aggressive, I’m referring to Calgary using things like prospects and/or draft picks to acquire impact NHLers, rental or otherwise, for the stretch drive and playoffs.

Ari started fleshing this out on WWYDW and your responses were all over the place, which illustrates how varying the opinions are on this one. As much as I think making a significant addition (or additions) is the approach to take, I’m also not ready to say the Flames should do that at any cost. I’m also not going to dismiss the “stand pat” side of the discussion, because the reasoning is extremely sound.

THERE’S NO RUSH

One of the main arguments against making a big deadline push is the notion Calgary’s window is just opening, which is hard to argue. So much of the team’s success this year is based on solid structure, well-played hockey, and good personnel. As such, this doesn’t seem like an unsustainable flash in the pan, which leads many to suggest now isn’t the time to be aggressive.

On top of that, the Flames aren’t flush with attractive assets to move. Because so many recent draft picks are playing in the NHL, the team’s prospect depth is fairly thin. If they want to make a trade that doesn’t disrupt their current roster, we’re talking about a small group of players to choose from.

That list probably includes Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane, Juuso Valimaki, and Oliver Kylington, and even then, all four players have spent significant time with the big team this season. I guess you could probably add Jon Gillies and Tyler Parsons to that mix, but knowing how both have struggled this season, I’m really not sure how attractive they’d be.

YEAR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH 5TH 6TH 7TH
2019 X X NYI X CAR
2020 X X X X X X X
2021 X X X X X X X

So then we move to picks, which is always a contentious topic. Over the last two drafts, the Flames have only made one selection in the first three three rounds (Valimaki, 2017 1st round); every other selection has been round four and beyond.

Calgary would like to start replenishing their prospect pool and that becomes hard to do without picks, especially first rounders. Now, knowing the Flames are extremely likely to be a top 10 team come the end of the season, their 2019 pick will end up landing between 21 and 31. Even still, trading a first round pick this year puts Calgary in a spot where they’re not making their first selection until late in the third round.

Finally, there’s always a conversation to be had about the immediate risk of bringing in an impact player. Will that mess up the chemistry and/or dynamic both in the room and on the ice? And will a new player be the right fit? After all, for every Paul Stastny there’s a Martin Hanzal, right?

GO FOR IT

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Flames are having an unprecedented season; in the salary cap era, they’ve never had better results this deep in a season. To expand that even further, the list is very small for better point totals through 51 games in franchise history, because there’s only one. The Stanley Cup team of 1988-89 had 73 points at this stage, which is only one win ahead of this year’s 71-point total.

To make a long story short, Calgary hasn’t been in a better position to make a deep playoff run in ages. There are no guarantees in this league, so to assume they’ll be in this spot again at any point over, say, the next five years is dangerous. I’m not saying they won’t be, but the Tampa Bay Lightning also missed the playoffs after going to two straight Eastern Conference Finals.

Let’s also not forget the Flames will be in a much different cap situation at this time next year. It’s a good bet Matthew Tkachuk will be counting at least $8 million against the cap, while the team also needs to re-sign Sam Bennett and figure out how they’re going to allocate dollars in net. I know they’ve been squeezed against the cap at times this season, but it’s going to get even tighter next year. Calgary may not be in a better spot to wade into the rental market than they are right now.

Finally, let me appeal to your heartstrings for a second. Mark Giordano is 35 years old and is a leading Norris Trophy candidate, which is incredible. I’m not saying Gio is showing ANY signs of slowing down, but one day he will… I think. Thinking critically, though, what are the odds Giordano has this good a season again? I think there’s something to be said about maximizing an incredible year from the captain.

CONCLUSION

I don’t believe the Flames should be making a big splash at any cost, nor do I think they should be hellbent in winning a bidding war for a big name. However, for the first time in years, I feel like actively exploring one of the bigger names available at the deadline makes a lot of sense for them. Yes, a big move in February comes with risk, especially in the case of a rental, but I believe that’s all mitigated by the potential benefits.



    • Stu Gotz

      I would not move Kylington! His NHL speed and skill is exactly what is needed in today’s new HNL. You can never have enough depth on defence & at the moment we are lacking on D and at the high end prospect list!

    • Korcan

      I can see one of our two young lhs dmen being moved, if not at the trade deadline then in the summer. The Flames have a logjam on the left side and both Kylington and Valimaki have proven to be NHL ready. I personally can’t see Valimaki being moved as his ceiling is so high — the only way i see Tre considering it is if they think he may be too injury prone, but that’s a big gamble.

