With the calendar now well into 2019, the Calgary Flames are sitting in first place in the Pacific Division with 58 points, and are a comfortable 13 points up on the fourth place Anaheim Ducks. It’s safe to say that barring collapse that the Flames will be a playoff team this year.
With that in mind, the focus should shift to what the Flames gameplan may be heading into the 2019 Trade Deadline. Should the Flames be buyers? Or should they stay firm with the lineup that’s taken them this far?
There have been some rumors circulating that the Flames may be looking to bolster the left side of their defense, and then there’s always discussion of if they should shore up their goaltending with Mike Smith faltering. Calgary may also be looking at an additional middle six forward to add some scoring depth.
A couple things that will prove challenging to the Flames is that they have a tight cap situation, and limited assets to give up in terms of picks and prospects. The Flames should probably focus on players who are rentals with expiring deals after this year, as things are already looking tight next year.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the team who will definitely be selling come February 25. For the record, the selling lines I used were teams 6+ points out in the West, and teams 7+ points out in the East.
Los Angeles Kings (17-24-3, 37 Points, 15th in West)
Intriguing Assets: N/A
The Kings are in an odd position in that they thought they were still going to be good this year, but have been absolutely atrocious. This is reflected by their roster which has a lot of long-term high-paying deals to older players. Thus there aren’t really a lot of good options for the Flames to look at in terms of a rental. The only name that comes close is Carl Hagelin but his cap hit isn’t worth it compared to his limited production this year.
St. Louis Blues (17-20-4, 38 Points, 14th in West)
Intriguing Assets: Patrick Maroon
Like the Kings, the Blues fully expected to be significantly better this year. However they have been pretty awful for no apparent reason. With a team as skilled as they are, the Blues may just write off the year and try coming back with a similar roster next year. That being said, one player that could interest the Flames is Pat Maroon. Since having a couple strong seasons under Connor McDavid’s wing in Edmonton, his point totals have dropped off but he would still bring some sizable edge to the Flames lineup. At $1.75M he’s an affordable cap hit, but he has a full NTC until February 1, which then turns into an 8 team NTC. Will he leave his hometown Blues that he really wanted to sign with?
Chicago Blackhawks (16-22-7, 39 Points, 13th in West)
Intriguing Assets: N/A
The winds of change have finally blown into the Windy City for good this season. Chicago seems primed to enter a rebuild, but at least they have three Cups to catch their tears. In terms of players available, nothing jumps off the page as a clear improvement.
Arizona Coyotes (18-21-3, 39 Points, 12th in West)
Intriguing Assets: Richard Panik, Darcy Kuemper
Another year, another mediocre season in Arizona. The Coyotes will be sellers once again, and there a few minor names available that could interest the Flames. Panik could provide some decent depth in the bottom six, and has had a 22 goal season with Chicago before. Kuemper is an interesting name in that he’s a career backup that has been rather steady. If the Flames are ready to commit to Rittich as the full-time #1, then Kuemper could be a solid #2.
Philadelphia Flyers (15-22-6, 36 Points, 16th in East)
Intriguing Assets: Wayne Simmonds, Jordan Weal
While his offensive production has started dropping off over the last couple of seasons, Simmonds is a player built to the exact specifications for playoff hockey. I’m already drooling at the thought of putting him on the same line as Matthew Tkachuk and all the s*** disturbing that would occur. I’ve also liked Jordan Weal’s game in the few times I watched the Flyers this year, and could be a good cheap addition to the third or possibly fourth line.
Ottawa Senators (16-23-5, 37 Points, 15th in East)
Intriguing Assets: Mark Stone, Matt Duchene, Ryan Dzingel
Hey if the Flames decide they want to go big, this would be the team to trade with. Calgary would obviously have to clear some salary to bring in either of the first two forwards, but adding either would significantly improve an already deadly offensive attack. As for Dzingel, he’s quietly been really good with Ottawa this season and could be a great middle six addition. He can play multple forward positions which would provide good flexibility as well.
Detroit Red Wings (16-22-7, 39 Points, 14th in East)
Intriguing Assets: Gustav Nyquist, Nik Kronwall, Jimmy Howard
These three players on the Red Wings would certainly check a lot of the boxes that the Flames are looking for heading into the deadline. Nyquist would immediately provide a boost to the top six scoring, likely on Mikael Backlund’s right wing. It’s worth noting that the two played on a line together for Team Sweden at last year’s world championships where they won Gold.
Kronwall is a very interesting name in that he’s a left handed defender who’s a rental and could thrive in a role with reduced minutes on the third pairing. At 37 years old, he’s obviously not the same player as before, but with the minutes dialed back thanks to a stronger Top 4 in Calgary, his toughness could give the Flames some extra grit.
Howard has been a name connected to the Flames as he’s had a good season. However with the Red Wings reportedly asking a lot for him, I don’t really see the value in trading for him.
It is worth noting that Peters also would have some familiarity with each of these players as he was an assistant coach in Detroit for three seasons.
New Jersey Devils (16-19-7, 39 Points, 13th in East)
Intriguing Assets: N/A
New Jersey = Meh Jersey
New York Rangers (17-18-7, 41 Points, 12th in East)
Intriguing Assets: Kevin Hayes, Mats Zuccarello
Kevin Hayes name has been linked to the Flames off and on due to his history playing with Johnny Gaudreau in college. However with the Flames having one of top lines in hockey, he wouldn’t play with Gaudreau should the Flames acquire him so it doesn’t fit there. Zuccarello is an intriguing option for that 2RW spot, although his production has dipped this season, likely as a result of playing on a bad Rangers team. There could be a pretty significant secondary market for him once some of the bigger names are gone.
Florida Panthers (17-17-7, 41 Points, 11th in East)
Intriguing Assets: Troy Brouwer
Both of these are on the outside of the playoff picture right now and will likely still be outside come the trade deadline. For the time being they’re still fighting to save there season.
Carolina has a number of players who could be intriguing targets for Calgary including Justin Williams, Curtis McElhinney, and former Flame Micheal Ferland. Whether Carolina would want to trade with Calgary after their fleecing last summer remains to be seen.
For Vancouver one name that jumps out is Alex Edler who has been injured this year but also looked quite good. There has been some speculation that he doesn’t want to leave Vancouver but he could be a really good solidifying guy on the back end. Not crazy about trading within the division, but if he’s the missing piece then go for it.
It looks like there will be quite a few forward options for Calgary heading into the trade deadline, however LHD and goaltending looks like it will be rather limited. Will Calgary make a move? Should they make a move?
What should Calgary aim to address in a trade?
This poll is closed
Middle Six Forward
Left Handed Dman