The Calgary Flames recently opened up significant salary cap space by trading away veteran forward Michael Frolik and his $4.3MM cap hit. The move occurred on Thursday and by Saturday the word was out that Calgary GM Brad Treliving was already on the hunt to fill that space. The Flames would like help up front and now have nearly $5MM to make and addition or perhaps even two. However, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Treliving and company are not interested in the rental market. The team’s preference is to add a player with term as opposed to using up their newfound cap space on a short-term commitment, especially as they continue to sit outside the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Friedman feels that, if the Flames are comfortable with Elias Lindholm remaining at center, their trade focus will be on adding a right wing. While it is often hard to predict which term players may be available, some top-six right wing options that Calgary can afford and may be available could include New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri, Montreal’s Joel Armia, Anaheim’s Ondrej Kase, or the Rangers’ Pavel Buchnevich. Of course, the team could also look into negotiating an extension with an available rental prior to making a deal, which would open up options like L.A.’s Tyler Toffoli or Florida’s Mike Hoffman or Evgenii Dadonov.
- While one might assume that the Montreal Canadiens, currently in 13th in the Eastern Conference, would be sellers this season, the team proved otherwise this week by acquiring defenseman Marco Scandella and signing forward Ilya Kovalchuk. Friedman reports that the team was also considering Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi before pulling the trigger on Kovalchuk, although continued interest cannot be completely ruled out. It’s easy to forget about Baertschi’s availability, as the Canucks have kept him buried in the AHL for all but six games this season and have performed fine without him, currently riding the league’s longest winning streak in fact. Baertschi, who recorded 106 points in 216 games with the Canucks over the past four seasons, has been slowed by injuries in his career but productive when healthy. He has shown as much this year, scoring at an elite pace in the AHL. The risk-reward winger cleared waivers earlier this season, but as he continues to stay healthy and score in the minors, the Canadiens will not be the only team with interest. If Vancouver is willing to retain part of Baerstschi’s $3.367 cap hit through next season, that will only increase the likelihood that another team opts to take a chance on him.
- While there has been some speculation that the red-hot Toronto Maple Leafs could turn to the trade market to add depth on the blue line, especially in light of recent injuries, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston believes that the team may opt to fill the void internally instead. With Rasmus Sandin excelling overseas at the World Junior Championship, Johnston believes that Toronto’s opinion on playing the young defenseman this season has changed. Johnston does not believe that keeping Sandin under ten games of NHL action, so as to allow his entry-level contract to slide one more year, is a priority anymore for the team. He believes that when Sandin returns to Toronto, he will become a viable option for the remainder of the season. Sanin has already played in four games this season, so it would not take much time for him to burn the first year of his contract, but it may be worth it if the Leafs can solidify their back end.