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FlamesNation Mailbag: Continuing the march to the trade deadline

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
10 months ago
Friends, the All-Star Break is in the rear-view mirror and your intrepid managing editor is at the airport awaiting a flight back to the mainland. In the meantime, let’s dive into the mailbag, as we’re about to enter a hectic part of the schedule as the Calgary Flames march towards the trade deadline on Mar. 3.
In Elias Lindholm’s entire NHL career prior to this season, he’s generated about 2.16 shots per game and scored on about 12.6% of his shots. If you focus just on his Flames tenure, it’s 2.48 shots per game and scoring on 16.2% of those shots. This season, Lindholm has 2.24 shots per game and is scoring on 13.8% of those shots. He’s generating a little bit less than usual, and scoring on them a little bit less often. Percentage-wise, he seems bound for a bounce-back, but unless his line can generate chances more consistently, it seems likely that his production will be down a bit compared to earlier in his Flames tenure.
Darryl Sutter is signed through the next two seasons (2023-24 and 2024-25). Unless he decides he’s had enough of coaching the Flames and wants to head back to the farm, he’s going to be the Flames coach for the next two seasons. If you were Flames ownership, you wouldn’t be in a rush to axe a coach, hire a new one, and be paying multiple coaches if you can avoid it.
The issue with Vladimir Tarasenko is this: his full no-trade. The Flames (and Blues general manager Doug Armstrong) would need to convince him to waive his no-trade to come to Calgary. The Blues would also need to retain half of Tarasenko’s cap hit to make the cap math work, and because of his hefty cap hit, this would be the only move the Flames would be able to make – barring any LTIR shenanigans.
Same goes for Milan Lucic: he has a full no-move clause and a no-trade that limits him to being traded to 10 teams. (This means that he can sign off on waiving his no-move, but he still maintains control over where he ends up.) He would need to be convinced that upending his life to go to St. Louis is the best move for him.
Under Brad Treliving, the Flames have been trying to balance making trades early (so players can be integrated into the team) and make trades later (so they can maximize their cap flexibility). I would suggest if dominoes start to fall trade-wise, they don’t start to do so until the final week in February.
There are 32 games left in the season. I would suggest that Jacob Markstrom gets at least 20 of them. Dan Vladar is playing really well, but his role is as the team’s clear backup, and his gig is all about helping Markstrom be ready for Game 1 of the playoffs. Expect the Flames to have that goal in mind with dividing up goaltending duties down the stretch.
If Treliving isn’t back with the Flames for 2023-24, the identity of the person in the big chair depends entirely on the circumstances of Treliving’s imaginary/hypothetical departure.
If it’s about Treliving wanting to try out other challenges, then maybe we see somebody like Craig Conroy ascend to the top job. If it’s about ownership wanting a new direction, then it could be a totally new face.
Personally, I would be shocked if there’s a new GM, if only because it seems like there has been improvement under Treliving from an organizational sense and ownership seems like they don’t like making massive changes unless there’s a pressing need for them.

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