As the expansion draft nears, we are going to begin hearing rumors of trades with Vegas to protect players and/or bribe Vegas into taking a contract. We’ve seen one such rumor publicized already, and it’s likely we will see more. But we will also begin seeing trades made by clubs who are in a bad position with protected players. Anaheim is one such team, as is Minnesota.
But not all trades are about protecting players. Enter the Calgary Flames. Both of their goaltenders –Chad Johnson, Brian Elliott– are UFAs, and neither played well last season. Elliott was supposed to stabilize their goaltending situation, but that did not work out as planned. As such, they definitely need a goaltender. Enter Antti Raanta.
Raanta had himself a solid season with the Rangers, putting up fantastic numbers and certainly earning himself extra starts. He has entered Cam Talbot territory, where he has value as a potential starter. There is value in someone like Raanta, who is more of a proven entity than any of the options in free agency. He’s also cheaper than some of the other options on the trade market.
The one thing we’ve learned is that Benoit Allaire can turn almost any goaltender into at least a capable backup net minder for a short period of time. So in Raanta, the Rangers have a valuable asset that can be used to get some draft picks. For Calgary, they wouldn’t need to worry about protecting him, since they have the spot available.
When it comes to the expansion draft, the Flames aren’t really in a bad spot. It’s a rare opportunity for a team to be able to trade for a needed asset before the expansion draft, and Calgary is certainly going to look to take advantage of that.
Of course, there are other ways to get Raanta, such as bribing Vegas to take him and then trading for him. But the most direct route is a trade between these two teams. There’s a match here, to send Raanta to Calgary for a few picks. Buckle up folks, I hope you’re ready for chaos.