      That leaves Kylington the odd man out, which is a shame as he has potential to be a dynamic offensive dman. But the way he is playing he could help fetch someone pretty decent in return — he is exactly what many rebuilding/reloading teams are looking to add to their roster.

  • redricardo

    Something else in the “go for it” category… is how shallow the depth is in the western conference right now. The path to the finals for the team that finishes on top in our conference looks as easy as it’s been in years.

    • Albertabeef

      Warning that is what Detroit said about the SJ Sharks before they lost to them way back when lol. I do believe that was just after winning back to back cups in the 90’s. Never underestimate your opponent in the playoffs.

  • Off the wall

    For the first time in 20 years we have the opportunity to make some noise. 20 frickin years!

    2004 was an anomaly. But it was electric! Our City went crazy, it was so satisfying.

    I’m all for an aggressive approach, even if it means a rental. I trust Treliving has been on the phone and exploring options.

    We must! This is what hockey is all about. Going for it. The Stanley Cup isn’t awarded to those that don’t take chances.

    You wanna wait? I don’t.
    2004 was too long, let alone 1998!

    • calgaryfan

      myself not into rentals, trading draft picks, or any of the young defensemen. No one knows how this team will be in the playoffs with the added pressure. They could be great or they could bust. I am hoping the Flames are building a team that will be competitive and challenge for years. Need to see what this team can do in playoff hockey before selling the future for 1 playoff year.

      • The Red Knight

        Yes I agree, unless it’s a really good deal then why trade your future away for one chance, I’d say add a depth winger maybe, I’m confident in the Rookies on defence, I also think we got options on the Farm , Lazar ,Quine, etc . … maybe another depth defenceman? Valimaki is he cleared to play in Stockton ? He’s healthy? How about Stone? Is he gonna be playable anytime this season? Is he tradeable ?

        • The Red Knight

          What s the depth on this upcoming draft?
          Here’s an idea ,
          Trade Neal for picks/prospects
          Trade Frolik for picks/prospects
          Trade Brodie for picks/prospect
          Cznik trade him for pucks !
          Trade Hamonic for 2 first rounders !
          Flames would probably still do awesome in playoffs and Could potentially be set up with picks and prospects for a long time if Trevling could maximize it.

  • Sanintarious

    I’m with the side that is willing to go big(ish) at the deadline. Its very difficult to make it deep the in the playoffs. You never know what will happen during the season (a big injury to a key player/s can derail your entire season). Sure if you are a deep team you can some times manage, but nothing is for granted.

    I wouldn’t give up multiple 1st round picks, or multiple prospects, but I think there are certainly some moves Brad can make to improve the bottom 6 and depth on D to make this team an absolute force come the playoffs.

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      There are 2 players that I would give up a first for their services….Stone and Panarin. Both players can be game breakers and pu us over the top.

  • CalgaryBornandRaised

    I’m solidly on the fence about this one…..on the one hand I want the Flames to make a big run, and a rental might help them get over a Winnipeg or Nashville, or even San Jose or Vegas in the later rounds

    On the other hand, our cupboard is bare for prospects, and in today’s NHL you need cheap, homegrown talent to compete continuosly so I want them to not trade future assets.

    • Jessemadnote

      That makes sense but I’ll put it like this: 6 of our top 9 forwards are under 25 and here for at least 4 years. Mony, Johnny, Lindholm, Tkachuk, Bennett, Janko. Two veterans that could possibly see regression are here for 5 years: Neal and Backlund. That’s basically our top nine locked up for the next half decade. It’s not like inexpensive bottom six guys are hard to come by. On defense we have Hamonic and Brodie expiring but Andersson, Valimaki and Kylington being groomed to take over. I don’t think we have a really strong need for high end prospects until Johnny’s deal is up. I would call that our window so let’s maximize our shot at a cup over the next 5 years.

    • Greg

      I think that’s the problem right there, people want to “compete continuously”. Reality is any core you assemble will eventually peak and then fade. I’d be ok being Chicago or LA right now, enjoying my multiple cup rings and strategizing about how to rebuild again. It’s a cycle, and when a core is in its peak window, like the flames are now, you are in the part of the cycle where you spend futures to improve your odds in the short term. 4 or 5 years from now, when Gio is too old and the sweetheart Gaudreau and Monahan deals are expired, is when you start trading players to rebuild your prospect pool.

      I’m not saying spend it all and swing for the fence. But good trades that use future assets to make a significant difference in the immediate term? Heck ya.

