Calgary Flames trade Elias Lindholm to Vancouver for Andrei Kuzmenko, two picks, two prospects

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
5 months ago
The Calgary Flames have made their first trade of the deadline season. Per multiple reports, the Flames have traded centre Elias Lindholm to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for winger Andrei Kuzmenko, prospect defencemen Joni Jurmo and Hunter Brzustewicz, a 2024 first-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick.
(Our pals Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun both had the trade confirmed at about the same time, but it seemed like nobody had the return reported until it was announced.)
Lindholm, 29, is a right shot centre (and winger) who played five and a half seasons with the Flames after being acquired at the 2018 NHL Draft from the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s in the sixth and final season of a deal with a $4.85 million cap hit. He has 9 goals and 32 points in 49 games this season, and 148 goals and 357 points in 418 games during his tenure with the Flames.
Lindholm found a niche in the Flames’ top-six immediately. He served as the right-wing on the Flames’ top line alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan for a few seasons, then slid into the top centre role playing primarily with Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk. He peaked with 42 goals and 82 points in 2021-22, and was voted the runner-up for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward.
The departures of Gaudreau and Tkachuk diminished the quality of the linemates Lindholm had to play with, and he was asked to carry the Flames’ first line with a rotating cast of wingers. Lindholm’s two-way bonafides still shone through, but he wasn’t able to drive offence in the same way. (He’s an excellent two-way player, he’s just not a play-driver.)
Kuzmenko, 27 is a right shot winger that can play either wing. He’s in the first year of a two-year deal with a $5.5 million cap hit. He joined the Canucks as a European free agent signing during the 2022 off-season. He had 39 goals and 74 points in 81 games in 2022-23, but his production has slowed considerably this season under Rick Tocchet, who’s demanded more two-way play from his forwards, with Kuzmenko posting 8 goals and 21 points in 43 games.
If you put Kuzmenko with linemates that can shore up the two-way game – looking at you potentially, Mikael Backlund and Blake Coleman – he could be very effective.
Brzustewicz, 19, was the Canucks’ third-round pick in 2023. He’s a 6’0″, 190-pound right shot defenceman with the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers. He has 8 goals and 69 points in 47 games this season.
Jurmo, 21, was the Canucks’ third-round pick in 2020. He’s a 6’5″, 209-pound left shot defenceman with KooKoo in Finland’s Liiga. He has 1 goal and 4 points in 35 games with KooKoo and Ilves this season.
The 2024 first-round pick is Vancouver’s own. The 2024 fourth-round pick is Vancouver’s and, per Sportsnet’s Pat Steinberg, upgrades to a third-round pick if the Canucks make the Western Conference Final this year.
The Flames had the ability to take on cap commitments via the trade market. They ended up adding $650,000 in cap hits for this season, but they also added two draft selections in this year’s draft and tackled their defensive depth issues by adding two young blueliners. All for a player that likely wasn’t going to be in their future plans.
Not bad.

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