CALGARY – With their captain in the midst of undergoing an MRI, the Calgary Flames reiterated after practice on Wednesday the importance of stepping up as a group in his absence.
An apparent hamstring injury to Mark Giordano midway through Tuesday’s loss (the team is only saying it’s lower body) has the organization bracing for the possibility they’ll have to continue their dogged pursuit of a playoff spot without him for a while.
While no team can replace a defending Norris Trophy winner, you can bet this scare has GM Brad Treliving contemplating the possibility of shifting his trade-deadline focus significantly. Or simply adding to it.
While a right-handed winger is still on his wish list, the need to bolster the blue line could suddenly be paramount in his eyes.
The good news is that coach Geoff Ward said he saw Giordano walking without aid Wednesday morning. The bad news is that assistant coach Martin Gelinas said after the game the captain was in considerable pain.
The obvious man to draw into the lineup in Giordano’s absence would be Oliver Kylington. But after that the organization’s blue-line depth is thin.
Potential AHL call-ups include Brandon Davidson, Alex Yelesin and Rinat Valiev, who have a combined three games of NHL experience this year.
Young Juuso Valimaki just started skating, six months after significant knee surgery, and is not an option anytime soon.
Giordano’s medical test results will determine plenty, but there’s a fear he’ll be lost for a while and the Flames will need help from the outside.
Here is a list of potential acquisitions, from hockey deals to rentals:
Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild
The 25-year-old Calgary native would be an attractive asset for the Flames given his well-rounded game.
The right-handed defenceman has three years left at $6 million annually and has been discussed a lot of late as potential trade fodder as the Wild sit six points back of a playoff spot.
Jeff Petry, Montreal Canadiens
The 32-year-old veteran has one year left on his deal in Montreal where he has been one of the most stabilizing forces on their back end. The former Oiler has spent some time steering the Habs’ top power-play unit while racking up 33 points in 55 outings. He carries a $5.5-million cap hit and may be expendable when/if the Canadiens start retooling by the deadline.
Josh Manson, Anaheim Ducks
The six-foot-three, 224-pound right-shot defenceman can do a little bit of everything, while adding some brawn to the fray.
At 28, he has two years left at a reasonable $4.1 million in Anaheim, where he plays regularly next to Cam Fowler. Who knows how much the Ducks are looking to shake things up next month?
Shayne Gostisbehere, Philadelphia Flyers
The 26-year-old left-shot defenceman has three more years left at $4.5 million, which may be something the Flyers are happy to move given his declining offence the last two seasons. He’s been out since early January following arthroscopic surgery on his knee, but is expected to return this week.
Brenden Dillon, San Jose Sharks
The 29-year-old pending UFA is a rugged, left-shooting defender who has a $3.27 million cap hit. He wouldn’t be a candidate to play on the top pairing in Calgary, but the Sharks veteran is a dependable top-four type who has played alongside Brent Burns plenty this season.
Zach Bogosian, Buffalo Sabres
The former third-overall pick from 2008 is a right-shooting defender who reportedly asked for a trade before Christmas. He is undoubtedly up for grabs on a team with an excess of NHL defenders, sure to liquidate soon. His $5.14 million cap hit and injury history are concerning, but so is the Flames’ situation if Giordano is out long.
Sami Vatanen, Devils
The 29-year-old is listed as day-to-day after blocking a shot recently. As a pending UFA, the right-shooting veteran will surely be moved by a rebuilding New Jersey club. He comes with a $4.875-million cap hit.
Marco Scandella, Canadiens
The 29-year-old lefty carries a $4-million cap hit and will hit the open market this summer.
Acquired from Buffalo on Jan. 2, Scandella is undoubtedly being shopped by the Canadiens, who will be looking to get something for him as soon as they’re ready to declare themselves out of the playoff picture.
Ron Hainsey, Ottawa Senators
The wily, stay-at-home lefty is 38 years old and is hardly a top-four candidate in Calgary. But the pending UFA could be a cheap depth addition at $3.5 million.