Friedman: Flames looking for winger who can “open up space” for Jonathan Huberdeau
Photo credit:Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould1 month ago
The Calgary Flames are on the lookout for a winger to pair with Jonathan Huberdeau, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported in his “32 Thoughts” column on Thursday morning.
Friedman suggested the Flames want to add a winger who can help create room for Huberdeau to work in the offensive zone, similar to his situation with the Florida Panthers last season.
Huberdeau primarily played on a line with Anthony Duclair and Sam Bennett with the 2021–22 Panthers. He racked up 30 goals and 115 points in 80 games during his final campaign with the Cats.
Here’s what Friedman had to say about the Flames’ strategy leading up to the trade deadline:
Calgary’s being careful, realizing this could end up being a summer where they have to redefine who they are. One thing they are looking for: a winger who can open-up space for Jonathan Huberdeau to create — like Anthony Duclair did in Florida.
Duclair, 27, has not played for the Panthers this season after scoring 31 goals and 58 points last year. He’s still recovering from an Achilles injury suffered during the 2022 off-season and Daily Faceoff‘s Frank Seravalli has indicated the Panthers could move him ahead of the trade deadline to remain compliant with the salary cap.
As for the summer of 2023 being one in which the Flames could “redefine who they are” — as of right now, it’s difficult to see how they could do that, barring a complete restructuring of the coaching staff.
Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri, and MacKenzie Weegar are all signed for at least six seasons after this one, the first two with comprehensive no-movement clauses. If the Flames end up making major changes, those three players will likely have to be part of the solution.
Friedman poured water on the idea Weegar could soon be on the move, as suggested by The Fourth Period‘s David Pagnotta on Wednesday:
The Senators have told teams they won’t trade Alex DeBrincat at the deadline. New ownership will get a run at this, but if there isn’t some degree of certainty at the draft, then we’ll see. I don’t think MacKenzie Weegar is an option now, but we will see how everyone (including the Flames) feel later. Lots of time between then and now, lots of things for both franchises to sort out.
The Flames currently have a 25–18–11 record through 54 games this season. They’ll return to action on Thursday evening to play host to the Detroit Red Wings at 7:00 p.m. MT.
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