With the offseason now in full swing, the Calgary Flames will be looking to fill in their holes leftover from last season.
Of course the biggest hole is goaltending, but another problem that persisted for most of the season was the lack of a winger to play on the top line alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.
While Micheal Ferland was a nice addition to that line late in the season, would he be able to bring that same level of play for an entire season? I’m not sure.
The Flames have never really had a lot of depth on the right side, and with the abysmal season from Troy Brouwer, the Flames will be looking for another player that could play on that top line.
One name that comes to mind is Jordan Eberle of the Edmonton Oilers.
Edmonton just finished their playoff run earlier this week with a disappointing Game 7 loss in Anaheim. Perhaps even more disappointing was the well publicized struggles of Eberle to produce in the postseason. Wouldn’t he find right in with the Flames and their disappointing playoffs?? Haha!
All joking aside, when looking into the idea of acquiring him, more and more things seem to make sense, other than the obvious lack of trade history between the two rivals.
|What do the Flames NEED?||What do the Oilers NEED?|
|Top Six Right Wing||Defensive Prospects
|What do the Flames HAVE?||What do the Oilers HAVE?|
|Top Six Right Wing|
The biggest reason the Oilers are looking to move Eberle is his six million dollar contract that runs through 2018-19. Edmonton is starting to get close to the cap limit, and with the contracts of Leon Draisaitl and Zach Kassian expiring this offseason, it could get expensive.
Also, Connor McDavid will be owed a behemoth contract following next season, so if the Oilers could get some money off the books for that, they most definitely will.
What this means is that the Flames could have some negotiating leverage should Edmonton choose to make a move. But what could Eberle bring to the Flames you ask?
In what was a “down season” for Eberle, he still tallied 20 goals and 31 assists for 51 points. That would put him fourth among the Flames in scoring. Eberle has posted at least 20 goals in every season other than the lockout year (on pace for 27) and his rookie year (18).
Prior to this season Eberle had a 14.1% career shooting percentage, this year it fell to 9.6%. Had he been shooting at his career norm,Eberle would’ve had a career high 29 goals this season, so it’s realistic to expect a bounceback next season.
A big reason why Gaudreau and Monahan struggled so much early this season was that there was essentially no scoring threat in Troy Brouwer or Alex Chiasson on the right wing. Eberle brings that.
With only two years left on his contract, Eberle isn’t a long term risk for the Flames. Calgary also has some cap flexibility with some bad contracts coming off the books over the next few years.
With that all being said, what should the Flames to be willing to give up for Eberle? Well first of all, it’s safe to assume that any trade would happen after the expansion draft as to not mess with both team’s protected roster.
While the Oilers do have some young exciting defensemen in Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom, it’s still their biggest need.
The Flames meanwhile have a strong defensive pool of defensemen ready to make pushes for the NHL roster next year such as Rasmus Andersson, Brett Kulak, Oliver Kylington, and Tyler Wotherspoon.
Wotherspoon’s name strikes me as a good trade candidate because he’s shown potential but has been passed on the depth charts by the previously mentioned names. He could be able to slot nicely into a bottom pairing role on the Oilers.
The Flames should probably throw in a bad contract in return for taking a bad contract from the Oilers and Lance Bouma comes to mind. His contract only has one more year so it’ll free up cap space for the Oilers next offseason, while giving the Flames more flexibility this season.
Those two players won’t be enough to make a deal happen but it will all come down to how badly the Oilers want to move on from Eberle and create cap space. Peter Chiarelli has shown no pause in trading young players before.
The biggest reason that this trade would never happen is simply that I don’t think either team wants to risk trading players with potential to their biggest rival. If Eberle is available there will be a lot of interest from around the league.
If you’re the Oilers, you really don’t want to trade a player that can come back and bite you when you play him 5-6 times a year and likely in the playoffs. You send him somewhere far east like they did with Taylor Hall.
So unless the Flames really wow the Oilers with an offer (which is much more than just Bouma and Wotherspoon), the odds are pretty slim that Eberle will be wearing a Flaming C next year.
But it’s an idea worth exploring.
Should the Flames Make a Move for Eberle?
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Only at the right price