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Calgary Flames miss the boat on Nate Schmidt trade

October 13, 2020, 11:00 AM ET [78 Comments]
Todd Cordell
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I didn’t like the Chris Tanev signing at the time.

I thought it was too much money, and too much term, for a defense-only defenseman whose game is declining at a pretty rapid pace.

I have grown to dislike the contract even more in recent days. Not because I’ve found even more red flags with Tanev – there were enough on the surface – but because of the state of the market.

Vancouver, a team in desperate need of defense help, just landed somebody who has played ~22 minutes a night for one of the league’s best teams three years in a row. The cost of acquisition? A measly 3rd round pick in 2022, which in all likelihood will never turn into an NHL player.

I understand Vegas was dealing from a position of weakness due to a cap crunch. But everybody knew that, or could see it coming, and the Flames just as easily could have taken advantage. Heck, they were equipped perfectly with two 3rd round picks in next year’s draft.

Yes, Schmidt costs more money than Tanev. Yes, he is signed for an additional year. But he’s also 1.5 years younger, has less mileage on him, plays a brand of hockey that tends to age better and, quite simply, is a significantly better player. Yes, significantly.

Tanev’s worth over the last two seasons was +6.3 Goals Above Replacement, according to Evolving-Hockey.com.

For perspective, Schmidt was worth +18.3 over the same time. He would have been a sufficient replacement for T.J. Brodie (+18.8), another left-handed defender who plays the right side. Tanev is not.

It is worth noting Schmidt had a 10 team NTC. That said, I doubt he’d accept a trade to Vancouver and *not* Calgary. Whether you’re looking at the standings or distance apart (80 minute flight), there isn’t a whole lot between the two right now.

Good players – like Ryan Murray, Paul Stastny, and now Schmidt – are being handed over for essentially nothing because of cap crunches.

I just think the Flames would have been better off paying low prices for those guys – they *really* couldn’t give a 5th for Murray or 3rd for Schmidt? – than, in my estimation, overpaying for a guy like Tanev.

They still have more work to do on the roster so, perhaps, they can get in on the fun and buy low on a quality player before it is too late.

One can only hope.

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