60

Weekly Rumours – Flames in trouble & a pair of big names on the trade block

Actual rumours? In the middle of August? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! Let’s dig in.

THE FLAMES TROUBLES

Brad Treliving has a couple of RFA’s to sign and not a lot of money to do it. Right now, the Flames have around $7.75 million in cap space and they need to get new deals done for both Matthew Tkachuk and Andrew Mangiapane. Tkachuk alone would command around $7 million on a long-term deal, so if the Flames want to lock him up they’ll need to clear out some money.

Initially, it was thought that they would find a new home for defenseman TJ Brodie and his $4.65 million cap hit but after learning that Juuso Valimaki will miss a large portion of the 2019-20 season with an injury, they’re in a position where they can’t really afford to lose any more depth on defence.

They’ll no doubt try to move out Michael Frolik, who carries a cap hit of $4.3 million for one more season, but one would imagine that they’ve been trying to do that for a while now and considering we’re at a point in the offseason where a lot of teams won’t want to add more money, moving Frolik seems improbable for the Flames.

One solution could be to flip Frolik for an overpaid defenseman and then move Brodie out for a cheaper forward option but it could be hard to find a trade partner for a deal like that in late August.

Some Oilers fans have been floating out the idea of a Russell for Frolik swap. It would give the Flames some defensive depth and would give the Oilers one more top-nine winger. I can see the logic behind it, but I really don’t think the Oilers can subtract another proven NHL defender from their blueline. They already will be going into next year without Sekera and will be banking on one rookie defenseman to become a full-time NHLer, can they really trade Russell and hope for two rookies to step up? I don’t think that would be wise.

RISTOLAINEN WANTS OUT?

Speaking of defenseman, Rasmus Ristolainen is back in the rumour mill. The Sabres have added a handful of d-men this summer and when Finnish TV outlet ‘MTV Sports’ asked Ristolainen about his future, he gave a pretty unsure answer.

“I cannot say anything other than the fact that on the 12th of September, I will be at one of the NHL team’s training camps,” said the 24-year-old defenseman.

That quote has led to a lot of speculation that Ristolainen has requested a trade and that the Sabres will be looking to move him before the season starts.

He’s a young, right-shot defenseman, who can consistently produce 40 points and is comfortable playing on the powerplay. On the surface, he is exactly what the Oilers need. 

The problems with Ristolainen include his ability to actually defend and keep pucks out of his net. He’s also under contract for the next three seasons with a cap hit of $5.4 million. For the Oilers to afford that, they would need to send a couple of bad contracts back to Buffalo. I doubt the Sabres would be willing to do that. I would imagine that there are teams out there willing to give up some pretty nice assets to bring a player like Ristolainen into their organization.

He has some warts in his defensive game, which is why I think the Oilers should stay away, but I could see a team with a good, veteran group of defenders being willing to take a chance on Ristolainen.

If the Oilers are going to spend the assets and money on a player, I would hope they could get back a player who brings a little bit more stability to their backend. 

FLORIDA READY TO MOVE HOFFMAN?

This rumour has been buzzing around Twitter over the last few days, but I’m not sure if it classifies as a legitimate rumour (based on who’s been ‘reporting’ it). Could I see the Panthers moving on from Mike Hoffman before the season starts? I could. Is he the type of volume shooting, top-six winger the Oilers would likely covet? Absolutely. But there are a few problems with the ‘Hoffman to Edmonton’ idea.

First, it’s cap space or lack thereof. The Oilers don’t have a lot of room and Hoffman carries a cap hit of around $5.2 million. The Oilers would have to send money back the other way and I can’t see the Panthers being interested in either of Kris Russell, since they already have eight defensemen on their roster or Sam Gagner, for more obvious reasons. Maybe if it was a larger deal involving multiple players things would change, but I think it’s highly unlikely.

Even if the two sides agreed to terms on a deal, there’s another issue. Mike Hoffman has a modified no-trade clause that requires him to submit a ten-team no-trade list to the Panthers. Considering how much drama surrounded his departure from the Ottawa Senators, would anyone be the least bit surprised if all seven Canadian teams were on his no-trade list?

Now, maybe the opportunity to play alongside Connor McDavid in a contract year would change his mind, but I doubt it. The fact he’s in a contract year would also worry me from an Oilers perspective. Hoffman is scheduled to be a 30-year-old UFA next summer and there’s no doubt he’ll be looking to cash in on one more big deal in his career. Is it wise for the Oilers to give up assets for a player who will likely want to go to market next July? I don’t think it is.

I was skeptical about this rumour from the second I saw it and after digging a little deeper, I don’t think this is something that could realistically happen.



