The Calgary Flames' Most Valuable Trade Pieces

Fans love when a new coach comes to town and immediately makes a difference in their team's on-ice performance. For Calgary, that "new" coach is the same guy who got Jarome Iginla to his only Stanley Cup Finals appearance: Darryl Sutter. This Flames team is night and day when compared to the lackluster squad that played to a 5th-place position in the North Division, finishing below .500 and 5 points out of the bottom wildcard spot. These Flames are currently in a playoff spot in the Pacific Division, have the best goaltending tandem playing in the NHL, and have managed to find offensive production throughout their lineup. However, they have cooled off considerably since the beginning of December. GM Brad Treliving will be looking to make a deal or two at the trade deadline to get his team in the best position to compete in the playoffs. Here are his most valuable assets that could be sent the other way.

Dillon Dube

After his breakout season last year that saw him finish with 11 goals and 22 points in 51 games, Dillon Dube has regressed this season. He currently has 3 goals and 10 points in 31 games. The Flames can't afford any passengers on their squad this season, and Sutter won't abide by them anyway. Dube is cost-controlled at $2.3 million for the next two seasons following this one and will be an RFA when his deal expires. That term and cap hit increases his trade value significantly. There is still plenty of upside on the former 2016 2nd-round selection, and despite his down year teams will be interested in the potential for Dube to blossom into a strong middle-6 forward down the road.

Juuso Valimaki

Another Flames' draft selection, this one 16th-overall in 2017, Valimaki has yet to blossom into a consistent NHL defender. Now a veteran of 4 NHL seasons, Valimaki was sent down to the AHL's Stockton Heat at the beginning of December. Once again, there is plenty of upside here for teams to be interested in, and with prospects like Connor Mackey pushing the issue, the Flames may benefit more moving on from Valimaki than they would from forcing the issue. He makes league minimum this season and next, and may yet become the big, puck-moving blueliner he was drafted to be. A change of scenery could benefit both the player and the team in this case.

Nikita Zadorov

If the Flames would rather hang on to Valimaki, the guy currently holding down his spot on the roster is Nikita Zadorov. The big Russian blueliner is no stranger to bouncing between teams, and while he has been sound defensively for the Flames, the point production isn't there. He has 2 goals and 6 points in 24 games to go along with 14 PIMs. He won't bring in a game-changing player all on his own, but as part of a package, he could generate some significant interest. The 26-year old is just coming into the prime of his career and could become an important shutdown player on a Cup-contending team.

1st-Round Pick

In all likelihood, if the Flames feel they have a shot this season, their 1st-round pick will be in play. Whether or not they find a deal worth giving it up for is still up in the air, but for a difference-making player, Treliving won't hesitate to include his team's top pick in next summer's draft. As a sweetener, especially coming from a bubble team like the Flames appear to be, this pick could be used to bring a top 6 forward to Calgary, something the Flames could benefit greatly from.

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