Trading Miikka Kiprusoff - Not Easy

NASHVILLE TN - OCTOBER 19: Goalie Miikka Kiprusoff #34 of the Calgary Flames looks to the future. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

Speculating on trade scenarios with Miikka Kiprusoff is no easy matter. It is easier to spin out scenarios on Jarome Iginla than Kipper.

Iginla has a NMC, you can immediately narrow the field to teams with Cup potential in the next 3 years. From there you go through the rosters for teams who lack Winger depth, younger teams that may appreciate a leader presence or other elements Jarome can bring. Glance at their Cap and see if Iggy resigning at a discount fits their long-term Cap management.

All Calgary really will be looking for in return is youth. That will be the primary factor.

Trading a Goalie, especially a top Goalie, is a much more difficult trade to structure.

Edit: Update - Roberto Luongo has apparently asked for a trade out of Vancouver in his exit meeting. This changes the dynamic of this article quite a bit, as Luongo will certainly go to the top of the list to be moved this off-season. Luongo's contract is not likely to be interpreted positively but how it affects his trade value at the age of 33 will be interesting.

Establishing Value

The best comparable to Kipper is the Dominik Hasek trade of June 30th, 2001 between the Red Wings and Sabres. Hasek was 36 at the time of the trade, same age as Kipper, who will turn 36 in October. Both Hasek and Kipper are / were proven NHL Goalies with elite seasons of performance on their resume.

One differential is health. Hasek was haunted by a lingering groin injury that had taken him out in the season prior to the trade. Kipper's health is unquestioned and his work-load of 70+ games for the last 7 seasons is almost unprecedented.

But the goaltending position since the lock-out has dropped in valuation generally speaking. As previously discussed top starting Goalies are almost never traded. Throw in a half dozen teams this off-season looking for a strong starting G and a relatively low supply and it is hard to measure how the trade will play out.

I am going to use the Hasek trade as a bar. Dominik Hasek was traded for Vyacheslav Kozlov, a 1st round pick (30th overall - Jim Slater) and a conditional pick that was not exercised. Kozlov was no slouch, he went on to put up 4 - 70+ point seasons and hung out with Ilya Kovalchuk in Atlanta. Bottom line - top line player.

So the value of Kipper should translate roughly to a 1st line player, a late 1st round pick and a conditional or the equivalent.

Off-Season Demand

Massive rumors surround the Canucks at the moment and moving Luo or Schneider. Schneider will certainly be the number one choice for many teams but there is no guarantee that they are even on the market. Luo has said he will waive his NTC if asked but Schneider's agent has come out saying there is no inevitable trade looming. Really the ideal situation for the Canucks, going into next season, would be to retain both their top G and work on tweaking elsewhere.

Tomas Vokoun is out there but again I suspect the Capitals will resign him. Josh Harding is the remaining quality UFA G and at this point he will probably get himself a very good contract from any number of teams.

This off-season demand will pump up the trade value at least slightly this year. Another reason why I peg the Hasek trade as the price point.

The Cap

Many G trades speculated out in the inter-webs do not consider a important little tid-bit. No NHL team allocates more than 7.75 million to the position as a whole, including the back-up. In fact only 3 teams in the NHL currently allocate over 7 million to the G position total. Kipper's Cap hit alone is higher than what 20 NHL teams allocate to Goaltending.

Constructing a Kipper trade without being conscious of how his added Cap hit will impact their Goalie position is naive. It also makes constructing trades difficult unless one of the other team's G is coming back. It works in some cases, in others it doesn't. Throwing that "other" G back to Calgary also dilutes the value of the return back for Kipper.

Creating a Hole

It is nice to talk about trading Kipper but it will also create a significant hole in the Flames. Flames fans have been spoiled and have forgotten what it is like to have a weak Goaltender, a revolving door on the position. There is no way the Flames will go into next season with just Leland Irving and Henrik Karlsson between the pipes, so another G will be added.

