Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Flames’ deadline a realistic assessment of present team – and its potential for the future

Who expected the Flames to get this far?

Go back in time to October. You’re excited for a new season, but you also remember how the previous one ended – a team that was supposed to at least make the playoffs, that was starting to go all in, completely crumbled and made sure watching them a miserable chore – and you’re wary. And then the Flames lose their season opener in the exact same style they’d lost many games at the end of 2017-18.

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But they win their home opener, at least, and are able to crawl out to a modest 5-5 record. You roll your eyes: here we go again, mediocrity on the horizon, a team that will never be able to make it over the hump. They won’t lose every game 9-1 like they just did, but the cracks are showing. Is there even a chance they make the playoffs this year?

But then the Flames start winning. And they don’t stop. And a month and a half later, they’re first in the Western Conference. And they just stay there.

When the Flames had a 5-5 record through the first 10 games of the season, did it even occur to you that the Flames could be the best team in the West? That they would go into the trade deadline in that very position – not with a comfortable lead, but a pretty modest one, all things considered, with only one team necessary to scoreboard watch?

Probably not. So why has anything changed since then?

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Staying the course

The Flames did not do anything at the deadline. Their most prominent issues were probably goaltending being a question mark and the want for another high-end forward; not only did the Flames not address either issue, but all they did was trade for a depth defenceman in Oscar Fantenberg. That isn’t really much of anything.

And when you see teams around the Flames loading up – the Sharks got Gustav Nyquist, the Golden Knights got Mark Stone (!!), and the Predators and Jets made a couple of moves as well – then it’s only natural to feel disappointed. The Flames aren’t the Lightning. They aren’t so comically superior, so far ahead of the pack that they don’t have to do anything to improve. The last 20 games of the season will not be like the first 62 – not when everyone else vying for the top spot in the West just tried to make themselves better and the Flames did nothing.

To which I’ll emphasize: were the Flames ever really supposed to be the first place team in the Western Conference? Were they supposed to be this good this season?

Of course, you hope they can keep ahold of that standing. But it’s not the goal for this year. It never was. The Flames probably could have gotten Stone, at least as a rental, if they’d been willing to ship out Juuso Valimaki. That could have put them over the top for this year (a year in which “over the top” probably means “can compete with the Lightning”), but completely disrupt future plans – both in terms of Stone’s new cap hit blowing up the Flames’ salary structure, and in not having Valimaki anymore.

And if the Flames didn’t think they’d be Cup contenders this year – and why would they have? Who saw Elias Lindholm having a career year halfway through the season? Who saw all three of the Flames’ rookie defencemen ready to play in the NHL all at once? Who saw the fourth line develop into a scoring threat, who saw David Rittich being near the top of league-wide save percentage for the first few months of taking the starter’s job? – then why would they suddenly think that’s changed, that they’re further along than they are?

No precedent

Brad Treliving took over for the 2014-15 season, a year in which the Flames overachieved and made the second round of the playoffs. This was largely in part due to a bonkers shooting percentage that they were not going to be able to replicate. A lesser general manager would have stepped into that season, dusted his hands and said, “We’ve arrived.” Nope – Treliving sold at the trade deadline, even though his team was in a playoff position, and spent the offseason adding players like Dougie Hamilton and Michael Frolik because the Flames weren’t even remotely close to good enough. It’s additions like those that have allowed the Flames to be where they are today: a team that recognized where it truly was, not where a potentially misleading standings placement said they were, and stuck to a plan to develop long-term success.

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Why change that now?

Presumably, if the Flames didn’t think they would be Cup contenders this year, then they would still be planning for a future season in which they are. That should not have changed, and judging by the Flames’ deadline activity, it has not. Which is exactly the right move, especially when you take into account everything they’ve already done to build this team.

