Now it’s the off-season, and with that, the NHL calendar flips over and we can look to the future and all of the new things it holds.
What do you think about Jack Campbell from LA Kings as a 1b type goalie for the flames?
— Kel (@KelCaplette) June 16, 2019
I don’t think that’s happening.
If the Kings are going to move a goalie, it’s going to be Jonathan Quick. He’s seen better days, and the Kings aren’t going to be successful at any point during the remainder of his contract. The Kings might as well try to get something for him now before he decays any further and is less deserving of his contract.
Jack Campbell is the opposite of Quick: young, cheap, and currently good. If the Kings plan on being competitive in the next few years, it’s likely Campbell is the one between the pipes. They’ll hold onto him, mostly because he’s all they have. Maybe things go awry and then he becomes available (he is a 2020 UFA, so next trade deadline is a possibility), but for now, he’s off limits.
Is James Neal still a Calgary Flame after the draft?
— Tyler Ferguson (@tylerferguson17) June 15, 2019
Despite the rumours, I can’t see a trade or a buyout materializing. I think the Flames are exploring the possibility, but are still certainly content to let James Neal get another kick at the can. I feel they don’t want to take on someone else’s problem just to get rid of the whipping boy, which is a fair thing to do.
And with the rumoured return being Milan Lucic or Loui Eriksson, maybe be careful what you wish for.
Does the ollie maata trade set the floor for a brodie trade?
— z-Jordan Anderson (@jordandrson) June 16, 2019
I don’t think they’re comparable trades.
If you missed it, the Penguins traded Olli Maatta to the Chicago Blackhawks for a fifth round pick and Dominik Kahun, a young productive NHLer. That’s a pretty good haul for a cap dump trade, especially for one that involves an oft-injured defenceman who struggled on a pretty bare bones defensive unit.
But Maatta has his advantages over TJ Brodie. He’s younger by five years and has a contract that lasts until 2022. The Blackhawks are betting that he can return to form and become the top pairing defenceman many projected him to be, doing so at a pretty favourable cap hit for a first pairing guy. Maybe that’s optimistic on their part, but that’s their thinking.
Brad Treliving is going to have a hard time selling that vision to an opposing GM. Brodie is currently a first pairing defenceman, but he’s 29 and an expiring UFA. The risk with Brodie is that he’s not a first pairing defenceman away from Mark Giordano, or that age is finally catching up to him and further impacts his already shaky play. Even if he is still a top pairing guy, there’s also the risk that he leaves at the end of the season for one last big paycheck.
So they’re very different trades. One is for a struggling up-and-comer, one is for a waning established veteran. I think the Flames can finagle a few picks, but don’t expect something crazy because of what the Blackhawks gave up for Maatta.
Whats the goalie situation like? Is there an opportunity to draft a goalie? Or is there too many young ones in the system.
— jamc (@itsmejc2011) June 16, 2019
The goalie situation is many things, but let’s go with fragile.
Jon Gillies has always had potential, but his most recent season has created a lot of doubt that he’s ever going to reach it. Tyler Parsons also has potential and is still young, but his injury-ridden pro career also raises questions about his future. For ECHLers Nick Schneider and Mason McDonald (RFA, unlikely to be qualified, but still a member of the team right now), don’t expect much from them. Artyom Zagidulin looks promising, but without a North American season, we don’t really know what he is.
Maybe things go the right way. Perhaps Gillies does rebound and becomes the backup this upcoming season. Maybe Parsons gets the monkey off his back and develops into the future #1 the Flames hoped they were drafting in 2016. Why couldn’t Zagidulin be the next David Rittich? And hey, maybe McDonald and Schneider become capable depth.
All those are possible in the literal sense of the term, but they’re all long bets right now. As it stands right now, the only players I could see getting another contract after their current ones expire are Parsons and Zagidulin (and I’m iffy on Zagidulin). The team is aching for homegrown goalies, so yes, there is an opportunity to draft someone. I don’t know if the Flames swing big with Spencer Knight in the first round, but they’ll certainly draft a goalie somewhere.
Would the flames be crazy enough to try to bring dion back now that hes been bought out?
— Mauricio Cardoza (@Msea91) June 16, 2019
I hope they aren’t crazy enough to do that.
Should the Flames go the Raptors route and trade a beloved player (Monahan) in hopes of getting back someone who can help get them over the playoff hump?
— stan the man 🔥🇨🇦🔥 (@stan_mccutcheon) June 16, 2019
No, they should not do that. Partially, it’s because I can’t think of any disgruntled top five NHL players that are going to be traded this off-season, much less for Sean Monahan and whatever grab bag of prospects and picks the Flames throw that way (if they would even consider such a trade). The other side of it is that those moves are simply one in a million longshots, and that a lot of other things need to break right in order for them to work.
Cross-sport comparisons are clumsy at best, but if you like the Raptors comparison, you should click here and read about all the things that went absolutely right for the team to win the title, because it goes beyond far more than just the Kawhi Leonard trade. They were extremely lucky to have Leonard play for their team, given that he just sat out a whole season out of spite for his previous team, and reportedly didn’t have any interest in playing for Toronto when the trade happened. Even that wasn’t enough to guarantee a finals win from the preseason. They also benefited from their finals opponents losing two of their top three players, shutting down the NBA’s most effective killing machine. The Raptors may not even have been in the finals had their playoff kryptonite Lebron James not left the Eastern Conference in the off-season, or had they not received four of the most fortunate bounces in NBA history.
Although fans of champions don’t like admitting it, there’s a lot that a champion has no impact on that determines their champion status. If we go back to hockey and look at the St. Louis Blues, they were extremely fortunate that the favourites to win the Cup all fell in the first round. They also managed to run into a pretty banged up Boston team, whereas they managed to escape the regular season and playoffs almost scratch free. You can’t even begin to tell the story of the 2018-19 Blues without mentioning that their AHL goalie turned into a superstar just at the right time.
Those aren’t easy conditions to replicate, if they’re even possible to replicate. The moral of these stories is this: a lot of success is putting yourself in the right position to be successful repeatedly, but another part of it is just dumb luck. There is no one quick fix for success. If acquiring a top player was enough to guarantee a championship, the Oilers would have a few these past few years.
If the Flames had to sacrifice Monahan for a bonafide top three NHLer, go for it. It’s unlikely to happen, and the path to success is more than likely to come from sticking with what works rather than selling it.