Despite being linked to nearly every big fish on the market, the Calgary Flames were quiet in their first deadline as buyers in a long time. Ultimately the Flames decided the buying high on many of the top six forwards available just wasn’t the right call for the long-term health of a franchise just entering their Stanley Cup window.
Calgary was linked to Mark Stone for a while but he ultimately ended up in Vegas for the bluest of blue chip defensive prospects along with other assets. Gus Nyquist reportedly only wanted to waive his NTC for San Jose so no help there. Kevin Hayes was traded to Winnipeg for a 1st and other assets.
The Flames were even briefly linked to Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild late in the day but nothing came of that.
When it comes down to it, the Flames are really a team that’s still building their youth for the future and chose not to mortgage any of it today, considering they had done a lot of it in past years.
In doing so Flames management gave a full vote of confidence in the group of players that has led the Flames to 2nd overall in the NHL with 85 points in 62 games.
Calgary has shown remarkable scoring depth (especially lately) behind a very strong top six despite their recent struggles. The defensive core has been improving, and goaltending may finally be starting to solidify. Oscar Fantenberg is a nice depth pickup in case of injuries or anything else occurring in the final few months of the season.
Ultimately many teams were making moves to cover holes on their team and work to catch the Flames. There’s no guarantee that a move would help the Flames a la Tomas Tatar last year, and it could’ve just as easily thrown off their chemistry.
It is somewhat intimidating that every other top team in the West made a big pickup over the last 48 hours, but Calgary has stuck to their guns all year long, and more often than not they’ve been right.
The Flames are going to ride this roster into the playoffs and see where it takes them. Personally I think it was the right call to make after it became apparent that Stone wouldn’t make sense for them. Calgary also keeps their top young prospects and can look at making other moves in the summer when the market is more calm.
It’s time to move into the final stretch of the season with the Flames firmly in control of their own destiny. They didn’t overpay for anyone today, they fully believe in their current roster, and I do too. There’s a really good thing going in Calgary right now, don’t get upset that they didn’t make a big splash today.
by Michael MacGillivray