We’re just one week away from the 2021 NHL trade deadline! The Calgary Flames’ playoff hopes seem dimmer by the day!
With that, onto what’s sure to be a cheerful and upbeat mailbag!
Flames fans were excited to welcome back Sutter hockey when they thought it meant winning (or more winning than Ward) But now it looks like an endless series of 1-2 and 2-3 losses stretching to the horizon…when do fans get sick of Sutter er…again?
— kingcambie (@kingcambie) April 5, 2021
Under Darryl Sutter, the Flames have a 5-8-0 record. At five-on-five, their expected goals for percentage is 50.39 (via Natural Stat Trick), but their actual goals for percentage is 42.31 – which says they’re playing OK but not getting rewarded for it. Their PDO backs this up; under Sutter the Flames are 18th in shooting percentage and 30th in save percentage, for a 28th rank overall in PDO.
In other words: fans could get sick of him quickly, but be patient. The team is horribly unlucky right now and playing decently. It might take an off-season for Sutter’s systems to get fully implemented.
After Monday the Flames could have 7 days off. Would it not be the perfect time to make a trade or 2 so any new player doesn’t really miss any games? Timing couldn’t be more perfect this week.
— Brett 🐻 (@flamesfan419gm) April 5, 2021
If the Flames are making trades, it’ll be to send some roster players out of town. They probably aren’t in the market to add any bodies right now.
But Stockton plays tomorrow and then is home through the trade deadline, so selling some pieces and making some NHL, AHL and taxi squad roster shuffles would be nicely timed for the next week or so. Expect some changes, however minor they may be.
Can the Flyers please gift us Sean Couturier??? 😃👍 pic.twitter.com/wZx5DfMDiR
— Graham_CGY (@Graham_CGY) April 5, 2021
And that’s not to say that Sean Couturier isn’t great or wouldn’t be a fit in Calgary. He’s awesome! He won the Selke Trophy last season! But the Flames would need to offer up something great for the Flames to land him, and aside from maybe Matthew Tkachuk, I’m not sure what pieces would make the Flyers really consider it strongly.
How many years since 1989 (last time the team was elite) have the flames finished in the middle of the conference? Let’s say Between 6th and 12th. Seems like they can’t get consistently stay out of that range in multiple versions of the team.
— Nathan (@nsmigel) April 5, 2021
Another reader on Twitter was kind enough to tackle this for us!
I just looked it up. Since the 95-96 season they’ve been middle or worse 18 out of the 25 seasons. Since 09/10 including this year they’ve been middle or worse 11 out of the 12 years (including this year)
— Ryan Cluff (@RyanCluff) April 5, 2021
The challenge for the Flames is they’ve never really done a full tear-down. Like, ever. The 1990s teams lost players to American markets for pennies on the dollar and didn’t get a chance to build up the prospect base. When the team finally got into the playoff mix in the mid-2000s, they kept selling off picks to stay in the mix (and mortgaged the future). When they finally rebuilt in the 2010s, the arrival of pretty good prospects in Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau kept them out of the lottery mix for the most part.
To become an elite team, you need elite talent. You get elite talent almost exclusively through the draft. The Flames have never been bad enough for long enough to accumulate elite talent through the draft.
Would this not be the perfect time to call up some AHL guys to see what they can do?
— Sam Hudson (@SHudson92) April 5, 2021
Yes! We’ll probably see some after the trade deadline, I’d imagine.
When will Johnny tap Tre on the shoulder and let him know he can trade him anytime?
— jake (@jakethesnail) April 5, 2021
I discussed this a bit on Twitter a little while back. Gaudreau’s no-trade clause – which allows him to name five teams that he’d accept a trade too – kicks in on July 28, when the hockey calendar flips over to 2021-22.
If you’re serious about moving Gaudreau, you do it before that clause kicks in. Either he moves by July 28, or he’s probably a Flame until his current contract ends.
We're never getting rid of Michael Stone, are we? Why don't we just bite the bullet, rip off the bandage and hold the press conference announcing his new 3 year contract?
— kingcambie (@kingcambie) April 5, 2021
Michael Stone is a veteran right shot defenseman. He’s a replacement level NHLer, but he’s consistent and that’s what coaches tend to like about him. He’s the hockey equivalent of Kraft Dinner: he’s never mind-blowing, but he’s reliable and gives you what you expect from him.
But it’d be weird if he was brought back next season with the likes of Connor Mackey knocking on the door for a full-time NHL gig.
— Scott McArthur (@ScottyMcArthur) April 5, 2021
The final game of the 2020-21 Flames regular season is set for May 8 in Vancouver. That may be adjusted, though, given the ongoing outbreak the Canucks are dealing with. We should get an idea of how the Flames’ schedule will be adjusted in the next few days.