Calgary Flames Prospect Report: Pipeline strongest on the blue line

Canada defenceman Cody Goloubef (27) carries the flag in celebration of the team's bronze-medal win at the Olympics. (Nathan Denette/CP)

To no one’s surprise, Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving chose to avoid the pricey rental market at the trade deadline.

His lack of draft picks and his team’s wildly inconsistent play this year made it an easy decision.

He used a more frugal, creative approach to try adding depth, plucking Chris Stewart off waivers and signing Canadian Olympic team loaner Cody Goloubef to a two-way deal upon his return to their AHL affiliate, the Stockton Heat, from Pyeongchang.

The lone trade he made saw him send a seventh round draft pick in 2019 to Ottawa for 25-year-old centre Nick Shore.

In short, the Flames’ prospect pool was untouched.

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Although he contemplated the possibility of trading for a veteran goaltender to cover for the injured Mike Smith, Treliving felt the options weren’t better than the two AHL call-ups he’s employing now, David Rittich and Jon Gillies.

In doing so, Treliving preserved his four coveted blue line prospects: Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington (both in Stockton), Jusso Valimaki (Tri-City) and Adam Fox (Harvard).

While Gillies has been largely speculated as a solid trade chip because of Tyler Parsons, he’s needed in Calgary where he is an emergency call up for Smith.

PROSPECTS IN

Cody Goloubef: At 28 years of age and with 129 NHL games on his resume, he’s hardly a prospect, although he does bolster the list of serviceable farmhands available down the road.

While he was already in the Flames system, he was elevated from an AHL contract to a two-way deal after his stint at the Olympics.

PROSPECTS OUT

None.

DRAFT PICK SITUATION

2018: Round 3 (conditional), Round 4, Round 4 (FLA), Round 6, Round 7, Round 7 (conditional via Det).

2019: Round 1, Round 4, Round 4 (conditional via NYI), Round 5, Round 7 (CAR).

DRAFT PICK OUTLOOK

The acquisition of Travis Hamonic cost the Flames a first and second-rounder in 2018, as well as a conditional second-rounder in 2019, depleting the Flames’ cupboard of draft picks.

The conditions of the second-rounder revolve around the Flames’ tenuous playoff fate this year. If they fail to reach the postseason, the second-rounder goes to the Islanders in 2018. If they make the playoffs, the second rounder goes to the Isles in 2020 instead.

It gets worse for the Flames if they don’t make the playoffs as they’ll also surrender their third rounder this year thanks to the Mike Smith deal.

In that case they wouldn’t pick until the fourth round this spring, leaving them with the fewest picks in the league this year.

In 2019, the Flames are without a second- and third-rounder, which would make replenishing their draft stock a priority if the Flames weren’t theoretically poised to start challenging for the Stanley Cup next year.

The trade that landed the Flames Mike Smith last summer cost them a conditional third-rounder in 2020 that gets upgraded to a second-rounder if the Flames make the playoffs this year.

The Flames had done a nice job under Treliving the past four years, stockpiling draft picks and building a solid base of prospects that allowed the club to use picks to grab Hamonic.

It puts even more pressure on players like Dillon Dube, Andrew Mangiapane and others to continue climbing the organizational ladder so the absence of high draft picks don’t hamper team growth.

REASON FOR OPTIMISM

The depth on the Flames blue line is matched by the number of top prospects in the system, which is nice for a team that believes in building from the back end.

By all accounts Rasmus Andersson should be playing in the NHL, and would be, if not for the deep and healthy corps of the Flames.

Valimaki could very well push for a spot in training camp next year and Fox is the most asked-about prospect in the Flames’ system by other GMs.

It’s the blue line depth that might also be able to help land the Flames some much-needed scoring depth up front this off-season.

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