As the calendar year shifts over, hockey musings of whether trades should happen also shifts to when trades will start rolling in too. Although the Calgary Flames are in the midst of a horrendous stretch—going 2–7–1 in their last ten games—the team is always looking toward the future and how to improve the current roster.
Spoiler alert, there are a lot of improvements they could make.
Based on the team’s start and where they rank among Pacific Division opponents, it would be shocking for the team to miss the playoffs—in fact, it would be disastrous.
They are currently five points out of the third spot in the division, but hold seven games in hand over the Anaheim Ducks. The opportunity is there.
So that begs the question, what moves if any will the team make come March 21st? On the weekly 32 Thoughts podcast, Elliotte Friedman had some suggestions as to where the team is leaning at this point in time.
Possible targets for the Flames
On yesterdays Q&A session, the following question was sent in:
Why is Calgary not mentioned as being interested in Chychrun? Calgary could do very well with him on PP1; any thoughts on his fit and the price it would take to make him a Flame?
Friedman’s response was very interesting:
The only reason why I haven’t mentioned Calgary very much is that I think Calgary is a team that went through a phase there where they dealt some picks and I think their general philosophy has been, particularly depending on what happens with Gaudreau after this year, is keep their prospects.
I think that Eichel was one person that they considered doing it differently for. I don’t think they were ever close to acquiring Eichel but I think they considered the possibility of it. Other than that, my sense with the Flames, I don’t know that they want to do that. I don’t think they would want to deal the draft and prospect capital that would get them Chychrun right now. I could always be wrong, but I haven’t sensed it.– Elliotte Friedman, 32 Thoughts the Podcast
Jakob Chychrun has often been referred to as the first domino to fall when it comes to the trade market this season. The 16th overall selection in 2016 has been a number one calibre defencemen for the Arizona Coyotes the last few seasons. Why would the team want to move on from such a player? Who knows what is going on in the desert, but a team like Calgary would sure love to add a 23-year-old bona fide NHL defencemen ,no?
The fact of the matter is the Flames look to be quite gun shy when it comes to acquiring top talent in this league. Shocker, we know.
The finger automatically goes to the general manager, Brad Treliving, who looks to have become scared when it comes to giving up first-round picks and prospects. Maybe it started with all of the draft capital given up to get Dougie Hamilton, only to then trade him away along with Adam Fox. Or perhaps it was using almost the same amount of draft picks to acquire Travis Hamonic that really sent him over the edge.
Regardless of the reason, the Flames just simply don’t look to be a team that wants to get rid of their picks and prospects to upgrade their team. A Chychrun addition would be a smart move, as he is an easy upgrade over Nikita Zadorov, but the rumoured asking price of a first-round pick, a top prospect, and roster player may be way out of the Flames comfort zone.
Additionally, the Flames need depth scoring above all else. Those types of assets should be used to acquire a forward that is capable of generating offence instead.
A follow up to the trade talk was focused on former Flames captain Mark Giordano and his agent’s recent appearance on Calgary radio. On that show, the idea was floated that maybe a Calgary reunion could be in the cards. Friedman’s response to that was the following:
I think the agent did a really nice job with Eric Francis there, getting it going again. I could see the possibility of it but you’re not doing it until you’re a little more certain about your place. I still feel pretty comfortable that Calgary’s gonna be okay, but suddenly there’s a bit more doubt and they’ve gotta get going. Right now if you’re Calgary, you’re not trading a first-round pick unless you have some protection there. Let’s see where we are in a month.– Elliotte Friedman, 32 Thoughts the Podcast
A reasonable response. The Flames would love nothing more than to reacquire Giordano to add him to this current group. The GM loves him, the coach loves him, the players love him, and the fans love him. It would be a match made in heaven.
Of course as previously mentioned, the Flames are in a big hole right now and they need to get out completely before they give up any sort of assets.
The biggest question mark would be asking price. At the expansion draft it was a first- and a third-round pick to keep Giordano, and the price at the deadline would be likely be similar if Seattle has to retain salary.
Does that make sense for the Flames this year? It depends on the market. You look at a team like the Florida Panthers who want to add a defenceman. They’d definitely be more willing to go all in and be much more comfortable with paying that price. The Flames will want to avoid getting caught in a bidding wars.
Do the Flames make a deal?
If there is one player the Flames would probably give up a number of assets for, it would probably be Giordano. If the team could find a way to take on Giordano’s full cap, trade Zadorov in the same deal, and give up limited draft capital, I think the entire city of Calgary would make that deal.
It’s unlikely the Flames make any type of significant move until closer to the deadline, but still worthwhile to keep an ear to the ground to see where Treliving is digging.
Photo by Christian Petersen (Getty Images)