They either take a G back in trade or go pick one up UFA on a short-term deal. What is better? UFA shopping on a short supply market or wrangling a weaker G back in a Kipper trade to throw into a three way rotation?

Trade Speculation

Constructing a Kipper trade is a challenge. Aspiring to a Hasek level return is a little heady, even in a short supply market. Kipper straight across really doesn't work too well in my calibrations. The trade has to be a multi-player trade which opens up a whole new can of worms.

The main decision to be made right away is if the Flames will want draft picks or roster players. In some cases due to the Cap a roster player must come back, in other cases a bounty of draft picks can be the return but is that the route the Flames want? If they take it, no matter what they say, it will be much more rebuild than retool.

Anyway, without further adieu I'll dive in.

The Toronto Maple Leafs

This is the best trade partner for the Flames and Kipper. I know this is horrific but really it is true. When you go through all the rosters, the goals of both teams at this point in time, the Leafs surplus of prospects, it really is the team that fits best. The team most likely to put the best offer on the table.

Double Face Palms must be sweeping through Flame Nation but on paper the team's needs and surpluses fit each other like a glove. The Leafs have what Calgary wants and vice versa.

The optics on a Leaf trade with Calgary will be terrible. The two worst trades in Flames history were with the Maple Leafs. A team that has the Gilmour trade and the Phaneuf trade already in the history books could not be laughing more at the prospect of, yet again, getting the best player out of the deal in Kipper.

Toronto's Needs

Brian Burke announced that his primary goals this off-season were a #1 G and #1 C and that he was going to do it the old fashioned way through trades. But Burke has already screwed Calgary once, any kind of trade is going to be a tough sell in Calgary.

Kipper is exactly what Burke wants though. Proven #1 G, healthy, already used to a media intense hockey market, consistent, two years left on the contract with the potential to give another 2-3 years as his collection of young G matures.

Burke will balk at Luo and his monster contract. He has bad blood with Vancouver already. Unless he can buy Vokoun as a UFA, Kipper will probably be his choice.

For a trade to work here the core of it has to involve Calgary and Toronto swapping 1st round picks. If they can't agree to that, it is a non-starter. Calgary gets Toronto's 5th overall and Toronto gets Calgary's 14th overall. I don't think Burke will be adverse to this because really he did not plan to have a top pick anyway and he is in a win now mode.

That is the unalterable core of the trade and any deal with Toronto has to include that. If Toronto was willing to give up just its 5th overall for Kipper, that in and of itself may be close enough to get it done but I don't see how the Leafs don't dump Cap back.

To make the trade work Calgary has to eat Cap back from Toronto, a player that will have negative value. Toronto is too close to the Cap to take Kipper on without a player going back to Calgary. An overpaid player.

Leaf Trade:

CGY

Kipper / Brett Carson / 14th overall pick

TOR

5th overall pick / Joe Colborne / Mike Komisarek / Cody Franson / Rights to Gustavvson

Mike Komisarek is no one's idea of an attractive player to have. Think Cory Sarich but more expensive. With a 4.5 million Cap hit for not one but two more years, he is already seeing time on the bottom D pairing in Toronto, he has significant negative value. Negative value that needs to be off-set.

About the only thing he brings to Calgary is a right handed shot but he swings the trade back way too heavy for Toronto, to balance it out Cody Franson is brought aboard and Brett Carson is sent back.

If you just can not stomach Mike Komisarek, and I don't blame you, keep in mind he does not have to be in the trade BUT the Leafs have to dump Cap back. Two other overpaid and very dump-able players for Toronto are Colby Armstrong and Matthew Lombardi, paid 3 and 3.5 million respectively. Include either one and the meat of the deal is still there.

Gustavvson is a complete toss-in, I could not care less if he was there or not. He has done nothing so far in his NHL career to inspire confidence but is only 27. Some Goaltenders take time and a three way rotation between him, Irving and Karlsson should be enough to get Calgary through the season.

