WWYDW: What’s the most you’d give up in a trade?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: in all likelihood, the Flames, a top team in the NHL this season, will be buyers at the trade deadline. Unfortunately for them, they don’t exactly have a lot of capital to spend – both in the immediate, and without risking jeopardizing their future.

That brings up an interesting question: just how much should the team be willing to spend to improve this season?

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This is especially keeping in mind that any moves the Flames make in the coming weeks may only hold impact for this season only; with Matthew Tkachuk (more on him later today!) and David Rittich’s impending extensions, the team likely won’t have a lot of cap space remaining for a big addition for next season’s roster. That’s fine – the Flames are still a relatively young team, especially where their top players (other than Mark Giordano) are concerned – but it does draw into question just how much is too much to give up for just a couple of months of a new player.

First round pick

The Flames’ first round pick is reportedly in play, as it should be. At the rate the Flames are going, they’ll likely be picking anywhere from 25-31 overall – a range that can yield some good players, but not likely anybody who will make or break a team. (David Pastrnak was taken 25th overall in 2014, Rickard Rakell 30th overall in 2011, and Evgeny Kuznetsov 26th overall in 2010 – but they’re much more the exception than the rule.)

In other words, even though it’s possible the Flames could be without a first round pick for the second time in two years – their 2018 first rounder was among the picks exchanged for Travis Hamonic’s services – the chances that their 2019 first rounder would turn into an impactful player aren’t particularly high.

And besides, trading away first round picks to bolster their roster is just the kind of thing contending teams tend to do. So far:

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  • The Lightning’s first goes to the Rangers if they win the Cup this year (via their trade for Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller).
  • The Sharks’ first goes to the Sabres due to the Evander Kane trade.
  • The Leafs traded their first to the Kings for Jake Muzzin.

On the other hand, the Flames really don’t have much in the way of prospects they can count on entering the NHL any time soon. They have a relatively young team now, but how will things look as players start to hit free agency and there’s nobody internally with which to replace them? The Flames don’t even have anybody right now who can hold down a fourth line spot on the regular; how much worse will it be if they don’t have anybody who can fill in on the top six?

Here’s likely the big question in regards to the Flames potentially trading their first: how much will it hurt them to not pick until the third round of the draft in 2019 (their second round pick also being forfeited in the Hamonic trade)? They have a relatively young forward group. They have an extremely young defensive group. And there’s no guarantee the late first turns into a prospect who helps them at any point down the line.

Is it worth it to bolster the Flames’ present-day lineup by forfeiting their highest pick when they don’t have much in the way of notable prospects (because their most notable ones have already made it to the NHL)?

Forward prospects

The Flames’ forward prospects of note pretty much boil down to Dillon Dube and Andrew Mangiapane – although that’s in part because someone like Tkachuk made the NHL right after being drafted.

So, if you have to give to get, that begs the question: would you be willing to part with Dube or Mangiapane for the right player?

Mangiapane is a third-year pro who, at times, looks like he has the talent to play in the NHL, but not the muscle. He’ll turn 23 years old in April, which is still relatively young, but the clock is starting to tick. Will he be a meaningful contributor for the Flames in the near future, or would it make more sense to sell him on potential to a rebuilding team while getting a more established player back in return? It would suck to part with him if he turns out to be really good, but if he ends up being one of those players who’s too good for the AHL but struggles to hold down an NHL spot, well…

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Dube is an even riskier trade. He’s a 20-year-old first-year pro who made the NHL right out of camp. No, he hasn’t been able to stick around for the full season, but that’s because he’s a 20-year-old rookie; being NHL-ready at that age is rare. Dube could really be sold on his potential here – but is it worth giving up on him now for possibly only two months and change of another player (even if said player is really good)? Particularly when that means losing out on being able to have an entry-level contract in the lineup?

After those two, are there any other forward prospects worth all that much on the market? Matthew Phillips is exciting, but could be years away. Glenn Gawdin has potential, but likely more of the bottom six sort. Anyone else of note is still playing in junior, so they haven’t shown much yet, and may not yield that great a return.

The Flames’ lack of forward prospects is offset by the fact that their top line averages out to 24 years in age, and that Tkachuk is only 21 himself, but we also have to consider that Mikael Backlund will be turning 30 in March. (They grow up so fast.) Furthermore, Johnny Gaudreau’s contract is up three seasons after this one.

