Going forward - Flames trade targets


Assuming Sutter sees what I see, the lone significant move of the off-season is moving Cory Sarich for either cap space or, if possible, a decent scoring forward. While the list of potential UFA's who could fill the Flames needs is brief (listed in the post below), there are actually several trade possibilities that come to mind:

1.) Simon Gagne for Sarich +

The Flyers are one fo the few teams in bigger cap trouble than the Flames and may be looking to move one of their big tickets. They also have a very young defense corps behind elder statsment Pronger and Timonen. Making this move would require Wayne Primeau being replaced by someone around league minimum, of course.

2.) Patrice Bergeron or Phil Kessel for Sarich +

It's been rumored that RFA Phil Kessel is up for grabs out of bean town, mainly because the Bruins have all of 5.34M in cap room, half of which is "bonus cushion" which can evaporate. Moving Kessel or Bergeron (the only Bruin to have a lousy season last year) so the team can keep one or the other probably makes sense. Marco Sturm may also be available, although his littany of severe injuries last season marks him as damaged goods.

3.) Patrick Sharp for Cory Sarich

As of right now, Sharp is the second highest paid Blackhawk behind newly signed Marian Hossa at 3.9M/year. That's no a big deal this season, but next year the Hawks will have to re-sign pending RFA's Andrew Ladd, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Jonanthn Toews.  

While Sharps' and Sarich's contracts basically cancel each other out, the move would balance out the Hawks salary structure somewhat - it would also mean not paying a 3rd line player 4M/year. Their blueline is also in need of some reinforcing; they currently have 4 established NHLers signed and one of them is the useless Brent Sopel. More than half of their defense corps is under 25.

4.) Colby Armstrong + for Cory Sarich

The Atlanta Thrashers still have't re-signed Armstrong who is RFA and have a woeful blueline outside of Hainesy, Kubina and Enstrom. Bogosian has definite promise, but the guy is 19 years old, while Anssi Salmela is the only other blueliner currently under contract.

Armstrong isn't a name that leaps to mind when it comes to offense, but he had a really good year last season considering his surroundings. He played the toughest competition on the team, managed a positive corsi rate (+0.8/60), the 3rd highest ESP/60 number on the club (2.13) and a miserly 2.13 GA/60. That seems like a guy who has figued things out to me and is just 26 years old.

As an added bonus, the Flames recently signed his bother Riley!

5.) Ray Whitney for Cory Sarich

The Hurricanes have 8M in cap space remaining with RFA's Tuomo Ruutu and Anton Babchuk left to sign. They also (still) have an extremely underwhelming blueline once you get past Pikanen, Gleason and Corvo (and even that's not terribly impressive).

Whitney is old, but has just one more year left on his 3.55M deal. He's still an extremely effective scorer, however, gathering 83, 61 and 77 points in the last 3 seasons respectively. He also played the toughest competition out of CAR forwards last season and still managed a positive corsi rate (+8/60) and more than 2 ES points per hour.

This is all fantasy and speculation, so feel free to add your own!

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