128Elias Lindholm
Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Is Elias Lindholm worth a $5-million cap hit?

Elias Lindholm isn’t signed – yet.

But the Flames are working towards locking down one of their biggest offseason acquisitions, with rumour having it he may get a five- or six-year deal, with an annual average value of around $5 million.

Lindholm’s arbitration date isn’t until Aug. 1, the last of the five Flames to file for arbitration, but he’s the highest profile of the lot, with the most NHL experience and an anticipated top six role, so focusing on a deal for him sooner rather than later makes sense.

Only four Flames forwards currently have cap hits over $5 million: Mikael Backlund ($5.35 million), James Neal ($5.75 million), Sean Monahan ($6.375 million), and Johnny Gaudreau ($6.75 million). Monahan and Gaudreau’s signings were both their second contracts, signed as restricted free agents and carrying them through to unrestricted free agency.

Lindholm, meanwhile, will be signed as an RFA, but this will be his third contract. He already has five years of NHL experience, but has never scored at a level as elite as Monahan and Gaudreau.

So, the question arises: is Lindholm worth a $5 million cap hit?

Here are 15 forwards, all of whom were signed as RFAs, with cap hits ranging from $4.9-$5.5 million, and their stats in their respective contract years.

Player Cap hit Term Points 5v5 CF% OZS%
Elias Lindholm ? ? 44 53.25 56.93
Jonathan Drouin $5.5 million 6 years 53 52.07 57.12
Bo Horvat $5.5 million 6 years 52 47.55 46.47
Jaden Schwartz $5.35 million 5 years 22 54.02 62.99
Mika Zibanejad $5.35 million 5 years 37 49.30 52.46
Tomas Tatar $5.3 million 4 years 46 50.84 52.29
Ondrej Palat $5.3 million 5 years 52 52.71 56.11
Jeff Carter $5.273 million 11 years* 66 51.27 43.72
JT Miller $5.25 million 5 years 58 NYR: 46.16
TB: 53.41
NYR: 55.09
TB: 55.74
Nino Niederreiter $5.25 million 5 years 57 55.41 52.40
Brayden Schenn $5.125 million 4 years 59 50.30 52.29
Reilly Smith $5 million 5 years 37 52.47 47.82
Derick Brassard $5 million 5 years 45 53.54 60.16
Alex Galchenyuk $4.9 million 3 years 44 50.06 66.38
Alexander Wennberg $4.9 million 6 years 59 51.18 60.74

*Note that 11-year deals are no longer possible under the current CBA.

Most of these deals were signed in the past couple of years, so percentage of cap isn’t a particularly big factor. Most players played full seasons as well; Schwartz, the lone exception, was a .67 point per game player in his 33-game contract year. Zibanejad was a .66 point per game player in his.

There’s a common theme to be found: all guys are pretty decent players, typically ranging from 40-60 points, mostly with 5v5 CFs over 50%, with corresponding offensive zone start ratios over 50%. Lindholm matches the criteria to a tee, though his point production is on the lower end of things: while he’s been consistent in his scoring, he’s never broken the 50-point barrier, unlike most of his comparables.

So all in all? A cap hit around $5 million is probably a fair deal for Lindholm, based on the market the league has set. Signing him to a five- or six-year deal fits in with everyone else, as well.

But he should probably be on the lower scale of the $5-million group, if only because he hasn’t yet had a truly breakout offensive season. Maybe that’s due to the general lack of high scoring the Hurricanes have had to offer, maybe that’s because of his own ceiling – but we won’t know that for a few seasons yet, in all likelihood.

In the meantime, no sense in getting burned by the unknown – though Lindholm will probably be worth the deal he gets.


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    • Atomic Clown

      Hahahahahahaha. Maroon’s career high is 42 points, not 43 you inbred, and he got that playing with McDavid. Neal’s career high is 81 points. One is a career 0.47 ppg winger who peaked at 27 goals playing with one of the best players in the NHL and the other is a 0.7 ppg dude playing second line. Get out of here with your oilers bulls**t

    • The Real SlimBrodie

      Too bad the Oilers over paid Lucic and Russell. You could have had a great deal in Maroon. I have a feeling he didn’t want to go to a team against the cap and living in the basement like the oilers.

