Calgary Flames

32 Thoughts: Elias Lindholm’s new contract could mainly be for Jonathan Huberdeau’s benefit

The Elias Lindholm contract saga continues.

As the season is starting to ramp up, with players holding informal on-ice skates the last few days, the news off the ice is of course starting to increase as well. Earlier this week on 32 Thoughts the Podcast, Elliotte Friedman updated the situation noting the following:

Not a total shock, but still not the news that Flames fans want to hear heading into the new season. Throughout the week word starting to move around that a potential Lindholm deal could be coming to fruition. Based on what the Flames could be offering, it would make sense. 

With the newest release of the podcast this morning, Friedman brought up a fascinating point that furthers the conversation around just what exactly are the Calgary Flames thinking here? 

Between a rock and a hard place

“I mean, it’s been quiet. I know they made the deal with Toffoli, Hanifin has indicated he is not going to re-sign, Flames fans are well aware of what Lindholm said which is that he is willing to stay I think is important. But I think this is going to be a number that is gonna have to be somewhere between 8.5 and 9. But you know what I’ll tell you this, you know what I feel very strongly about here with the Flames? Someone made a good point to me. Jonathan Huberdeau’s extension kicks in this year…If you’re trading Elias Lindholm, what is the plan that makes Huberdeau better? I thought that was a great question.”

“I think they feel that way, but the question is how do you optimize it? I think it was a great point someone made to me about Huberdeau. You can look at it in a vacuum and say and argue the value of Lindholm’s 8-year deal…let’s say it’s 8 times 8.75 or 8 times 9, you can argue the merits of that contract for Lindholm, but I think the way you have to look at it is – what are the merits of that contract not only for Lindholm, but for Huberdeau. Does Lindholm sign for 8 more years put Huberdeau in a situation to be better? And to get back to who he was. I think there is a really good argument to be made for that…if it’s not going to be Lindholm, well show me what the plan is to help Huberdeau.” 

Elliotte Friedman – 32 Thoughts the Podcast


Reading between the lines, the Flames look to almost be trying to justify a lengthy Elias Lindholm contract extension to further justify the historic extension handed out to Huberdeau last summer. Based on Huberdeau’s season, there looks to be a hyper focus on doing everything possible to put him in as successful of a position as possible.

Lindholm and Huberdeau played fleetingly together last season, but when they did it worked marvelously. Pairing them together for most of this year looks to be the priority, but you can bet the team wants to get a deal done before they potentially catch lightning in a bottle and the price for Lindholm goes up.

Up in the air

That being said, the debate still stands on whether the Flames should sign or trade Lindholm. Trading Lindholm does not immediately guarantee a failed season for Huberdeau, in fact it couldn’t be further from the point. A new coach and new favorable system could be all he needs to succeed. Having a player like Lindholm as his center would most likely help that along, but making an eight-year commitment based solely on how one player will react is not good asset management. 

The team clearly still has no idea what direction they are going in, but if they sign Lindholm to an eight-year contract worth upwards of $8.5M a season then you can bet they aren’t interested in rebuilding anytime soon. 

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