The NHL’s 2021 trade deadline is two weeks away! The Calgary Flames are one game below .500 and outside the playoff picture. These two factors combine for a very busy mailbag this week.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
If it’s in the cards, it’s probably an off-season thing. Unless you want the Flames to go full rebuild, the “retool” strategy involves making a hockey trade. The universe of teams that could partner with the Flames on such a swap expands a lot when you get into the off-season and teams are allowed to exceed the salary cap by 10%.
The math really isn’t on Calgary’s side. To make the playoffs, they probably need 65 points. That means they need to win 15 of their remaining 20 games in order to make it. That’s a very, very tall order.
There are seven games between now and the trade deadline. If the Flames lose twice, it’s probably time to throw in the towel on the season.
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It’s possible, but the Flames aren’t in a big hurry to move him and it still feels like the most likely destination for him will be Seattle via the Kraken’s expansion draft.
In 2021-22? I’m willing to bet that at least one of Jakob Pelletier or Connor Zary will start the regular season with the Flames, and between them I think Pelletier probably takes a bigger step. But they’ll both probably take big steps.
I don’t think the issue so much with the smaller skilled players is the size, but rather playing style. Sutter wants pace, tenacity and physicality on the forecheck. If you’re a smaller player that can’t play the body or doesn’t engage the opponents physically, you might want to find a different place to find an NHL job.
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I don’t think Brad Treliving’s job is in the balance quite yet, but I think ownership will be paying a lot of attention to how he navigates the summer. His hands were really tied this season between the quarantine, the league-wide cap situation, and nobody really being able or willing to make significant trades. But the pressure will definitely be on him to right the ship this off-season and set Sutter up for a strong 2021-22 campaign.
I don’t think Flames ownership is in any hurry to change management up. That said, Craig Conroy has a lot of fans around the league and he would probably be in the mix with whatever happens in Calgary in the future.
The Flames have been doing as much scouting as they can, and the lack of travel has basically meant that they’re doing more “cross-over” scouting, with scouts doing video scouting of players from outside their usual region as a kind of “second opinion.”
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There are a lot of good players in this draft and it’s not inconceivable that the Flames will end up grabbing more picks than they have presently.