Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving insists that while mulling over trade deadline possibilities he “takes his cues from his team.”
The wild inconsistency of his current crop makes it hard to read how best to proceed, especially in the midst of the Pacific division’s tightest playoff race in decades.
The team’s wish list has long been topped by a right-handed forward to round out the top six – either someone who can play on the first line alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan, or as a potent second-liner.
The return of Elias Lindholm to the top line, combined with a recent four-point game from second-liner Andrew Mangiapane, are all part of an offensive resurgence from the team since last year’s line was recently reunited.
So, given the inflated price tags on a depleted market of deadline targets, perhaps Treliving will shift his focus to adding depth to a blue line currently missing injured Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic.
Last year, Treliving added Oscar Fantenberg at the deadline to be his team’s seventh defenceman, which is the sort of move Flames fans should expect again by Monday, even though Giordano will likely be back in a week or two and Travis Hamonic isn’t expected to be far off either.
Mark Jankowski, 25, $1.675 million
Glenn Gawdin, 22, $775,833
Andrew Mangiapane, 23, $715,000
Oliver Kylington, 22, $730,000
Tyler Parsons, 22, $759,000
Jon Gillies, 26, $750,000
Artyom Zagidulin, 24, $842,000
Ryan Lomberg, 25, $700,000
Justin Kirkland, 23, $700,000
Rinat Valiev, 24, $700,000
Andrew Nielsen, 23, 697,500
Nick Schneider, 22, $675,000
TJ Brodie, 29, $4.650 million
Travis Hamonic, 29, $3.857 million
Cam Talbot, 32, $2.75 million
Austin Czarnik, 27, $1.25 million
Buddy Robinson, 28, $700,000
Zac Rinaldo, 29, $700,000
Tobias Rieder, 27, $700,000
Michael Stone, 29, $700,000
Brandon Davidson, 28, $700,000
Alan Quine, 26, $735,000
Byron Froese, 28, $700,000
Potential assets to move
Sam Bennett: Despite his lofty draft status, the former fourth pick overall is a versatile depth player in Calgary who has a history of playing his best, most rambunctious hockey in the post-season. He brings an attractive skill-set and upside many teams covet, making him one of the better trade chips the Flames have. He’s played well at centre the last two games, which may have been his best of the season.
Mark Jankowski: After opening the season going 38 games without a goal, the 25-year-old pending RFA has scored five times in nine outings, which may attract some interest. With a number of players capable of playing centre, the six-foot-four, 212-pound penalty-killing maven has been a healthy scratch 14 times. Unsure if the team has the appetite to qualify him as an RFA this summer at $1.75 million.
Jon Gillies: The six-foot-six former NCAA champion has fallen down the Flames’ depth chart over the years and could easily be moved to a team looking to bolster its goaltending depth.
Draft Picks: The Flames wouldn’t move their first-rounder unless the return is a significant player with term. Second and third-round picks could easily be in play, as Treliving has never been shy to trade those away.
2020: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th (SJ), 5th, 6th, 7th.
2021: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th.
One bold move “the team” could make…
Land Josh Anderson.
The big, brash right-winger checks all the boxes the Flames could possibly want, except for being injured at the moment.
The six-foot-three, 222-pound power forward is still out with a right shoulder injury suffered in a fight mid-December. It’s certainly cause for concern as it’s still unclear when he’ll be back. The 25-year-old also had a left shoulder injury in the fall.
That said, if you were to make a trade for the former 27-goal scorer you’d do so with reports from various doctors on his condition.
Even if he isn’t ready to return in the next few weeks, the play here is long-term as he will be a restricted free agent once his $1.85 million deal expires this spring.
The word is Columbus is concerned about the ability to sign him long-term, which is why he’s been linked to various teams via trade, such as Boston and Calgary.
Anderson’s price tag in a trade would be hefty like the deal Tampa swung to land Blake Coleman – a first-round pick and a top prospect, at the very least.
For a rental, that would be too high, given his injury history.
But as a long-term piece, the internal debate would be interesting as the Flames are short on goal-scoring, moxie and right-handed shooters.
A trade for Kyle Palmieri (and his $4.65 million cap hit next year) would be safer, and more likely a possibility, given New Jersey is rebuilding.
I think “the team” should not…
Spend significantly on a rental player.
First of all, this year’s unflattering rental market has already been picked away at by various competitors that have set the bar much higher than expected.
Outside of New York’s Chris Kreider, there are no significant rental players left that the Flames should covet. Kreider’s binge-scoring of late ensures he’ll command a first-round draft pick and top prospect as starting points, if the Rangers choose to move him.
Secondly, this team hasn’t shown enough consistency or any semblance of an identity that suggests it’s capable of being a Cup contender this spring.