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FlamesNation Mailbag: The 2024 trade deadline is almost here

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Photo credit:Mike Gould
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
Friends, the National Hockey League’s trade deadline is March 8. That’s next Friday. As you imagine, our dear readers are pretty stoked about it. And curious about what may happen between now and then.
Let’s dive into the mailbag!
The City’s website estimates “Spring/Summer 2024” as the date for the reveal of the design of the building. When the development permit application is submitted and posted by the City, there’s a gigantic package of very detailed plans and renders. We’ll likely get some renders leaking out in advance of that submission, though, so I would broadly say “Spring 2024” is when we can expect to get some peeks at what it’ll look like. I would say “I dunno, probably around April” as a target, as it could be a little earlier or later than that depending on a lot of factors.
In terms of a live webcam, I haven’t heard about one but I’ll ask. A lot of folks at the City have worked long and hard on this project, and they’re all pretty excited to see a literal decade of work (for some departments) come to fruition. Whether or not there’s an official webcam, we’ll have a lot of continuing coverage of the process at this very website (and likely some content on our YouTube channel along with it).
In short, no.
From the Flames perspective, my read is that they were treating each of the seven unrestricted free agents’ situations as their own unique challenges rather than seven inter-related things. There were a couple players they were willing to do long-term deals with – Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin – due to their ages and expected age curves, but aside from them, their appetite to invest big dollars or long contract terms to older players were pretty minimal.
If you’re Chris Tanev, you’re probably entering your final few years of pro hockey because of age and playing style. You would probably want to either cash in on your final big-money deal, or go win a Stanley Cup. (Ideally both.) Because of where the Flames are at right now, both philosophically and in terms of the club’s trajectory, I don’t think Tanev would get big money or a chance to win a Cup in the next couple of years in Calgary.
I don’t think Hanifin’s impending departure really changes the incentive structures for Tanev or the Flames.
Both Robert Munnich and myself have written about Jacob Markstrom, his value to the Flames, and his potential value in the trade market on the site recently.
So here’s where I’m coming from, gang: I have a book coming out in a month on the history of the Flames franchise at the NHL Draft. I spent a lot of time researching and interviewing folks about Flames drafting and development, including goaltending. When goaltending transitions have worked well – Dan Bouchard from Phil Myre, Reggie Lemelin from Don Edwards, Mike Vernon from Lemelin, Miikka Kiprusoff from Roman Turek – we’ve seen a younger up-and-comer out-perform and supplant a veteran. When it hasn’t worked, we’ve seen situations like Trevor Kidd taking the reins after just a year in the NHL because Mike Vernon was traded.
Dustin Wolf is a fantastic young goaltender. He’s worth being excited about. But I’m biased in favour of history right now, and history strongly suggests that Wolf taking the job from Markstrom is setting him up for more long-term success than Wolf getting the job by default because of Markstrom being traded. (And I’m purposefully not repeating my arguments from my column about how keeping Markstrom would help mentor Wolf and keep the team competitive, but those would factor into my viewpoint, too.)
If it were up to me, I would keep Markstrom. But I can also imagine the potential king’s ransom he could net the Flames, and my resolve erodes a little bit. It’s a really unique, fascinating, challenging situation, and I’m very curious how the Flames end up navigating it.
Unless there’s a contract extension following shortly afterwards, the Flames will receive less in a Noah Hanifin trade than they did for Elias Lindholm. The main reason is timing: the Canucks paid a premium to get Lindholm well before the trade deadline, while Hanifin will be moved shortly – perhaps very shortly – before the deadline.
Robert Munnich looked at past trades back in January, and a reasonable return for Hanifin based on comparables would be a first-round pick and a good prospect. (Maybe you could downgrade the prospect a little bit and either get a young depth player back or another, later pick, too.) We’ll see what actually materializes.
I double-checked and a sign-and-trade wouldn’t be necessary for the Flames to trade Noah Hanifin and the acquiring team to sign him to an eight-year extension. A team is eligible to offer an eight-year term if that player was on their roster as of the most recent trade deadline. So much like happened with Boston and Hampus Lindholm two years ago, a team could acquire Hanifin prior to the trade deadline and then sign an extension the following day (after the trade deadline) and it would be completely fine under the rules.
(When Matthew Tkachuk was traded to Florida, he was with the Flames as of the most recent trade deadline and so only Calgary could offer eight years on an extension. Swaps before the trade deadline don’t have the same hassles.)
So the Flames could retain on the remainder of Hanifin’s current deal and the acquiring team could sign him to an eight-year extension and the Flames would only be on the hook for the retention on the expiring (current) deal.
I would prioritize centres and blueliners, but they could use a bit more prospect depth everywhere.

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