4 Scoring Forwards the Flames Should Target in a Trade

The Calgary Flames have struggled as a whole this season. Their goaltending and defence are bound to get better, and the Flames can’t do much about those positions, regardless. The one area they can upgrade is at forward, where they need scoring. They sit 21st in the league in goals-per-game average with 2.93 and haven’t received contributions from many players expected to produce.

Related: Flames in Desperate Need of a Scoring Forward

Their biggest weakness going into the season was on the right wing. But now that the season is underway and offence is an issue, management needs to find scoring help. Here’s a look at players who should be on the move this season because their team is also struggling that the Flames could acquire.

Timo Meier

The best option is Timo Meier of the San Jose Sharks. They are a team in transition with some solid players but also older players with bad contracts locked in long-term. Meier is a 26-year-old winger who is currently second on the team in goals and points behind Erik Karlsson. Last season, Meier led the team in goals and points and finished one point under a point per game for the first time in his career.

Timo Meier San Jose Sharks
Timo Meier, San Jose Sharks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Though I’m sure the Sharks would like to lock up Meier long-term, he will need a pay raise, which will be very difficult for the team to pull off. Plus, he would bring in a nice return in a trade. His cap hit is very manageable, considering his talent. He can score, put up points, log minutes, and play very physically. He would not only work out great alongside a playmaker like Jonathan Huberdeau or Nazem Kadri, but he is also the type of player that head coach Darryl Sutter likes on his team.

The Flames need scoring and a top-six winger. Meier is both. He is affordable if they send a defenceman and money back to the Sharks, and he can also help on the power play (12 goals last season).

Victor Olofsson

The Buffalo Sabres started the 2022-23 season strong but have now lost five games in a row. It looks like they might miss the playoffs yet again, and they must think about which players will lead them back to the postseason. The team has many young forwards on entry-level contracts who are playing ahead of Victor Oloffson on the second line and have a bright future with the Sabres.

The Sabres have a ton of cap space available and could make any sort of deal work financially. As the Flames are strapped for cap, this could play a big part in a potential trade between the two teams. Olofsson would not only be able to elevate the power play since he is known for his great shot and finishing ability, but he is also capable of playing in the top-six. He is a cheaper option than Meier, and he is under contract through 2023-24, giving the Flames an extra year with the sniper on their team.

Mike Hoffman

The Montreal Canadiens are looking to move some forwards regardless of where the team ranks in the standings. Despite being tied for the second wild-card spot, they are not equipped to sustain that success, and every game, they have a player who should be in the lineup scratched because they have too many forwards. Players like Mike Hoffman, Jonathan Drouin, and Evgeni Dadonov have all sat out at least one game. But of those top trade candidates, Hoffman has not only stepped up, but he has also pulled ahead of the other two in offensive production.

Mike Hoffman Montreal Canadiens
Mike Hoffman, Montreal Canadiens (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Hoffman ranks third on the team in goals with five and still has a shot that’s deadly at even strength and on the power play. He is playing on the second line, and just like Olofsson, the Flames would have an extra season with him on their team if they trade for him. Hoffman is still a 20-goal scorer who will also provide decent point production. He would likely be the cheapest option of the three players mentioned thus far.

Ivan Barbashev

The St. Louis Blues are looking to shake things up amidst a very poor start to the season. They have not received the scoring from their forwards that they did last season and want to make a trade to “add some bite,” Elliotte Friedman said. They need help on defence since two of their players are out long-term, and another doesn’t have a timetable for his return. The Flames have players with bite, and the Blues have a great deal of forwards with potential.

Ivan Barbashev makes the most sense here, considering his contract status and cap hit. He is the eighth-highest-paid forward on the team and will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. He had a stellar breakout campaign for the Blues in 2021-22, scoring 26 goals and 60 points. His start hasn’t been great this season but nor has anyone’s on the roster, and he and Oliver Kylingon both have a cap hit within $250,000 of each other.

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The Flames can try to make a trade soon or wait a bit for more options to become available closer to the trade deadline. But it would be risky to wait months for the team to work itself out. Acquiring a scoring forward now would at least ensure some added offence to help turn their season around sooner.