    • flames2015

      I’m with you here. I feel though as my one foot on the fence is ready to leap into lets go for it mode. Watching this team this year, for once everything seems to be clicking and going our way. Guys are playing some of the best hockey of their careers, and the rest of the division is just outright bad. Anything could change between now and April, but this is the best we have looked since 2004. I’m up for tinkering the lineup with a piece or two, but not a significant piece where we give up multiple picks. You can tell these guys have a strong thing going and they play for each other, you don’t want to add too many players thats going to change that dynamic too much.

    • Bawcos

      I don’t know why you’re trashed. If Valimaki/ Dube are off limits (which I think they should be) as well as they’re 1st rd pick. Where does that leave them? I’d be ok with a 2020 3rd rounder that becomes a 2nd if they make the conference finals, but again who does that get them? What do they really need? Depth at D-men, depth at F, a back up G? Do they not have allof these things already? How much would you pay to have someone better than Kylington/ Mangiapane/ Dube/ Quine/ Rychel/ Smith? Ok Smith is Smith, but is someone out there available for a 2020 3rd rd pick? I’d say spend a 4th or 5th on a Kulak type Dman and roll the dice. This team is in 2nd place in the League! And built for the playoffs. Enjoy!

      • withachance

        Being trashed because people love to get a shiny new toy as opposed to being patient. I guess that’s why fans are fans and BT gets paid the big bucks!

        • Greg

          I just don’t get what you would want to be patient for? Like, if being a top 3 team isn’t the right time to be willing to go for it, when would be?

          There flames are early in their window, yes, but that window depends heavily on Gio and a lot of really good contracts that won’t be around in 5 years. Even a conference winner has less than a 20% chance of winning a cup, so you’ve got to do everything you can each year the window is open to improve your odds and try to capitalize.

          Now isn’t the time to hoard and wait for a better time. This year, and likely the next 4ish, are the time to push for it.

          • Albertabeef

            Well think of it this way, we started the season with 8 new players on our roster. That is almost half of the roster who went to China and built chemistry. I do not want that chemistry ruined by changing pieces when the team is having success. It just doesn’t make sense. This team is confident right now, why mess with it? Iggy didn’t help Pittsburgh at all and screwed up their chemistry. If they come back from the break discombobulated then make a minor move or two. If they come back looking primed and good then stand pat.

          • benfr

            We don’t have the pieces to get anything high quality so we aren’t likely to get a Stone or Duchesne. That’s just how it is. I would hold off giving good future assets like Dube for a 2nd tier depth forward.
            My approach would be to use Vallimaki/ Kylington as your 7 dman. Still lots of time for Stone to heal up as # 8 and how much better than Prout will a depth dman be (who will again cost assets.
            With Neal starting to show improvement and playoffs looming I’m willing to be he will offer more as a top 6 than a depth forward (who will agin cost assets).
            Quine/Lazar/Rychel provide you with depth for a long run.
            Playoff hockey this year will show how our group performs during playoff hockey which is quite different than regular season. Based on their performance we can assess how we load up in future years.
            I like the go with your group approach with Neal’s improvement acting like your TDL acquisition.

          • Greg

            Now that argument (not upsetting the current team makeup) I do get. It seems to me when teams make deadline deals to bring in a good player just because he’s a good player, it doesn’t work out well. But if they bring in a specific player who fills a specific hole, a role that no one else had claimed, then no one is upset that they got bumped out for “new guy” and everyone’s excited to have that gap addressed.

            That’s where Ferkland would be a great add in my opinion. The team has 1 forward spot that none of Dube, Mangiapane, or Czarnik have cemented. They lack some functional toughness and secondary scoring. He brings all those things, is well known in the locker room, and can literally play either wing on any of the 4 lines. He’s a piece that fits in the puzzle.

            So ya, don’t upset the apple cart. But if the right addition is there at an acceptable price, don’t be patient and hold on to your picks for a better time. There won’t be a better time than right now.

        • Greg

          I remember analysts saying that was a bad trade at the time. Make good trades, not big names for the sake of big names.

          Also, that pick ended being Gormley I think. When you are drafting near the end of the round, those 1st round picks aren’t that valuable. That one was even mid-first, where as this one is looking to be around 30th. If someone was willing to give you, say, Duchene for that plus change? Yessir please.

        • Soupy19

          Well, as long as we’re cherry picking trades to suit narratives, remember when Pittsburgh traded for Marian Hossa and went to the Final? Angelo Esposito was their prized prospect who went the other way. Always be cautious about over-valuing prospects. Dube hasn’t done anything yet (see: Lazar, Curtis).

