Friedman on the Calgary Flames: ‘I think they’ve paused and said, what really make sense?’
Photo credit:Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike6 months ago
There’s less than a week to go before the National Hockey League’s 2023 trade deadline, and rumours are swirling throughout the league. Over at Sportsnet, Elliotte Friedman and Jeff Marek dropped the pre-deadline edition of their 32 Thoughts podcast on Monday morning. Their discussion included a fairly frank (and sobering) discussion of the Calgary Flames and their current situation.
In short: the Flames have kicked tires on a lot of things, but they may be looking big picture at this point.
“I think they’ve looked around at a lot of things. Now, I just think they’ve kinda paused to say ‘what really makes sense for us?’ And I think the way they’ve played recently, they’ve pumped the brakes and thought about big picture.”
With the Flames on the outside of the playoffs right now, Friedman noted that other teams may start circling over to the Flames (if they haven’t done so already) to see what they’re thinking about in terms of the big picture and the future of some of their assets.
“They have a lot of interesting players that have one more year left on their contracts,”
Among the key Flames players who will become free agents following the 2023-24 season: Mikael Backlund ($5.35 million AAV), Elias Lindholm ($4.85 million AAV), Tyler Toffoli ($4.25 million AAV), Noah Hanifin ($4.95 million AAV), Chris Tanev ($4.5 million AAV), Nikita Zadorov ($3.75 million AAV) and Oliver Kylington ($2.5 million AAV) are all slated to become unrestricted free agents, while Dillon Dube ($2.3 million) will become a restricted free agent.
A year away from some decisions on such a big chunk of their roster, you can understand why teams might be curious.
“Calgary’s in a position they didn’t want to be in, didn’t think they were going to be in, but now they’re in. So other teams start coming at you, and it challenges you to sort of adapt on the fly. And that’s where I think we kind of are here.”
Marek asked Friedman about the MacKenzie Weegar rumours that have bubbled up recently. Friedman didn’t dive too much into that player’s specific situation, but he did note that a season such as the Flames have experienced often challenges a club’s thinking about things.
“When you have a season as disappointing as Calgary looks like they’re going to have this year, I think a lot of options are on the table. I think you listen to a lot of things, and probably things that you didn’t think that you’d be listening to.”
The 2023 NHL trade deadline is Monday at 1 p.m. MT.
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