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Flames still active on NHL trade market, eyeing Chiarot

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Seems the Calgary Flames are still active in NHL trade talks. That news isn’t all that surprising. What team isn’t? But the fact that they reportedly haven’t given up on the Montreal Canadiens’ Ben Chiarot might come as a mild shock.

The 30-year-old defenceman was at one time a part of the Tyler Toffoli talks between the Habs and Flames. After Flames GM Brad Treliving parted with his first-round pick and a prospect in that deal, well ahead of the NHL trade deadline, the idea with giving up another high pick or blue chip prospect for Chiarot drifted away.

However, the Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported this week that the Calgary Flames are still kicking tires on Chiarot.

He believes the current price is too high and that the Canadiens are interested in top prospect Jakob Pelletier. The 2019 first-round selection is having a stellar first season in the American Hockey League with the Stockton Heat.

Pelletier has already passed current Calgary Flames sniper Andrew Mangiapane’s rookie goal and point total. He is on pace to claim top spot for most rookie points for the Heat franchise.

Fellow former first-round pick Mark Jankowski holds that mark with 27 goals, 29 assists and 56 points in 64 games as a freshman on the farm.

A point-per-game player as a pro, Pelletier has 22 goals, 26 helpers and 48 points through his first 48 games.

Key injuries show need for depth

But cost aside, the Calgary Flames’ current situation after getting through most of the year without having to deal with injuries highlights the need to add depth.

Michael Stone has served the team well in back-to-back starts in the top four with defenceman Oliver Kylington nursing a surprise injury, but Stone has played just four games all season.

Behind Stone, prospect Connor Mackey has shown some real promise in very limited NHL time (three points in six games with the Flames last season). He was recalled from the AHL on Saturday after the Kylington injury surfaced. It’s tough to imagine a Stanley Cup run, however, as a time to test players at the NHL level.

Up front, the team is liking the depth added by Toffoli. That trade has paid off in a big way with Toffoli racking up eight goals and 13 points in 14 games since the deal was made. He’s had a huge impact on special teams and head coach Darryl Sutter speaks highly of what he’s added.

Toffoli trade still paying dividends for Flames

“He’s a goal scorer,” Sutter said after Toffoli’s pair of goals in the recent Battle of Alberta against the Edmonton Oilers. “He only needs one chance to score.

“So, he had two chances and scored two goals, and he was probably quite honestly pissed off because he had that shorthanded breakaway he tried to come back on, right?

“Those guys are special players. You can’t teach guys to score.”

But Sean Monahan seems unable to re-ignite his offensive ability. Dillon Dube’s evolution is stalling. And Milan Lucic has cooled off after a hot start to his season. The Flames could use a little more oomph at the forward position to help with the secondary scoring problem.

Expect them to do what they can to add, knowing they are capable of doing something special this season.

“The cost, the fit … those are the challenges,” Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving told Postmedia on Monday. “Where are we short or where are we soft right now? I don’t know if there’s a position I’d point to. We’re just trying to make sure we have depth. Our team is playing well. I like our team. We would like to add to it. But you have to balance the cost.”

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