FlamesNation mailbag: Trade hypotheticals

Local team improves overnight with one weird trick: a big huge trade. We look at different ways that could unfold in the latest mailbag.

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If he still counts as a prospect, Dillon Dube is probably the easiest pick. Otherwise, I would go with Matthew Phillips. He picked up only 38 points in 65 games as a rookie, but he has some great underlying numbers. He had 31 primary points, 27 5v5 points, and 24 5v5 primary points, all of which lead the Flames’ prospects on the Stockton Heat. His success this year was very low-key and, if he has a good offseason, could win a job on the struggling right wing.

If you want a super fun, pie-in-the-sky pick, I would go with Martin Pospisil just because he’s fun in his own unique way.

I’d probably say the first rounder is gone. The Flames were expecting to trade it away at the deadline, and given the way the season ended, they’re definitely looking to improve. Drafting 26th instead of 30th isn’t enough incentive to keep the pick. I don’t know if the Jason Zucker deal is still on the table or if they’re looking for bigger fish, but you can safely skip the first day of the draft.

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If they move the first rounder, I don’t think it will be for the purpose of moving salary. Sure, there’s the rumour of Michael Frolik being moved at the draft with the first, but it’s for Zucker, who is more expensive than Frolik. They’re going to move it if they can make an upgrade, not just so they can dump someone.

Frolik on his own could probably fetch a decent return, as would trading TJ Brodie, so I can’t see why they would need to send the pick with those players. I think the team wouldn’t say no to a James Neal trade, but I don’t think they’re actively shopping him. Moving him with the pick would be an extremely expensive way to get rid of a mistake that it’s really just not worth it.

Well, yes. He’s Evgeni Malkin, one of the best power forwards in the game who had a down year by his standards and still scored 20 goals and 50 assists.

I don’t believe he’s actually available. Malkin trade rumours pop up every summer the Penguins don’t win the cup and then nothing happens, presumably because the Penguins know better than to trade one of the best players in the NHL. It’s one of those rumours that pops up every summer with little foundation to it, much like any other rumour about a team wanting to move on from a superstar.

But this is called “trade hypotheticals” so let’s explore. What would a hypothetical move for Malkin look like?

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The first issue is that the Flames can’t bring on Malkin’s contract – $9.5M over the next three years – even if they move some money out. They would still have to sign Matthew Tkachuk, David Rittich, another goalie, and a few other bodies, so adding to the cap is not workable in this situation. The Flames would have to subtract multiple big money pieces to get this to work. It’s certainly not impossible, but definitely extremely implausible.

The problem is that the big cap hit players that should be moved out first (as named above) are probably not going to be the ones that get the deal done: teams don’t trade their good players for your garbage. If Pittsburgh is interested, they would probably ask for Sean Monahan in return, as he could fill the Malkin-sized hole in their lineup. From a production standpoint, Monahan is on par with Malkin, and he’s much younger and much cheaper. If they want to move their superstar, they’re going to want one back in return.

And that’s where it stops making sense. If Monahan has the same production as Malkin, but younger and cheaper, why not stay with Monahan? I don’t think Monahan is going to be as good as Malkin is, but he’s one of the centres in this league that is pretty darn close. They’d be essentially swapping point per game centres, but one is entering his prime and the other is about to exit it.

If Malkin is available, the trade doesn’t require moving a piece of the core, and the salary cap magically disappears, I say they should go for it.

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If there’s a more realistic centre upgrade, Nazem Kadri is probably the target. He’s on a friendly contract ($4.5M with three seasons remaining) and was extremely effective despite a reduced 3C role with the Maple Leafs.

Like Malkin, I don’t know if the rumours being thrown out about him are legitimate, but given the Leafs’ cap crunch, their need to sign Mitch Marner, and his playoff suspension, it’s believable that the Leafs might want to move on from him. Let’s run through this one.

As it is with anything relating to this offseason, the issue is cap space. The Flames still need to move money out if they want to take on Kadri, but the Leafs aren’t in the position to accept anymore money. Mark Jankowski’s reasonable cap hit is probably enough for Toronto to bring him onboard, although the Flames would need to make another move to dump money somewhere else.

From Toronto’s side, I think they might want a bit more from a Kadri trade other than someone else’s 3C. Kadri has demonstrated that he can be a fully functional 1C or 2C, and the only reason he’s a 3C right now is because they have Auston Matthews and John Tavares on their team. Jankowski hasn’t really made any strides towards being anything other than a 3C and his minors history doesn’t suggest that he’ll become much more than that. Other teams are definitely going to pay premium prices for a 2C on a very friendly contract.

