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The Calgary Flames just posted 50 wins, 107 points, and a plus-62 goal differential in what was one of the best regular seasons in franchise history.
They followed that up with a disappointing showing in the playoffs but it's still fair to say the Flames have one of the better rosters in the NHL, and many of its core members are, or will be, signed long-term.
There probably shouldn't be big changes. At least not many. If GM Brad Treliving were to make one, though, I think trading T.J. Brodie makes the most sense.
The 28-year-old has been a loyal trooper and given the Flames plenty of quality hockey over the years, but it feels like it might be time to move on.
They have a clear replacement in Rasmus Andersson. The 22-year-old was rock solid as a rookie and fared just as well, if not better, than Brodie when given the opportunity alongside Mark Giordano on the top pairing. His numbers away from the Norris finalist were also better.
Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com.
If Andersson can hold his own with Giordano, and there's every reason to believe that, the Flames can comfortably trot out that duo with Noah Hanifin and Travis Hamonic behind them. That gives them a solid top-4 and, at the very least, you could make up a serviceable 3rd pairing with Juuso Valimaki playing alongside one of Oliver Kylington, Alex Yelesin, Michael Stone (yuck) or someone scooped up in free agency.
The defense would be even better with Brodie around, of course, but he seems like more of a luxury than a necessity.
I'm not saying the Flames should force Brodie out the door. They obviously shouldn't. But if they want to make a sizeable change and can turn him into a top-6 forward or, if you want to get wild, a 1st round pick (and then use the savings to address needs up front or in goal in free agency), it'd probably be best to pull the trigger – especially with Brodie due for a raise in a year's time.
I'm interested to see if Brad Treliving feels the same way.
I will try and get a post up Saturday but I'm heading to Mexico for a week so there's no guarantee I write anything else before May 5th or 6th (at the latest).
Flames sign Alexander Yelesin
Mark Giordano named a Norris finalist
Flames sign Artyom Zagidulin
Flames among those targeting Joakim Nygard
On the Jason Zucker trade that almost was