Friends, the Calgary Flames have made two big trades this off-season with conditional draft selections included. The long and the short of it is that the Flames gained a first-round selection in either 2025 or 2026 in the Matthew Tkachuk trade, and they sent one out the door – in 2024, 2025 or 2026 – in the Sean Monahan trade.
Let’s untangle the hows, whens and whys of the conditional picks, which themselves are tied to the on-ice performances of Florida in 2023-24 and 2024-25, and Calgary in 2024-25.
There are no conditions related to the Flames’ 2023 first-rounder.
When speaking to the media on Thursday evening, Flames general manager Brad Treliving noted that he didn’t want to make a trade that “compromised” the 2023 pick. Among amateur scouts, the 2023 class is considered something pretty special.
If the Flames’ first-round selection falls between 20th and 32nd overall, Montreal has the option to take this instead of waiting for a later conditional pick. They must enact this option 48 hours before the start of the draft. (If this happens, things get much simpler in the following two years.)
Okay, here’s where things get wacky.
- The Flames get Florida’s 2025 first-round pick (from the Matthew Tkachuk trade) if (a) Florida’s 2024 first-rounder is not top 10 (and goes to Philadelphia in the Claude Giroux trade) AND (b) Florida’s 2025 first-round pick is not top 10 (and Florida keeps it). If so, Calgary’s 2025 fourth-round pick goes to Florida. (Editor’s note: Barring Florida becoming bad at hockey suddenly, this is probably the most likely scenario.]
- If the Flames get Florida’s pick AND their own pick is top 10, then Montreal gets Florida’s pick. If Calgary’s pick isn’t top 10, then Montreal gets whichever of the two picks is earlier.
- If the Flames don’t get Florida’s pick because it was traded to Philadelphia (e.g., Florida’s 2024 first-rounder was top 10), then Calgary’s 2025 first-rounder goes to Montreal (unless it’s first overall) and Montreal also gets Calgary’s 2025 fourth-rounder if Florida’s pick is earlier than Calgary’s. (If Calgary’s 2025 first-rounder is first overall, their 2025 third-rounder goes to Montreal but they keep the first overall pick.)
The most likely scenario is that neither of Calgary or Florida’s picks are top 10, so Montreal gets whichever 2025 first-rounder is earlier between the two the Flames would probably have at this point.
- If both of Florida’s 2024 and 2025 picks are top 10, then the Flames get Florida’s 2026 first-round pick and Calgary’s 2026 fourth-round pick goes to Florida.
- If Calgary’s 2025 first-rounder was first overall, then their 2026 first-rounder goes to Montreal.
Here’s the rub, friends: under league rules, teams cannot trade away picks that they may need to move as part of a condition in another trade. So the Flames are somewhat handcuffed in their future swaps due to these transactions.
That said, you have to give to get, and the Flames likely feel that their reduced flexibility is worth the player(s) they received in return.