  • Baalzamon

    The Flames could be easily out-bid for literally any rental on the market, probably by several teams. The only things they could offer (Kylington for example) are things they should hang on to (they’re going to need cheap, effective depth going forward; plus the blueline situation isn’t the best with Giordano’s age, Hanifin’s inconsistency, and Valimaki’s injuries).

    • everton fc

      I’d not move Kylington, either. He’s now proven he can play in this league, and maybe even add some offence. And he can skate – the critical “key” to any team’s success in this league, these days, is speed, finesse, and a little toughness with some speed.

      • everton fc

        If Ferland wanted to be in Calgary, he can’t expect more than Lindholm. That’s the start of the conversation. 3.5mill. 3.75mill. Maybe. Hometown discount, or no go. Simple as that.

        • Greg

          Who cares how much he wants next year, his contract works for this year, and you’d only be bringing him in as a rental. If you think he can add a couple more goals per playoff round, and that increases your odds of winning a round by, say, 25%… well, that’s not that different than your odds of getting a marginal NHL player with a late 1st round pick.

          Would you rather have a 25% better chance of advancing each round? Or a 25% chance of a getting, say, a Kenny Agostino, for a few years?

          People really over value the true worth of picks and prospects because of the chance it might be something awesome.

  • KootenayFlamesFan

    I’m all for a rental as long is it doesn’t suck up any decent long term resource. The problem with rentals is that you are giving up a valuable asset for a few months of hope. if we’re trading a valuable asset I’d rather get something of long term value back.

    • withachance

      3rd line or 2nd line? Where do you see any potential rental players slotting in? If Ferland doesnt have a fit in this lineup then no new rental or addition would realistically fit in the lineup unless their name is Stone (which isnt happening)

      • Skylardog

        He needs to be with top notch guys to be as effective as he has been. Aho, Terravainen, JG, Mony. If not with them, then with who?

        His time here has passed, we have moved on. Bets of luck Ferly.

        • It’s like everyone has forgotten who he is. We already know. Look, I really like the guy for what he can do. I just think his expectations are through the roof because he has been hot a few times in his career. He can’t play well on his own and is very streaky. Nothing wrong with a guy like this on the 3rd line but how much do you want to pay for a guy like that? He probably will cost a 2nd or the like.

    • Greg

      Options I see are 2 line RW (he and Tkachuk on the same line would give people fits), either wing on the 3rd line (more secondary scoring), or either wing on the 4th line (can bring a lot of energy and still chip in some offense).

      What I like most about him is he could play either wing on any line. Say Backlund gets hurt… he goes first line RW and you move Lindholm to 2nd line C. Say Gaudreau goes down… Tkachuk moves up and he takes 2nd LW.

      There’s a lot of injury scenarios to our forward ranks that could kill a cup run. Obviously you can’t replace a Johnny hockey, but I feel a lot better about the drop off with him as an option than I do without him.

  • RU63

    “It’s a good bet Matthew Tkachuk will be counting at least $8 million against the cap”

    I’m betting against that! You can’t tell me he is MORE valuable (I say he is AS valuable) than our Captain, and Johnny Hockey. Best way to mess up our future and dressing room chemistry is to pay too much for players (just look up north). That being said, I hope we don’t make a huge splash for a rental if it costs us more that a second round pick in 2020 and some AHL players who won’t ever make the Flames.

      • Albertabeef

        IMO there are really three player who could win the Conn Smythe for the Flames this year, Johnny, Gio, and BSD. Chucky is great and all but your top guys statistically usually end up with the Conn Smythe. Johnny is still top dog on the team. Unless Chucky can pass Johnny in this regard it ain’t happening.

    • Skylardog

      Scale compared to the cap when signed. Producing 20% more points in his signing year than JG? If 9.25% = $7.76, and he is 20% better, tell me what he signs for? The kid is nearing $9.0 territory, but will take a discount to win here.

    • Flint

      I like the idea of Silfverberg a lot, but I think it’ll cost a ton to get him, and if Anaheim stays close it’ll be tough for them to justify. Plus would they trace to a division rival? But he is a UFA, and could be a pure playoff rental if needed.

      • Sol Goode

        I’m thinking maybe they package Czarnik and Mangiapane with maybe a 3rd rounder one year.

        I just think he would fit in perfectly on our team. He can skate well, is a good two way player, has a pretty good right handed shot as well. I would put him with Backlund and Tkachuk and slot him on PP2.

