The Calgary Flames were going to make a big splash this off-season, as they do every off-season.
Last week, the Michael Frolik and Sam Bennett trade rumours were big. This week, it’s TJ Brodie and Travis Hamonic potentially packing their bags. These moves have been often speculated, but never confirmed, and it’s looking almost certain the Flames are going to lose a big name this off-season.
With the stockpile of young defensemen in the system ready play, is it time to trade Brodie/stone and or hamonic?
— Scott bancroft (@Cflames47) June 1, 2019
It is time to trade a defenceman, but youth is only part of the reason.
The Flames need cap space to extend Matthew Tkachuk, and they have two very attractive players in Hamonic and Brodie to sell off. That’s pretty much the entire reason for trading them. The Flames would probably prefer to keep them if they could, but they’re limited in what they can do. With two players who could feasibly leave them for free next season, and with much bigger things taking priority, they’re pretty much backed into this decision.
Young, great defenceman only help ease the transition, but moving out a veteran piece for cap reasons was inevitable.
Ok, for real. Brodie and Hamonic. Who stays and who goes?
— The Longshot (@TheLongshot) June 1, 2019
For my money, Brodie leaves and Hamonic stays.
Hamonic’s the better fit in Calgary, as he can theoretically play up and down the rotation, though it’s never really been tried for a long period of time. He’s also a classical, tough-as-nails, defensive defenceman who also gels well with the modern game. Aside from him, the Flames defencemen are mostly cut from the same cloth: smooth skating, puck moving defencemen. Not to say that one of those categories is good while the other is bad, but it’s nice to have some sort of diversity in playing styles on your team. The Flames certainly value that too, as that’s why they went and traded for him.
Brodie has his qualities, but he’s kind of a rigid piece on the roster. He seems to only work well with Mark Giordano, and struggled with other partners, as the Brodie-Hamonic pairing last season showed. With the emergence of Rasmus Andersson, and the inevitable day where he ascends to the first pairing (which could be as soon as next season), it leaves Brodie mismatched with the rest of the roster. The coaching staff seeming to trust Andersson more than Brodie later in the season is probably pretty indicative of the future.
What kind of return do you think we can get for Brodie, Hamonic and Frolik?
— Jesse Huberty (@JHub003) June 1, 2019
Not as much as many would hope.
All three players are heading into their 30s and see their contracts expire next season, which are all things teams don’t pony up for. With the risk of these players finally coming over the hill and/or bolting after a year, other NHL teams are going to be wary about paying high prices. The Flames would still be able to get decent assets in return for those players, but you should immediately count out first round picks and A-level prospects.
And I don’t think the Flames are going to ask for much more. Cap space right now is more important right now, as it allows them to get everyone important under contract and then figure out what they can do for the rest of the off-season. They can scoop up a few picks, maybe a prospect or two
To put an actual value on the players, I think the maximum that could be returned for Hamonic and Brodie is a Jake Muzzin-esque package: a first and two B prospects, but toned down a bit as it’s not trade deadline. Anything less than a second and another asset is a disappointment. Frolik is likely packaged with either the first round pick or Sam Bennett for Jason Zucker. If not that specific trade, for a similarly priced player.
— Louis (@louisv981) June 2, 2019
I don’t think you can trade Michael Stone. He’s barely played in the past year, and wasn’t very good when he was playing. Even at half retained ($1.75M), why would any team want him? The Flames demonstrated this year that a rookie plucked out of the AHL can do no worse than Stone. With a cap-conscious NHL that favours younger player on cheaper contracts, what’s to stop any other team from trying the same thing?
The Flames would save more money this season by buying him out ($1.167M cap hit for the next two seasons). It’s a better option to open up the cap space than to wait for a trade that’s never going to come.
If Mark Jankowski was a stock would Flames be a Buy, Hold or Sell? Can't tell if he's good depth or plugging up a roster spot.
— kingcambie (@kingcambie) June 1, 2019
The Flames hold on Mark Jankowski. He’s making $1.675M and has picked up 30 points in the bottom six. There are plenty of 30 point scorers out there making much more than he does, so they probably feel comfortable with the flaws in his game given how much of the cap he actually takes up.
Jankowski is going to be a case of “it works until it doesn’t.” If he takes a step backwards next season or is made redundant by a promising AHL player, they can bury him and/or release him in the offseason. He occupies the middle ground of being good enough to stick around, but not being good enough to be considered untouchable.
I don’t think they sell on him this off-season, unless the right deal comes along, and he absolutely has to be included. I also don’t think they buy on him and extend his contract considering his so-so body of work thus far.
Assuming Dube and Valimaki play for the Flames next year is there a concern we're in for a prospect drought after those 2? Expect Flames to contend nxt few years so probably drafting in the 20s every year. Where will new talent come from? (please PLEASE don't say UFA signings)
— kingcambie (@kingcambie) June 1, 2019
A prospect drought was also inevitable. Contending teams will have to sell away their future in order to get better in the now. The Flames already began sending off futures in 2015, and they’re likely to sacrifice a few more in the near future.
I think what helps offsets the concerns is that they’ve started to show some aptitude drafting in the later rounds, especially under Brad Treliving. Depending on how the roster breaks down next season, Treliving could see more players he drafted outside of the first round (Rasmus Anderson, Oliver Kylington, Dillon Dube, and Andrew Mangiapane) play for his team than first round players he drafted (Juuso Valimaki, Sam Bennett, and Matthew Tkachuk). They’ve spent the last few drafts looking for hidden gems and players with cosmetic flaws to draft late, and it’s a strategy that’s been working for them, if the early 2018 draft returns are any indication.
I’ll break your heart and say that, yes, UFA signings are probably going to be a method of finding new talent, but not the July 1 kind that (I think) you’re thinking of. In the next few years, we’ll see Treliving go after European players more and more often. He’s already penned three this off-season (Carl-Johan Lerby, Artyom Zagidulin, Alexander Yelesin), was interested in three more (Joakim Nygard, Lean Bergmann, Sergei Andronov), and those are just the ones we’ve heard about so far. He’s going to look under every rock he can.
Treliving will probably target Europe, and undrafted NCAA and CHL players, to help fill gaps from picks traded away. Obviously, they’re never going to find the same talents they would in the draft, and they’re likely to go back to the NHL UFA market at times, but due to the cap crunch, they’re kind of hamstrung. They’re probably betting at least one of them will have a David Rittich-type impact.