FlamesNation Mailbag: Happy trade deadline week, everybody

Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
1 year ago
Pals, the National Hockey League’s trade deadline is 1 p.m. MT on Monday afternoon. From that point on, NHL rosters are largely locked in. The Calgary Flames are on the playoff bubble and may or may not make moves.
With a few days left until the action, or lack thereof, let’s dive into the mailbag!
The point total that likely gives the Flames a realistic chance to qualify for the playoffs is 95 points. Right now, they need 29 points over their final 22 games to reach that mark, which would go on a .654 points percentage clip (after being .550 so far this season). If the points percentage they need to make it becomes .700 or higher, it’s probably time to throw in the towel. So if they lose to Boston and Toronto before the deadline, it’s probably worth seriously considering selling off assets.
And I’m not sure if I’d be in pure “sell” mode, but rather seeing what assets can be flipped for younger assets (or assets with more controllable years ahead of them). “Strategic sell” would be the term I’d use.
Brad Treliving’s said it multiple times in reference to teams that win the draft lottery: teams have to go through a lot of pain to get those picks. Tearing a team down to the studs impacts a lot of aspects of the club, not unimportantly their revenue potential – fans aren’t exactly flocking to watch a team get dummied every night on their way to a lottery that may or may not give them Connor Bedard afterwards. So what a lot of teams do, probably due to some pressure from their owners, is “retool on the fly.” Rather than be capital-B Bad for awhile, they become strategically mediocre with the aim of flipping key assets for future pieces and rebuild that way.
Rebuilding on the fly is also risky – you don’t have strong lottery picks to potentially boost your cub – but the impact on the business side of the hockey club doesn’t have the same downside risk. The risk aversion of hockey clubs is probably why we see the recent flurry of teams aspiring to rebuild on the fly.
The Flames will need to do some shuffling in the off-season regardless of how their season unfolds because the salary cap is only going up by $1 million (to $83.5 million). So… some tough decisions will have to be made. Mikael Backlund has some no-trade protection, but there are plenty of players that don’t, and if the Flames miss the playoffs I don’t think any possibility is necessarily off the table if they can get good value for their assets.
If I knew who was going to be GM next year, I’d tell you.
I think there’s any number of directions this thing could go. Does ownership want Brad Treliving back? Does Treliving want to come back at the salary they would offer him? Could a new GM do better than Treliving has? If Treliving leaves, how much of the hockey operations staff (many of which are likely also on expiring deals) depart with him?
These are questions to try to answer, but probably not until the weeks following the end of the season.
Here’s two: Jakob Pelletier and Walker Duehr.
And if you’re a big-time pessimist, let me tell you this: the more likely it is that Matt Coronato can play this season, the more likely it is that he’ll probably sign this season. And the worse the Flames are this season, the more likely he’ll be able to play. If you want to see the club’s best prospect sign and make his NHL debut before the season ends, that might be the silver lining behind the Flames’ struggles this year.

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