The Calgary Flames got an up-close look at what a rental defenceman can do on Thursday night.
Ben Chiarot scored the overtime winner to lift the Montreal Canadiens over the Flames snapping an 11-game home winning streak for the Calgary crew.
And while Chiarot, a pending unrestricted free agent at season’s end, isn’t likely to fit the budget — both in the salary of his remaining contract and ask from the Canadiens — it’s a gentle reminder that the market for blueliners is wide open, and the trade deadline is just a couple weeks away.
But if Chiarot, arguably the most coveted blueliner on the market at the moment, doesn’t fit the scope of what the Flames can fit into their checkout, there are a lot of other point-and-click options that the Flames can have overnight expressed to Calgary.
March 21 is coming up pretty quickly, after all.
1. Chris Wideman (Montreal Canadiens)
Instead of tapping the Canadiens for Chiarot, how about the Flames look at Chris Wideman, instead? Wideman, a 32-year-old, is on an expiring $750,000 contract and has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in 42 games while averaging a modest 14:53 of ice time. He’s got a 53.6% Corsi rating and an 8.1% Relative Corsi, tops on the team. Might as well make it a third straight deal with Montreal, too, after adding minor-league goalie Michael McNiven and sniper Tyler Toffoli.
2. William Borgen (Seattle Kraken)
It’s probably not the defenceman out of Seattle that Flames fans want, but it’s the one they can afford. While squeezing in Mark Giordano’s $6.75 million salary is likely out of the equation (never mind the overall acquisition cost), William Borgen comes in with both a small salary, at $900,000, and term remaining, with an additional year. The 25-year-old has modest numbers in 16 games with the Kraken — just two points — but has shown to be a positive player in terms of shot generation and suppression when on the ice. The fact that he’s 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds won’t hurt, either.
3. Carson Soucy (Seattle Kraken)
Carson Soucy is another option out of Seattle, and probably a more attractive one from the team perspective. Soucy has more NHL experience, is more of a shutdown defender, and has been more productive with 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 38 games. Soucy is, however, more expensive with a $2.75 million cap hit. The benefit, like Borgen, comes in the fact that there’s an additional season remaining on the pact, and that’ll help the Flames beyond this season.
4. Nick Seeler (Philadelphia Flyers)
Nick Seeler wouldn’t register among the top seven or eight blueliners on Calgary’s roster, but he does provide valued depth, something the Flames haven’t been shy to add in deadlines past. Seeler has played 36 games this season, recording just three points (one goal, two assists). But he’s got some bite in his game — two fights this season and nine since the start of the 2018 season if you include preseason tilts, and 65 hits while averaging just 13:15 this season.
5. Luke Schenn (Vancouver Canucks)
Why not add another member of the Vancouver Canucks to the mix? He’d check a lot of boxes, including being a two-time Stanley Cup champion with connections to nearly half of Calgary’s roster. He’s got 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 40 games this season, and boasts good size at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds. He hasn’t been a black hole defensively, either. He’s got bonus term with the balance of this season and next at an annual average value of $850,000.
Though the Flames have seven already on the roster — Rasmus Andersson, Noah Hanifin, Christopher Tanev, Oliver Kylington, Nikita Zadorov, Erik Grudbranson, and Michael Stone — and another two percolating in the American Hockey League — Conner MacKey and Juuso Valimaki — there can never be a shortage when it comes to gearing up for a playoff push.
Not under Darryl Sutter, who needed nine blueliners to get to within one game of a Stanley Cup Championship in 2004.
He’ll see the value in adding a few more depth pieces, as will general manager Brad Treliving.
Time to go shopping.