The most glaring example is the Travis Hamonic trade: out went a first round pick and two seconds, which has certainly played its part in the prospect pool looking a little lacking (that and the team being relatively young because all of those prominent prospects just jumped right into the NHL). That move was not made in a vacuum: it was made with the clear intention of bettering the Flames’ defensive group. It took some time, but it has done just that, even though it’s cost them dearly in another area of building a team.

To have dealt Valimaki as part of a package for Stone would have disrupted that even further. It doesn’t fit the plan. And the plan’s gotten the Flames this far. Throwing it out for a team that’s first in the West now but by no means is guaranteed to finish in that spot – nobody remembers who was leading the standings through most of the season, you only remember who actually finished the season on top – could have been disastrous not for this season, but for next. And the season after that. And the season after that…

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This is not the year the Flames have to go big or go home. The only trade that really stings is Nyquist, because he would have been a good fit at a perfectly affordable price. Everything else is very easy to understand why the Flames passed. Yeah, maybe they’re blowing it – maybe Mark Giordano won’t be a Norris-caliber defenceman next season (though they do have four options all 22 years old and younger), maybe they won’t have four forwards all scoring at or above a point-per-game pace again (speaking of which, where’d that scoring go, anyway?) – but blowing up the potential for years of future success down the line for one season is impulsive and foolhardy.

What now?

The Flames added one depth defenceman. That gives them more than a full slate of forwards who won’t look out of place in an NHL lineup (the worst guys are who, Curtis Lazar? Garnet Hathaway? Austin Czarnik? You’re doing pretty great if those are your worst forwards), and they’re now at 10 defencemen – seven of whom have high-end potential – to hold down the fort. Yes, other teams got better, but dang, this is still a pretty great team, too.

The Flames have a modest lead for the Pacific Division crown, which they’re going to have to aim to keep. If they can defeat a wild card team and then face whoever emerges victorious between the Sharks and Golden Knights – a battle that could cost them come the next round (last year, the Golden Knights got a pretty decent deal, waiting for the Jets and Predators to finish beating up on each other before taking down the Jets), then they very well might stay in good standing through the playoffs. The Flames have given themselves a modest lead that it’s entirely realistic they stay in first, even with their opponents’ upgrades.

And if their gambit doesn’t work, and they lose early in the playoffs, well… then they lose early in the playoffs. It happens. It could happen even if they’d traded for Stone. Look at the Sharks: they have given up a lot of assets to build a formidable team, and their starting goaltender has a season save percentage of 0.897%. Even the Sharks are at risk of having absolutely nothing to show for everything they’ve done.

It’s just that right now it’s time for the Flames to show patience. So they have. If they lose out early, then they’ll live to fight on next season as well; Treliving’s biggest moves have always come at the draft, anyway, so his big acquisition can spend the entire season with the team from the start. And if they win late, then well… they win late.

This season has been gravy. That doesn’t mean you base your entire meal out of gravy – it means you appreciate it for the additional joy it’s brought, while recognizing there’s a lot more going on.

The Flames’ play this season has set themselves up for an entertaining present. Their restraint at the deadline has probably set them up for an entertaining future, too.

    • withachance

      There was an article on the Athletic that said something crazy like 2 out of 18 major acquisitions in the TDL got Stanley Cup in the year they were traded

        • Flint

          7% isn’t terrible. Besides, I’m sure there is a deviation there. Let’s call it 10%. 1 in 10.

          How many times has a #28, 29, 30 1st round pick put a team over the top and netted them a cup?

          Once you get to the #28pick less than half (48% play 100 NHL games in their career) in other words, not difference makers.

          76% of the #29 pick or later are 4th line or worse players.

          So you tell me how many of those low picks are responsible for netting someone a cup. I bet you it’s less than the 7-10% of rentals.

          • withachance

            I think what you’re missing is quantity and comparing apples to oranges. Its about value in assets and how you use them. Those picks arent going to put any team over the hump, they’re there to help you build the core of a team.

