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4 Calgary Flames featured on top of The Athletic’s first trade board of the season

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Photo credit:© Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
2 months ago
The Calgary Flames entered the 2023-24 National Hockey League season with four prominent pending unrestricted free agents on their active roster. As December looms, all four remain pending UFAs and so, they’re getting a bit of attention from teams and pundits alike as potential trade targets.
On Wednesday, The Athletic’s Chris Johnston unveiled his initial trade board of the season with four Flames players perched at the top of his list.
The top four, in order, are blueliner Noah Hanifin (#1), centre Elias Lindholm (#2), and blueliners Chris Tanev (#3) and Nikita Zadorov (#4). No other Flames appear in the remainder of the top 25.
Hanifin, 26, is in the final year of a six-year deal that counts $4.95 million against the salary cap (and carries an eight-team no-trade list). He’s been a fixture in the Flames lineup in every game situation since his acquisition in 2018 from Carolina. Reportedly Hanifin nearly signed a $60 million contract extension, but allegedly both player and team have pulled back a bit from extensive negotiations. Hanifin has 10 points in 22 games so far this season.
Lindholm, 28, is in the final year of a six-year deal that counts $4.85 million against the cap (with no restrictions on potential trades). He was acquired in the same trade Hanifin was, and has been equally valuable for the Flames during his tenure, including finishing as Selke Trophy runner-up in 2021-22. He and the Flames have been said to have been in extension talks at various points, but nothing has come to fruition as yet. Lindholm has 15 points in 22 games so far this season.
Tanev, 33, is in the final year of a four-year deal that counts $4.5 million against the cap (and has a 10-team no-trade list). What you see is what you get with Tanev; he’s a heart-and-soul, meat-and-potatoes blueliner who hits, blocks shots, and generally just throws himself with reckless abandon for the betterment of his team. He’s Kris Russell with fewer teeth and better hair. Tanev has five points in 22 games so far this season.
Zadorov, 28, is in the final year of a two-year deal that counts $3.75 million against the cap (and has no trade restrictions). Zadorov is a bit of a rollercoaster. He’s prone to making big hits and going on big end-to-end rushes. He’s also prone to occasional ill-timed puck-handling miscues or penalty-causing gaffes. On the balance, he’s been a net positive for the Flames, especially when paired with a defensive-minded partner that can cover for him a bit. Zadorov has been a fixture in trade discussions recently after his agent reportedly requested a trade earlier in November. Zadorov has six points in 21 games so far this season.
Which pending Flames free agent do you think could be the first to be moved? Let us know in the comments!

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