Winger Wish List: Top Flames Targets Ahead of NHL Trade Deadline
With the NHL trade deadline around the corner, here are three players the Calgary Flames should target to boost their winger depth and scoring touch.
The Calgary Flames have been looking for a winger all season. And while it's extremely encouraging to see 21-year-old prospect Jakob Pelletier getting a shot with four games before the team's extended all-star break, that doesn't stop the shopping.
But who might make a good fit in the Flaming C? We've already talked about the possibility of James van Riemsdyk making his way to Calgary.
Let's take a look at the top three names I would be targeting before the NHL trade deadline if I was GM of the Flames:
Anthony Duclair, Florida Panthers
Duclair is probably my favourite name to toss out there, for obvious reasons. Well, one obvious reason. Jonathan Huberdeau. The Calgary Flames' soon-to-be $10-million man hasn't had a lot of success on any of the top three lines so far this season. Bringing in someone he had a lot of chemistry with in Florida might offer that spark and bring more depth and scoring potential to the lower lines.
Even if you are one of the many rooting for Pelletier to stay on the flank with Nazem Kadri and Huberdeau the rest of the way, you have to admit icing a fourth line with Pelletier joining Lewis and Ruzicka or some combination is fairly appetizing. Mix in some Milan Lucic or Brett Ritchie when you have injuries or the kids are running cold.
The downside here is Duclair's achilles injury. But the upside includes the fact he's signed for another season at a reasonable $3M cap hit. He had 31 goals — many set up by Huberdeau — last year. And the Flames don't need to rush him back.
Max Domi, Chicago Blackhawks
Domi is one of those guys who has bounced around with expectations that every fresh start is going to end with his big breakout. But even if he never reaches the 70-point level again after that one stellar season with the Montreal Canadiens, Domi offers a lot on the ice. He's as competitive as they come and has some great finish, too.
I've written before that the Flames are still missing a little of the agitation sandpaper they lost in the Matthew Tkachuk trade. Domi could be that guy who elevates and annoys down the stretch and — more importantly — in the playoffs.
Like Duclair, Domi has an affordable $3-million AAV. But he's a pure rental for this season, which might make him cheaper to pick up than someone like Duclair when the bidding gets heavy. Bonus points — his dad Tie can replace the Tkachuk's as beer-swilling favourites in the post-season.
Travis Konecny, Philadelphia Flyers
This wouldn't be a cheap pickup. Not only in salary cap numbers, but in trade return. But grabbing a 25-year-old right-hander with size and that gritty edge would be a coup. His deal pays him $5.5 million for the next two seasons after this one and he'd be well worth the assets that may be needed to get the Flyers to part ways.
He's a perfect top-six winger to throw into the mix for a team looking to make a deep run. He's driving his own price up with a pace of more than a point per game so far this season — with almost perfect splits of goals and assists.
Aiming for a young player with some term would take a lot of effort, but Konecny would be worth it. While I was in talks over JVR, I'd try the upgrade with a package of prospects and picks. Ideally, Calgary will keep their 2023 first and second rounders, but deal futures the way Florida kicked in a pick a few years down the road in the Matthew Tkachuk deal.
Josh Anderson, Montreal Canadiens: It feels like the Calgary Flames and the power winger have been linked for a long time. That's the problem. He's a mild upgrade over Brett Ritchie in this Sutter system. Plus, the Habs are already making out like bandits in the Sean Monahan deal.
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues: He can snipe, but can he skate? Certainly not the way he used to. I still like him better than another Blues player rumoured to be on the NHL trade market in Ivan Barbashev, but Tarasenko's market price is likely higher than JVR's and I'd rather hit up the bargain than the give up more for a potential bust.