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    I mean, the thing is, is that if Neal eventually starts scoring, there is our trade deadline rental right??

    He has like 5 goals. If he starts putting them in the net down the stretch and into the playoffs, there we go! He is someone who can play up the lineup (if he keeps moving his feet), and someone with noted edge.

    This is just my issue with this debate. Like, if we go for a middle six offenseman, where would he go? Well, maybe he would be a second or third line winger. Well, isn’t that Neal? I just think it would be better to wait, or just make a hockey trade, though I don’t think that would be a good idea, as everyone seems well liked.

    The first line is kick ass. I love the forth line–Ryan is killing it, and Hathaway and the prospect/Czarnik have been great too. For about a month and a half that line has been really solid, especially when Czarnik is playing on it. The second line, if we go 3M line, has been a fairly good contributor down this last month and a half stretch, plus Chuck is great.

    So really, that only leaves the third line that is a big problem (though of course the second line would love to get more points, Backlund, recently, and Frolik have been really stepping it up). And Peters knows this. That is why he’s trying out different line combinations with Chuck on the third. He’s said it multiple times, that he wants to create four dangerous lines. The first, second, and forth are all doing their thing. The 3M line especially. But how to get Neal, Bennett, and Jankowski really going? I personally think the latter two have been doing pretty good lately, but again, Neal.

    So this is the thing! We are one good offensive player away from having four dangerous lines, and being a more or less “complete” forwards-ranks team. But if we were to get another player without sending someone down, that would really mess with everything else, right? Like, okay sure, we put Jankowski or Bennett on the forth line…well, that really doesn’t help with their growth, and I can’t see BP wanting to do that: both have earned their ice time, and Jankowski has beat out Ryan for 3C. Also, who do we push out if this happens? I could see Mangiapane/the LW, but again, neither Bennett nor Jankowski could replicate the wonderful energy that forth line has been generating, and Ryan is perfect for 4C. And I really don’t think it would be fair or a good idea to put a guy like Frolik down on the forth line. We could do something like put him on the third and really start playing around with things, but again, we can try that in the comment thread here, but I’ve just found no solution.

    This is a team that believes in themselves, and in each other. We are missing one more solid offenseman, I’m not saying we are not. But the “missing link” so to speak, is definitely Neal– I think we can all agree on that. As a hypothetical, if we could trade Neal for Silferberg or something, wouldn’t that be the perfect move? I think so. I like the rest of this team a lot, and I even like Neal. If he can get going, we can roll four dangerous lines. That’s it.

    So I dunno. That’s about as much sense as I can make from this. I don’t know how to feel about

    Frolik Backlund Neal
    Chucky Jankowski Bennett

    But if these lines can start causing havoc, then maybe this solves our problems? Neal did have a wonderful open net opportunity from Backs last game, which would have given the latter three points on the night, and Neal a much needed goal. Our conversations would have for sure been different if that had happened.

    • wot96

      If Neal is scoring at his historical average, he has about 12 goals. Finish the year close to 20. Hopefully he reverts to his historical average soon. But yes, if he does revert, that is like getting the rental you want at the TDL.

  • meat1

    I do believe that chemistry within the room is important. It’s obvious that we have great chemistry right now. I’m all for adding a depth (inexpensive) piece to bolster our group but I would be concerned about adding a high end rental. Take an expensive rental like Mark Stone for instance. As much as he would look great in our jersey, I worry that he would upset the top tier line structures that we have now and actually do more harm than good. And we would most likely not own our first round pick as well as Kylington or Dube for our efforts.

    • Greg

      I think the only way a Stone trade makes sense is if it’s a sign and trade and Neal goes the other way. Stone would be the perfect fit on the 3M line, but he’s too good for the flames to give up enough assets for just one run.

      I’m ok with them giving up a 1st rounder, and even the 3rd and/or a prospect thats a few years out (Phillips?), but if you are dipping into multiple 1sts or a Dube/Kylington type prospect package, the flames can’t quite afford rentals that steep just yet.

  • slapshot444

    Pat, you write “I think there’s something to be said about maximizing an incredible year from the captain.” Do I understand that means trade him? for what? a forward? Gio is part of the glue in the room so if your going for a cup I’m not sure you can get better than you would give on a Gio trade. Gio is the trade you make if your not going to make playoffs. IMHO all focus should be on goaltending, unless your willing to risk BSD as the guy to go all the way.