            A team has multiple chances of picks past the top 20 picks in the draft. You have one chance to get a rental right. 2 in 29 is pretty bleak. There are legit superstars in the 20-30 picks. You’d have to give up an arm and a leg to get players like Pastrnak and Kapanen and Rackell.

          • Flint

            When you trade a pick for a player, you are trading a chance at an NHL player (76% of the time a fourth liner or worse for the #29 1st rounder) for an actual NHL player. Unless you’re picking in the top 15-20 you could pick probably 50 times and you’ll get a “core” player 1 time.

            We’re likely picking 29-30th

            You could pick 100, 200, 300! times you’ll get a Gaudreau once.
            Hundreds of picks and you’ll get a Mark Stone once (not that I think we should have made that trade)
            1000 picks you’ll get a Zetterberg once.

            That’s 0,1%.

            I think people over-estimate how sure a player is a draft pick.

  • Aquavid

    I seem to recall a few articles pointing out that the Flames wanted to bolster their left D with a depth defender. I think Treliving added just the right piece without compromising the future. I am not certain that adding a high end forward was necessary given that the Flames are the second highest scoring team in the league. Time will tell.

  • FlameFn89

    Honestly the best analysis of Trade Deadline 2019 I’ve read. Great work.

    As a fan it’s easy to want to go all CBJ on this thing, but if the result is anything other than swimming in a fountain and a wildly drunken rendition of We are the Champions, it’s not worth it.

    In Tre we trust.

  • Inglewood

    In Tre we Trust. Let these boys finish what they started. Only disappointment maybe was the general hype going into yesterday. Now it’s in the past, and I’m sure the guys in that room enjoy the sign of good faith. What a time to be a fan when it’s not even March and you’re not concerned about locking up a playoff spot, rather clinching first in the conference.

    With 20 games left I think our mark to clinch Pacific and the West would have us going 13-7, finishing with 111 points. That’s assuming SJ doesn’t finish out better than 14-4-1. A win tonight, and some help from Boston would really put us in the driver seat, especially with a soft(esh) schedule down the stretch.

    • canadian1967

      I actually think that 13 wins in the next 20 would be the minimum. Bordering on unacceptable.
      I think we have 15 wins plus a couple loser points getting us to 117, meaning SJS would need to go 17 & 2.
      Our Schedule is home heavy with only 1 back to back which is the Coyotes after playing in Vegas. Not many playoff teams in our future either.

      • Inglewood

        I agree, 13 is the minimum. SJ going 14-4-1 or accumulating 29 of 38 points is pretty optimistic for them. I’d say 26 points puts the Flames in first. 26 would like be a tad underwhelming therefore, by all means 16-4 for us sounds much better.

  • Off the wall

    Take one look at the top photo.
    It’s the fab 5.
    Yeah, that’s pretty neat, and it makes me smile, thinking about how we got to where we are.

    I’m very excited about this group!

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    Let’s not forget the power of competent coaching. More than that, Peters is a very good coach. He keeps an even keel, win or lose, but you know just simmering below the surface he could go off at any moment.

    Contrast to GG who didn’t have a clue what he was doing, and then gets to a point when he’s throwing sticks into the stands. The player’s response to that was they were chuckling away and thought it was funny. If Rebar ever got to that point the stick would be coming at your head.

    • Puck Head

      The rumours that BP was a defenseman whisperer for young players were true. How could you trade away one of his best achievements? It’s amazing. I never thought I would see us with such a young and competent defensive group.

      • Mickey O'Reaves

        It really is amazing. Four, count ’em, FOUR, defencemen of high-end NHL calibre at 22 years old or younger.
        It is tough not to be excited for the future based on that alone.