      • Brian McGrattan's Salute

        I honestly just feel bad for the oilers. Like poor McDavid having to play And captain that team.

        At the same time, I’m hoping Hall has another breakout year (and captains that team), Eberle has a similar thing happen to him that MacKinnon had, and even Maroon does good. Salt in the wounds of the GM up north more than anything.

        • HOCKEY83

          Yes would love it if Hall could grow from this past season. Always liked that guy. Played great on a team that was taught to lose for draft picks. Eberle may struggle without Tavares there unless they pick up some more up front talent. Maroon should be able to do well in St Louis. They’re looking pretty damn good right now.

    • Jobu

      The only reason Maroon got the salary he did is because of his agent botched it big time my missing the boat. Maroon fired that agent before he ever signed this contract.

      Also, Maroon sucks.

  • Brian McGrattan's Salute

    I’m excited that we’re finally adding some high quality depth. Very nice to see us adding some young studs, rather than guys past their prime (Staois, Brouw, Steeger, etc etc). Nothing wrong with adding depth that way, as long as we don’t assume they will be as good as actually paying for quality.

    Can’t wait for the season to start!

    • DoooieStevens

      Me too. Loving the depth and possibilities with the top 9. Also all the guys that are capable of playing center. Monahan, Backlund, Lindholm, Ryan, Janko, Bennett. This could be the deepest forward group the Flames have had since the cup win of 1989. My only concern is goaltending.

    • Getpucksdeep

      Definite boost in right hand shots and face offs. The Carolina 30 year radio guy said he firmly believes Lindholm will score 25 and maybe 30 soon. If he progress’ again he’ll be worth the $5 over 6 years easily, especially in the inflated NHL that seems to have come with a mere $4.5 mil cap increase. Bennett is in a real pivotal year. If he’s ever going to star in this league it’s pretty much now or never. The best either jump right in or maybe take 2 seasons of seasoning before they break out. He’s gone 3 without breaking out. He will have an NHL career but if he’s going to be 4th overall “star” it’s got to be this year. If AND Jankowski both take a step up Calgary could have a heck of a top 3 line group.

      • Brian McGrattan's Salute

        Getpucksdeep, definitely would be SO stoked if we could get Bennett kick started, and Janko slaying in his second year with 25 g’s. Seriously hoping they don’t pull a bonehead move and put Ryan up at 3c automatically, and Janko at 4c thk

        • SgtRoadBlock

          i think to have Bennett / Janko/ Linholem and maggy to have break out years AND i hope all 4 do ..But you would have to move 2 of the 3 names —–> Brouwer ‘mntc’, Fro ‘mntc’ and Backland ‘ntc’….
          it all about ice time and Caphit and all 3 of them r eating them up lol….

          • LannyMac

            You are so right SRB Frolick is done this year and has been a steady hard worker even when not producing. For God’s sake tre stay the hell away from 30+ players you can afford to have one or two but now you will paying Gio, Backlund, Neal, and every bodies fav yes you guess it and I don’t have to say his name big money we’ll beyond a time they are worth it. Well done Tre. Most will say ya but we needed scoring so it is great we signed Neal. It may turn out great but if we don’t get a cup or even close in two to three years when Neal is floundering so then we stick him on the 3rd or fourth then what are going to see afor posts in regards to Neal, Gio, and especially Backlund

  • DoooieStevens

    What’s with the finger pointing to the Oilers over paying. The Flames over paid on Stajan, Brouwer, Stone..who cares? Each team has a few. Like a bunch of children about the Oilers.

    In my opinion, yes Lindholm is a $5,000,000 man for sure! He is a top 6 guy who shoots right, is able to play wing or center.

    • HOCKEY83

      I agree every team has a handful of way over paid players. It’s just some are worse than others. Paying players like Lindholm $5mil per season just show what kinda sweet long term deals The Flames got on Gaudreau and Monahan.

        • HOCKEY83

          Just knowing there’s contracts like Lucic’s out there makes Brouwer’s contract easier to swallow. 5 more years at 6mil per is a lot harder to take than 2 more years at 4.5. It’s also a lot easier to sit 4.5 mil in the press box than it is to sit 6mil.

