Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman joined Pat Steinberg on Sportsnet 960 The Fan’s Big Show on Wednesday afternoon. Among the topics they broached was, coincidentally, a few tidbits of news regarding the Calgary Flames.
In particular? The Flames could be a fit for Arizona defender Oliver Ekman-Larsson and goalie Darcy Kuemper.
Pat asked about a comment Friedman made on a recent edition of the 31 Thoughts podcast about the Flames being a fit for Ekman-Larsson. Friedman responded by explaining why the Flames could be a fit:
Your GM knows him. There’s probably going to be some changes on your blueline. I think as a group you guys kind of want to make changes in general. To me, it makes a lot of sense. Now, can you handle the money, can you make a deal?
I’ll tell you this, I wouldn’t be surprised if more than OEL, you guys might be interested in Kuemper.
Steinberg noted, astutely, that getting someone like Kuemper would be positive for the Flames. As you might recall, the Flames have used roughly a zillion goaltenders since Brad Treliving became GM in 2014. Surely he’d love to end the merry-go-round, at least for a year or two.
Friedman posited a potential price tag for Ekman-Larsson or Kuemper:
If you had to give up a first round pick, because I think at the very least Kuemper’s getting Arizona a first rounder, are you doing it for seven times 8.25 of Ekman-Larsson or two years at four and a half for Kuemper?
Kuemper is 30 and entering the first season of a two year deal that will pay him $4.5 million per season. But with Antti Raanta also signed in Arizona and an expansion draft looming, the Coyotes would likely love to get something for Kuemper rather than lose him to Seattle for nothing in a year. Kuemper was fifth in Vezina voting in 2018-19.
Ekman-Larsson is 29 and is signed through 2026-27 with a $8.25 million cap hit. He’s got a full no-move clause, but reportedly may be interested in a fresh start after all the turmoil and changes he’s endured (or is currently enduring) in the desert. Ekman-Larsson regularly appears on Norris Trophy ballots, but usually closer to the bottom – the highest he’s finished in voting is ninth.
There’s reportedly a lot of interest in Kuemper, with the price tag for his services likely costing a first rounder (and more). Friedman “thinks [the Flames] are in that conversation.” Granted, the reputation Treliving has is that the Flames are in every conversation for every player who could improve the team, but the fact that folks like Friedman are openly pondering the fit means there could be something there.
It’s going to be a fall of change for the Flames by all indications.