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FlamesNation Mailbag: Answering readers’ trade and big picture questions!

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
10 days ago
Folks, I have a confession to make: I really enjoy doing the mailbag column every week. I honestly cannot remember when it came part of my duties, but it’s a really fun way to find out what’s on the mind of many Calgary Flames fans.
And, as it turns out, this week there’s a ton of things on your minds. So much so, that we made the executive decision to do two mailbags this week. This one will focus on your questions related to trades (that don’t necessarily impact draft picks) and bigger-picture existential questions. (We’ll also have a draft-related questions mailbag!)
Let’s dive in!
There are two questions that need to be answered for each player, and they’re inter-related:
  1. Do you think this player will form part of a core group that will lead the team to contention?
  2. Are you willing to pay the amount this player would cost in order to have them around to lead the team to contention?
Of the three, the most interesting in terms of being a core piece is Yegor Sharangovich. He’s the the youngest of the trio and is coming off a tremendous year; the Flames’ scouting staff bet that he could produce offensively if put with talented players, and the bet paid off. For Sharangovich, my question is basically “Can he do it again?” The Flames are arguably overpaying Andrew Mangiapane – relative to his career average production – because of a season where he scored 35 goals and everything went well. Ideally, they’d like to prevent themselves from getting caught in that trap again, even if they think Sharangovich can be a core piece.
I’m less enthusiastic on Mangiapane and Kuzmenko’s placement in a future core because of their ages, but both of them have value. I’d be doing what Craig Conroy did a year ago: figure out what you hope to get back for each of them in a trade, and then just go about your business until somebody meets your price (or close to it).
Sean Monahan was a gigantic reason why the 2013 era rebuild went as well as it did, as he was precisely the centre the Flames needed him to be. But I’d be wary about adding a player with his injury history, age and likely price tag. The Flames already have a couple veteran centres in Nazem Kadri and Mikael Backlund that can mentor young players. If I’m Monahan, I would prefer to be chasing a championship rather than playing mentor right now.
Martin Necas is just 25 years old and is a talented offensive winger (that can also take face-offs). He’s put up really solid offensive numbers, especially over the past two seasons, and while he’s a pending restricted free agent with arbitration rights, the acquiring team would still have two seasons of team control before they start eating into UFA years with a long-term deal. That is to say: if you acquire him and then just hammer out a one-year deal to figure out precisely what he can be within your system, you can do that.
Given all that, I would imagine Carolina asks for a first-round pick in a trade.
Three Wranglers to watch in September’s training camp: Adam Klapka, Ilya Solovyov and Matt Coronato. They’ve all had looks at the NHL, but none of them really had a clear path to a full-time gig last year – aside from perhaps Coronato early on. That said, I think all three players learned a lot and added to their game over the course of last season.
And a bonus dark horse pick: William Strömgren.
(I have some plans for additional videos in the near future.)
The short answer to this is probably “that depends.” It’s a new management group and the green flag being waved on the retooling process – or whatever you prefer to call it – means that they’re probably examining who’s in their core group, and why, as they move forward. If the idea is the Flames are hoping to be a team to reckon with by the time their new barn opens in 2027, that sort of frames who could even be part of the core group.
In other words: I have no inside information, but I wouldn’t necessarily rule anything out since we’re in the early stages of the new incarnation of the hockey club.
If a team drafts and develops prudently, recent history suggests that they can turn things around fairly quickly. (Disclaimer: some teams have also spent awhile spinning their tires in the mud during retool/rebuild processes, so your mileage may vary.)
Based on everything I’ve seen, the Flames value on-ice production very highly. They’re in the business of winning hockey games, so their team-building philosophy is “hey, let’s get a bunch of good hockey players.” But within the realm of “good hockey players,” there’s a lot of different ways that can manifest itself – Chris Tanev and Rasmus Andersson are both good hockey players, but their games are very, very different. And projecting hockey players is challenging, especially when there’s injuries, age curves and other things to account for. Sometimes bets just don’t break the way you think they will.
And it may sound hokey and old-fashioned, but I don’t think you can discount the “good people” aspect of team-building. If you’re developing 18-to-20-year-old youngsters into what you’re hoping are productive hockey players and good members of the community, you need the right mentors to show them the way. I don’t think the 2013 era rebuild would have gone as well as it did if not for Sean Monahan becoming the player he became, but having Matt Stajan (among others) around helped Monahan become Monahan.
Got a question for a future mailbag? Contact Ryan on Twitter/X at @RyanNPike or e-mail him at Ryan [at] TheNationNetwork.com! (Make sure you put Mailbag in the subject line!)

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