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Five potential trade deadline moves for the Calgary Flames

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Photo credit:© Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
27 days ago
The lead up to the 2023 NHL trade deadline has been bonkers to say the least. Particularly for the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Toronto, Boston, Tampa Bay, New York and New Jersey have all made major splashes. But we have yet to see many Western Conference teams make deals, which includes the Calgary Flames.
You’d think that is bound to change over the next 48 hours. Because of that, I thought it would be fun to propose some potential trades that the Flames could make over the next couple days.
I’ll break it down in two categories. Buying and selling. The Flames will likely go bargain bin shopping for a depth forward or defenceman if they were to buy. It would be shocking if they were to trade high quality prospects and draft picks in a major trade. As for selling, it would likely be either one of their pending UFAs, or one of their many pending 2024 UFAs.

Selling trades

To Carolina: Tyler Toffoli
To Calgary: Carolina’s 2023 First Round Pick and their 2023 Fourth Round Pick

Rationale: Toffoli is a prime candidate to trade if Brad Treliving decides to sell at the deadline. He is going to be 31-years-old in April. He is set to be a UFA in 2024. And he is on pace to have the best statistical season of his career. If those aren’t great reasons to move on from him, I don’t know what are. From an asset management stand point, it makes nothing but sense to move on from him if you can get something along the lines of a first round pick.
Carolina recently lost Max Pacioretty for the season with an Achilles injury. He was brought in to be an important goal scorer on the wing and power play. Toffoli is almost a perfect replacement for what Pacioretty was supposed to bring to Carolina.

To Colorado: Mikael Backlund (Flames retain $850,000)
To Calgary: Colorado’s 2024 First Round Pick, 2023 Fifth Round Pick and Ben Meyers

Rational: Backlund would be a perfect fit as a second/third line center with the Colorado Avalanche. They have been trying to fill the hole left behind by Nazem Kadri. As currently constructed, the Avalanche’s four centers are Nathan MacKinnon, JT Compher, Alex Newhook, and Ben Meyers. That group is one the Avalanche would likely want to upgrade on as they are looking to make another run at the Stanley Cup.
Backlund could take on some heavy defensive matchups like we’ve seen him do in Calgary for years, which would lighten that load for MacKinnon and Compher. Those two skilled players could focus more on the offensive side of the game. Backlund would also help in the faceoff circle and on the penalty kill. It’s a no brainer for Colorado if they could swing it.

To Minnesota: Nikita Zadorov
To Calgary: Minnesota’s 2023 Second Round Pick

Rational: Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin likes his teams to be big and physical. Just look at his current roster. Joel Eriksson Ek, Marcus Folingo, Jordan Greenway, Ryan Reeves, Ryan Hartman, Jacob Middleton. There are a lot of guys on that team that can throw their weight around. That is why I think the Wild would have considerable interest in the Flames 6’6″ defenceman. He would add an intimidating presence to the Wild blue line down the stretch drive and into the playoffs.
Zadorov’s value is at it’s peak right now. He is playing some solid hockey under Darryl Sutter this season. And let’s be honest, he is a third pairing defenceman. If a team comes to the Flames and offers a first or second round pick for a third pairing defenceman, they’d have to take it. They have Noah Hanifin and Oliver Kylington on the left side for next season, and also have MacKenzie Weegar who can play the left side.

Buying trades

To Montreal: Calgary’s 2023 Fourth Round Pick
To Calgary: Jonathan Drouin (Montreal retains $2,500,000)

Rational: I have been talking about the idea of bringing in Drouin for a couple weeks now. One of the major issues with this Flames team has been the power play and lack of play making at 5-on-5. Drouin can help in both of those categories and not cost much in assets going out the door.
Drouin is an incredibly talent winger who has not been able to find consistency in his career. But why not take a chance on a guy like Drouin for 20 games? He has recorded 12 assists in his last 15 outings with the Canadiens. He is showing signs of being the player he was on his first few years in the NHL.

To Detroit: Calgary’s 2024 Fourth Round Pick & Josh Beck
To Calgary: Jakub Vrána (Detroit retains $2,250,000)

Rational: Vrána is one of the more interesting players on the trade market. He is an immensely talented player who has had one of the elite goal scoring rates over the last four seasons. From 2018-19 to the 2020-21 season, among players who played at least 1,000 minutes at 5-on-5, Vrána is third in the NHL in goals/60 only behind Auston Matthews and Brendan Gallagher, and is 13th in the NHL in points/60. He did that while being ranked 403rd in the NHL in average time on ice.
Vrána’s trade value is at an all time low. He has worn out his welcome in Hockey Town. He has battled multiple injuries and off ice issues since joining the Red Wings in 2021. The talented winger has only played in 41 games since joining the Red Wings. General manager Steve Yzerman placed Vrána on waivers on Jan. 4 and went unclaimed. Because of that I think you could get Vrána at a significant discount.
What are some trades you would like to see the Flames make before the trade deadline? Let us know in the comments section!

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