FlamesNation Mailbag: Less than two weeks ’til the trade deadline
Photo credit:Mike Gould
By Ryan Pike1 month ago
Friends, the National Hockey League trade deadline is next Friday at 1 p.m. MT. That’s incredibly close! Less than two weeks away! As we fret about the Calgary Flames, let’s delve into the mailbag and see how everyone’s doing two weeks out from the deadline.
Connor Zary was the Flames’ first-round pick in 2020 – it was the draft where Brad Treliving traded back twice, added two third-round picks, then got the player he said he really wanted anyway. Zary’s 2021-22 season was marred by injuries, but by mid-season (after he finally got to 100%) he was really good. Well, he’s been really good all season in 2022-23. As of this writing, he has 46 points in 50 games, which puts him at 15th in the AHL in scoring.
Zary turned 21 in September. He’s super-young, and has already doubled his offensive production from a season ago. He’s trending very well so far.
With the cap space the Flames have and the assets they’re probably willing to move at the trade deadline, I don’t think there’s a realistic acquisition that would “fix” the Flames. For lack of a better term, the call needs to come from within the house. They’re a group that’s played below their own internal expectations all season and you could make a good argument that they haven’t gotten their game completely going yet this season. Again: I don’t think there’s an external addition that could snap their internal progression into where they want it to be.
We haven’t gotten a chance to do an informal survey, so we’re just relying on who’s been mentioned in interviews here and there. The players that have been most mentioned as the team’s funniest guys by teammates are Rasmus Andersson and Nikita Zadorov.
I would say “it depends.” Who’s going to be the general manager in another year when their deals are up? Who’s going to be the coach? Are they going to be building on another playoff appearance, or are they going to be rebuilding? What’s the cap situation going to look like?
Both players seem to be good fits in Calgary and have enjoyed their time here so far, but there are a LOT of major variables dictating whether they’re here beyond their current contracts.
The Flames will probably have the cap space to add Matt Coronato to their NHL roster when his college season ends, and there’s no roster limit after the trade deadline, so neither will really be an issue. The big question is whether Coronato wants to dive into the NHL right away or whether he can be cajoled into joining the Calgary Wranglers, who are an absolute wagon at the AHL level.
Is there an obvious lineup spot for Coronato in the NHL? Aside from perhaps Jakob Pelletier’s spot on the wing, not really. Is there an obvious spot for Coronato in the AHL? Heck yeah there is. And that’s probably the thing that he has to weigh: if he goes to the NHL, he might not play but the clock starts running towards him becoming an unrestricted free agent. If he goes to the AHL, he definitely gets to play but the clock doesn’t start running towards free agency.
The kid is legit, and the Flames love him and would like to sign him. What will need to be determined is what Coronato wants.
If the Flames wanted to shuffle things up, here’s a suggestion: bring up a Calgary Wranglers coach like Mitch Love or Don Nachbaur. (I think Joe Cirella runs the blueline and penalty kill.) The Wranglers’ power play is sixth in the entire AHL and has been working really well despite the Flames constantly yoinking some of their best players up to the NHL roster.
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