If there was any reward for making a strong effort at the National Hockey League's trade deadline, the Calgary Flames would most likely be the prime candidates. They did do much, true, but the plans they had very well-thought-out and would have filled a huge void in Calgary... Oh but right, nothing has changed. So technically, no reward for the Flames.
But the plan remains in motion. Chris Nichols of FanRag Sports recently cited NHL insider Pierre LeBrun’s appearance earlier this week on Vancouver’s TSN 1040 discussing attempts by the Flames to improve their roster at the recent trade deadline and how they could pick things up during the offseason. One thing is cleat: the Flames rely too much on a small group of players to provide the offense and need to add a scoring forward. There we said it.
During the trade deadline, the Flames investigated a whole lot on Ottawa Senators scoring winger Mike Hoffman and Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty. Both players did not end up moving on Feb. 26 and now some new report have come in that the Sens might not be willing to move Hoffman anymore. On Friday, the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch denied the notion of the Senators shipping Hoffman this summer.
"Indications are the rumoured deal was never discussed, and it’s highly doubtful the Senators would move Hoffman after resisting offers to trade him at the Feb. 26 trade deadline because he’d developed such strong scoring chemistry with centre Matt Duchene."
As for Pacioretty, many insiders believe he remains on the block, despite the injury that he sidelining him for the rest of the regular season, and could be on the move closer to the NHL Entry draft. The Flames were particularly interested in both Hoffman and Pacioretty because they have term remaining on their respective contracts, unlike other coveted targets like Evander Kane and Rick Nash.
Based on LeBrun’s report, Nichols suggests the Flames could attempt to address their need for another scoring forward in the offseason, despite a massive hurdle in their way. The Flames have already dealt away their first and second round picks in the 2018 draft, as well as their second and third round selections in 2019. When they landed defenseman Travis Hamonic last summer, they had to let go of their first round pick in the trade.
The Flames then gambled on veteran forward Jaromir Jagr, and we all know all this turned out. At the end of January, Jagr, who signed a one-year contract with the Flames on Oct. 4, was placed on waivers and never claimed. He has just one goal and six assists in 22 games and moved back to Czech Republic to play with Kladno.
Now the Flames need to focus on a new plan to acquire a scoring forward, and there has been speculation that the Flames could be willing to part with promising goaltender Jon Gillies. However, more will be needed to land a scoring forward of the caliber of Hoffman or Pacioretty.
With over $62 million invested in 15 players next season and all their core players under contract, the Flames might choose to shop on the free-agent market instead to make a bug splash.