The 2023-24 season hasn’t even started yet, and some Calgary Flames fans may already be tired of discussing pending UFA Elias Lindholm’s future with the team. It’s been a major talking point this summer, with a potential mass exodus of unrestricted free agents from the Flames next offseason. Last week, however, Lindholm confirmed he’s open to the idea of an extension in Calgary, and today, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman gave us some clarity on what a deal may look like.
Speaking on NHL Network, Friedman said he “really thought [Bo] Horvat was going to be the comparable at 8×8.5, and I think it’s possible Lindholm now actually comes in higher than that, potentially… I think the number is going to have to be above Horvat, I’ve heard it might be closer to 8.75 or 9.” He, of course, is referring to Horvat’s eight-year, $8.5MM AAV extension signed with the New York Islanders after being acquired from the Vancouver Canucks this past season. While he does have multiple years of experience as a defensively solid first-line center, that would be quite a lot of money to pay someone who’s cracked the 70-point mark just twice in his career and the 30-goal mark only once.
Last season, Lindholm finished second on the Flames in scoring with 22 goals, 42 assists and 64 points in 80 games. It was a falloff from his career-high 2021-22 campaign between Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, where the then-27-year-old posted 42 goals and 82 points in 82 games alongside a ridiculous +61 rating. For comparison, 25-year-old Buffalo Sabres center Tage Thompson, who’s scored 85 goals in 156 games over the past two seasons, is signed for seven more seasons at a $7.143MM cap hit.
Elsewhere from around the NHL today:
- The Philadelphia Flyers have confirmed the hire of two-time All-Star Dany Heatley as a pro scout, notes independent Flyers reporter Charlie O’Connor. This will be Heatley’s first documented off-ice staffing role since retiring from pro hockey in 2016. The 42-year-old former sniper won the 2002 Calder Trophy as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers and scored 372 goals in 869 NHL games across 13 seasons with the Thrashers, Ottawa Senators, San Jose Sharks, Minnesota Wild, and Anaheim Ducks.
- Vancouver Canucks winger Ilya Mikheyev is still recovering from an ACL injury that was aggravated and then operated on in late January, and CHEK’s Rick Dhaliwal reports it may keep him out of preseason action. Mikheyev initially sustained the injury in preseason action for Vancouver last season but only missed a handful of weeks before being cleared to play in mid-October and recording 28 points in 46 games for the Canucks. He is still expected to be ready to go for opening night, however, and could very well begin his second season in British Columbia’s biggest city in a top-six role after averaging almost 17 minutes per game last season.