The Calgary Flames were faced with a tough decision in the offseason when Johnny Gaudreau left and Matthew Tkachuk requested a trade. They were given two options, either to put the team into a rebuild or try to keep the team in contention through trade and free agency. Well, the organization chose the latter. Although the Flames decided to go all-in, the decision on how to approach the trade deadline is a little more cloudy based on their results. So, with how the Flames have performed so far this season, should they be buyers or hold come the trade deadline? We asked, you answered.
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Calgary is still figuring things out
The team entered the season looking like Pacific Division favourites, and contenders for not only the Western Conference, but for the Stanley Cup. So far this season, we have yet to see this type of play from the Flames, especially on a consistent basis. However, the team is currently in a very competitive race for a playoff spot, not being able to separate themselves from the pack in the Western Conference.
Despite this, the Flames are only five points away from leading the Pacific Division, and, they are only six points away from being second place in the Western Conference. To put it simply, not Western Conference team is Out of the Woods yet when it comes to being a playoff lock.
So with all of this being considered, how do fans think the Flames should approach the deadline? Our options went with what should actually be on the table for the Flames and how management approaches. The team will not be sellers, but they will either add or stay with their lineup.
For so many trade deadlines, we have seen the Flames buy small. Who remembers when the Flames were supposed to get Mark Stone but ended up getting Oscar Fantenberg? Or when the Flames got Erik Gustafsson? If there is one thing this team is very experienced in doing, it’s buying small for the playoffs.
It is understandable why a good amount of fans want to see the organization take this route though, as they would still be strengthening the team without giving up too much in case things go south. It would be a risk averse way to load up, however, the Flames may not look all that improved once the additions come in, and it might not be enough to make them contenders for the Stanley Cup.
It would be a very entertaining trade deadline if the Flames were to buy big. With the names of Bo Horvat, Jakob Chyrchrun, Erik Karlsson, and many more elite talents available, do the Flames decide to push all their chips in? I’m not sure if going for a rental would be a good move for Calgary, however, one name the really intrigues me who I really want the Flames to go after if they are able to get an extension done would be Timo Meier.
The Flames would be way deeper at forward and would be a lot more dangerous to score goals, which is something they have struggled to do this season. The Flames may even decide to trade for a defenceman depending on if they think Oliver Kylington will be coming back this season. Could that defenceman be one of the big names? It’s unlikely, but we have been surprised before.
The team on paper looks very good. This is the reason why many people had such high expectations for Calgary coming into this season. Maybe all the team needs is more time to figure out how to play best. With the amount of turnover the team had this offseason, the team absolutely was gonna need some time to build chemistry. On top of that, based off the standings, the Flames are not even doing that bad. As mentioned before, they are not that far off from taking the division lead, and if Vegas keeps struggling, the Flames just might find themselves on top of the division. Why give up assets if you might not have to?
The Flames window is now
One thing that is certain is that the Flames will not be selling. Not after the direction they chose during the offseason, and after the big contracts they gave to Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, and Nazem Kadri. This team is here to compete for the Stanley Cup, and that will always be the goal in mind when they are assessing how to approach a trade. The question is, does the organization believe that the roster as it is can compete, or do they think upgrades are needed? Soon, we will find out.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire