Prior to the Feb. 26 trade deadline, the Calgary Flames had made it clear that they were looking to add a top-six forward. And despite the fact that they did not manage to complete a trade to fill that void this time around, they are still looking to make a splash on the market and landing that powerful offensive boost up front.
The Flames made improvements in their own end by acquiring Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders and signing star goalie Mike Smith last summer, but the team's offensive ability remained questionable, and that's proven to be their weakness. So who will be the best player to turn that weakness into a strength?
A surprise candidate it seems for NHL insiders Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun, who revealed on Tuesday on Vancouver's TSN 1040 that the Flames might make a surprising comeback in the Max Pacioretty sweepstakes, as transcribed by FanRag Sports.
There were a great many people who fully expected Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty would be traded by the time the trade deadline rolled around, but once it had come and gone the Habs captain remained just that, the Habs captain, and many were left wondering what was next for the Canadiens and Pacioretty. Now weeks removed from the trade deadline, it seems the Canadiens could move Pacioretty come the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
LeBrun believes the Flames will try to land him, but despite that landing Hamonic was a great move, it may now become a huge obstacle.
“The problem, of course, is that they traded their first and second-round pick in this year’s draft for Travis Hamonic – so they didn’t have the normal currency at hand. They were going to have to be a little more outside the box in how they can go about that. And whether that meant trading a Sam Bennett to get that high-end winger, or a Jon Gillies, or another prospect in the organization – I don’t know how you go about it. Or I guess the first-round pick in 2019," explained LeBrun.
The Canadiens are believed to be asking for a top young centre or a top-pair defenseman along with a first-round draft pick and another asset in exchange for Pacioretty, and the Flames do not have their 2018 first-round pick...
“And again, I think the Flames were a little gun-shy because they traded their first and second last summer for Hamonic, so how do you get in on Kane. Kane went for – outside of the prospect – he went for a conditional first/second round pick, depending on how you want to look at it. Basically, if the Sharks either re-sign Evander Kane or win the Cup, it becomes a first for Buffalo. I’m not sure about winning the Cup, but certainly re-signing Kane is a possibility. I think that’s why San Jose made that deal – to give Evander Kane a real serious test drive and see if he could fit into their team culture there in San Jose. And if they like what they see, I think they will sign him. And then that becomes a first-round for Buffalo.
“Again, where’s that first-round for Calgary. It would have had to have been 2019, which I guess you can do; but that means that you’re out 2018 and 2019 from your first-round picks, and that’s tough to swallow.”
The Flames have been reluctant to part with 21-year-old forward Sam Bennett, but he could be made available for the right deal, which the Habs could present him close to the upcoming draft.
That's why it's quite surprising to see them back in the Pacioretty sweepstakes, but it could be because the Habs made a special offer to them... who knows?