The New York Islanders have extra defenders they could trade to the Calgary Flames who are looking for one to stand-in for the injured Juuso Valimaki. But the guys we have available don’t fit what they need.
Calgary Flames defenseman Juuso Valimaki tore his ACL during pre-season training. He’s now out indefinitely. The New York Islanders have extra defensemen that they could trade away. With seven defensemen already on contracts and Noah Dobson looking for a spot on the roster, the Islanders could have a surplus going into 2019-20.
With the Flames indicating they’ll be looking for a replacement the New York Islanders should be perfect trade partners for the Calgary Flames. Except when you look at who the Islanders could move.
Guys like Nick Leddy and Thomas Hickey have longer-term deals that extend beyond the period that Calgary is looking to fill. I don’t think the Isles and Flames will make a trade.
Isles Aren’t the Right Fit
With a torn ACL Juuso Valimaki isn’t out for years at a time. It typically takes six to nine months to fully recover from a torn ACL. Valimaki should be good to go as early as February 2020. Meaning the Flames aren’t looking for any long-term option. They likely need someone on an expiring deal to fill a short-term gap.
The Flames could target a guy like 30-year-old Thomas Hickey who is surplus to requirements for the New York Islanders. But with three years left on his deal, the Flames would be getting into a situation where Hickey will be surplus next season.
The same goes for Nick Leddy who also has three years left on his deal.
Sure, they could then move either at the end of the 2019-20 season and perhaps recover whatever they sent to the Islanders. But they could also just dip their toes in free agency for a veteran guy on a single-year deal.
In 24 games last season Valimaki scored three points. Valimaki isn’t cracking Calgary’s top-four core of Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Noah Hanifin, and Travis Hamonic. That’s what Calgary is looking to replace, a player who can slot into a five/six role on the blue line.
GM Brad Treliving is said to be looking at the free-agent market for a replacement. Maybe he brings Dion Phaneuf back to Calgary to fill the void. But at 34 years old, who knows what the former Flame has left in the tank.
Former New York Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald is another free agent option. The 32-year-old didn’t have a great year with the Flyers, scoring only nine points in 47 games. But he can still soak up some minutes for another year.
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As soon as I saw the report that the Flames needed a defender I thought: “Boom. Get on the phone and make a deal Lou!” But when you look at what we have to offer – either Nick Leddy or Thomas Hickey – both are on multi-year deals that don’t necessarily fit with what the Calgary Flames are looking to fill.