The trade market has already been heating up as there have been three significant trades around the league to this point and more depth deals completed on top of that. The Calgary Flames are in the market to add a player or two by the 2023 Trade Deadline and we continue to look around the league at teams that could potentially be sellers. We already know the status of the Vancouver Canucks as they kicked off the movement this season by trading Bo Horvat.
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Fortunately for the Flames, they have their sights set on a winger and defenceman at the deadline and the Canucks still have the players available for the teams to complete a deal. The two players the Flames have their eyes on potentially acquiring are Brock Boeser and Luke Schenn.
Flames Address Both Needs at Deadline
Ideally, both players the Flames acquire at the trade deadline would be rentals. That is because of the contract extensions for Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, and Dan Vladar starting next season. Though that eats up a lot of cap space, Milan Lucic’s $5.25 million also comes off the books. The Flames may be able to make something work with a player with term left on his deal if some salary were to be retained. That would help complete a trade between the two clubs and allows the Canucks to move on from Boeser while also driving up the return a tad to benefit them.
Boeser can score goals and is a young talent. He’s a solid top-six winger when healthy, but that seems like a lot to ask as he hasn’t played a full season in the NHL yet other than the shortened 2020-21 56-game season. The Flames need scoring and Boeser can surely provide that. Though the team would also like to add some speed, it is tough to be too picky in this regard. He won’t cost a first-round pick so it would be a bonus if they could save that, plus they would have a talented young player for two more years.
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The Flames have made the rounds checking in on available wingers and defencemen alike so they can come out on top in a tight race for a playoff spot. Another viable option is Conor Garland, but there has been less talk about him being traded as of late and very little regarding any move to the Flames. This doesn’t mean a trade can’t still come. He has a lower cap hit, but is less productive and has one extra year on his contract left. He isn’t as proven of a scorer as Boeser and is a smaller player. His grittiness may align with what Darryl Sutter likes from his players, but it’s unclear how long the head coach will be around too. I still like Boeser as the option to add at forward from the Canucks.
As for defence, Schenn is the only option that makes sense. The Flames have been linked to him as well by Elliotte Friedman on 32 Thoughts: The Podcast when he said, “The Flames are believed to be in on Schenn too, although they might wait to see if it makes sense for them based on the standings. You can see the possibility because of Chris Tanev’s injuries. Tanev is as big a gamer as they come, but even he can’t overcome everything. There’s been a push from some in the Canucks organization to keep Schenn. I think it depends on what’s offered. If Vancouver deems it too low, they won’t move. But there’s plenty of interest, which generally pushes up the price.”
Even with a healthy Chris Tanev, him getting banged up in the postseason against the Edmonton Oilers played a big part in their second round loss. The Flames have dealt with more injuries on the back end than they are used to in recent years and have been forced to dip into more of their depth. This includes Dennis Gilbert (12 GP), Connor Mackey (10 GP), Nick DeSimone (4 GP), and even Michael Stone (46 GP) who wouldn’t have been a top-six option if Oliver Kylington wasn’t out this entire season. Even with a healthy defence, Schenn is a better option than Stone for the third pairing on the right side. Stone has cooled off greatly from the start of the season and Schenn is extremely hard to play against. That’s more of what the Flames need this season at the low cost of $850,000 against the salary cap.
Canucks Continue to Head Towards Retool
It has been no secret that the Canucks want to move on from Boeser as he and his agent were given the freedom to speak to other teams about a potential trade. They are trying to clear cap space in order to successfully retool and he eats up a bit too much despite 10 goals and 36 points in 48 games. He is on pace for the lowest goal total in his six-year career and is logging more than two fewer minutes per game of ice time compared to his previous four seasons. What could bump his price is how well he’s played recently though, adding a lot of points at even strength and playing at nearly a point per game.
Boeser also hasn’t had stable linemates which could change on the Flames. Though he is still a productive young player, a change of scenery may be necessary for both parties at this point. I mentioned a deal could involve some retained salary, but $1-2 million on the books for Vancouver may be better than the $6.65 million average annual value (AAV).
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There is no shortage of interest around the league for Schenn as he is a defensively solid right-shot defenceman who has proven he can play up and down the lineup. On a contender whose defence is more set, he would surely slot in on the third pair, start more in the defensive zone, and be counted on to kill penalties. All this won’t come cheap as it is expected he could get the Canucks a second or third-round pick and another asset. The more teams interested in Schenn will only drive up the price. He would be a good piece to keep around, but there is no extension in place and the Canucks would risk losing him in free agency when they could’ve gotten a higher draft pick at the deadline.
A trade between these two teams is possible and even likely as it is hard to imagine a first-round pick would be involved. The scoring of the Flames needs to be improved as well as the team’s play in their own zone to prevent goals. Both the Flames and Canucks would get what they want and it puts both closer to their goal for this season and beyond.