        • Brian McGrattan's Salute

          Especially having Andersson on the top pairing with Gio for so many games! New top pairing next year…a second year NHL player on a top line? Hell ya

          • Mickey O'Reaves

            Yep, the hockey injury-gods did this team a big favour. Stone goes on the shelf which allows Andersson to show how good he is. Valimaki got hurt which was the catalyst for Kylington to get lots of playing time and to show how the ‘prone to turnovers’ label was grossly exaggerated.
            Valimaki made this team right out of camp, and his injury also enabled the ‘youngster vet’ Hanifin — who just turned 22 last month — to get mentored by Hamonic.
            Dalton Prout showed why he was worthy of a one way deal, and is a decent enough 6/7 d-man who can take on the big boys if he has to.

  • Lazarus

    Great writeup. The flavor of the comment section has swung 180 degrees since yesterday and the only variable has been this article ???
    Ari must be the Mama Hen here calming all the frantic, anxious chicks down. Lol. The angst here yesterday was stupid.
    If anyone here can’t see by BTs body of work that he knows best they haven’t been paying attention or think they know better ?

    • HOCKEY83

      Not so sure that she the Mama Hen but It’s certainly the most intelligent thing said about what happened at the deadline regarding the flames and how the flames should have handled it. Great article Ari.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    BT had to stay put, he wants to see how each player responds in the playoffs, then address that weakness in the off season. He has a plan, they’re not Stanley Cup contenders yet, but we’re close.

      • Zalapski

        Raffy, seriously get a life. Why do you fill the world with such negative vibe. The team hasn’t gone backward in the standings. They’re young, and can move a ton of diminishing/expiring contracts in the summer. Brodie will be traded for another top 6 winger, Frolik I assume for draft picks, Smith is gone. This is a special season and there is still room for improvement.

        I know being a troll is some kind of game for you, but it’s truly ok to allow a little light in.

      • The Iggy complex

        Only one team can win the cup. You start with getting a good young team to make the playoffs and get experience. Then improve and get the cup. It’s okay, I know as an Oilers fan you don’t understand how playoffs work

      • Sven

        Imagine having such an empty life –
        and being affiliated with such a depressing town 
        with such an embarrassing hockey team

        that your principal source of entertainment was to
        post poorly articulated opinions about a neighboring team-
        a team who sits 26 points ahead of your team in the standings with a goal differential
        77 notches better

        Its like the “special” 4 year old son of your maid coming over to visit at Christmas
        and marching around your mansion with a tea towel tied around his neck
        banging on a soup pot with a metal ladle 

      • SgtRoadBlock

        who cares if we lose in the playoffs it about the roll of the dice …30 teams will lose this year

        and not to sound rude but a USA team will win the Cup… Canada last team was the Habs 24 cups ago


  • Joeyhere

    Of course I feel a touch disappointed today but the prices were too high
    What do we know Tre is good at – assessing team weakness and trading to make us better (see Hamilton deal last year)

    We can take comfort because if we don’t achieve it all this year, Treliving will make a tweak or two at the draft to make great team even better

  • Off the wall

    Is there going to be some disappointment that Treliving didn’t do more?

    Of course, cuz we’re fans. It’s natural to feel this way. You can’t blame fans for wanting more.
    I read every single comment from all of FN yesterday. Many thought -provoking comments.

    The fact that Treliving tried to get Stone, means he knows the potential of this team. If we’re honest with ourselves, we know why it didn’t work out.

    Why didn’t he pick up a lesser, but good forward for the top 6?

    I honestly don’t know. But after witnessing the acquisitions he obtained in the offseason and the results from them, I’m in the ‘trust mode’ with Treliving.

    One of our youngest members on here stated yesterday, “ We got what we got, let’s roll with it”

    Pretty wise words I’d say for a young person.

    I’m not so old that I will ignore good advice, regardless of whom it comes from.

    Let’s focus on the rest of the season. Cuz, we got what we got, let’s roll with it!

  • Sir ryosus

    I was hoping for more than what flames did… However no point on getting stone or any expensive big fish if you don’t believe in goaltending. So good job BT now find us a tender in summer. (Although I’m rooting for BSD)

  • Heeeeeere's Johnny!

