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The Calgary Flames should be Buyers and Sellers at Deadline

The Calgary Flames should be Buyers and Sellers at the upcoming Trade Deadline. They have the ability to do so, as they can clear up a ton of cap to sign the likes of Gaudreau, and Monahan long-term, as well as pick up someone. The Flames are in good standings as of right now, with the ability to dump contracts to clear big time cap space. The Stamkos scenario is possible, they could handle the contract and sign Gaudreau and Monahan. Frederik Andersen, is possible. They are in dire need of a legitimate starting goalie, as you can’t be positively sure about Karri Ramo.

Who the Flames could ‘Buy’:

  • Jonathan Drouin, is thought to be a similar player or a prospect (a top 10 pick or a legit top-six forward or top-four defenseman).
  • Steven Stamkos would be another ball game, most likely would be asking for too much young talent to even consider the offer but you never know, he would be worth it. To give up young talent to get this franchise cornerstone.
  • Jonathan Bernier could be a decent addition to the goaltending pool in Calgary, possibly a trade straight up for Jonas Hiller?
  • Frederik Andersen, another goalie who is going to be traded. The Ducks have John Gibson, so the Flames could throw together a package deal there.
  • Jarome Iginla, the former Captain of this young team, could benefit seriously from a trade that could land him back in Calgary. The best part; he is still scoring, and with the help of all the young talent in Calgary, that would be good.

Who the Flames could ‘Sell’:

  • Jiri Hudler, who is coming off his best season of his career; with 76 points. He could be of use, to a team in which they believe they can win the Cup, with just an added scoring touch and leadership. Hudler could be a great asset to a Cup contender.
  • Kris Russell, the ultimate shot blocker. He could prove to be an ultimate and valuable piece, to a team in dire need of a defensive stud who stays back and can come up on the rush. He is valuable to your goalie.
  • Jonas Hiller, probably the biggest joke of a goalie I have ever witnessed play. He looks awful, and has looked awful the past couple seasons. With a cap hit of $4.5 million, we need him gone, for Bernier? Or packaged back to Anahiem?
  • Dennis Wideman, a reliable defencemen, with quite a cap hit. He was good for us but ultimately, now is the time to move him. You can still get decent value for Wideman, as he would prove to be an asset for a Cup Contender.
  • David Jones, overpaid. That is about all that can be said about David Jones. Although, ultimately could prove to be a good depth move for a team looking to make a serious playoff run.

“You look right now, everything is so close, everything is so tight,” Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving said over the phone this weekend. “Is there going to be separation in a little under two months? Maybe.”

Yes, there’s still a lot of time for the sellers to announce themselves, but I think we’re headed for a different kind of year with the standings sandwiched so closely together. And to me, Treliving was a great example last season of what more GMs will face this season.

Last season, the Flames were a surprise playoff candidate, but Treliving didn’t let that fool him into making short-term decisions he would regret. Calgary kept a big-picture view of its needs last season before the deadline, and it was the right thing to do.

This season, it seems there are going to be more teams faced with that situation, and the key for them will be to make truly honest assessments of their teams like Treliving did with the Flames last season.

Tricky decisions ahead again for a Flames team that wants to get in, but also wants to continue to build a long-term, sustainable product. Treliving, speaking more broadly about the entire league and this season’s deadline, sees some of the same truths revealing themselves even within the parity-filled season.

“No. 1, there’s always going to be activity,” said Treliving. “No. 2, have people distanced themselves in one or two groups in terms of buyers or sellers? And No. 3, you always have the issues — which plays a little bit into where you are in the standings — but you always have those pending UFAs. Do you sign, do you hold on to them for a playoff run and hope you can get something done in the summer? Or are you looking to maximum return and get some young assets?”

A great example for the Flames would be pending unrestricted free-agent defenseman Kris Russell. If the Flames are sitting one point out of a playoff spot Feb. 29, what do they do with him? He could help them get in and win a round, but do they collect whatever assets they can get for him via trade? Or do they re-sign him before the trade deadline?

Many teams on the bubble are going to have similar dilemmas. That’s not a new problem, but there are more teams on that bubble this season because of the compressed standings.

