Calgary Flames

CapFriendly Friday: Fans eyeing a retool with 2024 UFA class

Welcome back to another edition of CapFriendly Friday! If you are unfamiliar with CapFriendly Friday, it involves looking at trade proposals submitted on‘s Armchair GM feature. The Armchair GM feature lets users, like you and me, become the GM of their team, and make whatever moves they see fit. Before you read on, check out our Q&A with CapFriendly to get insights on the inner workings of the site and some fun stories all about NHL contracts.

There are no shortage of trade proposals involving the Flames right now, with comments made by Conroy in his introductory press conference sparking tons of discussion. The main discussion revolves around the 2024 unrestricted free agent class, where Conroy preached asset management and not letting another Gaudreau situation take place. So, if one of the UFAs in that 2024 group—like Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin, or Tyler Toffoli—does not want to re-sign, it is likely that they’re moved this offseason. With the Flames needing to move some money out in order to ice a full cap complaint roster, this offseason should be interesting.

Last week, CapFriendly’s Armchair GM was flooded with trades including Hanifin. Trading him does make a lot of sense, given the contract situation, depth on the Flames blueline, and trade value around the league.

As you can probably imagine, some of these CapFriendly Friday proposals get our minds thinking and might make sense at the NHL level, while others are just straight up bonkers. I like to cover a little bit of both, so sit back, grab a snack, relax, and let’s laugh as we dive into some trade proposals. Let’s start off with the popular trade proposal being discussed on Flames social media right now.

Calgary trades Toffoli to Carolina

Trading Toffoli is a fascinating conversation. On one hand, he was the only guy that could consistently score last year. On the other, selling high on a 31-year old after a career season makes a lot of sense. There were some connections between Toffoli and the Hurricanes at last years deadline. Justin Williams, who has influence within the Canes management, is a big fan of his former LA Kings teammate. Given that the Hurricanes struggled to score this past season, acquiring Toffoli makes a ton of sense for them, as they continue to chase the cup. As for the return, Scott Morrow is regarded as a very good defensive prospect, who continues to impress in college. Grabbing the 30th overall selection in a deep draft is pretty good, as well. If Calgary chooses to sell high on Toffoli, this is about the return I would expect.

Bringing in Alex DeBrincat

Alex DeBrincat‘s name has been in trade rumours this week, as he reportedly won’t sign long-term in Ottawa; think of the Matthew Tkachuk situation last year where his big qualifying offer gives him leverage. If he wants to sign long-term in Calgary, which is rather unlikely, the Flames should do everything in their power to bring him in. For this example, let’s just assume DeBrincat wants to extend with the Flames. The package is definitely favoured on the Flames side, so that third rounder probably needs to be upgraded to a first.

But, I like the thinking here, as the Flames could sell high on Toffoli with some other assets, and in turn get a younger player who can score at an even better rate. Including Vladar also makes some sense, given Cam Talbot is departing the team and they’ll need someone to tandem with Anton Forsberg. Although, they probably want to look for a proven starting netminder, rather than two guys to split duties.

Flames deal Lindholm and Hanifin to the Blues

It would be pretty funny to see the Flames send out Lindholm and Hanifin in a package, after acquiring them together many years ago. I think you probably get better value if you deal them separately, but let’s examine this trade proposal. The Blues are looking to revamp their defence, and there is an obvious fit for Lindholm with O’Reilly departing to the Leafs at the deadline.

It’s already been reported by insiders that the Blues are looking to move their extra first rounders for help. They were connected to Timo Meier at the deadline, so if the Blues can find players that fit with their core, they will pounce. Lindholm and Hanifin fit that idea. So, the Blues use both of the first rounders acquired in the O’Reilly and Tarasenko deals, and send them to Calgary. I would assume some contract certainty from Lindholm and Hanifin would need to happen before they make this deal.

Calgary receives two first rounders in a deep draft, plus a good prospect in Jake Neighbours. Note: this user also sent Lassi Thomson, who they acquired in another deal, so we will just sub in a Blues defence prospect like Leo Loof, or Scott Perunovich. Taking on the contract of Nick Leddy, who has three more years at a cap hit of $4.0M AAV, would be less than ideal. To make cap work, I would much rather take on Marco Scandella, who only has one more year left at an AAV of $3.275M. This move would do well to accumulate some younger assets for the Flames, with Neighbours likely to play with the Flames this year. It doesn’t hurt that Neighbours is an Airdrie native.

Calgary trades… Huberdeau… for Anderson and Dvorak?

I get that Huberdeau had a down year, but selling low on him just seems silly. Retaining $1.0M for the next eight years of this contract is also funny. And the return is abysmal. Getting an often injured power forward signed long-term, and an average two-way centre. Selling this low on Huberdeau, when you haven’t even started your eight year investment sends a lot of poor messages. I guess if the thinking here is to get out of Huberdeau’s contract completely, this trade kind of works. But you committed to Huberdeau, so it’s time to pray for a bounce-back season under a new head coach.

Hanifin off to Pittsburgh for futures

Anyone tired of the Hanifin trade proposals yet? No? That’s good, because here’s another. I’ve included this one, because I think Pittsburgh and Calgary make a ton of sense as trading partners this summer. In his introductory press conference, Kyle Dubas was very clear that the objective is to try and stay competitive while Crosby, Malkin, and Letang remain on the roster. The left side of defence is an obvious need for the Penguins, so insert Hanifin. To me, this makes sense as an acquisition for the short-term, but also in the long-term, since Hanifin is still only 26 years old. Signing him long-term means he helps Pittsburgh compete now, and is still around to help after Crosby and co. depart.

On the Flames side, the key for me is that first round pick, which is the 14th overall selection this year. Getting another high first round pick would do wonders for the Flames franchise, as you would add two great prospects at 14th and 16th overall in a deep draft. Add in the third rounder and a defensive prospect, and I’m sold.

No shortage of trade proposals to come

With the offseason just beginning, there are many trade proposals for us to review in the coming months. Who knows what the future holds, as there are tons of decisions for now Flames General Manager Craig Conroy and company to make. He’s going to have himself a busy summer. If the proposals here are any indication, CapFriendly users took what Conroy said in his intro press conference to heart, as the likes of Lindholm and especially Hanifin are flying around in trade proposals everywhere. With a new coaching announcement on the horizon, we will likely start to hear rumours regarding the futures of the 2024 UFA class soon after.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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