As alluded to in a previous article, Craig Conroy has hinted that the Flames are working hard to recover a 2nd round pick in the draft.
Easier said than done though, as the Flames have basically two options on that front. They trade down on their first round pick or they make a separate trade to recover it. The trading down option has really split M&G readers. It has been some time since our poll has had such an even split on a question.
If trading down on the 1st (14th overall) is not desirable, then the other option is to take on a expensive / older player, hopefully on the last year of his contract, and get a 2nd round pick included in that trade. Conroy hinted in his interview that the Flames are considering this because they do have money for the upcoming season.
The general idea itself is not new.
The concept has been previously discussed by Kent Wilson on Flames Nation here. Wilson suggests trading Matt Stajan to Montreal for Scott Gomez, getting a 2nd rounder thrown in should be possible.
Despite Kent unpacking the favorable numbers in the background on Gomez, the suggestion of such a move, invoked a fairly visceral negative response from FN readers. Generally speaking a more informed group than the casual fan.
One can only imagine how the casual fan would react to such a move but lets explore the concept.
It is easy to just demand the Flames get that 2nd rounder magically back, like they are pulling a rabbit out of a hat. In reality it is a challenge in the Flames particular situation, as Conroy alluded to.
So trading down or making a trade for a overpaid player that needs a 2nd round pick thrown in to balance the trade appear to be the two choices. For a team looking to shed Cap, exactly like the Flames did on the Regehr trade last year, they may find a trade partner for some of their less attractive, but affordable assets.
Assuming you are absolutely married to not trading down, lets consider possible candidates for the Flames to eat Cap and get a 2nd rounder thrown in at the draft.
Ideally, the Flames will take a older expensive player with only 1 year of expensive Cap left.
One may as well face the reality of the Flames going for the playoffs next year. So they will be looking to fill the team out and I would not be surprised to see them add more older Vets on the final year or two of their contract.
It fits the mandate for next season of tabling the best team. Same reason it isn't absurd to add Jagr for one year. It is just for one year, right?
Two players that Flames may move are Matt Stajan and Anton Babchuk. The Gomez for Stajan situation has already been discussed.
In looking at potential expensive players to acquire with only one year on their contract and assuming the Flames want to fill in the top 4 D there is a few candidates out there.
Sergei Gonchar is there at age 38 and with a 5.6 million Cap hit. The Sens may want to dump his Cap hit and take Anton Babchuk in return. The Senators have no 2nd round pick but the Flames may be able to pick up their 3rd rounder and if the Sens want to create Cap room they may consider it.
Marek Zidlicky age 35 and a 4 million Cap hit would probably slot into the Flames top 4 and again Anton Babchuk is on his way out and the Flames get New Jersey's low 2nd round pick.
Patrick Elias is 36 with a 6 million Cap hit and if the Devils are looking to dump Cap to sign Parise, something may be workable for the Flames.
There are many computations to consider for the Flames if they are considering eating that expensive contract, but the bigger challenge for Feaster will be the fan optics and PR on a team that has heard the rebuild drum for years now.
When I read Kent Wilson's article last January on acquiring Scott Gomez I was fine with it. It makes perfect sense for a team trying to get stronger. It is an upgrade for an older expensive player for a younger player who is not as effective. Why not? One of the advantages the Flames have over other teams is the ability to spend to the Cap.
But the fan base will have trouble understanding such a short-term move that is intended to make the team better for one season. If such a move involves moving lesser players like Matt Stajan or Anton Babchuk, I don't see the issue.
If you are a fan with the rebuild glasses on, such a move would cause a small hemorrhage and incur a epileptic fit but if it includes an additional draft pick does it not help the future as well?
It is actually a reasonable line of thought, or is it? What is your view?
Feaster will have a terrible time trying to explain to the majority of the fan base why taking on a 38 year old Gonchar for 5.6 million or a 32 year old 7.4 million Scott Gomez is fine because he is dumping lesser players in Stajan and Babchuk and picking up draft picks.
It will be a tough PR sell but really is it a bad move?