As alluded to earlier the Flames will likely have the third highest amount of Cap space going into the off-season. I argued that this is a unique Ace in the hole the Flames have that the Oilers never did. One of the two people who commented on my previous article requested potential player targets this off-season.
I'll give it a shot but this is really the task of the more sophisticated analysts over at Flames Nation, regardless I'll give it a go. Don't view this article as an absolute argument but rather a discussion starter. I am not doing any advanced stat analysis on this.
The parameters are:
(1) The 23-27 age bracket
(2) Targeting teams who are at the top of Cap
(3) Current roster players on those teams who are RFA or UFA.
(4) And finally openings on the Flames roster this year (not much limitation here but some areas are more open than others - LW for example is fairly set )
So who may Feaster be talking with at the draft this year?
Mason Raymond at the age of 26 may be a candidate to add a affordable RW a bargain price. Derek Roy is also a notable name going UFA but he is 29, he is that small skilled C who the Flames may take on at the right price. Roy on a short term contract does fit an area of significant weakness for the Flames down the middle.
Conclusion: The Canuck's hand will be forced one way or another to cut players loose, be it buyouts, trades or letting RFAs / UFAs walk. They are not the ideal partner for an acquisition from the Flames though. Better players can be sought out.
The Hawks have a bevy of players in which to ponder who stays and who goes, all within that 23-27 range.
On D there is Nick Leddy (age 22) who goes RFA and Niklas Hjalmarrson (age 25) signed for one more year. The rest of their D roster has NTC. The Flames should be in on either one of these players.
On the F ranks the list is long - David Bolland is a 26 year old C, Michael Frolik is a 25 year old RW neither has trade restrictions and both are signed on for one more year at 3.375 and 2.333 respectively.
Victor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell are 27 year old LWs going UFA but I don't see either as a fit on the Flames due to age and the Flames LW depth although Stalberg would be worth a hard look.
Conclusion: Mama Blackhawk's nest is overflowing with young little Hawk chicks and some are definitely going to be thrown from the nest to go flying elsewhere. Who goes will really be about who the Hawks see as priority in their plans going forward but no matter who they throw away or start shopping around the Flames should be listening.
A very likely candidate I could see the Flames getting is Michael Frolik, he is a clear target player this off-season for the Flames. I also could see the Hawks moving Hjalmarrsson in a trade, not because they want to but because removing his Cap hit would significantly help them.
Something is going to give this off season in Philly but I think it may be more along the lines of the big splashy trade that is Holmgren's calling card. If the Flames still had Jbo going into the off-season I would rank them higher but as it stands now I give it a Flyer/Flames deal about a 50/50 chance.
They have a lot of players going UFA but they are all on the wrong side of 30 and will therefore be of no interest to the Flames.
I highly doubt that we will see any Brayden Schenn's or Sean Couturier's being moved both players would obviously be of high interest to the Flames. The only name that kind of stands out is Wayne Simmonds at age 24, a RW but he has a Cap hit of 3.975 million for the next six years, the length of that contract is an issue.
Same with Jakub Voracek age 23, a RW but again a Cap hit of 4.25 million for 3 more years.
I think Holmgren may trade one of them but I am not sure if they are the best fit for the Flames due to their contract lengths and Cap hits...
On the Flyers D the two attractive possible pieces are Braydon Coburn age 27 and Andrej Meszaros age 26. Their Cap hits are 4.5 and 4 million respectively. Holmgren may cut one loose.
I would not put it past Feaster but I also would not bet the farm. A Flyers trade could work but I could see Feaster losing the trade with Holmgren.
The Flames will be up to something this off-season whether it is open market shopping for UFAs, making trades to take players and Cap back, fiddling at the draft or pondering buyouts for themselves or scooping up existing buyouts. It will be a busy off-season.
As I am writing this article I see it is growing out of control in length so I am going to stop now.
Make no mistake about the situation this year. The Flames will have a lot to choose from and there is no doubt in my mind that they will be adding roster ready players to the team from other clubs via trade as they are able to absorb those cap hits.
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