The Calgary Flames and Elias Lindholm look to be, for now, locked in what will be a long, drawn out, and frustrating contract debate. With the team about to enter training camp, the news around his pending free agency and contract discussions is going to be fast and furious.
For weeks now, the discussions around town have been that the Flames have been offering him a long term contract and Lindholm has yet to sign it. The Flames have been giving him the keys to the kingdom per say, and the team’s number one center is just in a wait and see mode.
That take was extremely debated on the most recent episode of The Chris Johnston Show, where he provided some key information that makes the situation look the complete opposite.
Lindholm is waiting on the Flames
Broken down midway through the episode, host Julian McKenzie and Chris Johnston discuss the press conference given by Lindholm yesterday and just why Lindholm was short and direct with his responses:
“I loved how short and punchy he was. He knows what he wants. This is a guy that knows what he wants. To me…he wants his money. He wants to get paid. The Flames are the only team that can pay him that max contract and give him all that money…I felt his approach on Wednesday was purposeful…To me this is a guy that has made his demands known and he is firmly putting his foot in and it’s up to the Flames to do something about it”– Julian McKenize
“I saw frustration there. For all the reasons you’re saying, I do believe he wants to stay in Calgary. He has made that known for months now. There was a period of time at the end of June, into early July, where there was some back and forth between the Flames and his camp. Things were heating up. It looked like they were progressing towards something that could be a deal. My understanding Julian, is there’s been almost no talk over the summer, maybe even no talk, but like certainly no negotiations have happened since then. So you can understand why that might be difficult for him. I mean what do you say at that point? You say you want to stay, you guys are exchanging some numbers, and then it goes quiet for a period of time.”
“There is still tons of time to get something done and I don’t think that the fact that it’s been quiet will get in the way of getting something done. But at some point something has to happen and it just feels like there hasn’t been a push to sign him from the Flames end of things.”
“They are dealing with a lot of different players which looks like that’s going to be a story you’re telling again and again through different lenses of different players…different priorities for each of the players but Lindholm to me has always seemed like the key decision. If you’re going to trade them, that time would have already happened quite honestly I don’t see that as being as relevant now. It’s not to say he couldn’t be traded, but most teams have kinda set where they are going and I just don’t see that making much sense”
“At some point here the Flames here are going to have to make a push to sign him, or decide not to, but everything just seems kinda lingering there. If you’re probably in Lindhom’s shoes entering that interview like you want to get something done, but it feels like the other side for whatever reason hasn’t made it as big of a push to do so. Like what do you say?”– Chris Johnston
If that is truly the case, and the Flames have simply not spoken to Lindholm or his camp since the beginning of the summer then no wonder Lindholm seemed frustrated. Craig Conroy has been preaching the last week about how much the team wants to keep Lindholm and how discussions are ongoing, but per Johnston that may be completely false.
No win situation
The way that this has unfolded, as noted by McKenzie in the podcast, is a no win situation for the Calgary Flames. They have frustrated one of their best players, not capitalized on a summer trade market, and enter the season without an extension for their number one center.
Combine that with the fact they may not even be trying to negotiate and you truly have to wonder what exactly Conroy and management are planning right now. If Lindholm isn’t the priority, then who and what is? Surely you can enter the season with optimism, but the season goes quick and if they approach the March trade deadline with absolutely nothing done it will cost the future of the team dearly.
Things can change with one call, but for now things don’t look great for anyone in Calgary.