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The Calgary Flames are expected to be active leading up to the trade deadline.
Be it chasing a backup goaltender, depth defender, more physicality, a scoring winger, or a combination of the bunch, they seem to have a lot of lines in the fire. There's a reason they've been deemed "aggressive"
on the trade market, and a reason their 1st round pick could be to be in play
The latest in the long list of rumors involving the Flames have them linked to New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello.
This from Elliotte Friedman's latest 31 Thoughts column
11. Add Calgary to the list of teams that have checked in on Mats Zuccarello. But it is going to take a lot to pry Chris Kreider out of Manhattan. He’s got another year remaining.
Everything is price dependant, of course, but Zuccarello is a guy I'd be targeting if I'm a contender like Calgary. His reputation does not over-exaggerate his on-ice impact. If anything, it's the other way around.
Since entering the NHL in 2010-11, Zuccarello has posted a positive Corsi For% and Scoring Chance For% relative to the team in every single season. There's a lot more variance in goal based numbers – the sample size is much smaller – and even there the Rangers have fared better with him on the ice than without in all but one season.
The Norwegian Hobbit is still very productive, too. He has 29 points through 38 games, which equates to 62.6 over an 82 game span. His production isn't simply a byproduct of a lot of minutes. He is efficient with them. At 5v5, Zuccarello averages 1.8 points per 60. That's more than the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau, Anze Kopitar, Gabriel Landeskog, Sasha Barkov and Vladimir Tarasenko, to name but a few. The guy is good.
If the Flames feel they can't rely on consistent offensive output from Michael Frolik, James Neal and/or Sam Bennett in a top-6/top-9 role, and wish to act accordingly, Zuccarello seems like one of the better options available.
Flames rumored to have their 1st round pick in play
Four depth defenders the Flames could target at the deadline
Hotstove: Western Conference bounce-back player of the year?
Flames well represented in PHWA midseason awards
Hotstove: midseason Norris Trophy picks
Hotstove: midseason Hart Trophy picks
Predicting the Pacific Division standings