    I do agree with the overall sentiment of this post. Thanks for summing it up Ari. I also agree that something like Nyquist May have been wise. What would be curious to know is what the “something big” that fell through was (Zucker?) and what the Flames were willing to pay (and not pay).

    • withachance

      The thing is Nyquist was acquired for 2 2nd rounders basically. The Flames didnt have that – the equivalent wouldve been something like a 2nd + Dube/Mangi. Thats a gross overpay for a rental.

      We can assume Minny asked for a roster player like Czar + picks or an A prospect in return. BT has already said that it was a no go for him so thats probably why the Zucker deal fell through

      • Hockeysense9393

        It sounds like everybody was trying to pull one of our young stud defencemen, but he just wouldn’t budge. I don’t blame him either really, not on a rental.
        That’s our defence core for the next how many years? 4 NHL players all 22 or younger and all have upswing. I wouldn’t freakn budge either.

        • Al Rain

          One of the reasons for that is that we’re low on picks and other prospects so they’re pretty much the only chips Treliving has. But it appears he doesn’t want to play them.

          Young, high-end D are a golden currency in this league. When Valimaki was drafted – with Kylington, Andersson (and at the time Fox) already on board, and with a very established NHL blueline, not to mention glaring holes in the forward ranks – I was certain that Treliving was loading up on currency more than players.

          But I think the Hamilton situation changed that. Hamilton became the currency and now the young guys, who’ve probably progressed faster than expected, are the projected blueline. And come to think of it, what we got in exchange for Hamilton, is part of the reason the Flames are unexpectedly contending.

          There. That’s my reading of the situation: Treliving has a plan, but he’s also able to adapt as required.

        • Alcanivorax

          4 of them at 22 is the core.
          That means the picks we do have can focus (mostly) on upgrading the forward ranks for the next couple of years.

          • Hockeysense9393

            I don’t know about that. Flames seem to be quite depleted in the defencemen prospect, and may very well need to draft that way. Comes with the territory of having that many young defencemen ready for the NHL.
            Personally I like our forward depth in juniors and AHL. Quite a few of them are pushing the bar.

  • Budgie

    Agreed, why give up draft picks and prospects for UFA’s? Calgary can pick up a RFA July1st, Ferland and Bobrovsky didn’t go anywhere. On or July 1 Calgary could make a move before that too. The price for rentals is too high.

  • Herringchoker1971

    All I have to say gents is thank god this craziness is done. I would have liked a bit of size with some skill but, it was never meant to be in-season. We’re going to be in tough for sure. The biggest thing for this team is to continue to tighten up defensively. That will make all the world of a difference. Alittle less loosy goosy. I’d like to see Brodie try a few less cross ice passes from the corners. I would also like the flames to stop with that boomerang drop pass on the powerplay. I absolutely can not stand that play. It makes no sense to me. Other than that, after last season…..this has been a blast. Lets sit back and see where we get to.

  • Mickey O'Reaves

    “…the Golden Knights got Mark Stone (!!)”

    The amount of hype about Mark Stone was amazing and baffling. Reminds me of Allen Iverson’s ‘practice’ rant. Somebody with good editing skills could make a pretty funny video. Substitute Mark Stone every time Iverson says practice.

    • Mickey O'Reaves

      The Jets backed themselves into a corner – again. They desperately needed a second line centre – again.
      They have some very good trade chips and Chevy will see how it plays out with Hayes as their 2C in the playoffs this year.
      There could be big changes upcoming in Winnipeg.

      • withachance

        Thats what I was thinking this morning – curious that they needed a 2C once again… You’d think the 2 first rounders and 2 fourth rounders they used on Statsny and Hayes couldve landed them a permanent second line centre. Smart GM or lack of long term asset planning?

        • Mickey O'Reaves

          Part of it results from always picking the top player on your list, that you’ve spent many months on, and sticking to it. That is the correct strategy. Brian Burke had a good line that on draft day if you want to argue about a pick, you are fired.

