Photo credit:© John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Young players and prospects the Calgary Flames could target in trade deadline deals
24 days ago
The Calgary Flames roster is going to look a lot different between now and after the March 8 trade deadline. Core members of the team like Elias Lindholm, Chris Tanev, Noah Hanifin and others could be on their way out of town via a deadline deal.
Last June at the NHL Draft Craig Conroy made his first trade as general manager of the Flames when he moved Tyler Toffoli to New Jersey in exchange for Yegor Sharangovich and a third-round draft pick that turned into Aydar Suniev. That could be the type of trade Conroy looks to make for some of his pending UFAs. Acquire some draft picks and a younger NHL player/prospect that they could plug into their lineup for the rest of the season and beyond, like Sharangovich.
Acquiring a young NHL player or prospect is going to be easier said than done. There are not many Stanley Cup contenders who want to subtract a young player from their NHL lineup to bring in a rental like Lindholm. These players are likely going to be in the AHL who are on the verge of becoming full time NHLers or are NHL players who are playing an insignificant role on their current teams.
With that in mind let’s take a look around the NHL and see which players fit this description.
Nils Hoglander – Vancouver Canucks – Left Shot LW – 23 Years Old – 5’9″, 185 Pounds
Hoglander has been a player connected to the Flames for some time. He is a smaller, skilled left shot winger who is having a career with the Vancouver Canucks. You may look at the size and be a little concerned, but Hoglander does not play like a small forward. He initiates contact, is ferocious in 50/50 puck battles, and is built like a tank.
The most impressive aspect of Hoglander’s season is his 14 goals while playing in a limited role with the Canucks. He has played in the bottom six for the overwhelming majority of the season and not playing a regular shift on the power play. He ranks 11 out of 12 forwards in 5-on-5 ice time and has played less than 10 minutes on the power play. Yet he is tied for first in goals (14) and is first in goals/60 at 5-on-5.
Elias Lindholm is a player the Canucks have interest in. Could Hoglander be part of a return for the Flames two-way centre?
Mavrik Bourque – Dallas Stars – Right Shot C/RW – 22 Years Old – 5’10”, 191 Pounds
The Stars’ first-round pick from the 2020 Draft is having a breakout season in the American Hockey League for the Texas Stars. He’s put up 47 points in only 39 games as a 22-year-old, second year pro.
Bourque is exactly the type of player the Flames are missing in their prospect system. A skilled right shooting forward who projects to be a top six centre/winger in the NHL.
His play making ability is something the Flames should covet as that is a skill that is lacking in the Flames prospect system.
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The Stars are a team who has Stanley Cup aspirations. Could they be willing to move a player of Bourque’s calibre for someone like Noah Hanifin?
Calum Ritchie – Colorado Avalanche – Right Shot C/RW – 19 Years Old – 6’2″, 189 Pounds
Calum Ritchie was selected 27th overall in the 2023 Draft, one of the deepest drafts in NHL history. There is a lot to like about Ritchie’s game. He is a big, right shot centre who plays a 200-foot game. His points in the OHL are gaudy like a lot of players from the 2023 draft class, but that was due in large part to playing on a bad Oshawa Generals team. This year he has 47 points in only 28 games.
I don’t think Ritchie would be a throw into a bigger deal. He would be the centrepiece in a deal for someone like Elias Lindholm. The Flames would be interested in Ritchie because he has an extra year of development compared to players from the upcoming 2024 draft class and because he was part of the loaded 2023 class.
Colorado is in win-now mode. The one thing their roster is missing is a second line centre. Lindholm would fit in with Colorado perfectly.
Alexander Holtz – New Jersey Devils – Right Shot RW – 22 Years Old – 6’0″, 195 Pounds
Holtz is in a similar situation to Nils Hoglander in Vancouver. He is a skilled player with an incredible shot. But he hasn’t had much of an opportunity playing in New Jersey. Holtz ranks 11th out of 14 Devils forwards in ice time per game and ranks 8th out of 9 regular Devils forwards on the power play. Yet he is ranks 2nd in goals/60 at 5-on-5 and 4th in goals/60 at all strengths.
Holtz seems like the type of player who could break out and become a regular 20+ goal scorer int he NHL if he was put in a position to succeed, just like Yegor Sharangovich in Calgary.
Calgary desperately needs to add top six, right shooting forwards to their lineup long term. Holtz could be a perfect fit.
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The Devils are missing a lot of defencemen right now and could use Noah Hanifin as a rental. They also need to upgrade their goaltending. Could Jacob Markstrom be a fit in Jersey?
Zac Jones – New York Rangers – Left Shot D – 23 Years Old – 5’10”, 176
Jones is a smooth skating, puck moving defenceman who is just starting to blossom into a full time NHLer. The 23-year-old has split time between the NHL and AHL over the last couple seasons.
He has put up 66 points in 106 AHL games as a 22- and 23-year-old. Pretty good production from a first- and second-year pro. In the NHL he has played in 54 games and put up 13 points.
He plays a very similar style to Noah Hanifin and could be a solid long-term replacement for the Flames pending UFA if he decides not to sign a long-term extension in Calgary.
The Rangers just lost Filip Chytil to a season ending injury. Could Elias Lindholm be a good replacement for him on a Rangers team that has its sights set on the Stanley Cup?
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