        • DoooieStevens

          I’m not sure useless is the right word. Misused maybe? The same could have been said about Brodie last season, he was the worst Flames defenseman to my eye test. How much of that was because of bad coaching decisions, toxic players, etc etc.

        • Oil Spilly

          Last year was his first year he was below his average genius. His first season with the oilers he got 50 points in 80 games. Plus you know you are paying extra to have the toughest meanest SOB in the league on your bench. Ask Gio, Smith or Glass how tough Mr Lucic is. Lol

      • MontanaMan

        oilers didn’t overpay Lucic? Are you crazy? What team would take on that contract? Hint: Nobody. It’s a terrible cap hit over way too many years making the player impossible to trade. And if he’s such a great player and fit with the Oil why does the player want out and why does the team want to trade him?

          • MontanaMan

            Thats what you say when you can’t offload a boat anchor of a contract on a diminishing asset. What did you think they’d say “nobody wants him”? And what did you think Lucic would say “get me out of this hole”?

          • Oil Spilly

            WW show me the article that says “Oiler land hoping Gulutzan rejuvenates lucics season”????

            Funny how they guy not good enough to be a head coach on our team WAS your coach for the last few seasons lol Good times

        • Bills Bills

          You are assuming that they actually want to trade him. If it was a dump at any cost it would just of have been done. But it isn’t. Lucic had a bad half a season. PC was not going to sell low because of half a bad season. The guy was on pace for 56 points at Christmas. That would have put him 3rd on the flames with points. Next season he scores 50 points for the 6th time in his career. Exactly how many players on the Flamers has 5 or more seasons with 50 or more points? Oh yeah, none.

          • LannyMac

            Hey B.B. I’m sorry man some times I try to support you oil fans when you have decent take. Seriously though unless Lucic can shed an s load of weight and gain a step there is no way in gods green earth you will ever see that tub of lard be anything close to productive again. It is an absolutely despicable signing

          • Bills Bills

            Lanny you obviously know less than zero about the shape that Lucic is in and haven’t watched him play very much. But keep yapping. Your ignorance is showing.

  • Chucky

    At $5 million they run out of cap space very quickly. the will have $7.8 million to sign Jankoski, Hathaway, Hanifin, Kulak and a goaltender. Even if they can average $1 million each that only leaves $2.8 space. Next year they have only 4 expiring contacts and two buyouts totaling $4,279,167. There is no doubt that they are going to need to scrape together more than $6 million for Tkachuk and that would leave less than minimum for the other three. The only way this plan can work is to buyout Brouwer and trade Stone for picks.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Lindholm was run outta Carolina for his insistence that he be given a long-term contract with an AAV north of $5M. No reason to think he has softened his stance. Indeed, evidence to the contrary suggests he wants even more now that he is a Flame to compensate for the higher taxes he will be dinged as a high-income earner in Canada and a resident of AB. As a Swede, he gets the high tax part but the typical solution to high taxes in Sweden is a pay raise, and that might be seriously at odds with what Flames’ management wants to do.

    Look for him to get paid an AAV of between $5.25M to $5.75M. The higher figure if his agent can convince the Flames that the UCP is a sham that serves only as a platform for its leader to chirp Trudeau. Keep it up, Kenny, and you will pave the way for another Notley government.

      • BlueMoonNigel

        His being dealt by Carolina had everything to do with his wanting a contact with an AAV of at least $5M because by his own admission he loved being a Cane and had adapted very well to the Carolina lifestyle. Now that he has been traded to a jurisdiction with a tax rate far in excess of what he would have paid in Carolina, why should he accept less? If he wants exactly the same as what he wanted in Carolina, then the difference in tax rates must be taken into account, hence the Flames will have to pay him more than Carolina would have had to.

        Love how North Carolina politicos boast about having among the lowest education taxes in the nation, yet when they are asked about why students in the state are near the bottom in national academic achievement exams, they go full on Trump and blame all the damn foreigners in the state who are drawn there by all the opportunities and advantages the state offers.

  • Jimmyhaggis

    I don’t know about 5 mil for 5 yrs. Still seems like a lot of money for a 40 point guy, if he doesn’t break out and start putting up 50 to 60 points, too much!
    Don’t get me wrong, at least he’s young and “has” potential, not like the past free agents over their prime, ie: Brouwer.

