<
>

Countdown to the deadline: Flames

Pending unrestricted free agent Curtis Glencross is likely on his way out of Cowtown. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The reality is that the Calgary Flames are playing with house money being in playoff contention this late in the season, and even if their passionate fans might have forgotten their pedestrian preseason expectations, team management hasn't. Which is why GM Brad Treliving isn't about to trade a first-round pick in exchange for rental help. Heck, he's going to guard his second-round pick pretty closely too, unless it's a trade that really, really makes sense. And he will protect his Grade A prospects, too. But he does want to make a deal before Monday's deadline that's reasonable for now and beyond because he wants to reward the NHL's hardest-working, blue-collar outfit for their surprising season. STATUS: Careful buyer

Needs/available: The Flames weren't able to sign Curtis Glencross to an extension so the club and the pending UFA forward have agreed that a trade is the best possible outcome at this point. Glencross has a limited number of teams that he will go to via his partial no-trade clause, but that list can potentially expand, one would assume, depending on what's being offered and from which teams. In any case, if the Flames are able to find a suitable trade for Glencross, and they don't want to give him away, the return on that trade could become assets then turned around and used in a trade to upgrade the team's blue-line corps.

The Flames were actually on the lookout for help on defense even before star captain Mark Giordano went down with injury this past week. Besides, as Treliving will tell you, you're not finding Giordano's replacement on the market anyway, not when you're talking about one of the top five defensemen in the NHL this season, the club's MVP.

It's still unclear just how long Giordano will be out. He took warm-up in Uniondale, New York, on Friday night, which was shocking. But whether that means he's not going to be out long term, it's uncertain until an official medical update is issued by the Flames. Either way, the Flames would like to add a defenseman before Monday's deadline.

Finances: The Flames have lots of cap space, which will especially become a weapon in the offseason when cap-strapped teams need to unload players and the Flames can try to capitalize.

Scouting the GM: Treliving is in his first year as GM of the NHL club and he remains very patient and cognizant of the big picture despite his team's unexpected season. Sure, as stated, he'd love to make a trade to help the team make the playoffs. But he's not sacrificing important, high-end future assets to get it done. It has to make sense. And in a perfect world, it's a hockey deal and not a rental deal, getting a player who can help the Flames past this season. Treliving is a sharp guy, and despite the excitement in his market, I think the rookie GM won't get fooled by short-term goals.