The Calgary Flames have proved to the world that they are a team that can win games in decisive manners. However, we recently saw them drop three straight games against arguably the three best teams in the NHL. This made one thing clear, the Flames are good, but not great. For a team that are most likely going to approach the trade deadline as buyers, is it worthwhile to explore a way to get Tomas Hertl in the C of Red?
How good is Tomas Hertl?
Let’s take a look at his stats from this year and his last three seasons.
Hertl had his best season in 2018–19, but he has still managed to produce pretty solid numbers offensively. Considering the fact that the Sharks were near the bottom of the standings from 2019 onward, Hertl managed to remain a threat on the ice.
He is currently shooting 18.3%, and he is a career 13.9% shooter. He hasn’t shot below 12.6% since the 2016–17 season.
Tomas Hertl is currently serving as the Sharks’ top line centre, and is also on the Sharks’ top power play and penalty killing units. The Sharks rely on him in all situations and he is clearly one of the Sharks’ best players. He is currently on a $5.625M contract which expires this year.
Do the Flames need him?
Short answer, yes. Very much so. This team is in dire need of any sort of depth. Outside of the top line and Andrew Mangiapane, offence has been an incredibly rare commodity for this team. Since November at 5v5, the Flames’ top line has accounted for 52% of the total points recorded by all Flames forwards. Take a look below to see where Calgary stands in this stat compared to contenders in this league, courtesy of NaturalStatTrick.com.
|Team||Top Line Points Percentage|
|Tampa Bay Lightning||38%|
Is this maybe just a bad stretch though? You could call it that, if you count this whole season as the bad stretch. Since the start of the season at 5V5, the top line has accounted for 48% of the total points recorded by all Flames forwards. That is far too much reliance on three players.
Right now, Tomas Hertl would be the third highest scorer on the Flames roster at 5v5. He would also be the team’s leading 5v5 goal scorer. It’s safe to say that he would be an incredible addition to a very top heavy roster.
What could Tomas Hertl provide?
To put it simply, secondary scoring. The Calgary Flames need more than just four forwards that are offensive threats. Throughout the season, the team has seen Daryl Sutter try and solve their depth problems through shuffling every single line except the top line. Hertl would give the team a fix to their depth issue, and would finally give Andrew Mangiapane another top six forward to play with.
The Flames can currently run one scoring line, one shut down line, and two other lines that are there to pretty much skate around for fun. With Hertl, the Flames could potentially put two scoring lines on the ice, and take some pressure off the top line. Needless to say, this would be huge for the organization.
Tomas Hertl would also provide a big boost to the secondary power play unit, and could also be an option on the penalty kill.
How can the Flames get the deal done?
Ever since the 2018–19 season, the Flames have had trouble solidifying the center depth on the team. This is partly due to Sean Monahan‘s struggles on the ice, but this can also be attributed to the front office’s inability to trade for pieces. So what would they need to do differently to finally produce a deal?
According to Kevin Kurz of The Athletic on September 2021, the Sharks would probably want a first-round pick and a high-end prospect as well. Personally, I think this is a bit expensive and I don’t believe Hertl would cost this much as a rental for a team. So, what do I think it will cost?
Firstly, the Flames would need to be comfortable giving up their first-round pick. This is a trade for a rental player, and if Nick Foligno cost a first-round pick last year, Hertl definitely will as well.
Secondly, the Flames would most likely need to include either some additional picks, or a prospect as well. Maybe a scenario that includes a third- and fourth-round pick, or a scenario that includes NHL-ready prospects like Glenn Gawdin.
Overall, it’s tricky to put a price on Hertl as a rental, as time will tell what the market will be for rental players. One thing that I am sure of though, the trade should not be too costly for the Flames. This is a trade that could only make Hertl a Flame for a couple months before he most likely walks to free agency. This could be a a pure rental and it should reflect in the cost.
The Flames would also need to find a way to make the money work. They currently have roughly $2.9M in cap space. In order to make the money work, the Flames would need the Sharks to either retain 50% of Hertl’s salary, or take money back in the deal.
Potential Flames lineup with Hertl
If the Flames do end up getting Hertl, this is how I see their lineup shaping up:
Gaudreau – Lindholm – Tkachuk
Coleman – Hertl – Mangiapane
Lucic – Backlund – Dube
The Flames’ top line is one of the best in the NHL, so that line is not going to get broken up. I can see the Flames shifting Backlund to the third line in order to give the team a more offensive second line. A lineup like this gives the team two lines that are scoring threats which this team is in desperate need of.
The third line could be a sneaky option for some offence as well. Lucic is fifth on the Flames for goals scored, and despite Dube’s performance so far this season, I do believe there is a lot more offence in his skillset than what is being shown right now. In summary, Hertl makes the Flames much more threatening offensively.
Hertl is what the Flames need
Outside of Elias Lindholm, the centres on the Calgary Flames have been struggling on the ice this season. With the added depth that Hertl provides, Brad Treliving should be doing everything he can to get him wearing the flaming C. Who knows, maybe he could even get him to sign an extension with the team?
It’s no secret that the team needs help up front. What is up in the air however, is will Brad Treliving finally be able to pull the trigger, or is it going to be another trade deadline that looks like… well… this: