Calgary Flames

CapFriendly Friday: After rough Calgary Flames start, pending UFAs are front and centre

Welcome back to another edition of CapFriendly Friday! This edition is all about the looming Calgary Flames rebuild after their rough start to the season.

If you are unfamiliar with CapFriendly Friday, it involves looking at trade proposals submitted on‘s Armchair GM feature. The Armchair GM feature lets users, like you and me, become the GM of their team, and make whatever moves they see fit. Before you read on, check out Q&A with CapFriendly to get insights on the inner workings of the site and some fun stories all about NHL contracts.

As you can probably imagine, some of these CapFriendly Friday proposals get our minds thinking and might make sense at the NHL level, while others are just straight up bonkers. I like to cover a little bit of both, so sit back, grab a snack, relax, and let’s laugh as we dive into some trade proposals. Let’s start it off with a few Flames defencemen heading to the Toronto Maple Leafs:

Tanev and Zadorov package deal to the Maple Leafs

Proposals involving the Calgary Flames are at an all-time high on CapFriendly. This is in part due to Nikita Zadorov’s trade request, and also due to their rough start. The largest amount of trades are involving Calgary and Toronto. Some have Nikita Zadorov alone, others have Chris Tanev alone. But the majority of proposals have both going to the Leafs, and John Klingberg and futures heading back to the Flames. After sifting through the thousands of Leafs/Flames trades, I settled on this one. Why? Well first, it’s a very rare occasion of a Leafs trade where they are overpaying. Most of the trades on CapFriendly are something like Zadorov to the Leafs for Klingberg and a third-rounder. This one was a big surprise.

I kind of figure Abruzzese is consolation for taking on Klingberg’s cap hit for the rest of the semester. Maybe the first-round pick is equivalent to Tanev, and Liljegren is equivalent to Zadorov? Although Leafs fans still value him very highly. I think you could probably take out Fraser Minten and then this deal is pretty close. The first-round pick being included in the deal is an absolute must. Abruzzese probably has some value to the Flames given his history with Coronato. Taking on Klingberg helps make the deal happen, and he would also help the tank with his… defensive play.

Using two retention spots in this deal isn’t great given you will also be selling Lindholm and Hanifin, among others, but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker. Getting the first-round pick and Liljegren back in this deal is quite nice, even if you have to take on Klingberg’s contract.

Flames pay an extensive premium for… Charlie…. Coyle?

What the heck? Why do my eyes have to look at this? Who thought to post this on CapFriendly and thought everything would be okay? Did you mistake Charlie Coyle for David Pastrnak? I love that on top of everything the Flames retain $2M on Mangiapane, because why not, right? This proposal has hurt me for the foreseeable future. I hope this user has a terrible sleep tonight.

Tanev to the Stars

Another very common Tanev destination right now is the Dallas Stars. It makes a lot of sense, as they have a roster to win now and could use that final piece to push them over the edge. In return, the Flames receive big Jani Hakanpaa, defence prospect Christian Kyrou, and first- and third-rounders.

Hakanpaa is a solid bottom-pairing defenceman that you could probably flip at the deadline for another pick. Kyrou was drafted in the second round in 2022, and has some solid upside. I think this deal is probably fair if you shave off the first-round pick. I would think Tanev’s value falls somewhere around two seconds or a second and a third. So, you get Hakanpaa, a second-round equivalent in Kyrou, and a third-rounder. Who knows, maybe this will be the final return the Flames end up getting. It’s been reported that there are already a bunch of teams interested in Tanev. I would be too, if I was a GM of a contending team. One of the best defensive defencemen in the league? Sign me up.

Flames trade Zary to the Blue Jackets for… Kuraly?

What on earth? Stop it. No. What the heck? No. Why.

Like… come on. This can’t be serious. No offence to Sean Kuraly, but I’m taking Connor Zary over him 101/100 times. Given Zary’s start with the big club, there’s no way they are even considering remotely trading him. And to trade him for a career fourth liner? Craig Conroy wouldn’t have a job tomorrow if this happened. I love that this user added in the 2025 seventh-rounders on either side just to complete the trolling. Stop it. Get some help.

Lindholm to the Bruins

This has been a very common Lindholm destination since Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci both announced their retirements this past summer. The insertion of Matthew Poitras into their lineup has alleviated the pain at centre, but they could definitely upgrade and shift one of Poitras, Zacha, or Coyle to the wing. That makes them so much of a deeper team. As for the package coming back from the Bruins, I think it’s roughly what it would take, assuming Lindholm agrees to an extension with the Bruins. The most recent deal to base this on would be the Horvat deal, in which Vancouver got a first-rounder, a good prospect in Aatu Raty, and a cap dump in Beauvillier. Lysell is similar in terms of value to Raty, while the 2025 first from Boston would have less value than what the Islanders traded.

At the time of the trade, it wasn’t a guarantee that the Islanders would make the playoffs, so it could have been a top sixteen pick. The Islanders did end up making the playoffs thanks to a bump from Horvat, but were eliminated in the first round. The first-round pick ended up being 17th overall. Forbort is a UFA after the season and carries a cap hit of $3M. Maybe the Flames could retain 50% and flip him for an asset at the deadline. If not, he would fill in for minutes left after Hanifin, Tanev, and Zadorov leave. Maybe you take out the 3rd rounder to make things equal to the Horvat deal, but I imagine there will be a bidding war for Lindholm, especially if he’s retained at 50%.

Johnny Hockey for the… other Johnny Hockey?

Huberdeau for Gaudreau has been the trade proposal of interest around social media circles recently, as both players are struggling this season. Gaudreau is obviously loved in Calgary and was the face of the franchise for years. It hasn’t been the same in Columbus. He’s been scratched for periods and has a similar point total to Huberdeau this season. I don’t think this happens, but it’s a fun thing to think about.

Calgary trades an… interesting package… for Duclair

I recently looked at the possibility of reuniting Jonathan Huberdeau with Anthony Duclair. However, I wouldn’t give up anything close to this package. Given where the Flames are at, I wouldn’t be moving any future assets for Duclair. I proposed a Duclair for Dillon Dube swap, given that Dube just doesn’t fit with the Flames anymore. I wouldn’t give up either of Pelletier or a second-round pick. Especially not Pelletier. But this user proposes both Pelletier and a second? Crazy town. My brain is melting. Yuck.

Trades should roll in

The Flames probably should not take advice or inspiration from these most recent batch of CapFriendly trade proposals. At least not who they trade for and who they ship away. But, they should definitely take this as another signal that the trade value of many of their players is at an all-time high. Whether the team fully commits to the rebuild or continues to drive in the retool-on-the-fly lane, they can not afford to let the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline pass without recouping some major assets. They simply need to secure the bag that’s dangling right in front of them.

Photo by Aman Kurji

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