The Calgary Flames did more than just swap some players earlier today when they traded Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland and prospect Adam Fox in exchange for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin. The team finally made the changes it had said it would after a dismal second half of the season. Despite starting a solid 25-16-4 through Jan. 14, the team instead fell apart, putting up a 13-23-6 second half in which the team looked disinterested and forced the Flames to make changes.
The Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis suggests that this is just the beginning of changes for Calgary and suggests that moving Hamilton was the start of it. The scribe reports that Hamilton’s apathy was an issue in the clubhouse, so just moving on from him is a positive step in fixing the Flames’ issues. The Flames also rid themselves of Fox, currently playing for Harvard University and who was unlikely to sign with Calgary as they are deep in blueline prospects. Postmedia’s Kristen Anderson interviewed Flames GM Brad Treliving, who added that Ferland’s unrestricted free agent status next season was a key reason the team moved him. “Michael is a warrior and has one year left on his contract and will be a UFA. That always comes into consideration,” Treliving said.
- Sticking with the Flames, Sportsnet’s Pat Steinberg reports that Lindholm is likely to be given a much bigger role than he had in Carolina as he is expected to start the season on the team’s first line playing the wing alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. The former fifth-overall pick in 2013 has put up solid numbers, but hasn’t had a breakout season yet. He finished last season with 16 goals and 44 points. Lindholm, who is a restricted free agent, along with Hanifin, both need to be signed as they rejected initial offers from Carolina, which prompted the trade.
- The Edmonton Oilers announced they have extended qualifying offers to restricted free agents Darnell Nurse, Ryan Strome and Anton Slepyshev. Not offering them a qualifying offer would allow them to become unrestricted free agents. Nurse was one of the few bright spots on Edmonton’s defense. He had a career year, averaging 22:15 of ice time and scored six goals and had 26 assists on the year. Strome, who came over from the New York Islanders last offseason, had a quiet year with his new team, putting up 13 goals and 34 points, while Slepyshev continued in his struggles to break out in the NHL as he potted just six goals in 50 games played. All three, however, still are considered promising players. The only restricted free agent who was not mentioned as receiving a qualifying offer was Iiro Pakarinen, who has already signed a deal to return to the KHL next season.
- Jason Botchford of the Vancouver Sun writes that there is belief around the Canucks that defenseman Quinn Hughes, the team’s first-round pick in the draft, might be ready to contribute to the Canucks immediately. The scribe writes that general manager Jim Benning feels that Hughes is close to ready now. “I just look at that world championship and he was playing against NHL players,” Benning said. “He didn’t look out of place at all. He’s never going to run guys over but he has a good stick. He understands angles.” Hughes, who might be the best skater to come out of this draft, is the perfect compliment to coach Travis Green’s system, according to Botchford.