  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    The Value Villagers are going to have to dump a decent sized contract or a couple mid size ones, they dont have enough cap cash to sign Turtlechuk and then wont want to be tight to the cap ceiling either…Dont see the Oilers getting involved in any of those players, too much money to take on without moving a couple players out and Holland has said he wants a couple mil of cap space available and doesnt want to be so close to the ceiling like the Oilers were last with cap money and contracts, now one can never say never because who thought that Lucic’s contract would get moved

    Ristolainen wanted out last year from the rumblings that were going on he and the coach didnt see eye to eye, someone might take him on but his lack of being able to defend is tough because for that kind of money you would hope he’d be good in both ends of the ice. Strange that Florida is willing to deal Hoffman though, must want to clear cap space bad enough to give up some offensive

        • Kelly Youngblood

          I’d look at a Larsson & Brodziak for Ristolainen trade. I read a good point in a previous article that the Swedish connection would make Larsson a great mentor for Dahlin. Throwing in Brodziak to even out the money side of things. Edmonton would come out $83,000 ahead in that deal. and let’s be honest….Larsson was brutal at times last year.

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      I dont see that being enough salary moved out fr the oilers to take a guy on in the 4 to 5 mil range, Benning makes around 2 mil and Poolparty’s salary will be around a mil… I would say there could be bonus clauses but I doubt he’d hit any so that would be 3 mil heading out and another 2 at least coming back which would wipe out any cap space the Oilers would like to have…I think you would have to move another body out or someone on a higher dollar contract to make it happen if it was just Benning and Poolparty in a deal

        • OriginalPouzar

          Burying a guy in the minors only saves $1.075M on the cap – burying Brodz saves less than $100K off the cap.

          The, of course, the roster spot needs to be filled so add the cap of the player called up and there is minimal cap savings.

  • OilCan2

    The best news is that the Flames have burnt up their cap space. The Oilers have done VERY well this summer. With the Flames in crash and burn mode it gives us a better shot at top three in the division. The big news for the Oilers will be JP showing up at camp in buff shape and ready to do whatever it takes to make the team. I’m not holding my breath on that one. Hoffman? Not here. Not with Ken holding the pen.

    • ed from edmonton

      The cowtowners were always going to have cap challenges this summer. I am amazed that they got Rittich done for little more than half what the Oil are paying Koski. Even so the key is what happens with Matt the knife. Only was things might work is if they kick the can down the road and settle on a low cost 2Y deal.

    • The Iggy complex

      They basically have the same team they did last year finishing second best in the league. And they got rid of oner of their worst forwards in Neal. Calgary will be just fine. Oilers however only added more bottom 6 forwards. Still no scoring. No playoffs again for Oilers but should be used to that by now

  • ed from edmonton

    The Russel for Frolik trade is intriguing. Where is Hendo when we need him. Could the Oil/Flames do two significant trades in one off season? Next thing you know dogs will be playing with cats.

    • The Iggy complex

      Gonna have pay alot more for that trade. Frolik is actually a productive defensive forward. Russell is a terrible defenceman who is well overpaid. Would be the seventh defenceman and not worth the salary

  • 50 Flex

    If the Oil can stay healthy, I think they are an 8th seed playoff team. But I also think a single injury to one of their major players (Connor, Leon, Nuge, Klef, Larsson, Nurse) they are gonna be in trouble. So no, I am not overly optimistic. But I really hope I am wrong.

    • Abagofpucks

      well if all your gonna do is worry about our key players getting hurt then maybe you shouldn’t watch this year, and join up with Ed and help him knit.

  • TKB2677

    Does Risto have some warts in his game? I guess so but he was rushed to the NHL at 18 as a dman which is extremely hard. The Sabres have been close to as bad as the Oilers. Their defense during his entire time has been crap. They have had multiple GM’s and coaches. He from very early on was thrusted into top pairing minutes. So if there is a built in excuse for any Oilers prospect including JP that it’s the teams fault he isn’t where he should be, why doesn’t it apply to the Sabres? Being a NHL winger is a hell of a lot easier than a top pairing dman.

    In Risto I see a big, physical, good skating, good puck moving, right shooting, PP playing, top 4 dman who all he does it put up 40+ every year. This on a team with suspect coaching, way too many minutes and for most of his career, poor talent around him. He has defensive warts but those defensive warts could go away real quick if he isn’t expected to carry a defense, you put him in a good system with good coaching. If you could get him, it would allow you to leave Bouchard in the minors for all year and it would solidify your top 4. You could have:
    Klef – Larson
    Nurse – Risto
    This would be a top 4 that has speed, physicality, puck moving and offense on both pairs. I would balance out the minutes between the 2 pairs. Then in a year, you could trade off Larson for cap space or more forward depth and give his spot to Bouchard.

  • 50 Flex

    I wonder if the Oilers would be better team if they traded McDavid for 3 or 4 slightly above average players. I don’t want to see it because watching McDavid brings me great joy, but it is an interesting thought exercise to consider if the Oilers could become drastically more balanced if they moved him. Thoughts?