    • Cheeky

      Exactly. If he signed an 8 yr contract for that pay then yes but sorry he has never hit 20 goals or 50 points. Yes potential but if he stays a 40-45 point / 17 goal scorer, $5 mil is too much. Compare to some of the deals being signed now or in the past with better players for less. Lindholms camp knows BT wanted him desperately so the ball is in their court. 6 yr $4.5 per is good value but I’m guessing it will be a 5 yr $5.5 per…By the way some of the posters are suggesting for dollar value, we won’t have enough for Tkachuk or Bennett (if he finally produces)…

      • LannyMac

        I agree with most of you 5+ is to much for a guy where there are no guarantees he will produce in 50+ point range. If they play hard ball 4-4.5 over two to three years. If he produces you have one hell of an asset to trade if you think someone like foo is trending. Or give him a crap load of money if he’s worth it.

        • mrroonie

          Lindholm has 5 seasons of NHL experience to date and will be a UFA at the end of those 2 or 3 years, it makes no sense that they would have traded for him if they didn’t plan to sign him long-term. As much as there are no guarantees that he will produce in the 50+ point range, there are equally no guarantees that he won’t, especially with the caliber of line mates he is expected to have. He also had a faceoff win percentage the past 2 seasons that has not been seen on the Flames in at least a decade.

          Why you would even consider trading Lindholm if he produces, regardless of what happens with Foo, is totally perplexing.

      • The Real SlimBrodie

        It would be a great problem to have if Bennett put up enough points that we have to create cap room to give him a huge contract. The type of contract the highest drafted prospect should get.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    While on the topic of contracts, Hanifin also needs to be scratched. Much talk about the Flames bridging him. Not sure that is the right approach.

    It has been well documented here how Hanifin’s first three seasons were comparable to Dougie’s first three years even though Hanifin’s accomplishments were done on a subpar team and playing alongside a lesser partner than Hamilton did in Boston.

    Furthermore, Hanifin entered his draft year rated much higher than Dougie did entering his. Had Hanifin’s draft year been an ordinary one–like Dougie’s was–Noah would have been top 3.

    Not much argument that Hanifin was the centrepiece of the trade with the Flames, so how can Tre tell the kid that although he is the main man, Tre wants to bridge him? Utterly ridiculous.

    It was Tre who gifted Dougie his first generous contract, and now Hanifin is in exactly the same spot that Dougie was in when he became a Flame. Why should Hanifin get treated differently by the same GM?

    With the CBA set to expire in two years, Hanifin is not protecting his future by accepting a contract of 2 years or less.

    Finally, while bridging Hanifin now might be of utmost benefit to the Flames, I can’t see it being in Hanifin’s best interests, so why the devil would he accept a bridge?

    Can’t see the Flames signing Lindholm and Hanifin for less than $11M AAV starting this fall.

    • Kevin R

      You are way off on Lindholm. He will get a brodie type deal of 6 years of about 4.6-4.7 per year. Hanifin will probably get similar. New team, new excitement, will give decent deals to new team. They are RFA’s so they are controlled as well & no way they sit out on no contract.
      Simple moving of Stone will accommodate all the other signings plus cap space to spare.

    • LannyMac

      You are right BMN but the flames hold all the cards. They would be wise not to piss Hanifin off though. A bridge makes sense for couple years when Brodie, Hamonic, and if he is still around Stone come of the books. If he is producing at a higher end and there is no way he could be as useless as Hamilton in his own end then give him Gio+ money.

    • Baalzamon

      There actually is a reason Hanifin would agree to a bridge: because he knows he can cash in big time when it expires.

      If he signs at a lower cap hit for, say, two years, he can get about 7 per on his next deal instead of five per now.

  • freethe flames

    It is likely Lindholm gets 5 years at slightly less than Backs and Hanifin gets a $3m 2 year bridge deal. This is a wild guess based upon some of the other deals being signed.

  • Derzie

    Reality check: These are Carolina rejects. The coach, Lindholm, Hanifin & lord knows who else we’ll be saddled with. Carolina was terrible. It was all the goalie right? This roses and sunshine crap about these players must make you all feel good, but none of it is proven. Read your posts from every summer. Same unrealistic expectations.

