Welcome back to The Sunday Census. Throughout the week, The Win Column will be posing topical and intriguing polls on Twitter (@wincolumnblog) to gauge the fan-base’s stance on pressing issues. Want to make sure your opinion is taken into effect? Vote in the polls, start a debate, and propose alternative suggestions on the polls!
There is no doubt that Brad Treliving is big game hunting this deadline season, with Mark Stone right at the top of his wish-list. Stone’s situation is extremely volatile, with the door not completely closed on an extension, but pretty much every contending team wanting to acquire the star forward. It’s more likely than not that Stone is dealt by Monday’s deadline, and it’s entirely possible that it is to the Flames.
He fits the bill as to what the Flames are looking for, his brother is currently with the organization, he fleshes out the right wing depth, and he would put the team over the top in the Western Conference. With Matt Duchene fetching a first round pick, a conditional first round pick, and two prospects, the acquisition cost for Stone would be similar if not more. Rumours are pointing towards two first rounders and two solid prospects, which is hefty. There is no doubt he would be a phenomenal addition, but the question we wanted to pose to fans was knowing the acquisition cost, would you still want the Flames to acquire him?
In a bit of a surprising upset, 65% of fans say the Flames shouldn’t. Even though I voted for this option myself, I am still surprised to see an overwhelming majority say they want to stay clear. From the get go, it seemed that fans were overwhelmed at the thought of the Flames acquiring the most sough after player. When was the last time, if ever, the Flames had done that? I think the real change in thought came when the potential price was set. Two first rounders is steep, especially if the Flames are unable to sign him long term. But in addition to the picks, two quality prospects is also a crazy spend. The Senators would most likely be looking at Oliver Kylington, Andrew Mangiapane, and even Dillon Dube. These are core players where losing any of them would alter the Flames’ long term plans. Yes, it would make them immediate contenders, but their assets would be better used somewhere else (may we recommend Kevin Hayes?)
This past week he almost broke Flames Twitter with his Johnny Gaudreau / Blasty concept:
Boy is that magnificent to look at. Bill went a step further and altered the design a few more times and wanted to see which one fans loved the most.
Although we love the 2013 alternate patch (look no further than our own logo), fans seemed muted on the thought of having it as a primary logo. The vote was further split between the red and white flaming “C”, with the white version getting a few more votes. Change is good, and most likely why the white got more votes than the red.
But nothing compares to Blasty. 61% of fans thought that this concept was the best of them all, and I have to agree. Of course there was the obvious dislike for Blasty, for some strange reason, but the majority of fans loved the idea. In a dream scenario the team would make the Retro jerseys permanent, and then Blasty can take over as the third.
Oh what a lovely dream that would be.
Heading back onto the ice, the Flames made some noise this week when they decided to swap Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm in the lineup. With the top line and Tkachuk currently in the midst of a small slump, Bill Peters was looking for a spark. It was surprising to see the head coach make such a move, especially after the top line being so dominant all season long. Of course we had to use this as motive for our next poll, in which we gauged the fan’s perception of who should be the top line right wing heading into the post-season.
Starting off with Sam Bennett, who got virtually no love here. Bennett has carved himself into a perfect niche the last few months. He has been elevated to the second line a few times, where he has succeeded, but the third line appears to be perfect for the young winger. He has played on that top line before, but he doesn’t necessarily fit.
James Neal came next on the ranking, and also got my vote. It may be crazy to say, and I’ll catch some flack for it, but I will continue to vouch for Neal on the top line for as long as I possibly can. Neal has struggled mightily offensively, but he also has been playing alongside Mark Jankowski and Sam Bennett for the majority of the season. Looking at his past success, he has always thrived with excellent play-makers. Once he returns from injury, barring any surprising trades, he should get a shot on the top line. Because of Lindhom’s immediate brilliance, Neal never has been given a rightful shot. Had he not been injured, my guess would have been that he would have gotten that shot the past few games.
Tkachuk comes next in terms of votes with 12%, but I don’t think it is the best fit for him. Playing on his off wing doesn’t look to be as easy of a transition as once thought, plus he thrives with Backlund as his centreman. I think the Backlund-Tkachuk duo is the most valuable on the team and shouldn’t be messed with.
Of course, I think the results to this poll were obvious from the start, despite my personal opinion. Lindholm is the best option right now, and in the future, for the top line. He has been one of the Flames’ MVPs this season, and it’s almost shocking to see Peters split up the top line to begin with. This will, and probably should, be the top line come April.
With the trade deadline looming, it was a four poll kind of week for us. With the Flames most likely on the way to making some sort of trade, we wanted to know which potential piece going back in a deal would be the hardest for fans to accept?
We included the four pieces that are potentially in play; 2019 1st Round Pick, Kylington, Dube and Mangiapane. Of course, it’s possible none of the four pieces are in play at all. It is just the best guess at this moment.
Mangiapane got the least amount of votes on this poll, which translates into fans not being overly upset at the thought of losing him. Tough to imagine with the young forward making such an impact on the fourth line at the moment. Perhaps sell while his value is high?
The first round pick comes next, and frankly I am surprised that it didn’t receive the least amount of votes. First round picks, especially later numbers, are complete crap shoots. It is hard to put a value on one, and the Flames could get a better piece from trading it over keeping it.
Where the heart strings really start to get pulled is between Kylington and Dube. It’s almost a Sophie’s choice situation, as it’s almost better to keep both players. Kylington is developing into a really strong second pairing LHD, while Dube’s ceiling continues to grow in his first full year playing in pro leagues. Unless the return is substantial and guaranteed to stay for a long time, the team should be holding on to both. Fans clearly couldn’t decide between the two, and if you’re reading this now, one or the other could have been traded already.
Say it ain’t so.
Want to be a part of the conversation next time around? Follow us on Twitter @wincolumnblog and be sure to keep a look out for our polls throughout the week.