Trade grades? They were wrong about Flames’ Yegor Sharangovich

Article content

Keep this in mind as you peruse Friday’s trade grades …

While it makes for fun reading and great debate, the instant analysis can sometimes miss the mark.

Article content

Consider the case of Yegor Sharangovich, who potted a pair of goals and racked up four points to power the Calgary Flames to Thursday’s 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena.

When the Flames acquired Sharangovich last summer in a swap with the New Jersey Devils, the reaction was lukewarm. Most of the armchair GMs offered a grade in the ‘C’ range.

Advertisement 2

Article content

For the past several months, Sharangovich has been challenging that assessment. Now with 25 tallies, the highest total of his career, it’s gotta be an ‘A,’ doesn’t it?

“But we still have 20 games left,” Sharangovich protested when asked during a post-game media scrum in Tampa about his new personal-best in the goal column. “I need to keep going.”

Thursday’s four-point outburst against the Lightning was just further proof that Sharangovich has been a great fit in Calgary, as welcome as a Peters’ Drive-In milkshake on a scorching summer day or a Caesar on a … um … foggy morning.

The 25-year-old ranks second on the team in goals and third in points.

Since Elias Lindholm was traded away, he’s been shifted from wing to fill the void for a scoring-line centre. He continues to build chemistry with ace playmaker Jonathan Huberdeau, who admitted there was a bit of luck involved when he hit Sharangovich with a no-look pass for his first of the evening in Tampa.

On their next shift, rookie Matt Coronato created a turnover with a pesky forecheck and then teed up the man they call ‘Sharky’ for a wicked one-timer, a rocket over Andrei Vasilevskiy’s glove.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

Sharangovich is one of just two NHLers so far this season to light 25 lamps on behalf of a new team. The other? That would be Tyler Toffoli, the man he was traded for in late June. Win-win.

“He’s in the right spot, at the right moment, a lot of times,” Huberdeau said of Sharangovich, whose two tallies in Tampa occurred in a span of only two minutes and 23 seconds and put the Flames firmly in control against a star-studded opponent. “And he has a tremendous shot, like you saw tonight.”

Calgary Flames vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Calgary Flames forward Blake Colemancelebrates his goal against Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy at Amalie Arena in Tampa on Thursday, March 7, 2024. Photo by Mike Carlson /Getty Images

On Friday, in the final countdown to the NHL’s 1 p.m. MT trade deadline, general managers will be looking for the right piece at the right price.

While Flames honcho Craig Conroy, having already shipped Lindholm to Vancouver, Chris Tanev to Dallas and Noah Hanifin to Vegas, may be finished with his wheeling and dealing, the trade-graders will be busy.

But before you rush to judgment, consider the case of a guy like Sharangovich.

He also contributed two primary assists in Tampa, doing the dirty work on Dryden Hunt’s opening strike and then placing a low sizzler in a perfect spot for a deflection by Blake Coleman.

Advertisement 4

Article content

“I thought he was excellent tonight,” praised Flames head coach Ryan Huska.

Indeed, an ‘A.’

KEEPING THE FAITH

The Flames realize that many are ready to hand them a failing grade in the playoff race, assuming they’ll tumble out of wildcard contention now that Tanev and Hanifin have been traded away.

Despite a depleted defence, they’re aiming to prove everybody wrong.

As they celebrated a convincing victory over the Lightning, they were sitting six points south of the cut-off in the Western Conference standings.

“Maybe we had a little chip on our shoulder tonight, so I was proud of the boys,” said workhorse rearguard MacKenzie Weegar in a post-game interview on Sportsnet 960 The Fan. “We’ve handled the headlines and whatnot the right way, all season long. I really hope that we can finish the year out strong and we can still push for playoffs and we can play with that edge, that we can play like (Thursday) every night.

“We’ve beaten big, big teams this year. We need to continue that and keep that chip on our shoulder.”

Weegar logged a game-high 27:10 in Tampa. He also notched two assists, the second coming on a gutsy shot-block that led to Andrew Mangiapane’s empty-netter.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Calgary Flames vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Calgary Flames forward Jakob Pelletier celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with Andrei Kuzmenko during at the Amalie Arena in Tampa on Thursday, March 7, 2024. Photo by Mike Carlson /Getty Images

BIRTHDAY BURY

Huberdeau joked that he wasn’t sure what to buy Jakob Pelletier for his 23rd birthday.

“I don’t know if he’s old enough for a beer,” he quipped.

Pelletier, it turns out, received the gift that he was hoping for — a goal. The game-winner, in fact.

It’s his first big-league bury since Feb. 23, 2023. He was, of course, sidelined for a big chunk of that stretch due to shoulder surgery.

“It means a lot,” Pelletier told reporters in Tampa, where he cleaned up Andrei Kuzmenko’s rebound for a second-period snipe. “The last five months was kind of tough. That first game, as soon as you play, you’re trying to score. But every game, you just try to help the team win. It feels good to score tonight.”

MINOR MOVE

The Flames announced a trade during Thursday’s contest, acquiring depth centre Riley Damiani in a deal with the Dallas Stars.

The right-handed Damiani is a past winner of the AHL’s rookie-of-the-year award and has logged seven appearances at the highest level. He will report to the Wranglers, while Emilio Pettersen is now property of the Stars.

Damiani’s stat-sheet this season shows 10 goals and 23 points in 53 minor-league outings.

The new guy is listed at 5-foot-10 and 175 lb. He turns 24 later this month.

[email protected]

Article content