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6 young centres the Calgary Flames should consider acquiring
By Ryan Pike19 days ago
Folks, on Wednesday, the Calgary Flames traded their first-line centre, as Elias Lindholm headed to the Vancouver Canucks for five pieces. Immediately after the trade, Flames fans had two reactions: “Wow, that’s a good return for a pending unrestricted free agent” and “Wow, so who’s going to play centre?”
Flames general manager Craig Conroy appeared on Barn Burner on Friday morning and while the short-term solution is mostly just leaning on Mikael Backlund and Nazem Kadri a bit more than usual, acquiring a young centre that they can develop is definitely in the cards… if they can find a suitable swap.
While Conroy didn’t name names – that’s tampering, folks – we can connect the dots and identify a few centres who haven’t yet hit their 25th birthdays that could be the type of players that Conroy covets.
Here’s a few names to consider.
John Beecher, Boston
The 22-year-old Beecher is a 6’3″, 216-pound left shot centre. He’s in an odd position, as the ostensible fifth-best centre in the Bruins organization. He was used a bit this season as the fourth-line centre in the NHL, but he didn’t quite click in that role and generated just seven points. With a bit of tutoring from Backlund and Kadri, he could round out the top nine… eventually.
Mavrik Bourque, Dallas
If you’re a team talking to the Stars, you’re immediately going to ask about Logan Stankoven and they’re immediately going to say “Not him.” So the next guy you’ll ask about is his centre in Texas, Bourque. He has 48 points in 40 games, and scouts rave about the details of his game – he’s the Lindholm on their line, and it works really well. A 22-year-old rightie, Bourque hasn’t played an NHL game yet but seems bursting with potential.
John Farinacci, Boston
A Harvard kid who played with Matt Coronato for two seasons, Farinacci was a Coyotes draft pick that became a free agent and signed with the Bruins. He’s in his first year pro and is figuring things out still, but he’s adapted quite nicely and has been a productive, consistent player for Providence. He’s 22 and a right shot.
Anton Lundell, Florida
Lundell is an NHL regular with Florida. He’s a good young player on a Panthers team that has a lot of forwards in the mix, and perhaps the 22-year-old leftie would have a bit more upward mobility in the lineup in Calgary. He has 18 points in 45 games this season.
Dawson Mercer, New Jersey
Mercer’s 22 and plays a mix of centre and right wing for the Devils. As with Lundell, he’s part of a pretty packed house forward-wise in Jersey, and perhaps in Calgary he could be given a more prominent, consistent role. He has 23 points in 47 games this season.
Alex Turcotte, Los Angeles
A 22-year-old leftie, Turcotte is good enough to be in the NHL but probably not ideally suited for a fourth line checking role. And he’s behind Anze Kopitar, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Phillip Danault in the pecking order. He has 24 points in 29 AHL games with Ontario this season.
What other young forwards should the Flames be looking at? Let us know in the comments!
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