The key to the trade, once again, is moving up in the draft and getting at least one strong prospect for Calgary. That is the equivalent to the Hasek trade of a 1st line player, a low first round pick and a conditional pick. In this trade the 1st line player is equivalent to the draft swap and Joe Colborne.

The fringes of this trade can be tweaked. Cody Franson can be kept by Toronto and Toronto's 2nd round pick included instead. Olli Jokinen rights could be thrown in etc. There are several different ways to calibrate a Toronto trade but all of them center around the 1st round draft pick swap. If that is taken out, the dynamics will radically alter but really it is the primary draw for Calgary, without it the Flames really should be on the phone with other teams instead.

The Chicago Blackhawks

A team firmly in its Cup window and going one and done since taking the holy grail? The problem spot is definitely in net. They should be looking over G this off-season and whether they have lost patience with Cory Crawford or not is the question.

The first point here is that if the Blackhawks keep Crawford and add Kipper. Their G Cap hit would be the highest in the NHL. They could do this of course but it would be a high price to allocate to the position.

The Flames will not likely want Crawford back in trade, he is too expensive for his performance, at a 2.667 million Cap hit and I would view him as having negative value due to his cap hit but the 'Hawks certainly won't.

Instead I would take Ray Emery to add to the rotation in Calgary. Emery is 1.15 million, Nick Leddy is 1.12 million and Mike Frolik is 2.33 miollion. Total Cap hit taken back by Calgary - 4.6 million. The deal can easily work for the Hawks - Cap wise IF they are prepared to allocate 8.5 million in Cap to G.

'Hawk Trade:

CGY: Kipper / Paul Byron / Brett Carson

CHI: Michael Frolik / Nick Leddy / Ray Emery / 2nd

Paul Byron is included to provide C depth, something the 'Hawks are looking for. He is interchangeable with a number of young C's, Lance Bouma, Blair Jones or Krys Kolanos. The 'Hawks could use more Center depth and if they are adding in their 2nd round pick one of these C's will have to be included.

The core of this trade for Calgary is really Nick Leddy and Michael Frolik. Emery and the 2nd is the fringe of the trade.

Chicago would take on the highest cap allocation to G in the NHL, but it very well may be worth it, the team needs to add a solid Goaltender to its ranks one way or another, if they want to push for a Cup. They were too low in the standings this year and their early exit from the playoffs was all on the man between the pipes.

If they get themselves Kipper, it very well may mean another Cup for Chi-Town because really this team is set in both the forward ranks and the top 4 D.

I had another trade that included Corey Crawford but I am not going to post it because I know 'Hawks fans overvalue the young G and really I see no point in the Flames acquiring him.

There are much cheaper equivalents as UFA's and the Flames already have a decent young G prospect pool with Leland Irving, Karri Ramo and Laurent Brossoit. If they are looking for any kind of G going forward it should be a Vet UFA or at the very least a G with a 100 or so NHL games under his belt.

The Tampa Bay Lightning

The other top team, aside from the Leafs as far as Goalie demand goes, is the Bolts. High demand for a top G but also one of the hardest teams to calibrate a trade with, if the Flames are looking to stay competitive for next season.

Stevie Y is sitting on literal bounty of draft picks for the 2012 draft. They have their own 1st at 10th overall, Detroit's 1st and three 2nd round picks.

A Kipper trade could take the Vokoun formula of a 1st round pick and 2 - 2nd round picks easily here but that was also a total bust for Nashville when they did it with Florida. Make no doubt about it, if Kipper is traded for this as Tomas Vokoun was, it is an absolute declaration of a REBUILD through the draft.

Tampa may not be thrilled with giving up so many draft picks though.

