New York Rangers: Trade Rumors with the Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 15: New York Rangers Winger Filip Chytil (72) and Calgary Flames Left Wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) skate during the second period of an NHL game where the Calgary Flames hosted the New York Rangers on March 15, 2019, at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CALGARY, AB - MARCH 15: New York Rangers Winger Filip Chytil (72) and Calgary Flames Left Wing Matthew Tkachuk (19) skate during the second period of an NHL game where the Calgary Flames hosted the New York Rangers on March 15, 2019, at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, AB. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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With the Calgary Flames talking shake-up, the New York Rangers could be interested

A lot has transpired since bubble-hockey began. After being swept by the Carolina Hurricanes, the New York Rangers were compensated with the first overall pick in the Alexis Lafrenière sweepstakes. The Calgary Flames eliminated the Winnipeg Jets in the qualifying round, but then fell to the Dallas Stars in a heartbreaking six game series.

This was the third of three First Round exits in the past four years for the Flames. Their core underperformed (minus Matthew Tkachuk who was injured for the last four games of the Stars series) and this most recent playoff collapse has fans and management crying “Shake It Up!” from the Alberta rooftops.

Prior to the pandemic, the New York Rangers had been rumored to be in trade talks with the Calgary Flames and with the Flames recent playoff elimination the rumor mill is in full swing once again.

Now, the most obvious hole on the Flames roster is in net. Former Ranger Cam Talbot did not play well down the stretch and at 34 years of age, the pending Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) may not be brought back. The Flames have David Rittich signed for one more year, but he’s not someone you want to stick with for the long term. It’s no secret that Alexander Georgiev has been linked to the Flames, but Calgary may be less interested in the netminder than many had initially thought.

Dustin Wolf, a 19-year-old Calgary Flames prospect drafted in the seventh round of the 2019 draft, was named the CHL’s 2020 Goaltender of the Year. The award goes to the top goaltender among the 60 teams in the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Wolf was awarded this honor just five days after USA Hockey awarded him the Dave Peterson Goaltender of the Year award. This award is annually given to the top American-born junior level goaltender. So, if there’s a sure thing for the Flames,  it’s Dustin Wolf.

The Calgary Flames may want to find a serviceable goaltender to bridge the gap between now and Wolf, which could be in only a season or two. That could be Georgiev or it could be Rittich, but there’s no reason to overpay now. Georgiev is an arbitration eligible Restricted Free Agent (RFA) and may not be worth his weight via trade and contract.

However, there is an additional issue. The Flames are in a difficult cap situation. They have only nine forwards, four defensemen and one goaltender signed for next season and they have just under $17 million in cap space. The Flames may have to clear a bigger contract or two if they want to field a deeper/complete roster. The problem is that they may have to sacrifice top talent.

NBCSports.com published an article on August 24th saying the Calgary Flames shouldn’t trade away key players, but there’s speculation that the Flames may not listen to reason and cut ties with one or two of their best players in order to meet salary and to shake up the ship.

With the Toronto Maple Leafs and Pittsburgh Penguins recent trade involving Kasperi Kapanen, this might just be the tip of the trade iceberg. This has already been an unconventional season, so we shouldn’t be surprised to see an unconventional off-season.

Let’s take a look at a few Calgary players rumored to be available.