Flames Top 9 Forward Trade Targets

When the Calgary Flames announced that they had signed Sonny Milano to a professional tryout offer in mid-September, it appeared they had found the final piece to their puzzle in a top-nine forward with offensive skill. However, as we all know, the 26-year-old struggled throughout camp and was released prior to the conclusion of the preseason. As a result, that hunt continues on.

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Speaking with Flames reporter Eric Francis recently, Treliving wasn’t shy about admitting he still hopes to add a forward to his group at some point this season. He doesn’t have a ton of cap space in order to make that happen, though Juuso Valimaki getting claimed off waivers by the Arizona Coyotes did free up some space. And, as we saw from the crafty general manager this offseason, he is capable of pulling off moves few see coming. If he has his sights set on adding a forward, you best believe he will find a way to make it work.

Judging from the Flames’ current roster, it seems likely that forward will be a winger. With Elias Lindholm, Nazem Kadri and Mikael Backlund, they have one of the deepest center groups in the league. By no means is their wing depth bad, though whether Tyler Toffoli is a true first-line right winger remains to be seen. The same can be said about Dillon Dube, who currently occupies the left side of the second line. Regardless of the public opinion on these two players and the rest of the roster construction, it’s hard to argue the fact that adding one more offensively gifted forward to this group isn’t a good idea. Here are a few Treliving should consider targeting.

Miles Wood

A very intriguing option the Flames could look to target is Miles Wood. The 27-year-old plays for a New Jersey Devils team who will likely be sellers once again come trade deadline time, as he is entering the final season of his contract. He carries a manageable $3.2 million cap hit, which Treliving should be able to find a way to fit in should he wish to do so.

Miles Wood New Jersey Devils
Miles Wood, New Jersey Devils (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Despite missing all but three games in the 2021-22 campaign, Wood has proven in the past to be a very solid depth scorer, one who is capable of recording north of 20 goals in a full 82-game season. His speed is his best asset and would make him a unique forward for the Flames, one that head coach Darryl Sutter could use as a Swiss army knife throughout his lineup.

Max Domi

While inconsistency is always a concern with Max Domi, there is no denying that he has plenty of skill. He has put up a number of solid seasons throughout his career, in particular during his time with the Montreal Canadiens. Due to moving around plenty as of late, he has had trouble finding chemistry with teammates, and given that he is on the Chicago Blackhawks, he will likely be on the move once again come the trade deadline.

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What makes Domi a particularly interesting addition for the Flames is the fact that he is somewhat of a poor man’s Tkachuk. He can produce offensively and, more often than not, is the most irritating player on the ice. The Blackhawks could also retain plenty of his $3 million cap hit in a trade, as they have nearly $20 million in space. Treliving could certainly do worse.

Joonas Donskoi

The 2021-22 season was a major disappointment for Joonas Donskoi. Playing on a bad Seattle Kraken team, he struggled to put numbers on the board with two goals and 22 points in 75 games. Prior to that, however, he proved over a number of seasons with both the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche to be a very useful depth scorer. 

Joonas Donskoi, Seattle Kraken
Joonas Donskoi, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Like the other two, Donskoi should be on the move come the trade deadline, as he is in the final season of his contract on a team that isn’t expected to be in the playoff hunt. He plays primarily on the right side, which the Flames could use some help on, and carries a $3.9 million cap hit. That salary may make him a trickier player to land, but if Treliving is able to free up some dollars, he is certainly worth consideration.

Nick Ritchie

Nick Ritchie is a player who possesses both skill and size, standing at 6-foot-3, 236 pounds. His play in the NHL has been rather disappointing, given that he was selected 10th overall in the 2014 draft. But he has been able to produce when put in the right opportunity. That right opportunity came last season with the Arizona Coyotes, as he put up 10 goals and 14 points in just 24 games after being acquired in a deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs last February. He is off to a great start this season as well, scoring two goals in the Coyotes’ opening game.

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Ritchie is entering the final season of a two-year deal, which carries a $2.5 million cap hit. Like the Blackhawks, the Coyotes have a ridiculous amount of cap space, meaning they shouldn’t have any issue retaining some salary if needed. Ritchie certainly doesn’t possess the same speed as others on this list, but he is s a big-body presence who is strong on pucks and can play up and down the lineup.

Christian Fischer

Another Coyote who may be of interest to the Flames is Christian Fischer. He is the least desirable of any player on this list, as his offensive game has disappeared in recent seasons, though playing on a weak roster has undoubtedly contributed to that. The 25-year-old is very talented and has, at times, shown that through his 319-game career.

Christian Fischer Arizona Coyotes
Christian Fischer, Arizona Coyotes (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

What makes Fischer appealing is that he is a restricted free agent after this season, meaning the Flames could bring him back if they see fit. Of course, the Coyotes could do the same, but it’s likely the two sides elect for a change of scenery. He is on a deal that carries a cap hit of roughly $1.13 million, making him very attainable for Treliving.

Higher-End Rentals Unlikely to Join Flames

Some may point to the fact that there are more attractable rental forwards in players on the market, the top being Patrick Kane. By all means, those players would be fantastic to add, but the salary cap makes things difficult. It is much more likely that Treliving sets his sights on a cost-affordable, depth winger who can chip in offensively. If that is indeed his plan, the five above are, at the very least, worth considering.