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Conroy: Flames getting "good value" after dealing Tanev to Stars

Calgary Flames Chris Tanev - Getty Images

After months of speculation surrounding his future, the Calgary Flames dealt pending free agent blueliner Chris Tanev to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday evening in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick, a conditional 2026 third-round pick, and prospect Artem Grushnikov.

Talks on a new contract between the Flames and Tanev, 34, had been stagnant and the organization didn’t want to let him walk in free agency for nothing.

“Over the last while, you’re talking with teams and you’re trying to get a feel of what the value is out there,” Flames general manager Craig Conroy told TSN after the deal was made official.

“Over the last few weeks and talking to teams, where I was at, talking to Dallas, we really had all our guys going to watch Dallas to see who we’d have interest in.”

The Flames are in a similar situation with Tanev’s former defence partner Noah Hanifin, 26, who is also set to become an unrestricted free agent and has also garnered plenty of trade speculation. The Flames had reportedly targeted a first round pick for Tanev, but Conroy adapted to the market.

“I know everyone loves first round picks, but I think every team puts value on different things,” Conroy said. “A young player in Grushnikov, a second-round pick, we value things different than maybe other people and we felt like this was real good value for what we were looking for for Chris.”

The Flames eyed the 20-year-old Grushnikov in part because he has Tanev-type qualities to complement Calgary’s group of offensively-gifted blueline prospects.

“He’s a good shutdown guy, first penalty kill [unit] down in the American [Hockey] League, he’s a simple puck mover but he defends really well...he skates well, he closes gaps.”

Tanev ends his Flames tenure sixth in franchise history with 566 blocked shots and seventh among all blueliners with a plus-73 rating. He also set the standard internally with his tireless commitment to the pursuit of winning. Tanev never hesitated in laying his body on the line to block a shot and help the team win. He also spent time after practice working with teammates. That legacy, particularly with the Flames’ younger defencemen, will live on.

“We talk about culture,” Conroy said.

“He’s a culture person. The way he works on the ice, in practice, in games, it’s the same. In the locker have guys like [Oliver] Kylington, Rasmus [Andersson], all our younger guys that have been able to watch what Chris does and now that Chris is no longer here, I want those guys to install what he’s done moving forward to our other young guys. You can’t thank Chris enough for everything he’s done for this organization. During the games, in the community, he’s a special person.”

The Tanev trade came hours after veteran Nazem Kadri, the Flames' leading scorer, was asked if, given the team’s recent four-game winning streak and fight for a playoff spot, he hoped they would fortify their roster for a postseason run.

"I’m never really on board to be a seller,” Kadri said.

“I wanna win. I think we’ve got a pretty resilient, character group inside the dressing room that’s capable of some pretty good things.”

The Flames have proven capable of adapting to seismic roster shifts.

Since dealing No. 1 centre Elias Lindholm during the All-Star break, they have a 0.700 points percentage, tied for seventh-best in the league. Conroy expects that resolve to continue as they learn to live without their best defensive defenceman.

“Kadri might have said it best,” Conroy said, referring to another Nazem soundbyte.

“‘We’re a pack of hyenas.’...guys are going to step up. Guys are going to play more. That’s how this team’s always been. They pride themselves on the next man up and doing the best they can game in and game out. That’s what I expect to see on Saturday versus Pittsburgh...we’re just going to continue moving forward.”

He doesn’t want his players playing the role of general manager and overthinking what moves the organization may make.

“They can’t worry what I’m doing up here,” Conroy said.

“They have to worry about what they’re doing on the ice and they’re all true professionals. I don’t worry about them at all.”