The Flames are in a unique situation where they’re actually big-name buyers for the first time in forever. They’re soundly in a playoff spot, but a little extra boost could be the difference between the second round and Stanley Cup Final.
But they’re also in a pretty sticky situation where they’re a little broke to acquire said extra boost. They’re almost certainly not going to trade anyone from the top six, and their options from the bottom six probably aren’t worth that much on the open market, much less for the teams trading away their stars. Their prospect pool isn’t very enticing, with maybe one or two names that could really interest a seller (and even then, only in addition to one or two more assets).
The one thing that is worth its weight is their first round pick. According to Nick Kypreos on HNIC, it’s definitely in play, but you don’t need his words to know that. It’s pretty much a given that any team that is looking to acquire a big name at trade deadline is going to have to part with their non-lottery pick. If the Flames are serious about being one of those teams, it might be another quiet day in Calgary come June.
So: is it worth it to part with the first rounder? What could they get?
who would be worth a 1st round pick in a trade?
— ʝɛsʊs ʝaʋɨɛʀ® (@ElSus5) February 3, 2019
Limiting our list to players who are likely to move at the trade deadline (there could be a few surprises!), I would say that the definites are Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Jeff Skinner. Those guys will probably require a first, no exceptions. Players like Gustav Nyquist, Mats Zuccarello, Wayne Simmonds, Ryan Dzingel, and Kevin Hayes will come with a first round asking price, but I feel that the prices will fall a bit closer to the deadline. Otherwise, don’t bother.
I’m really up in the air about trading our first this year. On one hand i hate trading futures for rentals, but then again, the Flames are having an unreal run this year and who knows when we’ll do this again, so why not cash in now.
— RIP Hamonics face 18/19 (@TylerLeduke) February 2, 2019
I have two contradicting thoughts on it.
First, it doesn’t feel like a cash-in year. The team’s nucleus is still young and could even get better in the next two or three years. Shed some deadweight in the offseason, see a prospect or two graduate, find a goalie, and they’re right back at it. The window is opening, not closing. Why not hold onto the first rounder and perhaps even add to your elite talent collection? With Treliving’s draft history, giving him a high-percentage shot at drafting is never a bad choice.
On the other hand, what is a 25-31 range pick going to really do for you in the same time frame? Sure, a first round pick is a free asset that you can get a pretty good (and cheap) player out of, but when you pick further back in the first round, you’re likely running into players who are going to take a while to reach the NHL level. Even then, they’re only bottom to middle six players.
Looking back at the 20-31 range for the last five drafts, there’s a lot of players who still haven’t made an impact at the NHL level. There’s Brock Boeser and David Pastrnak, but there’s also a glut of players still finding their ways through the minors. The Flames are more than likely going to pick one of the guys who, in two to three years, might be making a bit of noise in the AHL. Would it really be worth it to punt on current glory for a 30% shot at future glory?
Really, I’m okay with their decision on the first round pick either way, provided the Flames use the first round pick responsibly. The value of the pick isn’t significant enough to cause too much concern if it’s included in a trade.
Do you think it's a good idea for flames to keep their draft picks this yr so they can stay a younger team for the long run instead of going after veterans ?
— Kel (@KelCaplette) February 2, 2019
Building off that last thought, remember that the number of picks sent the other way is also a factor. The Flames might be hesitant about trading their first, but who knows if they’ll be willy-nilly with their seconds, thirds, fourths, etc.
I’m not trying to galaxy-brain this and say that drafting more in the later rounds is much better than drafting less in the earlier rounds, but there is a notion that drafting is either first round or bust, which isn’t true. The Flames are about to enter their third draft in a row without a second round pick. If they don’t go for the high end players, they might have to pay a third for a rental player. If they do, that will also be their third draft in a row without a third. Needless to say, that is going to create a sinkhole in their prospect pool.
It certainly isn’t a time to sound the alarm. It’s extraordinarily difficult to have a great team and a great prospect pool at the same time. In fact, the draft is designed to prevent teams from loading up like that. But the team does have to be aware that you can’t mortgage the future forever. Sending away a few picks in your window is to be expected. To give them up frequently is going to cause problems. Ask the Sharks, for example.
What assets do the flames have to trade for depth/goaltending? What prospects will the flames be unwilling to trade?
— Khalid Keshavjee (@KMKeshavjee) February 2, 2019
Besides the picks, I think the biggest dangles could be Oliver Kylington, Dillon Dube, and Andrew Mangiapane. All three are players who are at least NHLers on most teams and have exciting futures ahead of them. Any GM worth their money is probably going to be asking for one of them, and if the Flames have to part with them to get their guy, they might not think twice about it. Other players that might generate interest are Glenn Gawdin and Matthew Phillips. Adam Ruzicka could also probably be of interest.
The only untouchable prospect is Juuso Valimaki. The team is really high on him and will balk at an offer that includes him in the deal. Everyone else is fair game.
Any word on how Valimaki is progressing?
— Chris (@Backcntryshack) February 3, 2019
I would say that he’s done well for himself so far in Stockton. He has three points in four games, which is pretty good production for a kid who has been missing for a few months.
The Flames are going to be a bit more patient with him though, and calling up Rinat Valiev for Travis Hamonic is indicative of that. Stockton is starved of right-handed defenceman (Michael Paliotta is their only righty, isn’t on an NHL contract, and hasn’t played in the NHL since 2015-16, when he played one game), so they had to call up a lefty. Valimaki could’ve feasibly been the guy, but he certainly needs a few more games to get back up to speed.
Given that he and Dube are the only recalls worth calling up for non-emergency purposes, I don’t think getting him back on the roster before the trade deadline is going to be the goal. The team can afford to be patient with him, so they will be.