Calgary Flames

Assessing CapFriendly trades involving the Calgary Flames

Well, you guys loved this so much last week, so we brought back the CapFriendly Armchair GM look through again! Last week, we laughed at three trades that were just crazy and outlandish. This week, we will be looking at more trades with the Calgary Flames that range from making no sense to trades that actually are quite reasonable. Grab a snack, sit back, relax, and enjoy! Without further ado, let’s move into the first transaction.

Flames and Blackhawks swap teams

In our first trade, this user has essentially traded the entire Blackhawks roster to the Flames for Mikael Backlund, Sean Monahan, Juuso Valimaki, a 1st, 2nd, and a bunch of AHL players.

For some reason, we don’t see too many seventeen player deals in the NHL, because well, it’s crazy talk. Chicago and Calgary collectively trading six players that they have recently signed would be incredibly funny, not even mentioning Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews also being included here.

Brad Treliving can shock us at times with his deals, but this is just crazy even if two random people were randomly giving the GM seats to these two franchises. I don’t even want to look into the cap lookouts for both teams or even look at this deal any further, because it frankly hurts my eyes.

The Calgary Flames acquire Dawson Mercer

Moving on to a deal from a different user, which sees the Flames acquire Dawson Mercer from the Devils in exchange for Kevin Rooney, a pile of AHL players and a third-round pick.

Mercer just came off a rookie year where he had 42 points in 82 games and is looking to be a bright piece for the Devils future. Since Mercer was being talked about a core piece that may come back for Matthew Tkachuk, I have an incredibly hard time believing the Devils would trade him for… this package.

A replacement-level fourth liner in Rooney (and that’s being generous), four AHL players, and a third-round pick definitely doesn’t seem to be appetizing for the Devils in any shape or form. I would mention that quantity doesn’t often equal quality in NHL trades, but the quantity offered here doesn’t even come close to being anything. This is just bad. So bad.

Calgary trades Lindholm for DeBrusk

Our third trade sees Calgary send Selke finalist Elias Lindholm to the Bruins for… Jake DeBrusk.

No. Just no. Absolutely not. Not in a million years. No.

DeBrusk is a good player, not doubt about that, but isn’t even in the same stratosphere as Lindholm. If Calgary traded their first line centere who was playing at a point-per-game rate last year and the Selke runner-up for a middle-six winger capable of putting up 40 points, the city of Calgary might explode. My head also might explode if we look at any more terrible deals, so let’s move on to some deals that actually make some sense.

Calgary trades Hanifin for Nylander

This user has traded Noah Hanifin to the Maple Leafs in exchange for William Nylander.

This user has also retained a portion of Nylander’s contract, but we are going to assume Calgary takes on Nylander at full value. This one is a good conversation starter. Hanifin has two years remaining his contract at $4.95M average annual value (AAV), while Nylander has two years remaining at an AAV of $6.96M.

From Calgary’s perspective, this trade makes so much sense. With the acquisition and soon to be extension for MacKenzie Weegar, Calgary’s blueline is deep. Calgary replaced Johnny Gaudreau with Jonathan Huberdeau, but have yet to replace the first line spot when Matthew Tkachuk was traded.

Nylander—who is coming off a career-high 80 points in 81 games played season—would take that RW spot and form a competitive line with Lindholm and Huberdeau. Calgary would trade from a position of strength to acquire a premiere offensive player that plays a position of need.

From Toronto’s position, this trade doesn’t make as much sense, as they already have Morgan Reilly, Jake Muzzin, Mark Giordano, and Rasmus Sandin on left defence. However, Sandin remains unsigned and him and Muzzin have been the spotlights of frequent offseason talk in the Leafs fanbase.

If contract talks go south and Sandin is moved, Toronto could look to Hanifin as a stability piece, while moving Muzzin to the right side. A defence corps of Reilly/Brodie, Hanifin/Muzzin, and Giordano/Liljegren would be tops around the league.

Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas has previously said he won’t be moving any of the four core forwards on the Leafs, so it’s doubtful Nylander is traded. But if something happens and this deal finds itself on Brad Treliving’s desk, it is certainly something they should seriously consider, assuming Weegar’s extension happens.

Calgary trades Lucic for Armia

Our last trade sees the Flames trade Milan Lucic to the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Joel Armia.

I think this trade makes sense from both teams perspective. Montreal is currently in a cap crunch and only has $250K in cap space remaining while they still need to re-sign newly acquired Kirby Dach. The Canadiens have a plethora of forwards and will likely trade one or two before this season starts.

By making this trade, the Habs would have to ship another forward out of town as Lucic has one year left on a deal that pays him $5.25M, while Armia has three years left on a deal that pays him $3.4M AAV. So, the Habs take on the higher cap hit and would need to make a corresponding move, but frees themselves of Armia’s cap hit going forward.

The Flames have a need at right wing, and Joel Armia would certainly fit on Calgary’s third line with his big frame and forechecking and physicality. In doing this trade, Calgary would save $1.85M this offseason to use for another addition, as well as add a bottom-six forward in Armia who has term left.

When cap crunches happen, wingers are generally the first position traded, so acquiring a bottom-six defensive winger with term isn’t ideal. Armia also has a lengthy injury history, so that must be considered as well.

Ultimately, the Flames would acquire the better player now and save cap space for this offseason, in exchange for taking on some term in subsequent years. This isn’t a deal where I would cheer and scream upon hearing about it, but Armia certainly fits attributes and the style of play Calgary looks for in a bottom-six forward. It would also be a plus if that extra $1.85M in freed up cap space is used to lure Paul Stastny, Evan Rodrigues, or Sonny Milano to complete their forward group.

From the armchair to the trade call

We all know CapFriendly has some of the craziest trade proposals, but sometimes you find gems that really make sense. Even some of the most reasonable trades might look unappealing when it reaches an actual GM, but you can’t deny that there’s actual merit behind them.

We’ll see if the Flames are in on any more trades from now until the start of the season, or if we’ll just have to keep dreaming up scenarios with CapFriendly.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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