    • 50 Flex

      Vegas, Nashville, St. Louis all made the finals without a player in the top 15 in league scoring. You simply can not argue that McDavid’s are more important than a balanced roster.

      • All Ice

        Image wise they simply couldn’t do it. Unless they won the cup the very next year they would be ridiculed and torn down more than the last ten years combined. Whether or not it’s smart, they can’t. Plus they’d be giving up all the McDavid related side revenue (merch, sponsors, etc)

    • CMG30

      You don’t trade generational players. Period. Especially ones that are still a few years away from their statistical prime. What you do is build around them.

    • KootenayDan

      Stupidest comment I have read today, do you really think any gm in the league would actually think about doing that? I have been an Oiler fan since 72′ that would be the end for me.

      • 50 Flex

        2 years in a row has shown me that having the best player in the league doesnt amount to anything on its own. Yet the teams with balance are winning cups. I absolutely love McDavid and would be sad to see him go, but if there was a trade that actually helped spread his production over the rest of the roster, why shouldn’t that happen? Haven’t actually heard a good argument from anyone. Not liking the thought of him leaving doesn’t count.

        • percy

          Ya but a top Dman is going to cost up around the 8-9mil range. That only leaves you 3-4mil to find a a forward that give you big points. I wouldn’t want to be the GM that pulled that off. Now add the Looch contract with it and have 18.5mil to play with could be a different story. Again any GM that would stick his neck out that far might get it chopped off.

  • RJ

    If Tippett wants to play defencemen according to handedness, then Russell is, at best, a 3LHD.

    He’s also not in the long-term plans for the team, so if you can trade 2 years of Russell for one year of Frolik, and open up a roster spot for someone like Jones or Lagesson to play some regular minutes, then that’s a positive.

    And if that doesn’t sit well with the risk-averse, Holland could sign a vet to a one-year deal to play the 6-7 role as security. At this point it would be a league minimum type deal.

    • ed from edmonton

      Who would be the 6/7 veteran Dman who is available at this time? Remember last summer when Sekera tore his achilles at about this time. Only option available to try fill the hole was a PTO for Jason Garrison.

  • Derzie

    As a Flames fan, I believe the Flames are in trouble. Treliving’s flaws have caught up with him. He way overvalues character. Older players with strong, positive character. He undervalues up & coming players. He’s cheap when he shouldn’t be and spends like a drunken sailor on players that were great 5-10 years ago. For example, anyone who remotely follows hockey knows that Russell for Frolik would be a clear win for Edmonton if you look at stats and production. If you look at character, Russell will go through walls for the team. He also does this to cover his massive flaws as a defenseman. Treliving would do that trade for character alone. We need both. As does every team that wants success.
    In summary, Flames should just say NO to:
    – Russell for Frolik
    – Trading with the Oil
    – Treliving.

    • KootenayDan

      I agree Derzie and I think Tre will pick up a PTO guy for league minimum to fill his hole in the defense. Valimaki is a dandy prospect but was only slotted for the third pairing this year. The Oil need a third line center so maybe Derek Ryan for Russell plus a pick and retain some money maybe something like that.

      • ed from edmonton

        Flames can’t afford the extra $1M for a Russel/Ryan swap. Last year at this time the Oil were in the same space when Sekera tore his achilles and the only guy left as a PTO was Jason Garrison. Losing a roster player at this time is hard to overcome.

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      “He undervalues up & coming players.”

      Could you explain that with examples? I mean, he was just ready to trade Brodie because of the value he places on our young D.

      Explain with GOOD examples.

  • Kelly Youngblood

    I wonder what Carolina offered for Puljujarvi ? I read RW prospect Julien Gauthier’s name a bunch of times but I guess Holland has loftier expectations for JP.
    6’4, 214 lb
    Gauthier scored 27 goals/14 assists in the AHL last year, not too shabby.
    Maybe Martin Necas moves the needle for Ken Holland at all because he’s a center?

  • Bob Lawblaw

    My hope is that when Ken Holland is done, the end picture will be the majority of player movement will be up and down and not in and out. I hope the stability he speaks of means the revolving door of players stop, some due to business and some (at least two home town boys) due to fan/media discord.
    I really hope we can have a team that can stay together for the longest time possible.
    Can this actually happen in this salary cap age? Rosters need to be limited and changed due to necessity not out of want or need. It’s sad. I don’t blame the players for saying yes to way to much flipping money. I blame the hockey minds throughout the NHL and question their assessment of talent and or what it’s worth.
    I must say I have more trust in Ken Holland as the Oilers GM, than at any other time in recent memory.

    Go Oilers Go !!!

    (Just a few more weeks til things start happening !!!
    The lousy weather only made this off season worse)