          So if you are always picking the highest player on your lists, then imbalances at certain positions are potentially built into the equation…then you are playing catch up. You would like to be a bit more proactive in addressing issues when glaring needs arise, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes.

          The Flames have gotten themselves into the major league ‘imbalance’ of having 4 sure fire high-end defensemen at 22 years of age and younger. Geez, what a tough break!

  • Raffydog

    Well I guess there is always the next rebuild to look forward to. This team isn’t good enough now, and wont be getting any better in the upcoming years. The windows been closed locked, and boarded up.

  • Dunk

    BT would make a great Liberal Politician, (SPINNING INEPTITUDE) At the very least we needed to get a #1 GOALIE. Clearly we are unsure with what we have. We can’t even tell you who is the #1 because neither one has stood out. It would be a shame to find that they are both inadequate which has been the trending direction… BT has put a lot of eggs in our struggling goalies basket.
    p.s.the only thing worse then not making the playoffs is getting swept…

  • Flint

    TSN and Sportsnet panelists labelled the Flames as trade deadline “losers.” I don’t agree, but don’t totally disagree. We sent a 4th, potentially a 3rd for a guy we absolutely don’t need. We have 9 NHL capable defenders and I think Fantenberg isn’t better than 7 or 8 of them.

    So, we didn’t take advantage of any of the possible additions or rentals. Fine, we wanna keep picks. But one only has to look at Ottawa and Columbus as two examples of different perspectives on picks. Kekalainen is hedging his bet that picks aren’t players, they’re chances at players. Ottawa’s future depends on nailing those chances. One isn’t right, one isn’t wrong but what everyone will agree on is chances at the cup are slim and you want as many as you can get.

      • Flint

        OK, do you believe we were Deadline day winners?

        Here’s an excercise: Imagine prior to all the trades that happened you were asked to give Vegas odds on the Flames winning the Cup. Ok, now the same, but after the trades.

        Did our odds go up? or down?

        If they went up, we “won” opportunity. If they went down, we “lost.”

        I don’t think anyone in their right mind can say we’ve got a better chance of winning the Cup this year after the Deadline deals than before.

        • The Fall

          Its not a win / lose situation.

          More points to remember:
          – Three of four Division leaders did not add at the deadline.
          – Two of two Conference leaders did not add at the deadline.
          – The biggest renter in the league was outside a WC spot two days ago…
          – SJS are old and their window is closing
          – VGK lost all manageable contracts and flexibility over the past 12 months
          – WPJ are scary good when healthy
          – There are no really good goalies in the West, so its kinda anyone’s game.

        • withachance

          “Did our odds go up? or down? If they went up, we “won” opportunity. If they went down, we “lost.””

          Thats pretty simplistic outlook on a very complex landscape in today’s NHL… they won in terms of immediate sentiments and reactions. considering organizational structure, 3 year window, asset management, and general team building for long term sustained success, who do you think won from yesterday? Teams like Tampa, Flames, NYI, Vancouver

          • Flint

            Lindholm was taken 5th, Hanafin was taken 5th, Monahan 6th, Bennett 4th, Frolik was taken 10th, Valimaki was taken 16th, Jankowski 21st, Backlund 24th,

            Gaudreau is a pick that works out less than 1% of the time (that’s scouting, yes, but it’s luck statistically). Gio was never drafted, same deal.

            That’s basically our whole team/core.

            Again, you’re counting the FEW that got in and ignoring the thousands that didn’t.

            Look, I’m not saying never draft and that picks aren’t valuable. Picks are valuable, but they are not equally valuable. NHL players, however, true NHL players are much more valuable than picks.

            Zuccarello, Nyqvist, Brassard all improved teams that were exchanged for picks that 89 times out of 100 won’t play in the NHL.

        • Kevin R

          Perspective Flint! So Columbus was the real fun team for the MSM with the high end rental trade acquisitions. Hope Columbus win the Cup or at the very least a round for their fans. Come July, Panarin, Duschene, Dzingel & Bobrovsky all can walk & Columbus will be left with scattered stones to start the reconstruction.

