The Calgary Flames seem to be producing in all facets of the game despite a shootout loss today as they still haven’t had a regulation loss in eight straight games. Their top lines are producing, their defense seems to be beginning to develop the chemistry that everyone had hoped and goaltender Mike Smith has been a great acquisition. With everything going right for Calgary, it seems like the team isn’t likely to be too active at the trade deadline this year.
Yet, Sportsnet’s Eric Francis writes that despite all that, he wonders if the Flames should consider looking for an even bigger prize. With the recent rumblings about the possible availability of Ottawa Senators star defenseman Erik Karlsson, Francis wonders if Calgary should go for it all and trade for him now. While on the surface, a deal might seem unlikely as the Flames are already loaded with a group of solid defenders and have few draft picks to trade (just two picks in the first three rounds over the next two years).
The scribe writes that finding a spot for Karlsson would be the least of the team’s problems. He would be a welcome addition no matter how good their defense of Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton, Travis Hamonic and Michael Stone is. He would immediately help an average power play and could offer the team a multi-dimensional player. With some cap room to play with, Calgary could afford most of Karlsson’s contract ($6.5MM AAV) already, although that could end the team’s bid to re-sign Mikael Backlund during the offseason this year.
What could they offer? Quite a bit. While the team might lack draft picks after going out and acquiring Hamonic in the offseason, the team has a number of quality prospects, including Harvard University defenseman Adam Fox, considered to be one of the top college blueliners. They have two quality goaltending prospects in Jon Gillies and Tyler Parsons as well as defensive prospects like Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington as pieces they can offer Ottawa.
Fox, who many believe may choose to stay at Harvard for four years and take the unrestricted free agency route to avoid Calgary’s already crowded blueline, might be the perfect trade chip while he still has value. Add in Andersson, Kylington and last year’s 2016 first-rounder in Juuso Valamaki and the team has quite a bit of defensive depth — perhaps too much.
Francis believes that the team might want to consider making a big move like acquiring a future Hall of Famer, who could take the Flames to another level as they start climbing up the Pacific Division and get ready for the playoffs. General manager Brad Treliving already once this year went out and acquired Hamonic as a big defensive addition. Why not one more?