Back to back wins have kept the Calgary Flames right in the hunt for the post season. I think it is fair to say that even the most die hard Flames fan would have said Christmas morning that for the Flames to make the playoffs they would need nothing short of a minor miracle. Well since December 23rd the Flames have gone on a 25 game run of 16-4-5 and find themselves one of the hottest teams in the NHL and right back in the race to dare I say it.. Have home ice advantage for a playoff first round series!
However the run the Flames are on needs to continue as other than Edmonton and Colorado no one is really out of the race just yet. The St. Louis Blues are on the precipice of falling too far back but if they win their games in hand they are right in the mix again. Speaking of the Blues, they capped off what was nothing short of a wild trading day pulling off a blockbuster deal with the Colorado Avalanche at about 3:30am EST this morning. I really had to make sure I hadn’t fallen asleep on the couch and dreamed it as it came across my twitter (@shanehoopfer cheap plug) which was the final trade of a day that saw no less than seven deals done. Including a couple of actual ‘hockey trades’ I actually wonder what I’m going to be talking about on air come trade deadline day?
This has made things much more difficult for the Calgary Flames than it was 24 hours ago. Some teams have started to sell early and the price tags have been ludicrously high! Kaberle for a prospect and a 1st and a conditional 2nd round pick? Ian White for a 2nd? Someone please stop the madness! Four first round picks have already been moved and really for guys I never thought would warrant more than a 3rd round pick. I believe the Calgary Flames have now been priced out of being true buyers at the deadline.
Calgary only has their first round pick this year, which is their only pick until the 4th round as of right now. Jay Feaster has also said that he will not trade 2012 draft picks for a run at this years playoffs. I believe that to be the case unless someone offers a deal that is too good to pass up on. If we assume that the Flames aren’t going to be moving high picks then the most we can expect is a extra depth forward or defenceman at the deadline.
The other thing the Flames have to consider is to still be a bit of a seller at the deadline. Obviously the core of the team is no longer in play when it comes to trades but I’ll give you five guys that could be part of a hockey trade or with the way current prices are set at possibly be sold to stock up on a couple draft picks without hurting the team too much.
Curtis Glencross – Curtis is well on his way to having a 25 goal season this year, and is an excellent penalty killer. Not to mention one of the fastest guys in the league. He is also a UFA at the end of the season and will be in line for a raise. If Curtis is going to ask for more than $3M then he has priced himself out of Calgary. I don’t think a late first rounder or early 2nd round pick for Glencross is out of line considering the current market.
Brendan Morrison – All Brendan has done is come in here after being cut by the Canucks and slide into a first line roll between Iginla and Tanguay (who I’d be shocked if the Flames don’t re-sign) and has been nothing short of great for the Flames. Brendan is one of those guys that can push a team that is close over the top because of his versatility. You could probably get a 2nd or 3rd round pick for him if you go that way.
Anton Babchuk – This is another guy I think the Flames would like to be able to re-sign as he has truly settled in with the Flames and has been producing at a high level. Again Anton is a UFA at seasons end and may be too expensive for the Flames to re-sign. If that is the case and Ian White nets you a 2nd round pick then Anton Babchuk at worst nets you a 2nd rounder and quite possibly a 1st round pick given his production in Calgary.
Steve Staios – Steve won’t be back with the Flames next year. I’m glad the Flames have him for depth right now, and he is a great locker room guy but if you can get a 3rd or 4th rounder for Staios, I do believe you have to do it. He would be a good pickup for a team needing an experienced #6 or #7 defenceman for a long playoff run.
Adam Pardy – Adam is banged up right now with a shoulder errrr. upper body injury, and everyone is unsure as to when he could be back. If Pardy is back in time he could be an option to move out as he is a UFA at seasons end, and I don’t know that he is the Flames long term plans. Again he is a depth guy that can play some minutes for you in the post season and could swing the Flames a 3rd or 4th rounder in return.
Even with these names there I won’t put it past acting GM Jay Feaster to make a hockey trade as we approach the deadline. As much as everyone wants a defenceman at the deadline, the Flames could use another center if they are in the playoffs. In case you are wondering about Matt Stajan and Nik Hagman, I don’t believe Hagman has enough value right now to warrant being dealt, and Matt Stajan is up and down at the best of times but you need centers if you are going to win in the playoffs.
I think it will be quiet this year for the Flames as the management team really doesn’t want to mess with the chemistry of this team too much. Of course with that being said I don’t think Feaster will hesitate to make a move he feels will make this team a playoff team in the West. Because honestly other than Vancouver I don’t think there is a team in the Western Conference that the Flames right now wouldn’t believe they could beat in the first round.
I’ll be appearing today on Chat Habs radio starting at 3pm EST to talk about the Heritage Classic that goes tomorrow, and possibly the madness of the last 24 hours! Check it out here.. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/chrisg80
Have a good one!
Follow me on twitter! www.twitter.com/shanehoopfer
About the Author
Written by Shane Hoopfer
Die hard Flames fan since 1980, and a closet baseball junkie. Also a big Dolphins, and Stampeders fan!