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Meet the Buyers: The Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames are great trade partners
1 month ago
The 2022 Stanley Cup Champions will need some reinforcements.
This is Meet the Buyers, where we look at teams that are contenders for the Stanley Cup, and what they need to improve their chances. The Calgary Flames have three players – Chris Tanev, Elias Lindholm, and Noah Hanifin – set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, and the chances the Flames move at least one of them are increasing as we head towards the March 8 trade deadline.
In this article, we’ll look at the Colorado Avalanche and what their needs are, their assets, as well as the cap situation of both teams.
How Elias Lindholm fits the Avalanche’s needs
According to an article written by Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, the Colorado Avalanche need a second line centre. Well, they’re just in luck as the Flames’ Elias Lindholm fits the mold and has a great cap hit.
Lindholm’s best season came in 2021-22 when he had 42 goals and 82 points in 82 games. The 29-year-old dropped off a bit the following season, scoring 22 goals and 64 points, but his 2023-24 season has been a bit of a disappointment given that it’s his contract year. So far, he has eight goals and 31 points in 47 games.
Now, Lindholm has been playing better as of late as he has a goal and 14 points in his last 19 games. While he’s been held goal-less over his last 14 games, he’s been a great help in Yegor Sharangovich’s quest to bury the puck.
Along with a track record that includes a 78 point season in 2018-19, a 82 point season in 2021-22, and a 64 point season in 2022-23, Lindholm also has a fantastic contract. According to Puckpedia, Lindholm has a cap hit of $4.85 million for the rest of the season before becoming an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. This of course, would mean he’d be cheaper to acquire than someone with a few seasons left in their deal.
The Avalanches’ second biggest need would arguably be goaltending. This season, Alexandar Georgiev has played 39 games and has a 2.95 goals-against average and an .896 save percentage. However, the Flames aren’t likely to trade netminder Jacob Markström unless a serious offer comes their way and Markström agrees to move there due to his no-move clause.
What assets do the Colorado Avalanche have to offer
The cycle for a team in the National Hockey League is to bottom out, get a great farm system, and contend for a couple of years before doing it all again. As you can imagine, the Avalanche don’t have a strong farm system after years of contending, as netminder Justus Annunen was ranked as their best prospect heading into this season according to NHL.com.
What the Avalanche do have however, is a surplus of defenceman on their roster. Cale Makar is obviously the best of the bunch, but there’s no chance he’ll ever be moved. Josh Manson is their second-pairing right-shot defenceman. On the left-side, they have Devon Toews and Samuel Girard to round out their Top 4. As you can see, that leaves left-shot defenceman and fourth-overall pick in the 2019 draft, Bowen Byram, in limbo.
Touted as a great all-around defenceman, Byram was the highest-picked defenceman in the 2019 draft, just two picks ahead of Moritz Seider. Unfortunately, his career hasn’t quite taken off like you’d expect from a fourth-overall pick, as he has just six goals and 12 points in 39 games this season. His career-high came in 42 games during the 2022-23 season, where he had 10 goals and 24 points, an alright clip for a second-pairing defenceman.
Earlier this month, The Athletic ran an article in early January where NHL insiders Chris Johnston and Pierre LeBrun looked at destinations for trade candidates. Johnston listed the Avalanche as a destination for Lindhol, but also mentioned that their 2024 first-round pick and Byram could be assets moved at the deadline. Ironically, LeBrun mentioned the Boston Bruins as the landing spot for Lindholm, but we already looked at them in the first Meet the Buyers.
If the Flames were to acquire Byram, who plays both sides of the defence, it could alleviate the loss of Tanev or Hanifin, or maybe even both if the Flames go down that route. According to Puckpedia, Byram has a $3.85 million cap hit until the end of the 2024-25 season, where he’ll become a restricted free agent.
The cap situations of both teams
Unlike the Bruins, who have virtually no cap room which makes a Lindholm trade with them very difficult, the Flames and Avalanche are perfect partners. Per Puckpedia, the Avalanche have a current cap space of $5,716,757, meaning that’d be able to absorb Lindholm’s $4.85 million deal without even needing to move Byram.
However, it’s likely that the Flames will want to be competitive moving forward after this season, so moving Byram, who is a surplus left-shot defenceman, could help the Flames with that goal moving forward.
It won’t be all too surprising if the Flames and the Avalanche make a deal before the March 8 trade deadline. What that would entail is unknown as of now, but Lindholm fits the Avalanche perfectly, and Byram would help keep the Flames competitive over the next few seasons while allowing them to trade either Tanev or Hanifin.
Thanks for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
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