3 depth defencemen for the Calgary Flames to target in a trade

Photo credit:© Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
1 year ago
We updated the list of trade targets for a top nine forwards, adding some new players to the list. Today we will do the same with depth defensemen.
It has become urgent for the Flames to make a trade for a depth defenseman because of the lack of depth in the organization at that position. It’s looking like Oliver Kylington won’t be back this season. And if he does return, how close will he be to the level he was at last season? He hasn’t played a competitive game since May 2022. On top of that we all know Chris Tanev is playing through significant injuries and won’t be at 100% health for the rest of the season.
Brad Treliving needs to make a move for a defenseman quickly.
In the last trade targets piece we looked at Luke Schenn, Vladislav Gavrikov, Dmitry Kulikov, and Justin Braun.
Today we will look at a few more names that might be able to help the Flames down the stretch drive, and hopefully into the playoffs.
Qualities the Flames would be looking for in a depth defenceman:
  • Expiring contract (UFA or RFA)
  • Low cap hit ($750,000-$2 million)
  • Preferably a right shot
  • Veteran with playoff experience (or a Stanley Cup champion)
  • Defensive defencemen that Darryl Sutter can trust in big situations

Niko Mikkola (LD) – Left Shot – 26 Years Old – 6’4″, 209 Pounds

Cap Hit: $1,900,000; Contract expires in 2023 (UFA) 
Mikkola is going to be a desired asset across the NHL. As we have seen in recent playoff runs, teams that have big, tall, physical defencemen tend to have success. Just look at the 2019 St Louis Blues, 2020 and 2021 Lightning, and last year’s Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. All of them had tall, strong, shut down defencemen that were very difficult to play against.
Mikkola fits that mould and would fit in well on a bottom pairing in the Flames defence group. He is tall, rangy and does a great job breaking up plays using his skating and long stick. He even brings some nastiness to the table by playing the body and getting involved in battles in front of the net.
His cap hit is manageable to add for the Flames. My guess is that there will be multiple teams interested in Mikkola’s services if he is moved by the Blues.

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Olli Määttä (LD) – Left Shot – 28 years old – 6’2″, 210 pounds 

Cap Hit: $2,250,000; Contract expires in 2023 (UFA) 
Määttä, the pick after Mark Jankowski in the 2012 NHL draft, will likely be available in a trade as the Red Wings have fallen out of playoff contention in the stacked Eastern Conference. The veteran of 577 NHL games is a solid third pairing defender. He doesn’t excel at any particular element of the game. He is just solid across the board. He is big, defensively responsible, and has played in 85 playoff games including two Stanley Cup championships with the Penguins in 2016 and 2017.
This would be a pure rental for the Flames. I don’t see them signing a player like Määttä to an extension as he doesn’t fit the long term salary structure of the Flames next season.

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Nick Holden (LD) – Left Shot – 25 Years Old – 6’4″, 214 Pounds 

Cap Hit: $1,300,000; Contract expires in 2023 (UFA) 
Holden certainly is not the sexiest name on the trade market, but he is someone that can add depth to the Flames defence core. He can eat some minutes on a third pairing and play on the penalty kill. He is a big, tall, rangy player. He also has some playoff experience going to multiple western conference finals with the Vegas Golden Knights.
Holden has a low cap number and likely will cost a late round draft pick to bring in. He is a player who could make sense for Treliving, Sutter and the Flames.
Honorable Mention 
Nathan Beaulieu: Beaulieu is more of a number 7 or 8 on the depth chart. He is big and plays with a lot of physicality. He has a cap hit of $850,000 which is a manageable salary. I just don’t think he is enough of a difference maker for this Flames team.

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