So the skuttlebutt all around town now is that the time has come for the Flames to get serious about re-building the team. It's widely accepted now that it would be best if the Flames traded Jarome Iginla, but who else might, or should be on the trading block?
Here's a breakdown of some names that have been thrown around recently, and whom of those that I think the Flames should trade and who they shouldn't trade, and the reasons why.
Alex is Iggy's biggest fan-boy, to the detriment of himself and also the entire team. He's always looking to set up Iginla even when it's the wrong move, and even though he has the most accurate shot on the team. He's getting long in the tooth and likely would be lost without his hero, so if Iggy is to go, then Tanguay should go as well.
Although not as old as Iggy or Tangs, Curtis has been around for a long time and is part of the old core. He's talented but lacks leadership qualities, so there's no reason to think he'd have much of an impact on a new core of players. He'd also fetch a decent return in a trade, so I'd say move him out as well.
Although Kipper's numbers have slipped this season, he didn't have many games to get in top form before he got injured, and still could put together a decent season. I'm still convinced that he's one of the top five goaltenders in the NHL. It would be tempting to trade him since his value would be high in a trade, but the time without him has shown that the Flames are woefully unprepared to move forward without him. While I would not be against a trade if the Flames were to get a workable replacement in return along with some prospects and/or picks, perhaps it would be best to take advantage of the remaining year of his contract, and use that time to better groom a young replacement.
Although it's also tempting to consider trading Jay Bouwmeester because so many teams are desperate for solid defensemen, to do so would leave a huge hole in what is already a very thin D corps. J-Bo is our most reliable guy on defense day in and day out, and I don't think he gets enough credit for that. It would be exceedingly difficult to get a satisfactory replacement in return for him. I think the cost of dealing him in terms of how it would weaken the D-line is not worth the potential gains that trading him may bring.
Not sure why so many people think that the Flames should trade Mark Giordano. Yes, he's had a bit of an off-season, but he's still a very good defenseman and works his guts out each and every night. He hasn't been around long enough to be considered a part of the older core (at least in my opinion), and at 29, he is still relatively young for a defenseman. I think he has several quite serviceable years left in him, and has valuable leadership qualities that the team will need down the road, especially if they bring in younger players. In fact, Mark Giordano would be my first choice for the captaincy of the new, Iggy-less Flames. I think to trade him would be absolute folly.
Although this is Mike's second go-round with the Flames, he is not a guy who has been here long-term, so he is not a part of the older culture of the team. He is a very talented guy who has shown that he can work well with a lot of different players. After a slow start and an injury, he is now starting to show what he can do for the team, and I think he could be a valuble asset down the road for the Flames. I'd take advantage of the one more year that he is signed for, and see how he fits in with any new aquisitions. They can then assess whether they should extend his contract or trade him next season, based on his performance.
Lee has been one of our better offensive players, and at a bargain salary of 2.5 m/year. Although he is up for free agency, it's unlikely he would command much more to re-sign. I think the Flames should keep him, and try to sign him for at least three more seasons. No brainer.