Flames at the deadline

One day left till the feeding frenzy and the Flames suddenly have a lot of holes opening up in the roster. The result is both a burgeoning need to add depth to the line-up and a simultaneous reduction in the number of viable trade assets available to move. 

For example, prior to the Primeau, Bourque and Langkow injuries, the Flames seemed to be bursting at the seams down the middle, rendering a guy like Matthew Lombardi a potential trade asset. However, with the club poised to depart on a difficult 7 game road trip with the likes of Peters, Lundmark and Van Der Gulik on the active roster, Lombardi suddenly seems indispensible. Add in Giordano's year ending shoulder surgery and the Flames have areas of concern throughout the line-up, but an unfortunate dearth of trading pieces (in terms of actual, NHL-ready bodies).

A couple of weeks earlier, the impetus was to upgrade the top 6 forward or top 4 defensemen positions. Now, in light of this spate of injuries, supplementing depth becomes the goal. That is, if Sutter decides to do anything at all. With Calgary 8 points up on Vancouver with 20 games left, Darryl might decide to ride out the hurt till the end of the regular season and hope Bourque and Langkow return in time to make a difference when it matters.

Of course, that also means hoping no one else gets injured. Calgary's depth - especially at forward - is stretched to the breaking point. If someone like Craig Conroy, David Moss or the frequently injured Todd Bertuzzi goes down, the Flames roster would be hopelessly riddled with rookies and fringe players - enough to threaten their hopes for a division crown and/or play-off success. 

So, let's assume Calgary will make a move by Wednesday. Who should they target? What do they have to offer?

To answer the latter question first, not a lot. As mentioned, Sutter is going to have clutch his remaining NHL capable players to his breast. Calagry could, perhaps, deal a current blueliner for an upgrade given that the team is still one veteran-in-the-AHL deep on the back-end (Anders Eriksson), but I can't fathom moving a forward with the way things are up front. 

Therefore, the majority of the organizations "rental targets" will have to be guys available for prospects or picks. Preferably nominal ones (unless a genuine - and signed - star is coming back), because the Flames aren't exactly swimming in highly skilled futures.

So...with all those caveats and considerations in mind, let's take a look at some potential "new Flames":

Marty Reasoner, C


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Marty Reasoner 60 10 13 23 9 26 0 0 0 0 99 10.1

Reasoner doesn't bring much in the offense department, but he is a capable enough depth player. On a fairly lousy hockey team, Reasoner has played against relatively strong competition and has the best ES plus/minus rating on the club owing to a team best 1.93 GA/60 rate. Reasoner is also a fairly good PKer, which the Flames lost when Bourque went down.

The former Oiler would probably come cheap and he's the type of guy that could be employed anywhere from the 2nd to 4th line without too much of a problem.

Steve Sullivan, RW


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Steve Sullivan 22 4 9 13 0 18 1 0 0 0 45 8.9

Tiny and oft-injured, acquiring Sullivan would be a gamble. He does, however, have top-notch offensive abilities and is particularly effective on the power play. I dont know how willing NSH is to deal Sullivan, but he's a player of interest even though he's probably not as versatile as Reasoner above.

Steve Reinprecht, C


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Steven Reinprecht 58 10 21 31 4 14 1 0 2 0 75 13.3

Also an injury risk, Reinprecht does have a team best 2.31 ESP/60 going for him. Reinprecht was always a guy who seemed to have good to excellent offensive skills the few times he managed to stay in the Flames line-up during his time here.

Bill Guerin, RW


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Bill Guerin 61 16 20 36 -15 63 5 0 3 1 181 8.8

None of Guerin's counting stats or underlying numbers are impressive this year. One wonders if the big guy decided to mail it in once it was clear that the Islanders were front runners for Tavares or whether he's just old and slowing. Given that he'll likely be the most expensive guy to acquire out of those discussed here, it may not be worth the gamble. 

Jordan Leopold, D


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Jordan Leopold 64 6 14 20 -10 18 1 0 1 1 82 7.3

My secret fantasy is that Sutter manages to grab Leopold for a song this Wednesday. Although he's had terrible luck with injuries since leaving town, he's actually managed to stay healthy for the entire season. Calgary has rotated a number of partners through the #2 slot beside Reggie since Leopold left with varying degrees of success. None of them have seemed to compliment Regehr they way Leopold did during his time here, although I may be remembering the pairing through a rosy recollection colored by the 03/04 run to the cup.

Leopold's been facing the softest competition on the Avs, so who knows if he can actually handle the tough sledding these days. Even if he can't anymore, he would make a decent replacement for the LTI Mark Giordano since both are relatively fleet-of-foot and good at moving the puck. Gio wasn't facing the big boys either, so Leo could conceivably slot right in (even the shortend versions of their names rhyme!).

Greg Zanon, D


GP G A P +/- PIM PPG SHG GWG GTG SOG PCT
2008 - Greg Zanon 63 3 6 9 3 34 0 0 0 0 43 7.0

Not a lot of people outside (or inside) of Nashville are familiar with Greg Zanon, but he's actually been one of the best value no-name blueliners around the last couple of years. This season, Zanon has faced some of the toughest competition on the Predators and come out with one of the best GA/60 rates on the club anyways (2.19). That's fairly impressive. 

Zanon isn't going to score much or play on the PP, but he's a great shot-blocker and a proven Pker. He could actually be a decent compliment to the still erratic Dion Phaneuf at ES.

So - that's my list, which obviously isn't exhaustive. Feel free to add your own suggestions or wishes in the comments.

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