And those are prices the Flames aren’t going to pay. They are rightfully comfortable with Monahan and Mikael Backlund as their 1-2 punch down the middle, and Derek Ryan also emerged as a solid if unspectacular depth option. Jankowski has also been fine in his role, so the Flames really don’t have the burning need to make an upgrade. Kadri does offer some very high quality depth, but how much are they willing to pay for a guy who just might end up being the third option? How good do you need your 3C to be?

I’d like to see Kadri as a Flame (it would be funny to see him on the same team as Mark Giordano), but I’m betting that it doesn’t happen.

Joonas Donskoi is a really good option for the bottom six. He’s a RW who has been a strong possession player in San Jose, with a very solid defensive game (50.73 CA/60. For comparsion, Ryan is the Flames’ best shot suppression forward at 48.51 CA/60). If there is someone riding under the radar this upcoming free agency, it is Donskoi.

The good news is that the Flames likely won’t have to pay much to get him. Evolving-Wild’s contract projector has him at $2.8M over three years as a UFA, which is what you want from a bottom sixer: a guy who can produce on a pretty cheap contract. That cap hit is low enough that it won’t cause any headaches and can probably be buried if the worst case happens.

Sorry for repeating this ad nauseum, but the issue is that the Flames have their backs up against the wall for cap space. Tkachuk, Rittich, new goalie, etc. If they want Donskoi, they have to resolve their other cap issues before the calendar flips over to July, as I don’t think Donskoi will remain a free agent for very long.


  • The GREAT WW

    I’m surprised there haven’t been any Neal for Loui Erickson trade suggestions.
    With all the love for soft lazy Swedish forwards who don’t score much and all…..


  • Al Rain

    I don’t see Kadri becoming a Flame, thankfully.

    But if it happened I’d personally be more than prepared to sit out some seasons – or watch Jets – rather than cheer for a team with a scumbag.

    • buts

      So Christian says he would like to see Kadri. Are you going to call him a troll? Your a piece of work. Kadri is a player this team needs IF he stays disciplined which under the right coach and management can happen. MT plays on the edge and you win with guys like him not with softies like Monamuffin.

        • Kevin R

          Sorry Al, Im in the Walter camp. Even Friedman referred to a regular season team & a playoff team. We all love our team when the games are played where you get punished for every inch of ice. Playoffs are when you need a few pricks out there & the salt in the wound is when those players are skilled enough to score on you. Why do you think Tkachuk is so hated by fan bases around the league. To have Kadri & Tkachuk in our top 9 would be amazing.

          • HOCKEY83

            These were uneeded unless you were just trying to make the list look longer

            February 11, 2016; Fined for Throat Slash Gestures (to Mark Giordano)
            March 12, 2016; Fined for Diving/Embellishment
            March 21, 2016; Fined for Diving/Embellishment

          • Willi P

            Except Kadri wouldn’t be in the top 9 during the playoffs just like the last two years. All other teams have to do is pick on him a little bit and he will lose his mind and get suspended. Based on the history, he is not going to change.

          • Willi P

            November 15, 2013; 3 Games Hit to the Head of Niklas Backstrom
            March 18, 2015; 4 Games Hit to the Head of Matt Fraser
            March 2015; 3 Games Team Imposed Suspension, Disciplinary
            February 11, 2016; Fined for Throat Slash Gestures (to Mark Giordano)
            March 12, 2016; Fined for Diving/Embellishment
            March 21, 2016; Fined for Diving/Embellishment
            April 4, 2016; 4 Games Cross-checking to the Face of Luke Glendening
            April 13, 2018; 3 Playoff Games Boarding (to the head) of Tommy Wingels
            April 13, 2019; 5 Playoff Games Cross-checking to the head of Jake DeBrusk

          • Al Rain

            I’m not against that assessment, I’m against that player.

            If you’re suggesting that a team can’t win without that player, I’d point you to that player’s team’s lack of playoff success and his ratio of hurting/helping his team. The Bruins series was only the most recent example.

            Basically, he’s all the scumbag you don’t want, packaged together with none of the success you’re looking for.

            But hey, dream away.

      • deantheraven

        I agree with you there, Walter, but I’d like to see Grit without the Sh!t. I like your Getzlaf idea. Guys who compete hard and lead by example are what Tre’s looking for.
        And some size.

    • HOCKEY83

      You do realize most of the league thinks tkachuk is a scumbag. It’s no different than you thinking kadri is a scumbag or marchand or perry. They are only scum bags if they are not on your team.

  • Skylardog

    I am starting to lean towards finding a way to bring in Nylander from Toronto. We have the defense they need and we need a couple of top 6 forwards. Both teams could benefit.

    Nylander had an off year, but after suggesting it with some hesitation a few days ago, I have looked at his underlying numbers. The are some of the best if not the best on the Toronto roster, except for actually putting points on the board. He will rebound and have a great season next year. His defensive numbers also indicate he is playing well in his own end.

    My question, and still biggest concern, is how he performs in the playoffs. Something tells me he has it in him to be a playoff guy.

    Hanifin straight up for Nylander. We must hold onto Fantenberg, and the only way is if he is a part of the starting 6 DMen next year.

    • HOCKEY83

      Hanifan by all accounts will be very good and to have that calibre of a D man until he’s 28 years old for just less than 5 mil would be a really bad move on the flames part to get rid of him no matter who they got for him. I’d say he’ll be a flame until his contract runs out at least. Fantanberg I doubt will see another game in a flames uniform and if he does it will be on a very limited basis.

    • Puck Head

      The best teams to target are likely those which will be up against the cap: TO, Winnipeg, San Jose, Vegas and maybe Tampa. These teams all have big ticket players to sign and should be more amenable to trades.

      And please no Zucker, a smaller LW with about 0.5 ppg, especially if it means giving up a first rounder.

      • HOCKEY83

        Yes i agree with this Supra steve. Before vancouver picked Juolevi I was certain the flames were picking Alex. what a bust that would have been. Thanks you Canuckleheads.

    • Kzak

      I agree 100% and I said the exact same thing when we traded for Lindholm. I think we some move Lindy to centre, bring Phillips up, trade Janko and Gillies to LA for Clifford and Quick, trade Frolik and our first for Zucker, trade Brodie and Neal for a 5th rounder, try to unload Stone:
      Vali-The Phantom/The Kyller

      Call me crazy
      Big Save Dave

  • deantheraven

    Now that Artemi Panerin (top 6 RHS) is done for the season…Maybe ONE more Free Agent signing this season?
    Could Tre get him to sign to play with Johnny Hockey for under $7 mil?

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Clean out the smallish ineffective guys like Ryan, Czanik and softie Brodie and Janko. They’re okay during the season but come playoffs, they just can’t do the job, I’m sorry to say.
    And Tkachuk, I don’t think he’s in the 8 to 9 million range, he really didn’t stand out in the playoffs, he’s awfully slowwwww. The speed of the game is incredible, the hitting bone jarring. Andersson and Bennett were the 2 best players against Colorado.

  • Vinnsanity0412

    Sign Duchene:
    A 1C allows everyone to slot so much better. Backs is a superb 3C, and underwhelming 2C, fill in the wingers as you see fit. Trade Brodie, Frolik and Stone to make cap room. Do it BT!!!

  • Herringchoker1971

    Hey Fella’s and Ladies,

    I’m going out on a limb because I would be ok if the flames came back with a similar lineup to last season with some minor adjustments. I’m going to be ultra realistic because we can’t get everybody we want. Plus were not doing a full scale turnover.

    I really want the Flames to add some toughness to its defense. I don’t know who that is but, we need one guy who can play in our 5/6 who’s big, can skate well and is a bit scary. He doesn’t need to be big offensively. He just needs to be able to distribute the puck and keep up with the skilled players and slap them around a little. I would also like to see a trade with Toronto that brings back Kadri or Kapenan. To do these trades I see some form of Brodie, Frolik, Stone, our first pick, Czarnek and maybe Dube (if thats what it takes) on their way out. I left Killington off because I am hesitant to trade that asset yet. All this is assuming Neal is still here……which I have to be realistic about.

    I moved Janko to LW. To be honest……what I see is a guy who is big, plays with skill and has had upward momentum every single season of his career. This will only be season 3 for him and he’ll be on a good contract. I can’t give up on that player. I only trade Dube if absolutely necessary to get a trade done.

    Then you give the rest of the core another shot.

    My Forward Lineup options:
    Johnny Monny Bing
    Bennett Lindholm Kapenan
    Janko Backlund Neal
    mangiapane Ryan Hathaway
    Johnny Monny Bing
    Bennett Kadri Lindholm
    Janko Backlund Neal
    mangiapane Ryan Hathaway

    • everton fc

      Where does Dube slot in, I don’t see him in either of your lineups, and I see him in the NHL, along w/Mangiapane, all season.

      Kapanen and Nylander are very close friends. I can’t see the Leafs breaking them up. Johnsson might be easier to pry away. Or Bracco.