So, is it worth potentially mortgaging the Flames’ future in forwards – the very little they appear to have, at that – for a couple of months now, and possibly a better shot at the Cup with it?

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Young defencemen

Giordano is 35 years old. At some point, he is not going to be able to play high level hockey. Of course, we have no idea when that will be, but at some point, it’ll happen. And then, who will replace him? The Flames don’t really have any prospective defencemen at all.

… Because they all just graduated to the NHL.

Noah Hanifin and Rasmus Andersson are 22. Oliver Kylington is 21. Juuso Valimaki is 20. The Flames could potentially have their entire top four of the future right there, all already in the NHL (injuries be damned). It’s an embarrassment of riches.

Which then begs a new question: when you have an embarrassment of riches, do you trade from a position of strength to bolster another position?

The Flames really don’t have much else in the way of defencemen who can take over, but they really don’t need to worry about that at this stage: three-quarters of them are barely legal drinking age in the U.S. All four of these defenders could be playing for another 15 years, easily. But does it make sense to keep them all on the Flames, or should they spread the wealth some in order to address other positions that don’t have the luxury of scratching a talented player (or even dressing that talented a lineup across all forward spots, or in the backup goalie rank)?

Keep in mind that the expansion draft is looming, as well, and a talented young defenceman is probably going to be a big help for a team starting out.

How much is too much to give up for a chance at the Stanley Cup this season? What would you do?

  • Pete80

    As much fun as all this winning is, the window has just opened and we really have no idea what this team looks like in the playoffs. I’d rather get a year of playoff experience for this group, and stock the cupboard so we have trade bait down the road

    • Skylardog

      I will play devils advocate.
      What if teams beef up, and we get St Louis or Dallas in the first round. They both have had our number so far this season.

      And what if, because we failed to get a couple of key pieces because we think we need experience, and we think we are good enough to win a round or 2.

      And what then for the playoff experience if because we get a team we have struggled with, and because we didn’t make some tweaks, we go out in 5 games in round one.

      How does that playoff experience feel now? What value is a quick exit in the growth of our guys?

      You go deep when you can, that is how you get playoff experience. And just maybe, you go deep enough to win it all.

      • Cheeky

        If by adding guarantees us playoff success then go for it, unfortunately nothing is guaranteed. We could throw our futures on a chance, and get swept in the first round. That would sting worse…tweak it but don’t mortgage the future on a gamble…

      • BendingCorners

        If the Flames lose to either of those teams it is because they fail to take their opponent seriously. That in itself would be a good playoff lesson but it’s also one they can learn during the season. Hopefully they do but this is a good example of why they shouldn’t bet everything on this playoff run. There are many ways to lose and the players need to live through it.
        Small moves only please, or none at all.

      • Cfan in Van

        What if, what if. That’s the issue here. How much value do you need to spend to cancel how many of the what-ifs? It’s not quantifiable, so we just need to trust that Tre will add value if it’s appropriate. What-ifs all day long, but we could go out in the first round, no matter what we add and subtract. I think we’ll go at least 2 rounds, regardless, but there are no guarantees at all.

      • Harley Hotchkiss’s Ghost

        We crushed St. Louis earlier this year. They beat us the second time, but we outshot them heavily in the third and almost came back. I’m not worried about them, there goaltending is beyond mediocre. I don’t want to face Dallas though, Benn and Seguin always get up for us, but it would likely be different in the playoffs.

      • Stockton's Finest

        @Skylar, from a previous post, looking forward to having a few drinks while talking about what the need to do or did (or both!). Hope we have a good crowd.

      • 谢谢兄弟,我爱你

        Angels advocate?
        What if we beef up by trading picks and prospects, and lose in the 1st round anyway? Upsets happen all the time. Now you’ve got little experience, fewer assets than before, and either a cap crunch next season with new guy and Chucky and BSD, or you get nothing for the rental that you spent assets on.

      • whysoserious

        That is a lot of what ifs Dog, I can play that game as well

        What if keeping our current roster for the playoffs allows us to find out who has the ability to up their game to a level that takes us deep into the playoffs?

