Calgary Flames

Elias Lindholm is “willing to stay” with the Calgary Flames

The Calgary Flames season is starting to ramp up, and despite rumors of an immense amount of change coming to the team, it has stayed relatively constant. The trade of Tyler Toffoli was the major swap made to the skating group, with all remaining 2024 pending UFAs remaining with the team to start the season. 

The most important from that group would obviously be the team’s number one center: Elias Lindholm. 

Lindholm has one year remaining on his contract and is set for a large pay raise based on the market for number of centers. The interesting thing about Lindholm is that he has supposedly been the team’s main priority for months now, but there has been almost radio silence on both sides whether a contract extension is likely or not. 

Speaking with a Ronnie Rönnkvist of hockeysverige, Lindolm finally addressed his contract situation publicly for the first time since his end of season interview:

Mixed messaging

In the wide ranging interview that touches on his journey as a new father, last year’s struggle, and this season’s outcome (which we highly recommend reading in full), Lindholm muddied the waters a bit on his commitment to a new deal. Keeping in mind this is translated from Swedish so some of the nuance may have been missed: 

I am willing to stay. Then my agent and Calgary take care of most of it. There is a lot we have to agree on, but I have said that I can imagine staying. After that, the agent and Calgary get to fix the rest. Then we’ll see if it works out or not. I have one year left, but if it doesn’t go as I have planned, I will become a “free agent”. Nothing strange about that. We will see what happens.

Elias Lindholm via Ronnie Rönnkvist of hockeysverige (translated from Swedish)

There is nothing truly groundbreaking from his statement, but it’s surprising at least to hear directly that he hasn’t directly closed the door on the team. Most had thought he had informed the team he wasn’t willing to re-sign, but this could either be a public declaration he wants to remain a Flame or a negotiation tactic to improve his value.

The latter is likely. 

Lindholm goes on to say how much he loves Calgary and Canada in general, which is always a breath of fresh air based on the recent trend of players not wanting to stay up north.

At the end of the day, his comments seem level headed that if the Flames can’t meet him where he’s at (which seems like the biggest issue) then he’s willing to become a free agent. 

Tread lightly

Lindholm’s new deal is most likely going to land in the range of eight years and upwards of $8M annually, which is hard to fit in with the team’s current cap commitments. Without knowing what the team will be this season, it’s fair to say that Lindholm and others are in no rush to sign long term deals. 

That being said, the Flames front office have let this drag on a bit too long. The team could have set deadlines and tried to execute deals much earlier in the summer. It’s not too late to get something done either way, but the Flames are creeping closer and closer to next year’s July 1st and Lindholm is not a player they can let get there. 

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