The NHL trade deadline is a mere day away, and absolutely nobody has any idea what Jay Feaster is planning on doing. Not in a "What will he do? I don't know but I really want to see" kind of way, like Darryl Sutter. It's more so a case of the Calgary Flames being in a tenuous position, Jay Feaster being in even more of a tenuous position, and him playing his cards very close to his chest. So with that, here's the second part of what the Flames might be doing at the NHL Trade Deadline--what they need to succeed. Part three will address likely targets and trade scenarios.
The problem with the Flames being buyers is that what they need to simply push for the playoffs and what they need to succeed in the playoffs are worlds apart. That being said, here's all of what the Flames generally need.
1. Bottom pairing defenseman (who can skate)
With D Adam Pardy out for the season, the Flames are in dire need for some help on the blue line. The current situation has left Coach Brent Sutter playing pairing blender and regifted all Calgary Flames fans with the trainwreck on ice that is Steve Staios-Jay Bouwmeester. This is absolutely the Flame's top priority, unless they somehow feel T.J. Brodie is ready for the NHL full time (he isn't, they don't think he is). This needs to happen no matter whether they're simply pushing for the playoffs or going all out on a Stanley Cup run. How could they do even better? By making sure they get one who can skate well enough that they don't get blown past by forwards every time they're on the PK.
2. Tough LW
With Niklas Hagman currently on the outs with the club and playing on the 4th line, it's clear the Flames need someone to fill that spot a little more appropriately. Hagman isn't the sort of player who thrives in that placement- not long term at least. Being an offensive minded player, rather than a grit player, his talents are being wasted there and it's not a long term solution for the Flames. Best thing to do? Replace him with someone who's more suited for defensive zone faceoffs and top line competition. A Shawn Thornton type, if you will.
If the Flames intend to truly go all out for the Stanley Cup this year (which I strongly advise against), this is what they absolutely need: a top center who backchecks hard, outplays top competition, takes crucial faceoffs, and can score at least sixty points in a given season under those circumstances. These centers do not grow on trees. They are not cheap, and they are not readily available. They are also what you need to win a Stanley Cup.
4. Draft picks and Prospects
If Jay Feaster thinks he'll be in around for the long haul no matter the outcome of this year, the best thing he can do for the Flames and his own career is stock up on draft picks and prospects. If the Calgary Flames could grab some prospects like Tyler Toffoli, Jordan Weal, Greg McKegg, or Scott Glennie- players who put up steady if not necessarily flashy CHL numbers, they could be set to have a solid team in 3 to 4 years, which is not what they're currently on track for. Draft picks are a little bit riskier, but if Acting GM Jay Feaster has faith in the Flame's scouts, those are worth stocking up on just as much.
On a "likeliness" scale of "Adam Sandler making a bad movie" to "That one guy from Twilight winning an Oscar", the defenseman acquisition rates at a "Big Daddy 2" and the "Elite #1 Center" is somewhere around sparkling vampires holding sparkling award statuettes. A few picks or prospects might be acquired in selling off a UFA-to-be or two, and who knows how likely a depth forward is to be acquired.
Part one of the Calgary Flames Trade Deadline Series can be found here.