    • The Real SlimBrodie

      Exactly nothing is proven…but I bet we wont see you posting your crap if it turns out good. It will be hey go flames go or……………….because your not a fan.

    • LannyMac

      Don’t throw Derzie under the bus every this fan base gets so excited and over rates the team. I bet if we went back and took a look at the posts when Brouwer was signed it would be hilarious. Great signing proven 20 goal scorer can play a tough game to protect Johnny. Ya how the hell did that turn out. Problem is you just don’t know how all this is going to mesh . Patience it looks positive but…

      • The Real SlimBrodie

        Nobody threw him under the bus. I said I love the changes. He said they are rejects. I’m practicing patience by waiting to see how the season plays out…go to bed its past your ability to read.

      • FL?MES

        Hard to throw someone under the bus if they always lay themselves in front of it.

        What I do know is that if you get a locker room full of Derzies you’ll be getting top draft picks year after year.

          • Derzie

            Because I, like everyone here, has never won anything in the NHL. So, I look to the teams that do win for examples. The Flames do the opposite of hat good teams do. If I offered my solutions, they would be wrong as I am not an NHL GM, but rather a fan who values logic, leadership and things that make sense. Building your team from a team that is a losing team is bound to fail. It just is.

      • Kevin R

        Wow. Any new addition any team makes this time of season are done in hopes of improving the team. When I read a”Flame” fan saying Hanifin & Lindholm are Carolina rejects, 21 & 23 former lottery picks….well….. that tells me they lost their perspective on hockey common sense. No one in the hockey world said either of these two kids should not have been picked where they were. At these ages, their potential has just been scratched on the surface. Calling these kids rejects is either out of touch Flames fan or trolling. I never thought Derzie to be a troll as I know I have cheered several of his posts in the past. As for Ryan, he is a slightly overpriced depth forward that can give us bottom 6 offence & the guy is pretty darn good at winning face offs. & saying that, I find it really strange that a stats sight that values possession & opinions players based on possession metrics, doesnt value the importance of face off percentages higher.

        That damn Buffalo game we lost in O/T drove me nuts when we couldnt win a faceoff over & over & over at a critical time late in regulation time.
        If Ryan is just proficient at face offs & only gets 20 points, he is still worth the over pay.

  • Eggs Bennett

    I hold by my rule of thumb: an RFA forward’s approx AAV should be in the ball park of ~$1M for every 10 pts scored in the past season or two. Gaudreau had 78pts when he got his contract at $6.75M, making his contract a steal. Monahan got $6.375M following 63pts (fair value). Draisaitl would have been fair at ~$7.7M following a 77pt season, but is getting overpaid at $8.5M. Obviously term, UFA years, position, usage, etc. play a factor, but I don’t think it’s that far off.

    I believe Lindholm’s fair AAV should come in around $4.5M. If BT can get that for 5-6 years, it would be a good deal. Getting 7-8 years might push it closer to the 5.0 mark.

  • TheWheeze

    He signs at term and 5 and lights up the scoreboard. Then we have him locked up at a decent cost. Or, he pulls a Brouwer and tanks, which I don’t think he will, and we are stuck with a bad contract. If the Flames want to be a contender they have to ante up. Championship teams aren’t built through “value” signings. We’ve gone down that road enough times.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      Yes! Why are we so dang obsessed with the money side of the game? Things will work out. And if not we pay a fine, big deal. Ya gotta spend money to win.

  • Snitch

    Looking at the comparables, it seems pretty certain Lindholm is going to get at least $5mil/yr. All things considered, that would be a slight overpay. Most would probably like to see it at about $4.7ish. And I agree.

    However, as a fan, I have to believe this player can help fill a glaring hole in the Flames lineup. He’s a quality RHS center/RW. Maybe not a top line center, but likely can be a top line RW where he can take faceoffs on his strong side when necessary.

    We don’t know exactly where he ends up playing, but with Peters it will likely be both center and right wing. The player likely still has some upside and if we can get him at $5 million for 5 years plus, it’s still a good deal for THIS team.