      • slapshot444

        Ok,, just re read,, sorry for the misunderstanding, I see he means lets add a piece to maximize the team that Geo’s has made so good. I thought for a moment Pat had lost his marbles. I completely agree, all in for sure, but I think we have the pieces except for goaltending depth, and for a wish list add Ferly as a rental cause he’s a brute.

  • Reid39

    First Time Post. Long time fan of this site and forum.
    What about a guy like Brayden Schenn? Has 1 more year under contract, can play center or wing. Big Body usually tough to play against.

  • Purple Hazze

    How often has being aggressive at the TDL worked out for the team that made the big splash? Usually Stanley Cup winners only tinker around the edges looking to add depth. It was refreshing to hear Conroy on the Fan 960 saying as much, referencing 2009 when they traded for Olli Jokinen and how that ended up being a disaster and ruining the team chemistry.

    • Skylardog

      Did anyone think Olli was a difference maker? I know I didn’t, and could smell the loser mentality a mile away. Not sure how the brass didn’t smell that odor.

      • Baalzamon

        He was pretty well-regarded at the time. Remember, he was coming off three straight 30+ goal, 70+ point seasons with the Panthers (though his numbers were down that year with the Coyotes). It wasn’t even that he didn’t play well for the Flames that year, it’s just that nobody could play with him.

    • Greg

      I’ll admit I was excited when they got him, but I also remember wondering how he and Iggy would work together when they are both shooters and right shots. It didn’t.

      I’m on the “go for it” side but it has to be a player that has a clear role they slide into. No big name just for big name sake.

  • HockeyFlame

    Trust our talented and fast young players. Coach them on how to be organized, clam and patient during the grinding play off. If anything get rid of the slow outliers who are bringing down the faster young line mates. Slower veterans talk more, produce less and dampen their line mates. Faster and talented is more preferable than slow and experienced. Gio, Brody, Hammer, Backs and Fro are the type of veterans we need to support the bright and young cast as opposed to Neal type. Love our farm talent challenging the veterans and force them to be sharp and result oriented

  • Graham

    If we are still in this position at the deadline, we have to go for it. No objection to trading the first pick, any pick, or next years picks for the right piece. IF we do go deep into the playoffs that is only going to inflate the salary demands of the current roster, so like any successful team we might find ourselves moving valuable roster players to free up cap space. We can use these moves to recover draft picks or prospects.

  • BendingCorners

    I think BT “went for it” when he signed Neal. FreeTheFlames thinks Neal has played better lately (so do a lot of us) and BT has until 02/25 to see whether that translates to enough goals and enough hits/checks to justify standing pat. If Neal does show good results, then the top nine is good enough without upgrade. (I’d still love to add Mark Stone but I don’t see any way for this to happen). A playmaker on the third line would help but doesn’t seem essential.
    The 4th line has plenty of options in Stockton – thanks to SF for ranking them in his article. Quine, Lazar and Rychel (if he is fast enough) could fill out the 4th line along with Ryan and Hathaway.
    I’d be surprised if BT made any goaltending changes. Rittich has a short track record, and Smith is not that great, but between them they’ve managed to steal several games this year.
    On D, some 3rd pair options with extensive playoff experience would help – the young ones need to see by example how much extra effort is needed to win in May and June. But talent-wise the D is plenty good enough as is so I’m not sure BT does much.
    If possible, I’d like to see BT keep his picks and maybe even gain a pick in any trade he makes. If this means fleecing the other GM, so much the better.

  • Jourflamesfan

    I know it’s off topic but I dont know where else to put it.
    Frank Servelli from TSN is voting Connor McDavid as the Hart winner. His brief explanation is that he’s doing it all by himself on a crappy team.
    This is where I have an issue. All those years that Jarome Iginla led the flames to the playoffs he did it mostly without a true #1 Centreman.
    Iginla carried them to much of there minimal success.
    Yet he NEVER received a Hart trophy.

    This is why I personally despise the Oilers & especially the media.
    I saw one video where they were saying the nhl NEEDS Edmonton in the playoffs and winning cups.
    Its hogwash!

    Why? Because Gretzkey played there?

    Unreal!

  • Just.Visiting

    I’d be hesitant to give up significant assets for a near term push. The moving his feet Neal we’ve seen lately is like getting an add. Janko is moving his feet much more too since he started playing with Chucky. I like adding Quine for the fourth line too.

    Vali, a healthy Stone and Prout would work for me for defensive depth. Any update on Stone?

    The other wild card in the playoffs is the difficulty in correlating regular season performance to the playoffs due to the thuggery that is allowed in the playoffs relative to the regular season.