It is now clear that Brad Treliving has received the owners vote of confidence to continue building the Calgary Flames.
Much of his tenure this summer is sure to be making some big changes to a once-promising roster that went in the wrong direction last season. Whether it’s swapping out just one or more of its core elements, the pressure is squarely on the eighth-year GM to reshape and reinvigorate its lineup.
He’s not alone in this regard, which is part of why trading for Jack Eichel is little more than a pipe dream for the Flames.
If the Sabers captain is indeed unable to close the gap with management, prompting a trade, there are simply too many teams capable of offering much more than the Flames. Yet faint hope still exists in a market that calls for an Eichel-sized reshuffle.
Case in point: Last week, a fake tweet got fans talking when a Twitter account that seemed remarkably close to @NHLFlames announced that Matthew Tkachuk, Dillon Dube and the team’s 12th pick this summer had been shipped to Buffalo for Eichel.
“Welcome to #CofRed, Jack,” wrote @NHLFlams.
Normally we don’t recognize such accounts, but it opened the door to the question: which team would say no?
Would the Flames really part ways with two of their most popular and coveted players, as well as the team’s first choice this year, for a player whose lingering injury issues could require surgery that could put him in away for part of this season?
As much as Darryl Sutter and Treliving covet the idea of snatching a center from a superstar, the risk of spitting out such important assets for a player of unknown status is daunting.
For a GM clearly in the hot seat to prove he can make a difference immediately, that would be a huge bet, especially since Eichel only had two goals and 18 points in 21 games last season.
Treliving has conclusively proven that he’s not afraid to roll the dice via the trade route, but with the 24-year-old’s endless talent comes an annual cap of $ 10 million for the next five years, which includes the last four armed with an immobility clause.
There are a lot of eggs in this basket.
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The bigger question is whether the aforementioned Flames bundle would be big enough for Sabers general manager Kevyn Adams to bite into.
Not even close, according to multiple reports that suggest the Sabers are looking for more than six players, if not a smaller deal that would include much more touted youngsters than a second-round pick like Dube.
Tkachuk was only under the control of the Flames for two more years before he could enter the open market. Alternatively, Johnny Gaudreau has only one year left before reaching UFA status. Would either of them agree to sign long-term agreements with Buffalo on commercial terms? Highly unlikely.
The league’s insider shortlists citing the teams still in contention for Eichel no longer include the Flames for a reason.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported this week that no team had been allowed by the Sabers to speak directly to Eichel or his medics to inquire about the condition of the neck injury that caused him to miss the second half of the season.
Eichel suffered a herniated neck disc on March 7 when he was struck by Casey Cizikas in the end boards. While it was initially believed that Eichel would be able to return late in the season, it was subsequently closed. The team ordered rest, but a second opinion from Eichel’s medical advisers suggested surgery was needed.
The Sabers disagreed, causing what Eichel called a “disconnect” between him and the club during an end-of-season press briefing in which he stressed he had to do what was needed. the best for him.
He then admitted that he was fed up with losing and had given a lot of thought to doing this offseason. He didn’t say if he had asked for a trade, but admitted it was a possibility, saying “the most important thing now is to try to get healthy, to find a way to be available. to play hockey next year, wherever May be. “
Anaheim appears to be the frontrunner right now in a high-stakes poker game played by the Sabers, who have little to lose by putting a huge price tag on their star.
Teams like Minnesota, Columbus, Boston, Ottawa, Vegas and the New York Rangers are among the other teams who have reportedly expressed interest in Eichel. Treliving has hit the basics and is well aware of the demand. So far the price is too high and the risk too high for many of them too.
This may cause the Sabers to reassess whether they are happy to move forward with Eichel as a base, or to lower their demand.
Either way, don’t expect the Flames to be in the race.