Elias Lindholm: Flames Trade Inevitable?
Craig Conroy is the new Flames general manager and if you watched his opening press conference, he may have just revealed a big secret about the upcoming offseason for Calgary. Is an Elias Lindholm trade on the horizon? It sure sounds like that’s going to be the case.
“I don’t think I would let that happen again,”
Those are the words of Conroy when he was asked about Johnny Gaudreau leaving this past Summer. The Flames have seven important UFAs-to-be and none of which are more important than top line center, Elias Lindholm. The former 5th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft has one more season remaining on his current deal for a bargain cap hit of $4.85 million. It’s going to take a sizeable raise to keep Lindholm in the fold for the next go around.
If Lindholm shows any signs of moving on, a trade could be on the way. If Conroy insists the Gaudreau situation won’t happen again, he may opt to get out in front of it. Given the chaos and front office / coaching staff turnover, Lindholm may be seeking a fresh start. We also know Lindholm could maximize his earnings by going to a team that has no state tax.
Lindholm, 28, is coming off a 64 point season which ranked second on the team behind Tyler Toffoli. The year prior, Lindholm had a career high 82 point season including 42 goals. Lindholm was also stripped of his linemates (Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk) this past year. Lindholm is the total package and a true 200 foot player finishing 2nd in the Selke voting last year. Any team seeking a true top line center will likely give the Flames a call.
The Elias Lindholm domino feels like the first major piece to drop this offseason. It’s the perfect trade for Conroy to spark the rebuild he wants. After missing the playoffs, Conroy sounds like he wants to prioritize youth and build the next winner over time. Keep an eye out for Lindholm. It feels all but certain that he’s getting moved. It’s a matter of when.
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