Welcome back to another edition of CapFriendly Friday! If you are unfamiliar with CapFriendly Friday, it involves looking at trade proposals submitted on CapFriendly.com‘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.
Trade rumours are buzzing around the Flames
There are no shortage of trade proposals involving the Calgary Flames right now. Especially with Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli noting that Lindholm, Hanifin, and Backlund are unlikely to re-sign. Earlier this summer, CapFriendly’s Armchair GM was flooded with trades including Hanifin. More recently, proposals including the 2024 UFA class for futures were front and centre. Now, it’s a little bit of everything.
The trade front in the NHL has been extremely quiet, with no trades made since July 9. Cap space around the league is tight. But now that all arbitration cases have been resolved, teams should have a clear understanding of their cap situation. We should see a bigger trade market in August then we’ve seen in July. If the Flames are going to be making some more trades before next season, you’d have to imagine either retained salary or taking back another player’s cap hit would be involved.
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. It was hard to sift through Flames proposals this week, as CapFriendly’s Armchair GM is flooded with Lindholm to Calgary trades. Given the news of Bergeron retiring, and Krejci not coming back as well, Bruins Armchair fans are clamouring to find a replacement. Let’s start off with one of those proposals from a Bruins fan:
Bruins fans exploring Hanifin and Lindholm trades
Some Bruins fans are including Grzelcyk in trades for Hanifin. Others are including DeBrusk in trades for Lindholm. This fan includes both Lindholm and Hanifin, which would be a crazy blockbuster. Given Hanifin is a Boston product and the Bruins desperately need a Bergeron replacement, getting both could make sense, I suppose. The package coming back to the Flames is big, but I don’t think it matches what the Flames would want.
I really can’t see the Bruins being the team that could pull off getting one of or both of Hanifin and Lindholm. Their prospect pool is weak, and their 2024 first-rounder has already been sent to the Detroit Red Wings in the deal for Tyler Bertuzzi last year. Boston’s best asset would be one of their goaltenders, Ullmark or Swayman, but Calgary already has a logjam in net. Ullmark is included in the proposal above, but the Flames need to get rid of a goalie, not add another. DeBrusk is fine, Frederic is a good young player, plus the first-rounder in 2025, but I don’t think this is enough for Lindholm and Hanifin.
Something around Fabian Lysell, Mason Lohrei, Matthew Poitras, cap dump, and a 2025 first-rounder for one of Hanifin or Lindholm could be in the right target area. But it’s hard given Boston’s lack of high-end prospects.
Capitals and Flames swap centres
This is a fascinating one. Lindholm to Washington for one of their centres has circulated around the past couple weeks. Kuznetsov has found himself in trade rumours this summer, as he reportedly requested a trade from the Capitals recently. He is coming off a down year and coupling that with his $7.8M contract with two years remaning makes a trade extremely difficult in the NHL cap environment right now. He has also a 10-team no-trade list, so he might not be willing to come to Calgary. However, I could see something like this occur.
Since Calgary wants to remain competitive, getting a centre in return could help them stay in the race. Adding a good prospect in McMichael, and two high draft picks helps make this deal more appetizing as well. Any Lindholm deal can probably be drawn up using the Horvat trade last year as a comparable. A replacement forward, good prospect, and first-round pick for Lindholm (with the second-round pick added to make up for Kuznetsov’s contract) seems about par for what one can expect if Lindholm is indeed traded.
There’s always one proposal which breaks me. Every time I’m browsing CapFriendly to find trade proposals, there is always a random trade proposal like this thrown in, making me question my sanity. Surely Calgary would trade their first line centre and a good defenceman, for… a third-round pick… and a middle-six centre who is has a fairly poor contract (and a no-trade clause to boot).
Sending Hanifin and Lindholm to the Stars
Another package deal for Lindholm and Hanifin, this time with the Stars. First thing to note is Ryan Suter has a NMC, and definitely wouldn’t be waiving to come to Calgary; (I also wouldn’t necessarily want him to come to Calgary given his age and contract). Again using the Horvat deal as a comparable for Elias Lindholm, and the Hampus Lindholm deal as a comparable for Hanifin, I don’t think this is nearly enough coming back to the Flames, especially given the term left on the cap dumps in Faksa and Suter.
I do like the additions of Bourque and the first-rounder in this deal. The Stars have some very nice young players and prospects, (like Wyatt Johnston, Logan Stankoven, Thomas Harley, Christian Kyrou, to name a few) which would be very appetizing from Calgary’s perspective. The Stars could make sense as a landing spot for this Flames package, as they push all their chips in for a cup run.
Goalie and winger swaps
Vancouver is one of the few teams which looks to have a hole in their backup position, so Dan Vladar could make sense as an addition there. Spencer Martin—who was Vancouver’s backup last year—struggled mightily, but could be fine AHL insurance for the Flames in case Dustin Wolf isn’t ready. I don’t love moving Dube, who is still under team control after this season, for Beauvillier, who is a UFA after the 2023–24 season. The two second-rounders are nice, but Calgary retaining $500K for the next two seasons on Vladar would be tough. This proposal isn’t terrible. I would maybe consider it if the retention on Vladar is removed. I would like it even more if the Flames retain on and flip Beauvillier to a third team for another asset.
Erik Karlsson, Calgary Flame?
I wanted to include this one at the end, because it’s extremely fun. You can never have enough Swedes on the Flames. This would never happen, but in this fantasy world, why the heck not. The value the Flames give up is probably about what can be expected, given the massive cap commitment still left for Karlsson. Plus, the Sharks could flip Tanev now or at the trade deadline for whatever assets they can muster.
Of note, this user included the second-rounder acquired from the Vancouver trade seen above. We can sub that for Calgary’s own second-rounder in 2025 if needed. Getting rid of the Coleman contract (even though he’s a good player) probably adds that second-rounder into the deal. So you are looking at Tanev and two first-round picks as the value for Karlsson straight up.
The Sharks retain $3M here, so Karlsson would arrive in Calgary at a cap hit of $8.5M for the next four seasons. Coleman ($4.9M x 4) and Tanev ($4.5M x 1) combine for $9.4M, so the Flames would actually save $900K in this deal. A right side of Erik Karlsson and Rasmus Andersson would be extremely fun. Erik Karlsson in a Flames jersey would be extremely fun. The Flames powerplay would be super fun. Everything about this would be fun, aside from the Flames defensive zone. But imagine a blueline that features Karlsson, Weegar, Andersson, Kylington, and Zadorov (assuming Hanifin is dealt at some point)?
It’s worth noting Karlsson has a full NMC, Coleman has a NTC, and Tanev has a 10-team no-trade list. So this trade is even more unlikely when factoring that in. But hey, I just wanted to throw in a Karlsson to the Flames proposal for the fun of it.
Fascinating future ahead
This next calendar year is going to be instrumental to the Flames franchise now and for future years. Elias Lindholm is a massive focus point, given how things could still go either way there (although I take a non-committal answer as a no). We know Hanifin won’t be extending with the Flames, so a deal is extremely likely to happen before next season’s trade deadline. Backlund won’t re-sign now, but maybe next summer if next year goes well? I still think you should trade Backlund and let him chase the cup he rightfully deserves. There are still answers needed with the three Flames goaltenders. All has been quiet around Zadorov and Tanev. Kylington is coming back next year, but is also a UFA is a year’s time. Hopefully Craig Conroy is up to the task. This is not an easy position to find yourself in.