As we close in on the 50 game mark of the 2016-17 season, it has become apparent that the Flames are exactly who we thought they were. A playoff bubble team.
At times so far this year we’ve seen a Flames team that looked like a last place squad, and other times where they looked like one of the league’s best. Such is the fate of a middling team.
Barring any major winning or losing streaks, the Flames will be battling for a wild card spot and will need to play every night as if it was a Game 7 if they want to be in the big dance come April.
It’s become clear though that the Flames have some holes, and now we look at some of the ways through trades that the Flames can attempt to plug one of them.
We’ve even got a poll at the bottom for you to choose which player best fits!
Top Line RW
Unfortunately, due to the upcoming Las Vegas expansion draft, the Flames’ options are somewhat limited as any new forward they’d acquire either needs to be a rental, or they have to be willing to not protect them in the draft, or protect them ahead of somebody else currently protected. But first, let’s see some names:
Jarome Iginla - Colorado Avalanche
41 GP, 5G, 6A, 11 PTS, 50 PIM, -11, CF% 49.10
How could we not start with the player that we’ve all loved for decades in Calgary?
Iginla is in the final year of a 3yr/$16M contract which features a NMC (No Movement Clause) meaning it is completely up to him where he plays. This is similar to the situation in 2013 when he was traded from the Flames and chose to go to Pittsburgh ahead of Boston.
Iggy has struggled to put up the points this season but would still have the ability to provide finishing and physicality which would complement Gaudreau and Monahan nicely.
Iginla has mentioned during this season that he’d like to play for a Stanley Cup contender as his career winds down, and unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the Flames would be the best fit in that scenario.
Just please don’t go to the Oilers!
Jiri Hudler - Dallas Stars
21 GP, 2G, 5A, 7 PTS, 4 PIM, +2, CF% 49.64
Ever since he became a Star, things have not gone well for the veteran as he’s struggled to stay healthy this season and to produce points.
However, it could be an upside for the Flames that he has struggled as his trade value is quite low and he only carries a small 1 yr/$2M contract which Calgary would be able to absorb.
Perhaps the return to familiarity would work for Hudler, it would be great to see if him, Monahan, and Gaudreau could reunite the trio that found so much success in past years. If it doesn’t, the Flames don’t lose a lot.
Radim Vrbata - Arizona Coyotes
43 GP, 10G, 18A, 28 PTS, 8 PIM, -18, CF% 47.82
Vrbata has been one of the very few bright spots on a disappointing Coyotes team so far this season. He’s already reached his point total that he hit last season with the Canucks.
With his offensive productiveness up, and with a very cheap 1yr/$1M rental contract, he could be the best option as a scoring complement on the Flames top line.
On the downside, his possession numbers aren’t great and he doesn’t have a lot of NHL playoff experience, only making it past the first round once in his fifteen year career.
He’s also flying somewhat under the radar this season which comes with the territory when playing for Arizona.
P.A. Parenteau - New Jersey Devils
44 GP, 12 G, 8A, 20 PTS, 31 PIM, -11, CF% 51.94
Let’s add P.A. Parenteau to the list of unorthodox solutions for the Flames. He’s almost another version of Lee Stempniak, as he finds himself bouncing around between teams almost every season.
The one constant for him is that he’s been a good contributor wherever he’s played, and could provide enough offensive skill on the top line to do the job. Parenteau’s best season came in 11-12 when he had 67 pts in 80 games, and last year he had 41 pts in 77 games.
He also carries good possession numbers on a weak possession team in the Devils, and is probably the most well rounded rental forward on this list with a 1yr/$1.25M contract. He’s also not a relatively known player so the Flames may be able to sneak in and snag him. Not a bad option!
Evander Kane - Buffalo Sabres
33 GP, 12 G, 5A, 17 PTS, 55 PIM, -8, CF% 45.83
Evander Kane is the only player that we are considering that carries a contract that goes past this season. There have been a few rumors of late linking Kane to the Flames and I’m not sure why.
After a slow start to the season, Kane’s production has picked up of late which will likely price him out of the Flames desired range as Calgary likely isn’t willing to part with prospects or picks this season.
He also carries a whopping contract with an average yearly cap hit of $5.25M which extends through next season. Unless Buffalo was willing to eat at least $2M of that, I don’t see a trade happening.
This also doesn’t even start to consider his numerous off-ice issues, and for an organization like the Flames which highly values character and integrity, he wouldn’t fit in well.
Thomas Vanek - Detroit Red Wings
33GP, 12G, 18A, 30 PTS, 14 PIM, +6, CF% 49.79
Making a move for Thomas Vanek is an interesting proposal that was made by one of our other writers yesterday. With the Red Wings outside of the playoff picture for the first time in a quarter century, they could be looking to rent out Vanek among other players.
Vanek has been having a revival year as he’s closing in on a point-per-game scoring pace for the first time since 2012-13. Vanek’s possession numbers are decent, and he could finally be that high scoring right-handed forward the Flames need. He’s also fairly cheap at a 1yr/$2.6M contract.
The only downside is that with his season having been so strong, he may be out of the Flames reach in terms of what they’d be willing to spend. However, if he hits free agency this summer, he could be a good target for the Flames depending on term.