Calgary Flames Promise To Be “Agressive” On Trade Market


The Calgary Flames are being very aggressive on the trade market, at least according to one of the top hockey insiders in the game. Elliotte Friedman was on CBC last night between periods of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning and gave Flames fans reason to believe roster changes are on the way.

“If you ask teams who the most aggressive teams out there are, in terms of working the phones, it’s the Calgary Flames.” Friedman said on the “Headlines” segments after the second period of a game won by the Blackhawks that give them a 3-2 series lead and a chance to win the Stanley Cup at home on Monday night.

Friedman added one refreshing caveat to the aggressive mindset, claiming the Flames will not do anything that will hurt the teams chances at signing Mark Giordano, Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan long term. All three players will become free agents next season when their contracts are done, and it appears they are the top priority for the organization going forward.

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Aggressive can be a good thing, but it can also be a very, very bad thing. Brian Burke was on Sportsnet radio last week discussing the Flames five game second round series loss to the Anheim Ducks and foolishly pointed to the Flames lack of size as the reason they lost to the Ducks. At no point did Burke suggest the Ducks skill level and talent was too much for the Flames, or that the Ducks incredible depth both at forward and on defense was overwhelming for the top heavy Flames, he just thinks Calgary needs to get bigger.

May 8, 2015; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett (63) left wing Brandon Bollig (25) and defenseman Deryk Engelland (29) tangle with the Anaheim Ducks during the second period in game four of the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

Getting bigger and better would be tremendous for the Flames, but an emphasis on just getting bigger is the reason this team spent over $4 million on the cap on Deryk Engelland and Brandon Bollig this season, and will do the same for the next two years.

If the Flames keep the blinders on and go after players who can check the box that says size, they will end up with more players like Bollig and Engelland. Going out and signing Brenden Morrow, Chris Stewart or Tim Gleason because of their size, leadership and experience would make the Flames bigger, but not better.

If the Flames are more focused on making the team better, and look for large players that can do that, this organization will be much better in the future. Signing a defenseman like Cody Franson who is 6’5″ but also chips in 35 points would be a much better move than bringing in Engelland last summer.

Signing Joel Ward who brings size and an ability to score nearly 20 goals from a depth role would make the Flames bigger and also better, not just bigger. However, signing Morrow would only make the team bigger, which does nothing to help them return to the postseason next year.

Where being aggressive can be a problem is when you target a player and then allow a bidding war to get out of control. Franson would be a good fit with the Flames, but if there are five teams bidding for his services and the end result is a six year contract at six million per year, it may be wise to bow out. An aggressive team would stay in the bidding until the end, ensuring they acquire the player they set their sights on at the outset of free agency.

The Flames being the most aggressive team working the phones right now makes for some exciting possibilities. Hopefully the management team doesn’t get tunnel vision and end up overpaying for a target or acquiring a player who doesn’t help, much like they did with Engelland and Bollig last year.

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