          The Vegas getting the gem of the TDL. Big winners. Right. Well if they win a cup it will help wash down the fact McPhee will have over $82 million committed to next year cap after they add Stone’s 9.5 mill & they need to sign Karlsson, Nosek & need a back up goalie & they may want to keep Engellend. How much is the Cap going up to……? That cost to acquire Stone may have cost them not only Brannstrom, but maybe Karlsson too.

        • Rockmorton65

          Two points, flint.

          1. A depth D with some experience was absolutely required. If the Flames make it into the later rounds and either Kylington and/or Valimaki bend under the pressure, there

          • withachance

            Just because Edmonton cant draft doesnt mean throw picks at rentals the first year the team plays well….

            I honestly wouldnt have given up any of the packages for most of the trades yesterday, given what assets the Flames had, including the Nyquist deal. Dont forget this also gives BT ammo in the summer to make trades at the draft

          • Rockmorton65

            was no one on LD to step in. Now there is.
            2. The other teams made moves to compete with the Flames. Top team in the west…why make a move, just because?

          • Pancakes

            Yes, draft picks can be bombs, especially late ones but don’t you think they are still necessary? We have to replenish our supply of Anderssons, Dubes, Mangs, and JGs! No team wins Stanley without a balance of picks, trades, and free agents.

          • Flames fan since 83

            Flint said: “One isn’t right, one isn’t wrong but what everyone will agree on is chances at the cup are slim and you want as many as you can get.”
            I agree, that we want as many runs at this as possible.
            And that is why I can see the logic in not selling the future on one shot this year.
            We are built to have several shots going forward. Why blow a bunch of “assets” this year for say a “Stone” and only to have our Goalie not work out.
            I like that we keep what we got, and giver “Hell” and see how this goes.
            I’m good.
            Let’s get the party rolling tonight!

          • Flint

            Fair enough. Hey, I’m a big believer that you can never have too many defenseman. So, maybe I shouldn’t have said we “absolutely don’t need” … without adding “today” behind that.

            But the same is true for the position that Mangiapane, Czarnik, Jankowski and Frolik currently hold. Some of those could be filled by moving a Frolik down the lineup for example, but my bigger point remains:

            For everyone that puts such high value in draft picks (and keep in mind ours will be low picks, not high picks), for all those people I say see: Oilers, Edmonton.

            The Oilers, then Panthers, then Sens? I forget have had more high picks than any other teams in the last 20 years. How many times have they even made the playoffs? Nevermind been competitive for the Cup. And that’s with top ten first rounders!

          • Rockmorton65

            I totally hear ya, Flint. I’d rather us keep the picks & use them at the draft than trade them away & pray we don’t regret it.

            Can you imagine if Columbus either misses the playoffs or lose in the first round? And Duchene walks? Disaster.

    • canadian1967

      If Panarin, and Bobrovsky, who have made it fairly clear that they want to sign somewhere else as UFA’s plus Duchene and Dzingel all move on, then what will Columbus do? If Free Agents won’t sign there, then they are absolutely Buggered.
      Better win now then. (hint: they won’t)

    • HOCKEY83

      It’s not just about keeping the future picks…It’s also about the organization believeing in the team that made them second place in the league. It’s been quite a while that this team has been in a posotion to sit back and watch all the other teams below them fighting over trading away their future for players just to try and beat the Calgary flames. It’s absolutely wonderful.

  • Cold Hard Truth

    “Of course, you hope they can keep ahold of that standing. But it’s not the goal for this year.”

    This is loser talk, Ari.

    It’s hard to win in this league and there’s no assurance the Flames will be in such a strong position next year. You need to strike while the iron’s hot.

    If the Flames get bounced in the playoffs, we may be left thinking ‘what could have been’ had Treliving added at the deadline.