(photo via sportsnet.ca)
The Calgary Flames missed the playoffs after a great run in 14/15. A great run that was fueled by surprise runs by their goalies, incredible third period comebacks and a stupid amount of offense from their backend.
This year was a massive slap in the face from reality, and it may have been for the best. GM Brad Treliving now knows exactly what he has and has a full offseason to fix the holes this team has.
Here are 5 moves I’d like to see the Calgary Flames make, regardless of the draft lottery.
1) Get a Goalie
I know that some Flames fans are hoping Ben Bishop becomes available if the Lightning make a last ditch attempt to sign Steven Stamkos. But don’t hold your breath.
Even if Bishop would become available, I wouldn’t want to use all of those assets. Instead the two names I would like to see this team add are Frederik Andersen and James Reimer.
It would give them a very very good 1-2 punch between the pipes. Andersen has had success in the Pacific Division and Reimer is one of those goalies who gets better when he faces more shots (see 12/13 season) and the Flames give up a lot of shots (28.6 shots against per 60). Both of these goalies are terrific fits and both could be acquired for fairly cheap.
2) Trade Dennis Wideman
Nobody symbolizes the frustration of this season more than Dennis Wideman. Not only that but he wasn’t that good even when he was playing.
His massive cap hit would make him tough to move, but I wouldn’t be too concerned with taking back a salary if I was the Flames, as long as it only has 1 year left. Maybe swapping Wideman for a more mobile defenseman would be a good idea.
This move would not only help the on ice team, but sort of symbolize a forgetting of last season.
3) Acquire a Top 6 Winger
Adding a good top 6 winger to play with Johnny and Monahan would do wonders for this team. Offense isn’t their biggest concern, but having one more 20-30 goal scorer could be what pushes this team back into the postseason.
Whos available? Milan Lucic or Kyle Okposo would be a dream fit in my mind. However, there aren’t too many players like them available on the free agent market this year, so Treliving may need to get creative. Alex Steen is a UFA after this season and although he may not be available now, if the Blues don’t go deep in the playoffs this year, he could be apart of a culture change in Missouri.
If you save assets when acquiring a goalie, maybe they could be used to grab Steen or someone similar via trade.
4) Find A Mobile Depth D-Man
Id prefer to see them go the free agency route, although if one is available for cheap (see part 2/Dennis Wideman) then they should jump all over that. They need to be quicker in their bottom pairing and young players like Jokipakka and Nakladal are a good start I’d like to see someone with a little more experience thrown in their (not named Deryk Engelland).
Ehrhoff is aging, but might be cheap and a decent 6/7 vet. Kris Russell would be nice as well, but I don’t see him coming back to Calgary. Maybe even a name like Dan Boyle, who could hold down that third pairing for a few years until the kids are more prepared.
5) Don’t Give Monahan/Gaudreau Bridge Deals
Left this one for last because it is the least urgent. But I would strongly warn Flames management against going with a 2-4 year deal for both Gaudreau and Monahan. It is more likely that they give them longer deals, and it’s a very smart move.
Both these guys have sky-high ceilings and no one knows what kind of damage they will be doing in 4-6 years. I would give Gaudreau the max 8 year deal and maybe go with a 6 or 7 year deal for Monahan, just for cap relief down the road.
Either way, I wouldn’t want these extensions not being signed going into training camp next September.
This is part 3 of BTI’s 7 part series profiling all the Canadian teams.