The Calgary Flames entered 2022-23 coming off their second-best regular season (111 points) in franchise history. So far, however, they're stumbling through the opening weeks of this season, going winless in seven games before their 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
A lack of offensive production is a key factor behind their difficulties. Their 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday elevated their goals-per-game average to 3.13 (15th overall), but that's still below last season's 3.55 goals per game, which had them sixth overall in that category.
On Saturday, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman reported the Flames remain in the market for a scoring forward. While there's nothing pressing at the moment, he suggested keeping an eye on the St. Louis Blues.
With 12 points in 14 games, the Blues sit near the bottom of the overall standings. That's prompted speculation over the futures of Ryan O'Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko given their unrestricted free-agent eligibility next July.
The Blues could put O'Reilly and Tarasenko on the block if they're out of playoff contention by the March 3 trade deadline. However, that won't address the Flames' current offensive needs.
Salary cap space is another issue. Cap Friendly shows the Flames with just $850,000 available, meaning any significant move will likely be a dollar-in, dollar-out transaction. O'Reilly and Tarasenko carry hefty $7.5-million cap hits, making them too expensive to acquire at this time in the season.
Calgary Hockey Now's Steve Macfarlane expressed concern over the Flames' tradeable assets. Their depleted blueline depth means trading a defenseman is out of the question. He believes they could be forced to use draft picks and prospects such as Conor Zary, Matt Coronato or Dustin Wolf.