As a starting point for the Bolts, they are going to have to have Brett Connolly on the table and I am not sure how practical that is from Tampa's perspective. He is Yzerman's first draft pick, has talent and projects to be a top 6 forward but if we are to stick to the Hasek formula, we can assume Brett Connolly will be a first line forward.

Bolt Trade:

CGY: Kipper

TB: Brett Connolly / 2nd round pick (the WIld's - 37th overall) /

This puts the Bolts into the top 5 teams with dollars allocated to the G position. To help the Bolts with their Cap, Garon and Karlsson could be swapped as well. This would lower the overall Cap hit for Tampa by about 500k but would also not likely be seen as much of a draw to them.

The Bolts will also have Cap issues at this point. As a cash strapped team they will be very attracted to Kipper's low cost in real dollars of only 1.5 million in the his final contract year but will be utterly loath to give up Brett Connolly. The only way I can see this trade working is if the realization is set for Tampa that Connolly will never be able to break into the top 6 in Tampa with Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos locking down the #1 and #2 C positions.

There is a potential nightmare trade in the works here for Flames fans. One I am sure Stevie Y will have on the table and that is Vinny for Kipper. It would open up Tampa's Cap but the return for Calgary would be a disaster. Vinny's contract is one of the worst in the NHL and his performance is far from that of a 7 million dollar player to say nothing of his injury issues and the fact he is going on 32.

If the Flames move their most valuable trade asset for a depreciating Lecavalier, Flames fans should fear the future of a long-drawn out demise. The team will enter long-term Cap hell on the back of a 31 year old - 50 pt Center with an NMC for the next 5-7 years whose Cap hit is 7.7 million and real dollars are 10 million a year.

The hope is Vinny will kibosh the trade with his NMC or the Flames Owners will simply say no to paying 10 million a year to Vinny. Its Brent Connolly or hanging up the phone for the Flames and if Stevie Y is rational about his roster with Stamkos and Vinny, he would see Connolly stuck behind the two of them serves little purpose.

The Florida Panthers

If a Luongo trade is made, this is the team most likely to take him. This one or Tampa. Luongo will certainly waive his NTC to go back to Florida and returning to the Panthers is likely his preferable destination.

No doubt about the fact that the Panthers could use a stronger G and no doubt that Dale Tallon will not be put off by a older Goaltender either. Playoff Rat Mania has returned to Miami and it just might be time to ride the wave in hockey as well as on the beach.

Well the Panthers are not the top team for Kipper, they are one that can take a good crack at him. Owners in Floridia will also like the cheap factor on Kipper's final years. They have the Cap room, way more than Tampa and they also have NHL ready players to deal. Luo in contrast has that contract...

It is highly unlikely the Panthers will part with Jonathan Huberdeau, a top prospect we will probably see in the Panthers top 6 next year but due to the extreme surplus they have on Center depth they may deal a couple of them for Kipper.

CGY: Kipper

FLO: Nick Bjugstad / Rocco Grimaldi / 2nd round pick.

The Panthers have no Cap issues and can easily absorb Kipper's Cap hit. The Owners down there, will like the low real dollars spent and they have a bottle neck of 16 C prospects at the moment, including top rated Huberdeau.

The Flames are thin on top 6 Center prospects. This trade works from this angle but does leave the Flames sifting through a thin UFA market in search of another G to bring aboard. Again, there is no way on earth the Flames will go into next season with just Irving and Karlsson.

Bjugstad is a first round pick with size and the tools to play top 6 in the NHL. Girmaldi is another small player, with greater risk but with a chance of also breaking into the top 6. In fact he can only play the top 6. He is an all or nothing gamble, he either makes it in the NHL in this role or his career ends.

This trade has risk for Calgary which is why I included a 2nd round pick. Florida gets one of the most proven NHL G's in exchange for unproven prospects who no one can know if they will even translate into NHL players. Florida does this trade because they can not sit on 16 C prospects, it is a unusual surplus to have at one position and Kipper will give them a good chance at the playoffs again next year.

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