Calgary Flames

CapFriendly Friday: Turning to Armchair GMs for Calgary Flames trade proposals to breakdown

You all liked these CapFriendly posts so much that we decided to make it a series! As we did in the past two Fridays, we are going to look at some proposals from users on CapFriendly’s Armchair GM interactive tool.

Last week’s post featured wild proposals but also some that had merit as viable trades. It included three out-of-this-planet deals and two deals that got our brains thinking. This week we are going to keep a similar format, so sit back, relax, grab a snack, and let’s laugh and explore some trade proposals together!

The Flames trade anyone that moves for a first-round pick

Let’s look at how this trade is even possible. This armchair GM first decided to trade Milan Lucic and a pick for Craig Smith, which I would be very happy with. Craig Smith is a very solid middle-six winger who has posted very solid defensive numbers throughout his career. If Calgary does make a move to acquire Smith, I would be very happy, as he only has a year left on a contract of $3.1M and can be plugged around the lineup.

Then the user decides to package Craig Smith with a 2025 third-round pick and five AHLers (some of which are still budding prospects), sending them to Philadelphia for their 2024 first-round pick. This is wacky. First off, on paper Smith and a third-rounder pick for a first-round selection a year earlier isn’t crazy talk, as the value isn’t horrid.

However, Philly doesn’t even have the cap space to fit Smith in, and well this trade just doesn’t make a lot of sense at all. From Calgary’s perspective, you acquire Smith and immediately trade him away along with depth pieces and a pick to move up a few rounds? For a team that is trying to contend now, I don’t really see trading a good piece in Smith and depth to move up a few rounds in a future draft. This one is just weird and I can’t wrap my head around it, so let’s move on, although the next two aren’t pretty, either.

The Flames miraculously get Krebs for depth pieces

This armchair GM has dealt Trevor Lewis and Jusso Valimaki to the Sabres for Peyton Krebs. This one is both sad and funny. Krebs, a core piece in the Jack Eichel deal last fall, had 22 points in 48 games in his rookie 2021–22 year (0.46 P/GP). The 2019 17th overall pick projects to be a solid player for the Sabres for years. Trading the highly touted Krebs for Lewis and Valimaki, would cause the Sabres fanbase to erupt. Lewis is an alright fourth line veteran, and Valimaki is a 2017 first-round pick who just hasn’t made it yet. This would be a massive steal for the Flames, and would never happen in a million years. Next!

The Flames trade Mangiapane for a package

This deal sees the Flames deal Andrew Mangiapane to the Detroit Red Wings for Robby Fabbri, a seventh defender, two AHLers, and a 2024 fourth-round pick. I’m not even going to focus on Hagg, Kampfer, or Smith, because they are depth pieces that are negligible to this deal. So the bulk of the deal is Fabbri and a 2024 fourth, in exchange for Mangiapane.

Fabbri isn’t a bad player by any means, putting up 30 points in the 56 games he took part in last year (0.536 P/GP). What stands out for Fabbri is the games played, which is less than ideal. Fabbri has battled injuries his entire career, and has only played more than 65 games once, where he got in 72 in his rookie 2015–16 season. He has averaged 46 games in the five seasons he has played in since, not counting the 2017–18 season which he missed completely.

Moving over to Mangiapane, I don’t need to say much. He has continually improved year after year, and just set career-highs in games played, goals, assists, and points. That career high in goals? 35 tucks, which tied him for 25th in the entire league in the 2021–22 season.

Mangiapane just recently extended with the Flames and figures to be an instrumental piece in their lineup for years to come. Trading him for a good but extremely injury prone player and a fourth round pick would be career suicide for Brad Treliving. By many accounts, Mangiapane is currently an untouchable.

Now that we are through with the wacky deals, we get to the deals that aren’t totally crazy.

The Flames trade Weegar and a pick for J.T. Miller

We now look at a proposal from an armchair GM that has J.T. Miller coming to the Calgary Flames in exchange for newly acquired MacKenzie Weegar and a 2024 third-round pick. This is a fascinating swap, and one that does make a ton of sense. For this, we first have to assume any Weegar extension talks are thrown out the window, even though it is pretty set in stone that he will remain a Flame for a number of years.

I’ve previously discussed how the Canucks have a load of forwards, but their defence remains lacklustre, particularly their right side, which features Luke Schenn, Tyler Myers, and Tucker Poolman. That is no doubt a bottom-five right side in the entire league currently, and adding MacKenzie Weegar would be huge. The Canucks would be trading from a position of strength and acquiring a position they desperately need, same as the Flames.

The Flames are in the opposite situation of the Canucks, as their defence is stacked, while their forward group could use some work. Miller would be a great addition to the Flames forward group, giving them versatility with the ability to play wing or centre. Miller just finished a career-high season with a whopping 99 points in 80 games (1.24 P/GP), and would project as a top line forward for this coming season.

I am skeptical of a trade for Miller, as he is rumoured to be heading back to the US after his $5.25M contract ends this year. Giving up prime assets for a player who will leave in a year would not be bad asset management by the team. But, Brad Treliving is likely only focusing on this year, as his current contract as GM ends after this season.

Putting yourself in the best possible playoff position and opportunity to make a deep run gives you a higher chance of getting your contract extended beyond this year, and trading for Miller screams that in spades. I would personally like to see some extension willingness on Miller’s part before making this deal, as Weegar projects to be a top pair defenceman for years to come.

In making this deal, the Matthew Tkachuk return turns into Tkachuk, a 2024 third and 2025 conditional fourth for Miller, Jonathan Huberdeau, Cole Schwindt and a 2025 conditional first. This trade does make sense from a strict position of weakness for position of strength deal, so there is certainly much to think about with this deal. Let’s move on to the next deal which causes some thinking again.

The Flames trade a futures package for Blake Wheeler

Our last armchair GM this week has traded away two Flames prospects and two picks to the Jets in exchange for Blake Wheeler. This is another interesting one, because Blake Wheeler and his 6’5″, 225 lbs frame would certainly be of interest to the Flames. The soon to be 36-year-old has encompassed 1,046 regular season and 60 playoff games in his career thus far, and has another two years remaining on his $8.25M average annual value contract.

Yes you read that correctly— Wheeler comes in at $8.25M. That is a lot of money for a player on the back nine of his career, which is a concern upon acquiring him. To fit in the $8.25M cap hit, the Flames would likely have to make two moves to free up space to make this deal, or the Jets could retain on Wheelers contract.

Moving a contract of that age and magnitude should prove very difficult for the Jets, so they may have to retain the full 50% to get this package back from the Flames. Wheeler at $4.125 million is exponentially more appetizing than his full hit. Wheeler certainly wouldn’t be my first choice of forwards to acquire, but he has still been a consistent assist machine, though injuries have plagued his career in recent years.

For the Flames to trade one of their best prospects in Zary, a good prospect in Schwindt, and both a high and low draft pick, that 50% retention would have to be included for the Flames to look at this deal. I think there are better and younger options for the Flames to look at, especially at the cost they are paying in this deal.

That’s all for this weeks CapFriendly Friday, we will be back for more over the coming weeks where we will have some more laughs and analysis.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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