Potential trade destinations for Elias Lindholm
Photo credit:© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
3 months ago
Elias Lindholm is set to become a free agent in the summer of 2024. He is eligible to sign a long term extension with the Calgary Flames starting on July 1, 2023.
The Flames are most likely going to take a run at signing Lindholm. New general manager Craig Conroy said as much in his introductory press conference last Tuesday.
But if Lindholm tells the Flames he is not going to sign with them long term, similar to what Matthew Tkachuk did last summer, the Flames will have to explore a trade.
That begs the question, who would be a great fit for the Flames in a trade for their star center? Here are some potential trade destinations if Lindholm decides he wants to leave.
Columbus Blue Jackets
One of the big talking points over the last few days is the idea of the Flames and Blue Jackets coming together on a deal involving Elias Lindholm and the third overall pick in the draft. There would likely be more pieces involved, but those would be the two core pieces of a deal.
The Blue Jackets want to become more competitive now. They invested a ton of money in Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine. Adding Lindholm to their lineup would be a huge boon for a team who has struggled to acquire and develop centres. They could reunite Gaudreau and Lindholm which has been a dynamic duo for multiple years in Calgary. On top of all that, the Jackets have made six picks in the first round over the last three years. They have a solid prospect pool. It’s time for them to bring in high end NHLers to help them win now.
For the Flames, adding a third overall pick to an aging team makes nothing but sense. It would be outrageous for the Flames not to make this deal, even if Lindholm wants to stay.
They would be shipping out a 28-year-old with one year left on his deal for an 18-year-old franchise centre in either Adam Fantilli, Leo Carlsson or Will Smith. Those players can make an impact in their prime for over a decade in Calgary. Lindholm might have 3-4 good years left in him. A Leo Carlsson might have 15.
To Calgary: 2023 first-round pick (third overall), 2023 fourth-round pick
To Columbus: Elias Lindholm, Calgary’s 2023 second-round pick
Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings, St. Louis Blues
I am grouping all these teams together because they all have first-round draft picks in the top 10 that could be part of a Lindholm trade.
Washington is looking to re-tool their roster and become competitive for the final years of Alexander Ovechkin’s career. They need help at centre as both Niklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov have taken major steps backwards in their production. Adding a Lindholm would help get them back in the conversation of being a playoff team.
Detroit is looking to take the next step in their teams development. They invested a lot of money in Dylan Larkin, Andrew Copp, Ben Chariot and David Perron. They have been rebuilding for a long time and they want to break that cycle and become a playoff team. Having centre ice depth with Larkin, Lindholm and Copp would help them take the next step forward.
Lindholm would be a perfect fit in St. Louis as they are looking for a Ryan O’Reilly replacement after trading him to the Leafs. The Blues have a roster that is ready to compete now. Lindholm would help make them competitive again after a very disappointing 2022-23 season. The Blues also have two other picks in the first round of this years draft which means they can afford to trade one or two of them.
To Calgary: WSH, DET or STL first-round pick (seventh, eighth, or ninth overall)
To WSH, DET, or STL: Elias Lindholm
Could we see Lindholm reunite with his former team? The Hurricanes are about to embark on an offseason where Jordan Staal, Paul Stastny and Derek Stefan are all set to become free agents. They are going to need help at centre. They were rumoured to have pursued Lindholm at the 2023 NHL trade deadline. Lindholm would fit in well on a defensive oriented team led by Rod Brind’Amour.
The Hurricanes also have many draft picks and prospect to offer the Flames in a deal.
To Calgary: 2023 first, second, and third-round picks
To Carolina: Elias Lindholm
Let’s face it. There are a lot of teams that would love to add an Elias Lindholm to their roster. It would be the right move for the Flames to explore what a Lindholm trade could look like even if he is open to staying in Calgary long term. The Flames have an aging core and a mediocre prospect pool. They could get younger and add to their prospect cupboards with a Lindholm trade.
It is going to be fascinating to see how this all plays out.
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