As the trade deadline approaches, many trade rumours and speculation begin. The Calgary Flames are obviously not safe from these rumours. It has been reported that if the Flames need a fall back trade, Anaheim Ducks forward Maxime Comtois could be the player they get. Comtois has struggled the past couple of years, but could potentially be a solid breakout candidate with a change of scenery.
Maxime Comtois’ on-ice numbers
Maxime Comtois had a career year in 2021 as he led the Anaheim Ducks in points. Ever since that season, his production has taken a sizeable hit. Factors such as having an unsustainable shooting percentage and the Ducks just being bad could all play a part. Although, Comtois is currently on a line with Trevor Zegras and is still struggling to produce.
Comtois’ underlying are also not good and help tell more of a story.
These numbers do not help paint a pretty picture for Comtois. Each year, his underlying numbers have gotten worse and worse. This year, Comtios ranks near the bottom of the league in all of these stats except PDO. The “Anaheim sucks” argument is still there considering most of the other players near the bottom of the league are on the Ducks. However, even in his best production season, he put up just below-average numbers. Looking at his PDO, Comtois had luck on his side in 2021 and has been unlucky ever since.
Moving over to HockeyViz.com and looking at Comtois’ isolated impact from the past three years, we can continue to the see trend of struggle. The last time Comtois had a positive offensive impact was once again in 2021 where had +2% and has only had negative impacts since with -5% and -3% in their respective years. He always struggled in the defensive end of the ice. A +3% for his defensive impact is not good and neither is a +5%. The only year he didn’t struggle was last season, where he was average with a 0%. In addition, the power play is also not a strong suit for him with negative impacts each year.
Although he is young, Maxime Comtois doesn’t seem to have many redeemable qualities at the NHL level nor does he scream breakout candidate.
Maxime Comtois is in the final year of his two-year deal with a $2.037 million cap hit. This isn’t a huge deal considering that the Flames have $4 million in deadline cap space, so if he is to be one of their only acquisitions, there should be no cap problems. Where the problem occurs is his qualifying offer.
Comtois’ qualifying offer is $2.445 million and while it’s not much more than his current cap hit, he wouldn’t be worth that much if he shows no signs of improved played. Along side potentially not being worth the money, the Flames have a projected $2 million in cap space next offseason, barring the cap rises more than expected, so it’s plausible they couldn’t even afford his qualifying offer.
Would Comtois even fit into the lineup?
The Flames already have enough wingers, so would Comtois even get good minutes or even play? It’s unlikely Comtois takes anyone’s spot in the top-nine, except for Lucic but even then I struggle to see that happening. So that just leaves the fourth line. The fourth line is currently comprised of Jakob Pelletier, Trevor Lewis, and Walker Duehr and they have played great in the two games they have been together.
There is a chance that Pelletier and Duehr get taken off that line and Comtois draws in, but then is it really worth trading assets to put a struggling, young player on the fourth line, considering that he’d likely be gone in the offseason? Now it’s likely the Flames wouldn’t have to give up much, but it wouldn’t be surprising if the Ducks demand a middle-round pick due to his age.
Verdict on Comtois
Trading for Maxime Comtois wouldn’t make a lot sense for the Flames for tons of reasons. Comtois has struggled to produce since the 2021 season and has put up some lacklustre results both offensive and defensively which make me doubt a breakout season. Comtois only being the age of 24 would be a reason to get him, but the Flames would most likely not have a spot for him in the lineup, as well as Comtois not being worth his qualifying offer and the Flames not wanting to spend valuable cap space on him.