Flames next stretch to determine deadline plans
The Calgary Flames are entering a key part of their season as general manager Craig Conroy weighs whether to become a seller ahead of the March 8 trade deadline.
The Flames sit one point back of the Los Angeles Kings for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference with three more games played after a 4-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.
TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger noted prior to the loss that how the Flames perform in the next few weeks will determine their deadline plans.
"Look at [defenceman] Noah Hanifin, for example," Dreger said on Insider Trading. "It’s not out of the question that he could extend with the Flames. I think that determination will be made soon after the All-Star break.
"But if things don’t go well in the near future, maybe that pushes Conroy into making a decision well in advance of March 8. Conversely, if they do go well and they’re winning games and staying in the mix, maybe Conroy will push the decision closer to the March 8 deadline."
Hanifin's future with the Flames has been a question mark throughout the season. TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reported in November that the two sides nearly reached an eight-year deal worth roughly $60 million before Hanifin elected to wait and see on the Flames’ trajectory, leading Calgary to pull their offer.
Hanifin has seven goals and 24 points in 45 games this season while carrying a cap hit of $4.95 million. The 26-year-old is in his sixth season with the Flames after being acquired in 2018 from the Carolina Hurricanes along with Elias Lindholm in a deal that saw Dougie Hamilton, among other pieces, head the other way.
The defenceman is one of several pending unrestricted free agents on the Flames believed to be drawing trade interest. Lindholm was ranked No. 1 on the latest TSN Trade Bait board, followed by Flames defenceman Chris Tanev at No. 2. Hanifin was ranked No. 7 on the list with Calgary goaltender Jacob Markstrom, signed through 2025-26, also on the board at No. 17.
Lindholm. 29, has eight goals and 30 points in 45 games this season. The centre is signed at a cap hit of $4.85 million on his expiring deal.
Tanev has one goal and eight points in 42 games this season as he also approached unrestricted free agency in July. The 34-year-old is signed at a cap hit of $4.5 million.
Markstrom, 33, is 13-11-2 on the season with a .912 save percentage and a 2.59 goals-against average. His current deal carries a cap hit of $6 million.
Prior to Thursday's loss to the Maple Leafs, Calgary had won each of its previous four games to close on a playoff spot. The Flames will host the red-hot Edmonton Oilers on Saturday.