After being on the buyers market in the past two trade deadlines, Brad Treliving and the Calgary Flames were pretty firmly back on the sellers side of the equation heading into this past weekend. With the Flames sitting six points behind Montreal, it wasn’t even really a discussion with just 15 games to play in the season. I’m going to go ahead and say I am looking at these moves more or less in a vacuum after everything that has gone on this year.
With that in mind, there were some obvious candidates to move, two of which were moved, and a few that I’m somewhat surprised didn’t move.
Trade #1: David Rittich to Toronto for 2022 3rd Round Pick
This was a trade that was completely necessary and completely expected headed into the weekend. It was clear that there was no future for David Rittich with the Calgary Flames after the signing of Jacob Markstrom last summer, and after he lost the net in the previous two seasons to Mike Smith and Cam Talbot. From the moment that Markstrom, signed it felt like his days were numbered, and this trade ultimately made a ton of sense.
What was a bit more surprising was that the Toronto Maple Leafs were the team who acquired him, and that Calgary got a 3rd round pick. In Rittich the Leafs get a really solid goaltender who has shown the capability to be a starter in the league as an insurance policy for Jack Campbell, while also giving Frederik Andersen as much time as he needs to heal from his injury.
I also think that the 3rd round pick is a solid return for a goaltender who hasn’t had a great year and has primarily been the backup, considering Robin Lehner who is much better only got a 2nd last year. It felt also felt like there was a pretty limited market for backup goaltenders this year.
The only downside about this trade is how sad I am that Rittich is leaving us after all of the great memories. :(
Trade Grade: B+
Trade #2: Sam Bennett and 2022 6th Round Pick to Florida for Emil Heineman and 2022 2nd Round Pick
While this trade wasn’t particularly surprising when it was first announced after
days, weeks, months, years of Sam Bennett trade speculation, it was the return that was a surprise. The Flames sent Bennett and a 2022 6th to the Florida Panthers and received 2020 2nd Round Pick Emil Heineman and a 2022 2nd Round Pick in return, so basically 2 2nds. That is some really good wheeling and dealing by Brad Treliving.
Heineman is a RW (left shot) that has spent this past season playing in the SHL where he racked up 13 points in 43 games in his first pro season (at age 19), after dominating the Swedish Junior League in 2019-20 with 41 points in 29 games. He also suited up for Sweden at the World Juniors this year as well. Byron Bader who does some great work on prospects (and you should really follow and read his stuff) tweeted the following on him:
Hey! Not terrible. There's a wee bit of potential here with Heineman!!!— Byron Bader (@ByronMBader) April 12, 2021
This is a pretty good return for Bennett, honestly. https://t.co/Y2ymbOCAtu pic.twitter.com/kGRaNnx24p
So it looks like he could project to be a middle six forward, however still may be a bit of a project. Heineman also doesn’t have an NHL contract but the Flames now hold his signing rights through June 2024, giving them plenty of time to find the best path for him.
The pick itself is also a great bonus as the Flames added a pair of mid round picks to their 2022 cupboards. This will give them a lot of flexibility heading into the expansion draft, offseason, and next year. Should they just choose to add at the next deadline, they will have some extra ammunition to do so.
While moving on from Bennett sucks, it is ultimately the right move as he wasn’t likely to survive the expansion draft, or be qualified in the summer, leaving him as a restricted free agent. My best guess is that this was the price tag Treliving had set on him for a long time, and the Panthers finally decided to pony up on it in the final hour before the deadline.
Trade Grade: A
Moves Not Made
While I didn’t expect any of the big dominoes to fall today, I am pretty shocked that Derek Ryan is still a Calgary Flame. While it sounds like the Flames worked the phones pretty hard for a deal, nothing really came to fruition. I am quite surprised that not one of the 20-24 teams in or around a playoff spot would even take a flier on him for a 4th or 5th round pick with salary retained.
Nevertheless, Ryan remains a Flame and I am fine with that because I think he brings enough to the table to keep him around, and I would be totally fine with the Flames signing him this summer.
I’m not particularly surprised that other players such as Josh Leivo or Joakim Nordstrom didn’t get moved, but I wouldn’t have been shocked to see them go for like a conditional 7th or something.
The Flames also added college free agent Walker Duehr over this weekend, signing him to a entry level contract. He projects to be a power forward similar to that of Garnet Hathaway and will head to Stockton on a ATO for the rest of the year.
Final Deadline Grade: A-
What’s your grade on BT’s moves over the last few days?
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