The Calgary Flames already boasted one of the top blue lines in hockey prior to trading for Travis Hamonic Saturday morning. Brad Treliving sent a 2018 first-round pick, 2018 second plus a conditional second in 2019 or 2020 to the New York Islanders to acquire the coveted defenceman, and the Flames general manager may not be done bolstering his team’s back end.
When asked if it were possible pending unrestricted free agent Michael Stone could re-sign in Calgary, Treliving remained open to the possibility.
“We’re still working away at it. We’re still working away at our team,” Treliving told reporters at the United Center. “Stoney came in and was a good fit for us. We’ve got some picks to make today. We’ll keep working to see if we can make our team better.”
The Flames did not end up taking a defenceman on Day 2 of the 2017 NHL Draft after selecting Juuso Valimaki 16th overall Friday night, however the franchise does have Oliver Kylington, Rasmus Andersson and Adam Fox in the pipeline.
It’s no guarantee any of the players above will be NHL-ready at the start of the 2017-18 campaign, though, and Stone is a proven talent.
The Flames acquired Stone in February for a 2017 third-round pick plus a conditional fifth-round pick in 2018. He played primarily with T.J. Brodie this past season but Treliving hinted Saturday that a Brodie-Hamonic pairing is what the coaching staff might be leaning towards. Mark Giordano and Dougie Hamilton would make up the team’s other top pair.
“You can never have enough top defencemen…I think we’ve got two pairs there that can play against anybody and that’s a big asset,” Treliving said.
Stone anchoring a third pairing would make a strong Flames defence even stronger. Whether or not they’ll be able to afford him is perhaps a more important question.
The Flames have approximately $21 million in annual cap space tied up in that top four and Stone would likely fetch somewhere in the $4 million range, which is what his 2016-17 cap hit was.
“This is a time when you build your team but we don’t—unless they change the schedule—we don’t play tomorrow so we’ve got some time to keep working at it,” Treliving added.