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Calgary Flames Trade Bait

So we all know Calgary's in the market for a scorer. We also know what that market basically looks like. What we don't know, or haven't yet explicitly itemized, is what the Flames may be offering their trade partner(s) in return.

It's not a long list.

The Flames are in the unenviable position of needing help without boasting much in the way of trade assets. Next years first and second round picks - common currency in deadline rental deals - are gone. And because they need to supplement the forward ranks (rather than merely incrementally improve a certain position) a player-for-player swap probably wouldn't make much sense either. Moving Langkow for rental-forward-X doesn't really get the team anywhere, for example. There isn't much in the way of prospects in the system either, making it doubly difficult to deal kids: most teams won't want what we have or would demand one of the few guys that are worth a damn.

What the Flames do have, however, is defensemen. Lots of them. However, given that we know Darryl Sutter likes to collect extra rear guards at the deadline and probably won't be moving any of the "big three" during the regular season (if ever), we can safely scratch Regehr, Phaneuf and Bouwmeester from the list. Giordano's emergence and high value contract ensures he won't be going anywhere either.

There's also a few players at the rosters edges that could be thrown into any potential deals as "pot sweeteners" without severely impacting the current success/fail rate. So we can probably throw them in the mix as well.

Cory Sarich

2009 - Cory Sarich 28 0 3 3 -2 16 0 0 0 0 20 0.0

It's been mentioned in this space before and repeated ad nauseum, but the recent scoring drought hammers the point home to the degree that there can no longer really be debate anymore: it doesn't make sense to pay $3.6M/year for a third pairing defender. Sarich was brought in a couple of years ago after the team struggled for several years to find a replacement for Leopold with Regehr. Sarich was at times good and bad in that role. He was moved to the second/third pairing last season where he fared better and has been demoted this year in the face of injuries/Giordano's step forward and, yes, the presence for 3 other high paid, minute-munching defenders.

He's good enough to play in many team's top two pairings and has an underrated mean streak. Sarich isn't all the capable offensively however and he's on the bad side of 30. I don't know what his perceived value is around the league, but the truth of the matter is his walking papers were signed when Bouwmeester said yes to Darryl Sutter. Whether he's moved at the deadline for immediate help or in the off-season to free up cap space is merely academic at this point*.

*(unless, of course, Sutter actually takes the plunge and deals one of Regehr or Phaneuf)

David Moss

2009 - David Moss 43 7 6 13 -5 14 3 0 2 0 89 7.9

I'm a huge fan of David Moss. And I think he spent a lot of this season either injured or playing in lousy circumstances (ahem, Jokinen and Iginla). However, his step backwards this season, his relative fragility, his decent contract as well as his 20 goal season last year (what one may call a "selling point") all conspire to potentially make him trade bait at the deadline. He likely wouldn't land anything of value by himself, but could be bundled to make an offer more likely to be accepted.

Dustin Boyd

2009 - Dustin Boyd 51 6 9 15 3 13 0 0 2 0 71 8.5

Ray Ferraro had a line about Boyd during the Chicago game recently. Something to the tune of "Boyd just can't seem to find a fit here". It was a similar story with Matthew Lombardi in town; good enough to tease, never capable of closing the deal. Boyd is the youngest player on the team and one of Sutter's only draft graduates to hint at an offensive upside. However, the kid has failed to find a foothold under a couple of different coaches and his underlying numbers actually back -up the bench bosses (despite my protestations). He's still relatively young and a distance away from his peak, but his utility remains low on this club and I can imagine he'd be target #1 for each and every "seller" the Flames engage at the deadline.

Defensive Prospects

Pick one. Flames have a dozen of them. Matt Pelech, Brett Palin, Keith Seabrook, Keith Aulie, Gord Baldwin, John Negrin, Tim Erixon, TJ Brodie. The guys who will no doubt evoke the most interest are the latter three, being younger and possessing more formidable scouting reports. Frankly, if there's anywhere the org can stand to lose a few futures, it's on the back-end. Hell, 4 of their current 6 guys are 26 or younger - it's not like there's going to be a changing of the guard any time soon. Again, I don't know if any of these guys has the kind of clout to land a viable NHLer on their own, but I'm sure one or two will be asked about.