The Calgary Flames have gotten off to a hot start (pun intended). It’s early, but this team looks like a playoff threat in the Western Conference. This isn’t super surprising when looking at the team on paper, since they have strong goaltending, defence, and centre core. We saw this expressed in our consolidated positional rankings, where they ranked highly in those three categories. The one position that didn’t rank high in the rankings however was wingers. They could surely use another top-six or top-nine winger.
Calgary’s current wingers
As currently constructed, the Flames are icing these wingers on a nightly basis:
Left wing: Jonathan Huberdeau, Andrew Mangiapane, Blake Coleman, Milan Lucic
Right wing: Tyler Toffoli, Dillon Dube, Trevor Lewis, Brett Ritchie
The left side is very solid, but the right side could definitely use some work. The loss of Matthew Tkachuk certainly weakened that spot. With the season underway, the Flames will have to turn to the trade market to add to their wings. A few days before the regular season kicked off, GM Brad Treliving was interviewed on Sportsnet 960, and mentioned that the Flames need another forward:
He didn’t say that they could use another forward, or that having another forward would be nice. Rather, he said the Flames need another forward. Looking at the right wing position currently, it makes sense that Flames management would want to acquire someone for Lewis’ spot, and move him down the lineup.
Ideally, the team could do something like the Tyler Toffoli acquisition last season, where you acquire a right shot forward who can play up or down your lineup. Treliving also mentioned that he doesn’t know when this trade for another forward could happen. He does love to shock us with his trades, so he could make a move tomorrow, or wait until the deadline.
My guess would be closer to the deadline, based on the current cap restrictions the Flames face.
The Flames’ cap space picture
With the 22-man roster the Flames are currently running, they are accruing $1.37M in space. That will equate to allow them to take on a much larger cap hit at the deadline. Will the Flames look to take on a rental, or someone with term? The answer may be a rental this time around.
Why? Well, Treliving is clearly continuing to look up next year’s crop of free agents. After all, he just re-upped backup Daniel Vladar for another two years after this season. He also recently gave eight-year extensions to both Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar. With all those re-signings, the Flames only have $2.55M in cap space left next summer, assuming the cap goes up by the project $1M.
Taking on term is certainly a possibility, and one of the defenders could be moved to make space work, so we will include those as well. But if I were a betting man, I’d throw my money on the rental route.
Potentially available players
With that in mind, let’s look at some players who could be available and fill the gap.
Wingers with term
- Travis Konecny ($5.5M x 3)
- Jordan Eberle ($5.5M x 2)
- Conor Garland ($4.95M x 4)
- Tanner Pearson ($3.25M x 2)
- Patrick Kane ($10.5M x 1)
- James Van Riemsdyk ($7.0M x 1)
- Timo Meier ($6.0M x 1)
- Gustav Nyquist ($5.5M x 1)
- Evgenii Dadonov ($5.0M x 1)
- Tyler Bertuzzi ($4.75M x 1)
- Tomas Tatar ($4.5M x 1)
- Joonas Donskoi ($3.9M x 1)
- Max Domi ($3.0M x 1)
- Nick Ritchie ($2.5M x 1)
Calgary’s still pushing in all the chips
The NHL season is early, but we know GM Brad Treliving wants to add another winger to this team. He could surprise us at any point, but must take the salary cap in future years into account. With the lack of cap space available in the immediate future, the Flames may choose to go down the rental route, unless one of their defencemen is traded. There is no shortage of wingers that might be available via the rental route, with names like Patrick Kane and Timo Meier being potential gamebreaker additions to a squad.
We’ll see what Treliving pulls off this time around.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire