The Elias Lindholm swap extends a very impressive Calgary Flames trade tree

Photo credit:Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
On July 2, 2008, the Calgary Flames signed forward Curtis Glencross as a free agent. On Wednesday evening, more than 15 years after his signing, the asset tree stemming from Glencross’ acquisition continues to grow, this time in the form of a blockbuster Elias Lindholm trade.
Let’s get into the various branches, shall we?

The initial asset

The Flames signed Glencross during the 2008 off-season, after he had made brief stops in Anaheim, Columbus and Edmonton during his first two seasons in the NHL. It was clear that he had something, but it wasn’t entirely sure what role he was best-suited for. He didn’t cement himself in Edmonton, but the Flames had seen enough to sign him to a three-year deal in free agency.
It worked out pretty well for all involved. Glencross became a foundational role player in Calgary, playing 418 games and posting 242 points over seven seasons. Prior to the 2015 trade deadline, newly-minted general manager Brad Treliving opted to move on from the pending UFA, trading him to Washington for a 2015 second-round pick and a 2015 third-round pick.

Treliving gets trading

Armed with the Flames’ own 2015 picks and the two picks from the Washington swap, Treliving made two trades at the 2015 NHL Draft:
  • The Flames traded their own 2015 first and second-round picks, along with the second-round pick they acquired from Washington, to the Boston Bruins in exchange for pending restricted free agent defenceman Dougie Hamilton.
  • The Flames traded up, swapping their third-round pick along with Washington’s, to snag Arizona’s second-round pick, and used that pick to select highly-touted Swedish blueliner Oliver Kylington.

Here comes Dougie, there goes Dougie

Four days after acquiring Hamilton from Boston, Treliving signed him to a six-year contract. Hamilton was a really offensively productive blueliner, but arguably didn’t quite fit the tight-checking, physical style of game the Flames were aiming to achieve. After three seasons with the Flames – where he had 137 points in 245 games – Hamilton was packaged with 2016 third-rounder Adam Fox and 2010 fifth-rounder Micheal Ferland and traded to Carolina at the 2018 NHL Draft in exchange for pending restricted free agents Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm. (Fox was an unsigned college player with eyes for playing on the east coast, while Ferland was a year away from being an expensive UFA.)

Hanifin and Lindholm arrive

Again, Hanifin and Lindholm were soon signed to six-year deals. Hanifin found a home in Calgary’s top four, playing with a bunch of different partners – among them Travis Hamonic, Rasmus Andersson and Chris Tanev – while Lindholm played a key role in Calgary’s top six with a mixture of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk. Lindholm peaked in 2021-22 when he was voted the runner-up for the Selke Trophy as the NHL’s top defensive forward, just behind Patrice Bergeron.

Farewell, Lindholm

But with the Flames wobbling around the middle of the NHL standings this season and Hanifin and Lindholm entering the final years of their contracts, the Flames had decisions to make. The first shoe to drop was Lindholm’s departure to Vancouver, landing the Flames the services of Andrei Kuzmenko, Hunter Brzustewicz, Joni Jurmo, a 2024 first-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick.
We’ll see what happens with Hanifin in the coming five weeks.

It all started with Glencross

In 2008, the Flames expended no assets to sign Glencross as a free agent. In 2015, they swapped him for a couple of draft picks. Those picks, combined with their own selections, enabled a sequence where the Flames received several hundred good NHL games out of their acquired assets, then traded them for futures and started the cycle anew.
That’s good asset management. And it all started with Glencross.

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