As we all know we are in a winter Olympics year. That means there will be an NHL roster freeze before the March 5th NHL trade deadline. That Olympic NHL roster freeze begins February 8th and ends February 23rd, leaving 11 days to complete deadline deals. GM’s can still talk and potentially make trades during that freeze, but wait to announce them after the freeze. But it also could change some GM’s minds and negate some potential trades. I would expect some deals to be made before February 8th and the Flames will likely be involved.
We know once the College season ends for guys like Gaudreau, Arnold, and Agostino, they will receive NHL contract offers from Brian Burke and the Flames. Especially Gaudreau (if he signs), will bring some excitement to a fan base that will need something to cheer about.
Let’s take a look at names that may be leaving the Flames and where they may go:
Cammalleri- Cammy will likely be one of the bigger name guys available prior to the trade deadline. We have seen media guys like Dennis Bernstein from LA Kings mention Cammalleri being a possible target for the Kings. Also, Sam Carchidi, a beat writer for the Flyers, has hinted that the Flyers could be a nice fit for the scoring winger out of Calgary. Some also have suggested New Jersey may inquire and try to land Cammalleri. I would also suggest to you, that teams such as Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Ottawa can use Cammalleri, and work out a deal with the Flames that would make sense for both sides.
Backlund- Earlier in the year we kept hearing about Backlund being on the block. Since then Backlund has raised his game and became a very reliable center that plays strong in both ends of the ice. With his value now being higher than earlier in the season, could Burke capitalize and get a good return? Teams like Carolina have been interested in the young Swede. He could also fit nicely in Toronto and Washington.
Stajan- Matt Stajan is showing heart and desire. But the points are not there. In a contract year he is definitely playing for a new deal, wherever it may end up being. His shooting percentage is respectable but the issue is that he does not shoot the puck. Stajan currently averages 0.945 shots per game. A team like Tampa or Detroit may feel Stajan and Stempniak to be nice depth guys going into the playoffs. The Penguins may also see Stempniak as a fit to provide some much needed help to their third line.
Chris Butler- Oh Butler… the last year and some have not been pretty. Forced to play in a role and minutes that are far beyond how he should be used. I think Butler would be a nice fit as #5 or #6 D-man on a deep team playing around 12-14 minutes a game. Boston comes to mind as a team that could be adding a defenseman. Around the deadline every year, teams overpay for defenseman (Doug Murray for example). I am not saying Butler could fetch the Flames two second round picks but he is a moveable piece, especially at the trade deadline. Depth at defence is essential when you are heading into the playoffs. Burke wants to get meaner and bigger on the back end. Having Butler, Brodie, Smith & Russell moving forward is too much of the opposite. It will not shock me to see two of those four guys be moved this season.
The Flames currently have $21.747 million in cap space. At the deadline they can add $50 million worth of pro-rated salary cap if they want.
As per Burke, Feaster being fired symbolizes speeding up of the rebuild. I can only assume, but I have a feeling the trades the Flames do make, may not be just player for draft picks. Burke may add some actual bodies and salary that he can use moving forward.