Monday, June 26, 2023

It's Not The Worst Thing In The World If The Flames Don't Trade Their Guys...

 Yes, it would be wonderful if the Flames traded all the guys who are telling the media they want out (most likely for leverage in negotiations) for boatloads of good players, prospects, and picks. But would it be the worst thing in the world if they didn't? I'm not so sure it would be the disaster it is being portrayed as. 

First, this concept that if you lose these players you get nothing back is silly to me. You traded assets for these guys, and what did you get? You got NHL games played from them. In all cases you got multiple years of NHL ready guys playing in your NHL roster. You don't 'lose' the draft picks you traded for them into this ether, you got NHL ready guys in exchange for those draft picks who played multiple years for the team. In Backlund's case you used a draft pick to draft him and in exchange got over a decades worth of NHL games out of it. Letting him walk to free agency isn't a huge value lost in terms of your investment. 

Would it be nice to turn a 34 year old into a first round pick? Obviously it would. But if it doesn't happen I wouldn't be jumping off a bridge over it. 

The problem as I see it is that with so much supply and the media painting a picture of "if they don't trade these guys it's a disaster" that other GM's are probably low balling offers for the Flame players in question. And the Flames are probably in a position of having to accept some bad offers or not make a deal. 

If the deals are bad, the Flames are better off not making one and keeping their guys. Like, a late first rounder is a fake first rounder, so accepting a late first plus an older prospect for say, Lindholm, would be a bad deal and one not worth taking, IMO. Conroy is a new GM and reputational matters also figure into the equation here. You don't want to be labeled as a guy who is an easy mark. 

The Flames can keep all their guys and go into the season with them. They would have the advantage in trades, in my opinion, if they did this. The leverage switches to the team when the season starts, because other teams will feel the pressure to 'chase the cup' at the deadline. 

The flip side of that is that other teams will still apply pressure as again there will be the storyline of "can't lose them for nothing, gotta make a deal" and with the added "can you trade these guys when the team is in the playoff hunt" stuff. 

Yin and yang all over. 

So what if nothing happened? 

If the 'disaster' that is losing these guys for 'nothing' happens, what happens to the Flames?

Apparently they get something like 39 million in cap space. They'd have 9 players on the roster, so they'd have to add a few, 14 to be full at 23 players, but at a minimum they'd have to add 11. They have a bunch of forwards they could use to fill those holes in Duehr, Pelletier, Zary, and Schwindt, and Poirer all at basically minimums. So add 5 players to the 9, and the Flames would have 14 players on the roster with really having to add another 6 to get to 20 players on the roster and 9 to get to 23. 

Adding those kids to the lineup to get to 14 players will cost about 4.3 million in cap. That leaves like 35 million in cap to fill out the rest of the 9 spots. Filling 3 of those with minimum players (using 800K as the placeholder) will cost another 2.4 million. So 32.5 million to fill 6 spots. 

That's about 5.4 million per player. Plenty of money to put together a decent roster. 

What if you offered one of those players, idk, say a certain centre currently playing for the Maple Leafs, 14 million dollars a year? Well you'd still have about 3.7 million to per spot to fill out the remaining 5 spots. 

Which spots on the roster would you even need to fill with this money? Well, you would basically need either a bottom line winger or centre, and 3 dmen. So you could throw 14, 15, even 16 million at Mathews and still be pretty ok when it comes to filling out the rest of the spots. 

In short, it's not a disaster if the Flames play out the season with their one year left guys, try to get to where they can get to, let them walk at the end of the year for nothing, and then throw that cap space at a true number one centre in Mathews. If he doesn't come, fine. You preserve yours space for when another top player becomes available. 

This talk of a disaster is just lazy. 

Thursday, June 15, 2023

A Lot Of Consternation Over A 50 Point Player

Oh look at me I spelled consternation correctly on my first try, no spell check required. I still got it, baby!

Ok, so first off, the chatter: I've heard the 32 thoughts guy say stuff about Markstrom and about Hanifin, but not about Lindholm. I have seen Lindholm on a rumour from the Hockey Writers site, IIRC. If I was trying to read the Kremlin, that would imply to me that Markstrom and Hanafin are on the trade block but they have not put Lindholm on it as yet. 

Which kinda perplexes me. Hanafin is the guy to keep just due to his age. Whether he is worth committing cap space to and the years to is a different question all together, but in a vacuum I'm keeping the 26 year old over the 29 year old. (Spoiler: Hanafin should be traded as well, and if God gives you a miracle and someone wants to trade for Markstrom, you do that too). 

