What will contract extensions look like for the Calgary Flames seven 2024 UFAs?

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
1 year ago
One of the hottest debates about the Calgary Flames right now is what to do with their seven 2024 unrestricted free agents. That group of players includes Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Mikael Backlund, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov and Oliver Kylington.
One of the things Craig Conroy needs to consider is how much it is going to cost to bring back these players on contract extensions.
Here are what those next deals could look like if the Flames were to re-sign these players.
(All contract information is courtesy of PuckPedia)

Elias Lindholm

Lindholm’s new deal is the easiest to project. There have been a lot of similar players both in skill, age, and position to sign eight-year, long term deals with their respective teams.
Dylan Larkin8 years, $8.7 million AAV
Bo Horvat8 years, $8.5 million AAV
Mika Zibanejad8 years, $8.5 million AAV
Rope Hintz8 years, $8.45 million AAV
Tomas Hertl8 years, $8.14 million AAV
As we can see there has been a precedent set for the type of contract Lindholm is going to sign. The going rate for high end, two-way centres is eight years of term with an average annual value/cap hit between $8-9 million.
Lindholm Contract Projection:  8 years, $8,5 million AAV. Total value of $68 million.

Tyler Toffoli

Toffoli’s potential contract extension is going to be one of the more interesting ones. Toffoli will be 32 years old when his next contract begins. He is also coming off a career year where he scored 34 goals and 73 points.
Who ever signs him to his next deal is going to be taking a big risk. Because of the way Toffoli skates you would think that he is going to start to decline into his 30s. But the counter to that argument is that Toffoli has never relied on his skating to make him a good player. It’s his smarts, shot, and hands that have made him a consistent 20+ goal scorer throughout his career. Maybe he ages like a Joe Pavelski. Maybe he declines rapidly. That’s the risk in signing this deal.
Taylor Hall4 years, $6 million AAV
Ondrej Palat5 years, $6 million AAV
Rickard Rakell6 years, $5 million AAV
Brian Rust6 years, $5.125 million AAV
30-32-year-old wingers who have produced like Toffoli have signed some pretty large contracts recently.
For Toffoli, the longer the term, the less the cap hit will be. And the less term, the more the cap hit will be.
Toffoli Contract Projection: 4 years, $5.75 million AAV. Total value of $23 million.

Mikael Backlund

Backlund’s deal is one of the hardest to project because there are not a lot of players who have remained as productive as Backlund has into his mid/late 30s. He is coming off one of, if not his best season in the NHL at 33-34 years of age.
Backlund was one of many Flames players who were not happy at the end of the season. In his year end meeting with the media, he was very noncommittal about staying in Calgary beyond the 2023-24 season. That might of changed now that Darryl Sutter is no longer the head coach. But if he is still unhappy, and the Flames want to sign Backlund to an extension, they might have to pay a premium and offer him the captaincy.
Joe Pavelski3 years, $7 million AAV
Jeff Carter2 years, $3.125 million AAV
My guess is that Backlund’s new deal will be sandwiched in the middle of the Pavelski and Carter deals.
Backlund Contract Projection: 3 Years, $4.75 million AAV. Total value of $14.25 million.

Noah Hanifin

Like Lindholm, Hanifin’s market has been set for his next contract. There have been five long term contracts signed within the last couple seasons by defencemen with a similar profile to Hanifin.
Hanifin has established himself as a smooth skating, top four defenceman. Those players do not grow on trees especially at Hanifin’s age (26).
Colton Parayko8 years, $6.5 million AAV
Ryan Pulock8 years, $6.15 million AAV
Adam Pelech8 years, $5.75 million AAV
Justin Faulk7 years, $6.5 million AAV
Jonas Brodin7 years, $6 million AAV
A Hanifin extension will not be cheap. The Flames will have to commit 7-8 years with a high AAV.
Hanifin Contract Projection: 8 years, $6.35 million AAV. Total value of $50.8 million.

Chris Tanev

Similar to Backlund, Tanev’s next contract is going to be a risky one for what ever team signs it. Tanev will be 34 years old by the time his next deal kicks in. He is someone who has a long history of injuries because of his selfless, sacrifice at all costs style of play.
He might be some the Flames look to cash in on at the 2024 NHL trade deadline.
Ryan Suter4 years, $3.65 million AAV
Alex Goligoski2 years, $2 million AAV
My guess is that Tanev will be playing on one or two year deals for the rest of his career because of his injury history and age.

Tanev Contract Projection: 2 years, $3.5 million AAV. Total value of $7 million.

Nikita Zadorov

Calgary’s biggest, most intimidating player on the roster is coming off a career year scoring 14 goals and playing a bigger role for the Flames in the 2022-23 season.
Zadorov is going to be a valuable player on the open market. There is a theme starting to develop around the NHL of teams prioritizing big, lengthy defencemen to fill out their back end. Zadorov fits that mold perfectly as he is 6’6″, 248 pounds.
Josh Manson4 years, $4.5 million AAV
Erik Gudbranson4 years, $4 million AAV
Nick Jensen3 years, $4.05 million AAV
Brayden McNabb3 years, $2.85 million AAV
Zadorov will likely be looking for more term and a higher AAV on his next contract.
Zadorov Contract Projection: 4 years, $4.25 million AAV. Total value of $17 million.

Oliver Kylington

It would be silly for anyone to put a value on Oliver Kylington’s next contract because he hasn’t played a competitive game since May 2022. Who knows what he is going to look like next season. Will he build off his impressive 2021-22 season? Or will he take a step back after missing 16+ months of competitive hockey?
The Flames will make a decision on Kylington’s future after the 2023-24 season.

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