      • HOCKEY83

        Well that’s the thing isn’t it. where does Dube slot in? Everyone wants certain prospects to play next season but they also wanto trade for better forward players…but they also want to keep all the players in the line up that are in now…all of this by getting rid of Neal ( which won’t happen ) and possibly brodie ( i believe they won’t trade because he’s one of the most versatile D men on the team who can play up and down the pairs) or kyllington who seems most likely gone before next season starts.

          • HOCKEY83

            I’m not on the kadri bandwagon. I’d be more into someone like getzlaf who can take a series over all by himself. He may not be as skilled as Monny but he’s create the space for Johnny and lindy. Kinda like what mangi was doing for the 4th line this year…love that kid. 5’10” plays like he’s 6’4″ and 240 pounds. Very Fleuryesque

  • Skylardog

    Any thoughts on how we could get the rights to Anders Nilsson out of Ottawa?

    Frolik is a consummate professional, comes into camp in great shape, and understands the defensive side of the game. All things a team that is swimming in young players would love to have to help mentor their young talent.

    And my personal favourite thought on this one.

    Nilsson and a third in exchange for our first and James Neal. Ottawa won’t need salary room for 4 years anyways…

    • HOCKEY83

      No to Malkin is like saying no to crosby or ovechkin. Top 3 points per game players over the last 15. I’d take Malkin if not for anything else but to train all of our young forward talent to be better. Show them some stuff they don’t ever see on a regular basis. There’s no one on the team for our forwards like that. The D have Gio the forwards have no one. I guess they tried when adding grizzled 46 year old jagr but that just turned out to be the biggest embarrassing joke in flames history.

      • fretsey

        No to Malkin because of the 9.5 Million AAV and the cost to aquire him. I totally agree about needing a leader for the forward group. I don’t think Malkin checks that box

        • Kevin R

          Malkin has played his best when Sid is injured & he is the top line centre. Malkin would be the perfect window dressing we figure we have for the next 3 years. How amazing would a Gaudreau/Malkin/Lindholm line look. We could call it the International line.

          • HOCKEY83

            It would be amazing and Malkin has always been one of my favorite players. He gets no respect at all in this league. Left off of the top 100 list when in fact is talent level is just a skate blade behind crosby since both entered the league. The Flames would have to get rid of some salary though. Monny 6mil and whoever else.

  • MDG1600

    BT has gone full whack-a-doodle if he trades the 1st round pick. We have slim pickings in the prospects pool with Dube and Vali pretty much ready for the big club. Not sure why so many on this site think you can trade your way to a Stanley Cup.

      • MDG1600

        Not sure what your point is – all the best players on those teams were homegrown draft picks and they weren’t all taken as top 3 overall picks either. Kuznetsov was drafted 26th overall by Washington and had 32 pts in last years playoffs. Duncan Keith was a 2nd round pick by Chicago. Dustsin Bufylgien was an 8th round pick by Chicago when they won their first cup. Kris Letang and Matt Murray were 3rd round picks for Pittsburgh.

          • MDG1600

            Filling out the bottom 1/2 of the roster with trades and ufas is common. If you want to win the cup the only way you get studs on the top 1/2 of roster is through the draft. The Caps 2 best defencemen are John Carlson who they drafted 27th overall and Orlov who was their 2nd round pick.

  • Speed Kills

    Reading lots of hockey rumors it seems WPG might just be a perfect trade partner for the Flames. Sounds like Trouba wants to go south and Myers fancies himself pretty high as in $$$. As well as rumblings about ” Being some issues and divisions within the Jets’ dressing room. Those could provide additional incentive for Cheveldayoff to ship out a salaried player or two”. So…. Lets Make A Deal (Hockey Deal) WPG gets Hamonic & Monahan, Flames receive Scheifele (#1 C), Sami, Niku(RD) and WPG’s 2nd round pick in 2020.
    Then Trade Brodie and Czarnik to LGK in exchange for Tuch(RW) and Miller(RD).
    That would be a Great Start to Re-Tool for the Playoffs Next Year…

    • Speed Kills

      I’d also Really like to see the Flames make a serious move to bring in Zibanejad.
      Yeah, I’d even go as far as Hanifin, Bennett, Neal and Our 2020 2nd for Zibanejad, Brett Howden and NYR 2020 4TH(or Brendan Lemieux)?

    • HOCKEY83

      Wouldn’t it be great to have Scheifele but I doubt Winnipeg would get rid of one of the best Value contracts in the league. Scheifele and wheeler for less money than Mcdavid alone seems like a couple of keepers to me.