Flames Reportedly Looking to Add Another Forward Ahead of Deadline

Most assumed that when the Calgary Flames acquired Tyler Toffoli back on Feb. 14, they wouldn’t make any more significant moves, if any moves at all, ahead of the trade deadline. The reasoning behind that thinking is because of the fact they only have roughly $600,000 in cap space. According to multiple reports, however, Brad Treliving may not be done just yet, as he may be considering adding another forward to his group.

Related: Flames Acquire Michael McNiven: Everything You Need to Know

Ian Mendes and Sean Gentille of The Athletic wrote an article on Thursday that had the Flames listed as buyers heading into the deadline. Given the fact they sit first in the Pacific Division, that doesn’t come as a surprise. What stood out, however, was the fact that they said not only is Treliving not done yet, but that they believe he will target another depth forward. (from ‘Ian Mendes and Sean Gentille: NHL trade deadline: What to expect from all 32 teams,’ The Athletic‘ 03/03/22).

Andrew Copp

The first player suggested was Andrew Copp of the Winnipeg Jets. The 27-year-old is having his best season to date, with 13 goals and 30 points in 48 games. Those numbers are extremely impressive given the fact he is currently on the teams third line, although he is getting reps on the second power-play unit.

Andrew Copp Winnipeg Jets
Andrew Copp, Winnipeg Jets (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While he would undoubtedly be a great addition to the Flames bottom six, adding him won’t be easy. Though he is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, he is on a deal that carries a cap hit of $3.64 million. As the article published by The Athletic mentions, Treliving will need to get creative in order to make this work. He may be able to move out a contract to the assumed to be selling Jets, or perhaps could get them to retain some dollars on Copp’s deal.

Nick Paul

The other player, and likely the more reasonable option, brought up by Mendes and Gentille is Nick Paul. Though he doesn’t have nearly as much offensive touch to his game as Copp, he is a big body at 6-foot-3, 224 pounds, which would make him an outstanding addition to the Flames bottom six.

Paul wouldn’t provide as much of an impact as Copp, but he would be more affordable for the Flames. Not only would he cost less in terms of assets, but he is on an expiring deal with a much smaller $1.35 million cap hit. His nine goals and 16 points on the season are significant upgrades over some forward the Flames are currently icing in their bottom six.  

Coming up With the Space

As mentioned, if Treliving is looking to add more to his roster ahead of the deadline, he will need to get creative and find a way to make some cap space. One deal many Flames fans are pointing to is Sean Monahan, who has one season after this remaining on his contract that carries a cap hit of $6.375 million. Given his lack of production for some time now, it is understandable why many would like his contract moved, though that seems like a deal more likely to happen in the summer rather than this season.

What Treliving could try to do instead is move some players from his bottom six such as Brett Ritchie, Brad Richardson and/or Trevor Lewis. None have had significant impacts this season, and being able to move their deals would open up some cap room. While none of the three have much if any trade value, adding an incentive such as a pick or prospect may entice some teams who are outside of the playoff picture. The same could be said for defenceman Michael Stone, who has suited up for just two games this season.

Brad Richardson Calgary Flames
Brad Richardson, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The other option that may be considered is moving Dillon Dube. This is something I alluded to shortly after the Toffoli acquisition, as the 23-year-old’s production hasn’t taken off the way anyone had hoped. In 50 games this season, he has managed just six goals and 14 points, and while some are hesitant because of his potential, moving his $2.3 million cap hit would give Treliving some room to work.

All in Year for the Flames

If there was a time for Treliving to go all in, it is this season. With both Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk’s futures up in the air, this could be the final year the Flames have with this current core. The team as a whole has played incredibly this season, and they deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. Adding another forward to the mix, perhaps one of the two listed above, as well as another blueliner would be a great way for Treliving to pay his team back for their fantastic play.

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