The Calgary Flames are an organization that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere at the moment. They have some young talent in place, and some coming up through the minor league ranks, but overall, this is a team that isn’t expected to be contending for the next couple of years.
They currently employ a few veterans who likely won’t be around when they’re ready to contend. Those veterans have contracts that expire within the next couple years and will likely look to leave town the minute that deal is up. Which is why the Flames should seek to deal them now.
A prime trade candidate for the Flames would have to be forward Alex Tanguay. He’s performed well and has been a mainstay in his time with the Flames, but parting with him just seems like the right move for this team. And there’s value in a player like him, particularly in this summer’s free agent market.
Despite limited talent around him, Tanguay finished with a pretty solid year in 2013. He had 27 points in 40 games, including 11 goals. Nine of his points came with the Flames on the power play. In a full season, and with the right people around him, he’s still a player capable of putting up 50 or so points.
Which is what makes him an attractive option on the trade market. He has three years remaining on his contract, which carries a $3.5 million cap hit. Teams will be willing to pay that. It’s very like that the Flames will not be ready to contend at that point, barring some speedy development and some intelligent moves from Jay Feaster, neither of which seem likely.
The Flames are in a rebuilding phase. That’s no secret. They need talent all over the board. In a deal, the target would be youth, rather than a specific position. Getting value for a player in the backend of his career, who probably won’t be around when this team is a real threat, is the best move for the Calgary Flames.