Treliving showed great vision last season with a tempered approach to the deadline despite his team’s playoff position. I think you’ll see the same from Shero and the Devils as well as several other teams.

There are quite a good amount of UFAs next year that could change any time in a mere signing. Whether the Flames take that route after signing their young guys to long term deals is besides the point. Although, a goalie could be nice. The Flames struggle in that department, and could use a complete starter.

The Futures of many players on the Flames roster are in speculation ;

The amount of salary that could be cleaned up, the Flames could sign their young talent long term, as well as add either depth or even more skill to the roster.

  • Jiri Hudler
  • Dennis Wideman
  • Kris Russell
  • David Jones
  • Jonas Hiller

UFAs

Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings (29 years old)

Kopitar is one of the top five centers in the world and along with Drew Doughty the dual engines of the Kings. The average annual value on his current contract is $6.8 million, and he’ll receive a significant raise.

Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning (26)

Stamkos is one of the two best goal scorers on the planet, and just captained a team to within two victories of the Stanley Cup. He could surpass Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane for the highest AAV in the League, and anything below a max contract would be savings to help the Lightning sign other core players (more on that in a bit).

Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets (31)

Byfuglien is fine as a power forward when the Jets have put him there, but he’s an elite defenseman, even if the numbers like his play more than the eyeballs do sometimes. Winnipeg has a lot of young talent on the way and is an emerging contender, but what happens with Byfuglien could be critical for the Jets to make a Stanley Cup run in the near future.

David Backes, St. Louis Blues (32)

One of the best two-way centers in the League, but the Blues’ postseason record has probably kept him from being firmly in a group with guys like Toews and Kopitar. Even if he’s just outside the elite, he’s incredibly valuable and a No. 1 center on many teams.

Eric Staal, Carolina Hurricanes (31)

After eight years of averaging 0.85 points per game or better, he’s slipped to 0.77 and 0.70 the past two seasons. He’ll be 32 early in the 2016-17 season, but his value could get a boost from an improved team around him in 2015-16.

Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders (28)

Okposo is an interesting player to monitor. His name was reported as a potential trade candidate before the 2015 NHL Draft. The Islanders have lots of young players who could become frontline guys on a title contender, but Okposo is already such a player. He’s also likely due a hefty raise from his current AAV of $2.8 million.

Andrew Ladd, Winnipeg Jets (30)

One of five captains on this list (Shane Doan is a sixth) who could be UFAs next summer, he can still be a valuable top-six forward and obviously an important member of Winnipeg’s leadership group.

Erik Johnson, Colorado Avalanche (28)

Johnson was having a nice 2014-15 season, and not just because of an inflated shooting percentage, before injury derailed it. He’s not the only key member of the defense corps the Avalanche have to negotiate a contract with.

Alex Goligoski, Dallas Stars (31)

Goligoski has played a lot of minutes in his four-plus years in Dallas, and is an above-average but maybe not elite defenseman. He could be a veteran anchor for an otherwise pretty young defense corps in the coming years for the Stars.

Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers (37)

Campbell went from looking like a huge overpay for the Chicago Blackhawks seven years ago to being properly valued as the cap went up and as advanced stats helped illuminate his worth. His next contract will probably be much shorter in length though.

Milan Lucic, Los Angeles Kings (28)

Now that the Boston Bruins have turned him into a huge haul, the Kings have him for one year at $6 million. He was considered a top power forward, but his production has slipped in two of the past three seasons.

David Perron, Pittsburgh Penguins (28)

His arrival in Pittsburgh started great, but his production cooled as the season progressed. He’s got two of the best centers in the world to play with, which could enhance his value.

Jaromir Jagr, Florida Panthers (44)
He was great as both a mentor and a facilitator for Florida’s group of young forwards after arriving in a trade this past season. He has said he wants to play until he’s 50. If he thinks he can still play in 2016, someone in the NHL will pay him to do so.

There is also the point that the Flames could go out and throw offer sheets at teams that cannot afford the for say player. 

 

Coleton MacDonald
The Founder of Weliveforhockey.com
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