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2023 Calgary Flames trade targets: depth defencemen

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Photo credit:© Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
20 days ago
On Tuesday, we examined some possible top nine winger trades. Now, we will look at some trade targets for a depth defenceman.
Heading into the 2022-23 season, the Flames defensive depth was thought to be one of their strengths with a group featuring Chris Tanev, MacKenzie Weegar, Rasmus Anderson, Noah Hanifin, Nikita Zadorov, Oliver Kylington, Juuso Valimaki, Connor Mackey and Michael Stone.
Boy, has that changed.
Kylington hasn’t been with the team all season for personal reasons. Valimaki was claimed by the Coyotes on waivers. Mackey has not been at the level the team expected. Michael Stone has been hit and miss. And none of Dennis Gilbert, Nick DeSimone, and Nicolas Meloche have stepped up and grabbed the sixth defenceman role.
All the sudden the Flames depth on defence is gone. They’ve only been playing two defensive pairings on a regular basis because Darryl Sutter hasn’t been able to find a third pairing he trusts. You can’t win multiple playoff rounds only relying on five defencemen.
Because of this, the Flames will have to acquire a veteran, inexpensive defenceman to fill out his third pairing.
Qualities the Flames would be looking for in a depth defenceman:
  • Expiring contract (UFA or RFA).
  • Low cap hit ($750,000-$2 million).
  • Preferably a right shot.
  • Veteran with playoff experience (or a Stanley Cup champion).
  • Defensive defenceman that Darryl Sutter can trust in big situations.

Luke Schenn – RD – Right Shot – 33 Years Old – 6’2″, 225 Pounds

Cap Hit: $850,000; Contract Expires in 2023 (UFA)
You can’t find a better fit on and off the ice when it comes to a defensive trade target for the Flames. Schenn ticks almost every box the organization is looking for. He is a right shot, bottom pairing defender who can play up in the lineup in a pinch. A Stanley Cup champion. Big. Physical. Great leader. And he comes in at the perfect price tag for a team who is up against the cap this and next season.
Sutter spoke very highly of Schenn earlier this season. “I like Luke Schenn a lot. I coached him in LA. He’s a top guy. He’d be a captain on most teams. I like that.” Pretty high praise from the Flames bench boss.
The only issue with Schenn is that he is going to cost a lot to acquire because there are going to be a lot of teams after him. My guess is that it will likely take at least a second-round pick to get that trade done.
Proposed Trade
To Calgary: Luke Schenn
To Vancouver: 2023 second-round pick

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Vladislav Gavrikov – LD – Left Shot – 27 Years Old – 6’3″, 221 Pounds

Cap Hit: $2.8 million; Contract Expires in 2023 (UFA)
Gavrikov might be the most coveted defenceman available at the trade deadline. NHL teams love defensive defencemen with size and length. You look at some of the most successful teams in the NHL, a lot of them have a defence core that is big and tall. Tough players to get around and make plays against in the offensive zone. Gavrikov fits that mould perfectly. He has turned into a top four defender in Columbus in the last couple of seasons. He has averaged over 22 minutes a game and is only a -2 on a horrific Columbus team.
It would be quite the splash if the Flames were to acquire a player of this magnitude. It would likely cost them at least two draft picks, one of them being a first rounder. That’s likely too much for the Flames. But you never know. If Treliving and Sutter think Gavrikov is the guy who can push them over the top, they might swing for the fences and try to acquire him or someone of his stature.
Proposed Trade
To Calgary: Vladislav Gavrikov
To Columbus: 2023 first-round pick (lottery protected), 2024 third-round pick

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Dmitry Kulikov – LD – Left Shot – 32 Years Old – 6’1, 201 Pounds

Cap Hit: $2.2 million; Contract Expires in 2023 (UFA)
Kulikov has been a rock solid NHL defenceman for a long time. He is playing in his 14th NHL season on his seventh team. He is someone who plays a defence first, checking style of play. He’s not the best skater or puck mover, but he is someone you can play in tough minutes and situations, and he’ll keep his head above water.
What makes this trade difficult is Kulikov’s cap hit of $2.25 million and the fact he has an 8 team no trade list. We don’t know if Calgary is on the list or not, but it might be a factor for the team. And acquiring a sixth/seventh defenceman for that cap hit might be a little rich for the Flames. However the price to acquire Kulikov wouldn’t be as high as a Luke Schenn or Vladislav Gavrikov.
Proposed Trade
To Calgary: Dmitry Kulikov
To Anaheim: 2023 fourth-round pick

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Justin Braun – RD – Right Shot – 35 Years Old – 6’2″, 205 Pounds

Cap Hit: $1 million; Contract Expires in 2023 (UFA)
Braun is certainly not the sexiest name available on the trade market this year. The 35 year old has no points in 32 games with the Flyers this season. But he would not be brought in to put up points in Calgary. He would be a depth defenceman to play on the third pair and penalty kill.
The thing that would be of most interest to the Flames would be his experience in the playoffs. Braun has played in 119 NHL playoff games including a trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2016 with the San Jose Sharks. He knows what it takes to get to the final. That is something you know Sutter would love.
Proposed Trade
To Calgary: Justin Braun
To Philadelphia: 2023 fourth-round pick

Honorable Mentions

Kyle Burroughs: The 27-year-old Vancouver Canucks defenceman has been one of the lone positive stories from a rather bleak year in Vancouver. Burroughs is a tough, hard to play against, bottom pair defender. He is a UFA at the end of the season making a league minimum $750,000. He would be a good target if the Flames wanted to go bargain hunting at the deadline for a defenceman.
Troy Stetcher: Stetcher is one of the hardest working players in the NHL. He is solid defensively and never cheats you on effort. He is right-handed, a UFA at the end of the season, and has affordable cap hit. The thing he has going against him is the fact that he is 5’10″, 184 pounds. I don’t think Sutter would be comfortable putting a player of that size on his third pair.
Who are some depth defencemen you want the Flames to target before or at the trade deadline? Let us know in the comments section! 

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