Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported on the NHL Network today that he believes the Calgary Flames are still hoping to re-sign forward Elias Lindholm. The Flames have seen an exodus of players in recent seasons as they’ve watched multiple star players walk out the door, now they are just a year away from watching some more assets move on. Friedman feels that the Flames view Lindholm as a key piece moving forward and have prioritized getting a deal done with him.
What that deal would look like is anyone’s guess, however, Friedman makes several calculated guesses in the interview. He states that he’s long seen an extension for Lindholm in the $8MM to $8.5MM range, but given the predicament that Calgary is in, he wonders if the Flames will need to go closer to $9MM to get an extension done with the 28-year-old.
Lindholm will count $4.85MM against the cap this upcoming season which would make him a very desirable trade target even without an extension in place. For the Flames, if they are unable to sign Lindholm it could kick off a full rebuild as defenseman Noah Hanifin and forward Mikael Backlund have already stated their desire to not sign extensions in Calgary.
Friedman ends the Lindholm segment by saying that he doesn’t believe Lindholm has shut the door on a return to Calgary which could leave things wide open for a deal to be made. He is obviously quite comfortable in Calgary as he has flourished since coming over in a trade from the Carolina Hurricanes back in 2018. In five seasons with the Flames, Lindholm has put up 139 goals and 186 assists in 369 games which nearly doubles his output from his five seasons with Carolina.
Like much of the NHL, it feels as though the Flames are in a bit of a holding pattern. Many teams still want to clear money and make other additions, but with the flat cap, it has been nearly impossible to clear cap space. It’s possible that Calgary could start the 2023-24 regular season with some if not all their pending unrestricted free agents still in the lineup. However, if teams can create a second buyout window after arbitration cases, those buyouts could lead to a domino effect around the league.