By Robert Munnich
The Calgary Flames are off to their second-best start in franchise history. Only the 1988/89 Stanley Cup winning team got off to a faster start than the 2021/22 version of the Flames.
The Flames are currently a top-heavy offensive team. They have outscored their opponents 17-2 at 5 on 5 with Gaudreau, Lindholm and Tkachuk on the ice together.
Calgary has only outscored their opponents 25-24 when those 3 are not on the ice. 10 of those 25 goals have come from Andrew Mangipane, and 6 of the remaining 15 goals have been scored by Milan Lucic which is likely not a sustainable scoring pace for him.
They need help scoring goals from the bottom of their lineup, plain and simple. What they’re getting from the likes of Monahan, Coleman, Backlund, Dube and Pitlick is simply not good enough if you want to win a Stanley Cup.
|Player||82 Game Goal Pace|
|Mikael Backlund||14 Goals|
|Blake Coleman||14 Goals|
|Sean Monahan||10 Goals|
|Dillon Dube||7 Goals|
|Tyler Pitlick||0 Goals|
It is critical that this team picks up a scoring right winger to play with Mangipane and Backlund on the 2nd line.
The Flames would slot much better if they can add another right shooting winger to the fold. A top 6 that could feature Gaudreau, Lindholm, Tkachuk, Mangipane, Backlund and say a Tyler Toffoli could be lethal. This set up also allows the Flames to move Blake Coleman down to the third line to help out the bottom 6.
Flames Assets Available: 2022 1st, (2) 2nd Round Picks. 2023 1st, 2nd, 3rd Round Picks. Dillon Dube, Tyler Pitlick, Sean Monahan, Prospects.
Flames Current Cap Space Available: $1,546,872
Here are some potential trade options for the Flames at right wing:
1. Tyler Toffoli – Right Wing – Montreal Canadiens – Cap Hit $4,250,000 Until 2024/25
Tyler Toffoli would be a great fit in Calgary. Toffoli is a natural goal scorer who has been on pace to eclipse the 20 goal mark 6 out of his 9 seasons in the NHL. He would fit like a glove on a 2nd line with Andrew Mangipane and Mikael Backlund. Toffoli has also played for Darryl Sutter in the past and knows what he will expect from him.
Toffoli has played in a lot of big games throughout his career. He has been to 3 Stanley Cup Finals and 4 Conference Finals. He knows what it takes to win and Brad Treliving and Darryl Sutter have put great importance in that intangible.
One might be concerned with Toffoli’s skating. He is a below average NHL skater. But as we have seen this year, the Flames don’t necessarily need the fastest skaters to be a fast team. Darryl Sutter has them playing a system where they can play fast through their puck movement and positioning on the ice. Because of this, I don’t think Toffoli’s speed will be an issue.
Toffoli can be had if Canadiens eat upwards of 50% of his salary and the Flames trade a player off their roster like a Dillon Dube or Tyler Pitlick to make the money work.
Potential trade Package:
To Montreal: Dillon Dube, 2022 2nd Round Pick, 2023 3rd Round Pick
To Calgary: Tyler Toffoli (Montreal eats $1.75M)
2. Connor Brown – Right Wing – Ottawa Senators – Cap Hit $3,600,000 Until 2022/23
Connor Brown is an interesting name because the Flames have almost acquired him in the past. Brown was reportedly part of a trade package that would have seen him and Nazim Kadri come to Calgary in exchange for TJ Brodie and Mark Jankowski in the summer of 2019.
Brown is a smart, skilled winger who can play on a second or third line. He has scored 20 goals twice in his 5 year NHL career. He already has chemistry with Flames forward Andrew Mangipane as they played together at the 2021 World Championships on Team Canada’s top line and 1st Power Play unit.
Ottawa is currently in last place and will likely look to acquire assets for veteran players with 1-2 years left on their contracts. Connor Brown fits that mold.
Potential Trade Package:
To Ottawa: Tyler Pitlick, 2022 2nd Round Pick, 2023 5th Round Pick
To Calgary: Connor Brown (OTT retains $1.2M)
3. Mason Appleton – Right Wing – Seattle Kraken – Cap Hit $900,000 Until 2021/22
This is a great time to buy low on Kraken right winger Mason Appleton. The young forward has struggled to find a consistent role and spot in the lineup when healthy in Seattle this season. Appleton is also coming off an ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup for about 1 month.
The Kraken will not be making the playoffs this season and it would make sense for GM Ron Francis to ship out some players on expiring contracts to acquire draft picks and build for the future. Mason Appleton could be one of those guys. His contract expires after this season. His current cap hit is $900,000 which could be very enticing if you are the Flames. Appleton scored at an 18 goal pace playing on the third line in Winnipeg last season. I could see that number increasing past 20 if he gets to play on a line with Mikael Backlund and Andrew Mangipane.
Potential Trade Package:
To Seattle: 2022 2nd Round Pick, 2023 3rd Round Pick
To Calgary: Mason Appleton
4. Tage Thompson – Right Wing/Center – Buffalo Sabres – Cap Hit $1,400,000 Until 2022/2023
Tage Thompson is in the middle of a breakout season with the Buffalo Sabres. He has scored 10 goals in only 23 games on a terrible Sabres team. The 24-year-old Thompson, who is now coming into his prime, could bring an element of size (6’7, 218 Pounds) and speed on the right wing for a Flames second line.
Thompson would be difficult to get out of Buffalo. He is one of three remaining pieces from a disastrous Ryan O’Reilly trade. He is also Buffalo’s leading scorer at the moment and they might see him as a core member of their team moving forward. It would take the Flames a big asset or assets to get him out of Western New York. My guess is that a 1st Round Pick in 2022 would have to be offered to pique the interest of the Sabres.
Thompson has reportedly been unhappy with the Sabres in the past and this might help facilitate a trade to a contender. It will be interesting to see his situation plays out.
Potential Trade Proposal:
To Buffalo: 2022 1st Round Pick
To Calgary: Tage Thompson