I have a sinking feeling they are talking themselves into giving Lindholm a contract. 

(As an aside, it's super creepy when people call him Zebulon, isn't it? Like why do you know a players second middle name? And what makes you think you would have permission to use it? Like, peak internet weirdo shit if you ask me). 

Anyway...the guy has played in the NHL for 10 seasons. Number of seasons with over 50 points: 3. Number of seasons with over 30 goals: 1. Number of seasons with over 50 assists: 1. Number of seasons with over 200 shots: 1. 

My eyes tell me he is a real NHL forward who can play real NHL minutes, I'm not trying to say he isn't. What I am saying is I don't think he is a superstar, and I don't think the team should be committing big cap numbers and big term numbers to 29 year olds who are not superstars. 

We already did that. His name is Jonathan Huberdeau. That's the bad contract we have on the books already. That slot is taken. We can't give another out. That is, we can't commit to another 30 year old at big cap dollars and big term unless the guy is a legit top 10 player in the league. And I'm not sure Lindholm is that. 

Unless the guy has told the Flames he is willing to take a below market contract, I don't even know why extension talks are even happening. This has 'TRADE THIS GUY TO RESTOCK' written all over it. 


Cap space is precious, because it is finite. In a cap system, the most money the best player in the universe can make is capped. In the NHL you can make 20% of the cap. If the cap is 82 million, the most the best player in the universe could make is 16.4 million. 

I think the highest contract in actuality currently is 12.6 (for Mackinnon). Puckpedia tells me that is 15% of the cap. McDavid is basically that as well. 

Lindholm at 9 million is like 11% of the cap. How many Lindholm's would you have to trade to get a Mackinnon or a McDavid? Three of them? 

Is it worth committing that much cap space, 11%, to a guy who I would need three of to trade for a guy who makes 15% of the cap? 

Trade Lindholm for future assets, use the cap on short term contracts, and wait until you can trade for a star. 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

There Is A World Where The Flames Spend 64 Million Next Season, And It's Amazing

What in the world should the Calgary Flames do moving forward into the 2023-2024 season? 

It's a question because the Flames, through dumb luck or something else, find themselves with a boatload of players with one year left on their contracts. Should they extend their contracts or let them walk?

The non exhaustive list includes Lindholm, Backlund, Toffoli, Hanifin, Zadorov, and Kylington. 

There are talented players on that list. Those talented players missed the playoffs and many showed, in my opinion, low character doing it. We can miss the playoffs without most of them, quite frankly, and preserve cap space and recoup some draft picks at the same time. 

My vision includes trading Backlund, Lindholm, Toffoli, and Hanifin. 

I think a Lindholm gets you at least a first, or a real prospect, as does Hanifin. Backlund and Toffoli probably get you later round picks, but magic beans sometimes turn into something. Capital is capital. 

Lets say you get two firsts, and two thirds for trading those guys. You can use that to trade for a real player if you wanted. You would have the cap space to accommodate whoever you bring in. 

And Brad Treliving isn't here anymore, so you don't have to worry about the cap space going towards a 33 year old bottom six winger. Blue skies. 

Or you could use those newly acquired picks, along with picks we have, to rebuild the prospect pool. It gives you flexibility and options going forward. 

Here is the lineup: 

It's a little gross, sure. But it's gross for 63 million. And honestly, it's really only gross when it comes to the forwards. You could get away with playing that defence, and the goalies are the goalies, you hope they rebound. 

It's not going to win the Cup, but bringing back Backlund, Lindholm, Toffoli, and Hanifin isn't going to win the cup either. Why spend the money?

My roster does include some guys with one year left. I think Rooney is in that boat, along with Tanev, Zadorov, and Kylington. I think the org should be fine with losing those guys; they were all brought in as free agents save for Kylington, so you aren't losing 'assets' by letting them walk away, you didn't trade assets to get them in the first place. I would try to extend Zadorov and Kylington, with the latter being a bigger priority. 

You would have roster spots for some buy low type candidates. Would Drouin and Huberdeau work? Probably wouldn't cost much to find out. 

Again, if they bring everybody back, do they win a Cup? Probably not. I don't see two legit stud top-10-players-in-the-league forwards on that roster, I don't see a true 1A stud defenceman. You generally need these things to win a Cup. 

To me, the options are: Spend 82 million to not win, or spend 63 million to not win. The benefit of the latter approach is you get draft capital or prospect capital, and a cleaner cap sheet going forward.