On the Mike Cammalleri trade speculation

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A couple of things made us write about this today.

First, there’s the player, and the team he’s on. Mike Cammalleri has nine goals in 14 games, and that’s pretty good. But the Flames are not good. At 7-11-3, they’re all but out of the playoff race in the Western Conference, and they’ve still got a lot of rebuilding to go. As in, multiple years of rebuilding.

Cammalleri, 31, is a pending unrestricted free agent. He’s said he’s “open” to signing an extension, but does he fit into the club’s plans?

Speaking of which, here’s ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun with the second reason we’re writing about Cammalleri today:

The Flames have massive cap space with the 27th-ranked payroll, and unlike most of the few other teams with cap space Calgary has the financial muscle to use it.

So the hope with the Flames is that at some point some cap-strung contenders are going to come calling with an offer to help alleviate their issues. That’s when the Flames want to jump at their chance. Can they glean a first-round pick or a top prospect in exchange for helping to fix another team’s cap issues via picking up an anchor contract?

Last night, TSN’s Craig Button wondered if the Canucks might have an interest in Cammalleri. Certainly Vancouver could use another scoring winger. The question is, would general manager Mike Gillis give up a first-round pick or top prospect to make it happen? Another question: would the Flames consider taking David Booth’s contract and possibly using a compliance buyout on it this summer? We’re not so sure on either point, even if Gillis does happen to be Cammalleri’s former agent. But Vancouver’s just one team. There are plenty of other potential suitors.

Bottom line: Cammalleri’s cap hit is a big $6 million, and that kind of contract won’t be a cinch to move with so many teams right up against the upper limit. But let’s not forget the Flames could eat half of that $6 million to facilitate a trade. They’d just need another team to make it worth their while.

Related: Cammalleri won’t engage in ‘soap opera’ trade talks