Examining the Calgary Flames’ trade tiers ahead of the 2024 trade deadline

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
The NHL’s trade deadline is less than two weeks away. The Calgary Flames are expected to be a central figure in the trade markets, given the club having a couple impressive pending unrestricted free agents. So what are reasonable things to expect to happen between now and deadline day?
We’ve attempted to break down the tiers of assets that could move, and the likelihood that they’ll be moved between now and the March 8 trade deadline.

Tier One: Inevitable departures of major UFAs

Way back when he got the job back in May, general manager Craig Conroy said he’d be focusing on asset management and not letting pending unrestricted free agents walk for nothing. Here we are, nine months later, and he’s done what he said he would do. Mikael Backlund was extended and named captain. Tyler Toffoli, Nikita Zadorov and Elias Lindholm were traded for a combined nine assets. Oliver Kylington returned from his mental health leave and has returned to form (and seems like a likely candidate for a new contract once all the deadline frenzy dies down).
And that leaves two pending UFAs whose situations require resolutions: blueliners Chris Tanev and Noah Hanifin. We’ve written a ton about these players in recent weeks. They’re both quite good. They’re both unlikely to re-sign – Hanifin reportedly indicated to the Flames that he’s going to test the free agent market, while contract talks with Tanev earlier in the year didn’t really go anywhere.
As the kids say: they gone. And each player should net a significant return.

Tier Two: Possible minor sales of depth pieces

The Flames have three other pending UFAs that could go elsewhere for a team looking for depth adds, but aren’t nearly as likely to happen.
On the blueline, Jordan Oesterle is a reliable veteran who can move the puck and Dennis Gilbert can add some physicality that a playoff-bound team might like. The likelihood of A.J. Greer moving was much higher before he was injured, but we wouldn’t entirely rule it out.
If anything happens on this level, you would likely see minor draft picks coming back. We’d categorize these types of moves as possible, but unlikely.

Tier Three: Hockey trades to ease positional log-jams

We’ve litigated the goaltending situation for the Flames a lot. Dustin Wolf is coming sooner or later – preferably sooner – and a goalie would need to depart for him to get full-time NHL reps.
  • Jacob Markstrom is 34 and has two years left on his contract with a $6 million cap hit
  • Dan Vladar is 26 and has one year left on his contract with a $2.2 million cap hit
A deal involving Markstrom would be wacky and complex because of his excellence and cap hit. A deal involving Vladar would probably be much more straight-forward. If either of these guys are on the move, it feels like it would be an off-season move when the salary cap’s relaxed a bit and teams have more flexibility rather than something that needs to happen prior to the trade deadline.
One other player that seems like he could be becoming the odd man out is Andrew Mangiapane, and here’s why we say that: holy cow, the Flames have a lot of potential top nine wingers on their roster and in their system. Mangiapane is a year away from unrestricted free agency and moving him could help the team ease their winger glut and potentially address their needs up the middle or on the blueline. As with the goalie swaps, we think it would probably be more of an off-season move and wouldn’t expect to see it.

Sum it up

It’s looking pretty likely that Tanev and Hanifin move on before the trade deadline. And while other stuff may happen, we wouldn’t bet on it. The other moves that make sense for the Flames to explore would also make sense to pull the trigger on during the off-season, so in the absence of a specific time pressure to induce a move – or a really good offer – they’ll probably be held off until later on.
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