The Calgary Flames picked up their fourth win of the season Tuesday night at home against the Nashville Predators, and while they have been better as of late, it is still (at least in my opinion) the best option for the Flames to sell off their four pending unrestricted free agents for assets to help them build for the future.
Today I will be looking at a player who has been bar none one of the best defensive defencemen in the NHL the past few years, and that would be Chris Tanev.
Multiple teams of interest for Tanev
Since the Calgary Flames signed Tanev back in October of 2020, he has been one of, if not the best, defensive defensemen in all of hockey. He has been a rock-solid piece of the Flames blueline, and when he has been out of the lineup, you have been able to see how much the defence suffers without him. Look no further than the Flames’ second round loss to the Edmonton Oilers in the spring of 2022. He has been an extremely important piece to the defence, and he has been responsible for helping progress the careers of guys like Noah Hanifin and Oliver Kylington.
Now, Tanev is into the last year of his deal with the Flames, and while he has still been an extremely good player for the club this season, he will turn 34 in December. With the Flames sitting near the bottom of the league standings, it would be the correct move to trade Tanev for future assets. Multiple teams have already been showing interest in Tanev, those teams being the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Edmonton Oilers, and the Vancouver Canucks, all of those teams are in desperate need of help on the backend and Tanev would be an immediate fix.
What could a return look like for Tanev?
I think if the Flames were to move Tanev at some point this year, I think the return could be quite substantial. He is every coach’s dream, a shot-blocking machine, steady on the defensive side of the puck, and a vet who has been around for quite a long time. He is the kind of player that general managers across the league always give up a tonne for come the trade deadline. I do not think a first-round pick and potentially a prospect for Tanev is completely out of the question. We saw Jake McCabe get moved last season to Toronto for a couple of picks, and I would argue that Tanev is a much better player than McCabe is.
If we look at the Toronto Maple Leafs, for example, they have a defence group that cannot defend outside of T.J. Brodie. John Klingberg has been a mess of a signing, Morgan Rielly has always been a defensive liability, and Mark Giordano is now 40 years of age. They need help, and the general manager who signed Tanev back in 2020 is now the GM of those same Maple Leafs. There very well could be a trade available there. The Leafs own their first-round pick for the 2024 draft and will have to make a run at the Stanley Cup this year with William Nylander set to become a UFA at the end of the season.
The Vancouver Canucks are off to a hot start, and they could also use someone to help shore up their defence, and they know Chris Tanev very well as he played his entire career in Vancouver before leaving to sign in Calgary. The players would sure be happy to bring him back and I think Tanev himself would be ok with going back to the city where he played most of his career.
Do not wait, it is time to engage
The Flames are only 12 games into the season, and while it is still early, the team is in a hole. They would have to play at incredible pace the rest of the season just to have a shot at making the playoffs. If they are not going to be bringing back a guy like Tanev or the other players set to become free agents at the end of the season, the time is now for GM Craig Conroy to make some tough decisions to ship guys out.
There is plenty of season left to go, but it is never too early to start making changes to help the future of the team.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire