Could the Calgary Flames trade Dan Vladar to the Edmonton Oilers?

Sep 29, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goalie Dan Vladar (80) controls the puck against the Edmonton Oilers during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 29, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames goalie Dan Vladar (80) controls the puck against the Edmonton Oilers during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

The Edmonton Oilers are in big, BIG trouble. With players returning to Edmonton earlier than usual during the offseason and heavy tire pumping from hockey pundits around the league, many fans – and not just the Oilers faithful – saw Connor McDavid and company as 2024 Stanley Cup favourites. Now, 18 games into their season, the Oilers sit at 5-12-1 for 11 total points and .306 points percentage. They’re seventh in the Pacific Division, 10 points out of a wild card spot, and 30th in the National Hockey League, three points behind the awful Columbus Blue Jackets, who are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games. If Edmonton has any shot at salvaging what’s been a disaster of a season for them thus far, it’s looking more and more like something more than a coaching change is going to have to happen. One of those moves could be making a trade for a goaltender. And one team with a goalie who could be made available is the Calgary Flames. Would Edmonton have interest in acquiring Dan Vladar?

For reference, here are Sportsnet’s NHL Insider Stanley Cup predictions for the 2023-24 season:

"Elliotte Friedman: EdmontonCaroline Cameron: EdmontonChristine Simpson: EdmontonJeff Marek: CarolinaDavid Amber: EdmontonLuke Fox: DallasMark Spector: CarolinaEric Francis: CarolinaWayne Scanlan: EdmontonEric Engels: Los AngelesIain MacIntyre: ColoradoNick Kypreos: DallasJustin Bourne: ColoradoSonny Sachdeva: EdmontonSean Reynolds: EdmontonGene Principe: EdmontonRyan Dixon: CarolinaJason Bukala: CarolinaSam Cosentino: EdmontonRory Boylen: Edmonton"

Why do the Oilers need a goalie?

The Oilers may have issues up and down their entire lineup. From forward depth, to blueliners with the ability to actually play defense, to goaltending, one could argue that their entire roster is a complete dumpster fire. But on the other hand, with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in what should be the prime windows of their careers, does it make sense to call the season a wash this early on?

If they do elect to try to compete this season, prioritizing the acquisition of an NHL-calibre goalie would make sense and it doesn’t take much homework to highlight why that might be the right place to start:

  • Stuart Skinner has started 12 games in the Oilers’ cage this season. He’s 4-7 with a save percentage of .865 and has allowed an average of 3.66 goals against. He’s allowed a whopping 43 goals against.
  • Jack Campbell, Edmonton’s $5 million goalie, is currently in the AHL. Before his demotion, he started five games for the Oilers, won only one of them, and holds a .873 save percentage and 4.50 GAA.
  • More recently, the Oilers have given a start to Calvin Pickard. He’s 0-1. Pickard has not been a regular NHL goalie since 2016-17 when he started 48 games for the Colorado Avalanche.

Simply put, the Oilers need a goalie because their current trio of options have all proven to be incapable of saving hockey pucks at a frequency conducive to winning hockey games.

Could a Dan Vladar trade between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers be an option?

The Oilers are desperate, but are they desperate enough to make a same-Division, in-province deal with their rivals in Calgary?

I can’t answer that question for Ken Holland and the Oilers brass, but what I do know is that Craig Conroy and the Flames would prefer not to trade with a team in the same division, especially the Oilers or Canucks.

However, the return from the Oilers could be bigger and better than what’s available from other teams around the league due simply to the fact that their backs are against the ropes and the finishing blow to their season could be just a couple more ticks in the “L” column. A good negotiator could theoretically extract more from the Oilers right now than any other club in the NHL. If Conroy can hit a home run by shipping Vladar up the highway, he should do it.

But, will the Oilers see the potential in a goaltender with a career .896 save percentage?

The truth is that Vladar can win games, has proven to be clutch in key moments, and is a viable NHL backup. Bringing him in to save a season in a pressure-heavy market with a spotlight that’s currently cranked to 11 would be a big time risk.

If the Flames could pull off a Vladar trade, they could retrieve a pick, a prospect, and would create current roster space for Dustin Wolf.

Related Story. Potential suitors for a Dan Vladar trade with the Calgary Flames. light