The Calgary Flames are officially back in drama watch.
After a weekend consisting of an agent-driven trade request made public, subsequent comments from Nikita Zadorov, and a provincial rival going through the wringer, it’s hard not to be tuned in right now.
Thoughts relevant to Calgary
That continued on Monday morning with the release of the newest 32 Thoughts the Podcast episode that had a jampacked Calgary section. So grab a cup of coffee and catch up on everything Flames-related you need to know:
Zadorov’s trade request
Starting off with the obvious, Elliotte Friedman touched on Nikita Zadorov’s trade request following the game on Friday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs:
So it was interesting. You know Zadorov played under 16 minutes on Friday night. And they lose to Toronto, delivering a huge hit to Bertuzzi. I’ll tell you something else, the word going around on Sunday night is that a Maple Leaf player said to Zadorov on the ice “you’re exactly what we need” … but Zadorov gets off the ice and I don’t know it was a slapshot text to the agent “play me or freaking trade” or whatever happened here but Dan Milstein, who is the agent, basically said he wants out and buy your tickets in Toronto, Zadorov could be here…
The Flames were really quiet on Saturday—they were not answering calls. They weren’t getting back to me… I think that Calgary wanted to dial it down, I think they wanted to calm it down. If you listen to Zadorov talk to Ryan Leslie in the other media after the game on Saturday night in Ottawa he basically just said you have to understand but I’m not going to go into it anymore than that. I think Zadorov is only going to play 15–16 minutes a night, I think he’d rather do it in another situation but I think the Flames were upset, I think some of the players were upset.
What happened on the ice in Toronto
The duo also speculated on who that Maple Leafs player could have been, either Max Domi or Mitch Marner who played with Zadorov in junior, but at the end of the day it’s clear there is a path from Calgary to Toronto.
The team also touched on this new NHL and how some players are starting to dictate more like the NBA than historically has been seen before.
But you know it was funny. I was talking to a couple of agents and they were saying to me that more and more players kind of want this. Some agents are absolutely dead set against that approach they say it’s not the way we should do things and I don’t like it, but there were a couple agents that said to me that this newer generation of players like they see how the basketball players kind of control the narrative and they are in charge. I had couple guys tell me that they had to fight off some of their young guys with this that their young guys are like “do it, do it, do it” and they are like that is not how this should work. We are kind of in that middle ground…
This has been an increasing trend for a few seasons now (looking at you Matthew Tkachuk) and honestly, it wouldn’t be shocking to see an increase. The players should have some say in where they want to go, but not at the detriment of the teams who need to recoup value.
Calgary’s bigger picture
The pair continued with the Zadorov talk and expanded that into the team’s wider trade approach with its other pending UFAs.
Whatever the case is, Calgary has got some interesting stuff going on. The one thing the Flames said is “we are going to do this on our schedule. Maybe we will trade Zadorov if he doesn’t want to stay here, we will do it, but we are gonna do this on our schedule. It’s not gonna happen on his schedule, it’s going to happen on our schedule. I do think, look, going into Friday night they weren’t that far out of the playoff race and it’s still early but they got one point out of a possible four on the weekend, but I do think the Flames wanted to see how this season plays out but now you got Hanifin where it looks like an extension was getting close has fallen apart, there is nothing yet with Tanev, you know Zadorov’s agent pops off like this. All of a sudden you’ve got three UFA Ds.
You know the one thing I think was it brought some other teams into the conversation. People think that I’ve mentioned Arizona with Hanifin, I think there was something there they talked about. I just don’t know how far it got, then it’s obviously not anywhere right now. Toronto and Vancouver have both been mentioned with Tanev and Zadorov individually, and I think Toronto would love to have both of them if they could… I just think Calgary said look this is going to happen on our terms but I think it brought other teams out of the woodwork. Someone said to me on Sunday “You’ve got more work to do now, everyone knew about Toronto and Vancouver but because of that tweet who else is out there. You’ve gotta do your work and figure out who else is now involved.” So I think if that did anything it brought other teams into the equation and now it’s on Calgary’s timeline. They made it very clear “we are going to do this when we are ready.”
Patience has been the biggest virtue for the team the last few months, but looks like this could potentially pay off for them. With many around the NHL now tuning in, this will only increase the price (hopefully) for Conroy to deal with. When you have all eyes on you, you can pick and choose what you want.
Remaining footnotes on Calgary
The Flames section wrapped up with two interesting notes.
A couple other things with the Flames, Lindholm has got to get going. He’s not helping himself here, he’s gotta get going. The thing is just not a huge impact. He’s gotta make more of an impact. Secondly… Huberdeau changed his equipment. So I looked into it and I was told that he changed everything at the beginning of the season, everything except the stick.
The Elias Lindholm thing is obvious, at this point, he is playing himself out of a long-term contract with anyone. Jonathan Huberdeau is far more interesting. Changing your entire equipment setup is something other players have done before, but the entire set including skates is crazy. Clearly, Huberdeau wanted a completely fresh start, but so far it’s been more of the same.