The New York Islanders are in Calgary tonight to take on the Flames, attempting to end their seven-game losing streak (0-4-3), and according to SportsNet's Elliotte Friedman, the game could serve as a bit of an audition for players if the two teams end up coming together on a deal this season.
On his 32 Thoughts Podcast, Friedman, with co-host Jeff Marek, talk about the Islander's recent struggles and how Lou Lamoriello was active at the recent GM meetings, doing his due diligence and finding out what type of deals could get constructed.
Although the Flames have been playing better recently, they are 6-8-2 after 14 games, and there is the thought that their slow start may be too much for the team to overcome to make a playoff push this season. Sound familiar? Unlike the Islanders, Calgary has several pending unrestricted free agents that teams around the league will have an interest in.
"I think they're looking for a scorer, said Friedman of the Islanders. "They've been looking for a scorer for a while, I think they're still looking for another one and they're in on some of the defensemen from Calgary." If the Flames see this as an opportunity for them to reset their roster, defensemen Noah Hanifin, Nikita Zadorov, and Chris Tanev are all in the final year of their contracts.
The 28-year Zadorov publicly made a trade request that well-received. The Flames are going to move him on their timeline, not his. The team's leading scorer, 29-year-old Elias Lindholm is also a free agent after this season.
"One of the guys I wonder about if they're gonna be a factor in all this is gonna be Wahlstrom. Simply because I can see the player saying if I'm not gonna get the opportunity here, I have to get it somewhere else."- Elliotte Friedman
"I can see a team like Calgary that picked up a player like [Yegor] Sharangovich possibly being interested in someone like that." The Flames have been giving their younger players an opportunity to play on their top lines this season, something the Isles have sparingly been able to do for the 23-year-old Wahlstrom as he has been slowly working his way back from last season's knee injury.
Wahlstrom has a tantalizing shot that makes you want to believe that he has a higher ceiling than what he has shown during his career. In ten games this season, he has just one goal and one assist. It would be a chance of scenery, a high-upside type of deal for the Flames, to see if a new team would jumpstart Wahlstrom's career.
"To me it comes down to what does Lamoriello make more sense, making a move to help them or changing the coach to help them," said Friedman of the Islanders' options as they try to rebound from this seven-game winless stretch.
The way Lamoriello decides to go may be influenced by how they finish this road trip. Even if he thinks a trade is what's needed, making a move behind the bench can be done swiftly and doesn't require another willing participant to do so.