Sunday, March 01, 2015

Eight Flames That Could Get Dealt at the Trade Deadline

The trade deadline is looming and while it could stack up as a very quiet one for Brad Treliving, there are several players in the organization that I can see being moved if other teams are interested and Calgary's general manager gets an offer he likes.

1. Curtis Glencross

Coach Bob Hartley just signed an extension. If you're unhappy with how a coach uses you and you have 29 other teams to choose from, you're not going to re-sign to play for that coach again. Let's be honest, Curtis Glencross is not re-signing with the Flames this summer, Calgary has prospects they could plug in his place and recently the Flames got on just fine without him going 6-3-0 while he was out with his lower body injury.

Why He'd be Coveted - Can still play a strong two-way game, is a veteran, has an affordable contract, and is the type of player that could shine in post-season.

Update - Glencross was traded on Sunday to Washington in exchange for a second and third round draft pick in 2015.

2. Brandon Bollig

With just a half-hour game-day skate to assimilate (or re-assimilate) themselves to the NHL, Emile Poirier and Michael Ferland both were inserted into the line-up on Tuesday ahead of Brandon Bollig. The next night on the back-end of back-to-backs, the two rookies played again while Bollig sat. Then the same roster decision was made two days later in long island. It's clear that the coach has moved on from Bollig, who finds himself in a position not unlike where Brian McGrattan was early in the season, a guy that doesn't do enough when he's in the line-up to fit into what Calgary is trying to achieve.

Why He'd be Coveted - His best games have come against the heavier teams in the NHL such as Los Angeles. He's been to the playoffs before with Chicago so brings experience. He's an affordable depth, veteran addition for a team at forward, who is a great dressing room guy and that's a nice intangible when you're playing in May.

3. Karri Ramo

Karri Ramo is a pending UFA and with Jonas Hiller under contract next season and Joni Ortio on a one-way deal next season also, the team appears set in net for 2015-16. Ramo has turned in a sensational body of work this road trip with a 1.02 GAA and .968 SV% and in terms of what his upside is -- very much an unknown commodity at this point, he has surely opened up some eyes of the many scouts that have been watching Calgary lately. While Ortio's injury made it look like a Ramo deal would no longer be possible, the Flames rumored interest in veteran Jeff Deslauriers --currently in the KHL, could mean Ramo might be in play after all.

Why He'd be Coveted - His ability to step in and play well after a long period of inactivity shows that he would be an ideal back-up goaltender for a team hoping to go deep into the playoffs, who are uncomfortable with their current back-up.

Update - Per reports that circulated on Sunday morning, Deslauriers did not sign an offer made to him by the deadline that came with it so it appears this will not happen. Was Delauriers being considered to potentially be the back-up in the NHL to either Ramo or Hiller for the final six weeks? We may never know.

4. Raphael Diaz

Raphael Diaz is a pending UFA, who for the modest role he serves in the Flames line-up could be replaced by either Corey Potter or Tyler Wotherspoon. Presumably the latter unless Calgary is looking to give 8-10 minutes to Potter and continue to give Wotherspoon twice that amount of ice time in Adirondack.

Why He'd be Coveted - He's a depth add for a team looking to get a little deeper on the blue-line for a long Stanley Cup run. His heavy right-handed shot and ability to play the power play would be another attraction.

Update - Calgary claimed journeyman defenceman David Schlemko on waivers on Sunday. Presumably he slides into Mark Giordano's spot (although not with the same responsibilities or ice time) as the Flames captain was placed on IR and sent back to Calgary. Wotherspoon was subsequently returned to Adirondack.

5. Paul Byron

While his scoring touch leaves a lot to be desired, Paul Byron contributes in a lot of ways that are less noticed but valued. He's a darling of the advanced stats community and given the number of analytics folks now working in NHL front offices, he may not be much of a secret any more. He's expendable because Calgary has a small team and you know they want to get bigger and stronger and he's one of the smaller guys, who could get phased out by the likes of Josh Jooris and Poirier next season anyway.

Why He'd be Coveted - Making barely above the league-minimum, he's a very, very affordable contract that any team could pick up. He's also a very serviceable player, who in a pinch can play adequately anywhere up and down the line-up, making him an ideal extra depth forward for contending teams.

6. Sven Baertschi

Every day that passes, you get the sense that it's just not going to work out for Sven Baertschi with this team and much like how it went with fellow Swiss countryman and Portland Winter Hawk Nino Niederreiter, a fresh organization might be the best thing for him. Hartley has never shown a lot of trust in him and not getting the call-up last week perhaps is confirmation that he's been passed by others in Calgary.

Why He'd be Coveted - Baertschi has great skill, huge potential still and he's got first round pick pedigree, which is always something that is a big attraction to teams.

7. Jonas Hiller

Maybe the Flames pull an end-around and surprise everyone by trading Jonas Hiller and opting to re-sign Ramo instead. Hiller has a year left on his contract still but if you look at the Flames system, there realistically won't be anyone ready to replace Hiller come the expiration of that contract at the end of 2015-16. The better approach might be to re-sign Ramo for two years and that gives you an Ortio/Ramo pairing for the next couple seasons. Meanwhile, should prospect Jon Gillies leave college this summer, that gives him two full years to develop in the AHL before potentially ascending to the NHL in 2016-17.

Why He'd be Coveted - Hiller is a veteran goalie that can go on a hot streak. He wouldn't be brought in by a team as their starter but would give a playoff team a dependable back-up option should they lose their starter or not be overly confident in their starter.

8. Dennis Wideman

Since Dennis Wideman arrived in Calgary and signed that very rich contract averaging over $5-million per season, his value has never been higher than it is this season in which he's notched an impressive 12 goals. He's playing 23-plus minutes per night and could play more if needed. He can be dangerous on the power play and has shown he's not bad on the penalty kill either. This might be the time to move a big contract. If Mark Giordano is healthy, his role could be replaced by Wotherspoon but it would represent a waving of the white flag, of sorts, on this year's playoff race.

Why He'd be Coveted - Wideman can be inserted into a team's top four or on a deep team, onto the third pairing, but with an ability to bump up and play 25+ minutes if needed.

Update - With Giordano put on the IR, highly doubtful the Flames move Wideman now, if that even was a consideration.

Honourable Mention: Matt Stajan

This is a delicate situation given what's going on personally right now for Stajan and his wife and the impending birth of their first child. In fact, that situation probably makes this deal very doubtful to happen. But Calgary does have options for that fourth line centre role with other younger candidates being Drew Shore, Joe Colborne, Jooris and maybe even Bill Arnold eventually. This could be an opportunity to unload Stajan's contract, which has three more years on it after this season and in hindsight might be a year or two longer than desired.

Why He'd be Coveted - Stajan would be a great add for a contending team, looking for a dependable fourth line centre, who could jump up to the third line if needed. He is a consummate team guy and a good fit for a team with vision of playing deep into the spring. Stajan still has lots of term left on his contract but it is a deal that could be bought out down the road without too too much of a financial impact.


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