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.