The post Flames Should Consider Taking Bad Contracts For Assets appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

The Calgary Flames are projected to have about $20 million in cap space this summer. They’re currently entering the early stages of a retool/rebuild and have prioritized a promising youth movement. MacKenzie Weegar said in a recent interview, he’s excited to see what the team will do.

The team isn’t likely to be competitive in some time and needs to gain assets for the future. GM Craig Conroy traded a majority of the team’s pending UFAs to prevent losing them for nothing in free agency. While it’s a good start, more could always be done to capitalize on asset management.

“I’m interested to see what Conny can do in the offseason, he’s got a lot of options.”@weega52 speculates on what the #Flames can do to improve the roster this summer #MissinCurfew Ep 291 | @DKNetwork #CalgaryFlames | #DKPartner

— Missin Curfew (@MissinCurfew) June 11, 2024

Why Would the Flames Take on Bad Contracts?

The idea of taking bad contracts may be unattractive for some, but it can prove to be successful if done correctly. A recent example was when the Montreal Canadiens traded for Sean Monahan back in the 2022 offseason. The Flames needed cap space to sign Nazem Kadri, and Monahan at the time had a year left on his deal which paid him $6.375 million per season. Monahan’s performance was declining rapidly due to injuries and his trade value was extremely low. Therefore, in order for the Flames to part ways with him, they would’ve had to give away assets to get his cap hit off the books. In this case, the Flames gave up a conditional first-round pick along with Monahan just so the Canadiens could take him.

This move proved to work wonders for Montreal. Monahan experienced a bounce back with the Canadiens and increased his trade value substantially. As a result, the Canadians were able to flip Monahan to the Winnipeg Jets for a 2024 first-round pick. Montreal got two meaningful assets from one player, which is just an example of elite asset management.

Another team known for this type of asset management has been Utah (formerly Arizona). As the Coyotes, the team would often take bad or inactive contracts from other teams for assets. These assets would be draft picks teams would include “sweeteners”. As a result, the Coyotes accumulated many draft picks and these picks now transfer over to Utah. The team will have thirteen selections in the first two rounds in the next three drafts.

Calgary would not go to the extent the Coyotes did, but they can facilitate something similar. The Flames have the cap space to take on one to two bad contracts that other teams may be looking to offload. They could ask for assets to be included in these deals, depending on how big the contracts are and how long the remaining term is.

It’s also worth noting that the Flames aren’t expected to be hugely active in free agency and likely won’t spend right to the cap. Why not collect assets from other teams by taking on bad contracts? There’s also the possibility that the players they take on increase their trade value which allows the Flames to trade them for more assets down the road. It sure is an intriguing idea that can result in high rewards. However, there are risks with this method, which is why it’s a concept that’s often debated as being effective or not.

Flames Could Do Something Similar With Kuzmenko

When the Flames traded Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks, Andrei Kuzmenko was a part of the return and was considered a “cap dump.” Kuzmenko was signed by the Canucks from the KHL and made an immediate impact. He had 39 goals and 74 points as a 27-year-old rookie and was quickly extended to a two-year, $11 million deal.

However, things never worked out between Kuzmenko and Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet. Kuzmenko’s playing style didn’t align with how Tocchet coached the team, and he often found himself playing bottom-six minutes. Obviously, this affected Kuzmenko’s numbers greatly and his time in Vancouver would eventually come to an end.

Once Kuzmenko arrived in Calgary, he began to find his game again and his numbers greatly improved. Kuzmenko’s struggles in Vancouver did not justify his cap hit of $5.5 million, but his trajectory in Calgary said otherwise.

The Flames have some decisions to make as Kuzmenko will be a pending UFA next season. If the Flames don’t decide to extend him, they can fetch some pretty good assets in return assuming he plays well. Flipping Kuzmenko for assets when he was once considered a “cap dump” would display great asset management from Conroy.

Next: Canadiens Eye Big Trades For Necas And Zegras, But Face Hurdle

The post Flames Should Consider Taking Bad Contracts For Assets appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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