        What if sending out our 1st rounder plus to acquire key pieces still gives us a first round exit? That would hurt more…

        What if man walks into a bar and orders a drink.
        What if he suddenly hears someone say, “Hey, nice tie!”
        What if the man looks up to try to find out who said it, but no one was around.
        What if he hears, “Hey! Nice shirt!”
        What if the man looks up again, but there’s nobody there.
        What if he hears, “Hey! Nice suit!”
        What if the man then calls the bartender over and asks him if he keeps talking to him.
        What if the bartender replies, “It’s not me; it’s the complimentary peanuts.”

      • Albertabeef

        Skylar the tweaks you think need to be made are easily achieved by coaches tweaking things. Honestly we have the team to beat Dallas and St Louis but the coach needs a different strategy with those teams. It’s not like those two teams are unbeatable. Playoffs should be different but hot goalies can kill you. How many of the Flames loses came from hot goalies this year?

  • Heeeeere’s Johnny

    I am so torn on this topic. The cupboards really aren’t stocked very well at all below the NHL level yet this is the best shot in 15 years to take a run at it. It’s ironic that Tampa Bay is once again the final team to beat, and they look powerful for years to come. Finally this team plays so well together that I fear messing with chemistry. I think the most I would do is add to depth. I wouldn’t mortgage more of the future for a stud “anything” right now. We can’t afford it and it is risky to mess with the chemistry.

    So adding depth on forward or D is my approach.I’d take the risk on standing pat on goaltending.

    What would I have on the trading block?
    – 3rd round pick and below.
    – Mangiapane
    – Czarnik (not sure there is value)
    – Quine
    – Phillips
    – Emilio Pettersson

    AND the biggie … Kylington. If not now then in the next 18 months because of the expansion draft. We have to turn one of our 4 young D into something before we lose one for nothing.

    I wouldn’t trade the 1st. I wouldn’t trade Frolik as he is the king of guy who helps win in the playoffs.i wouldn’t trade Dube because he is Backlund’s replacement in the future.

    • Albertabeef

      Okay first off if you trade Kylington you chance losing an equal or better player. Deals can be made between teams to protect extra players so I am not worried about the ExpDraft right now. Statistically the kid is doing great, I’d really hate to lose him at all. In 2-3 years he will be more valuable than Gio will be.

      Secondly when I think of trading Mange and/or Phillips I have memories of Stillman and St Louis flash through my brain and my heart starts racing. Can’t say I like the idea.

  • Rebuild30

    The Great WW’s poll asking what starting Flames player would you trade to add a top 2 defenseman and power forward
    Sean Monahan- 52%
    Johnny Gaudreau-30%
    Matthew Tkachuk-18%

  • Jourflamesfan

    Every year I wanted the flames to pull of a big trade on deadline day that would catapult us the playoffs and success.
    Almost every year we did very little or nothing.
    There was always SO much speculation and rumors but nothing ever came of it.

    This year its the same thing. Rumors, speculation, whispers and yet…THIS year I’m hoping we do very little.
    I dont want to mess with chemistry.

    The only way we do a significant deal is if an injury to a key player occurs.

  • Day1-Cfan

    I am willing to hold the fort with what we have for this year. We can get 1 year playoff experience for all players these playoffs. We may go all the way this year( highly unlikely but you never know). 30 years this year since last and only Cup. What an anniversary present!
    Then Tre can weave what ever magic he has at the draft and over the summer. With this window just opening, the players need this playoff experience for future reference. Dance with the ones that got you here this year and make the moves over the summer. Unless something drops in the lap that can not be passed up(I don’t see too much out there this year that is going to give us a cup this year).

    • Rudy27

      If Tre goes into this ready to hold pat and walk away from a deal, then he is in a position of strength when negotiating and may nab a really good addition to the team with giving away the farm.

  • withachance

    Only assets I would consider trading is this years 3rd or lower, Czarnik, and Mangi. Obviously no one is going to pick up negative assets like Gillies, Stone etc.

    Different story in the offseason though – thats going to be the time for BT to get creative and load up for real. Next year is the real cup run in my opinion

    I’d rather a 5-8 year contender than a flash in the pan Cup final appearance (see Oilers in 2006…)