Free washing machine | Towards a reconstruction in Calgary?

The Calgary Flames are likely preparing for a major rebuild.


Their top center, Elias Lindholm, was recently traded to the Canucks for a 2024 first-round pick and a forward, Andrei Kuzmenko, allowing Vancouver to reduce its payroll.

According to all the information coming from Calgary in recent weeks, two other possible free agents like Lindholm, defensemen Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev, will be the next to leave.

Hanifin is linked to Boston and Tampa, among others. One wonders what the Lightning could offer since they don’t have first-round picks in 2024 and 2025, but the Flames are rebuilding, they can afford to wait until 2026. Hanifin, 27, 30 points in 56 games, 11:43 p.m. of playing time, is worth at least as much as the price the Bruins paid for defenseman Hampus Lindholm (no relation to Elias) two years ago: a first-round pick and two second-round picks.

Tanev, 34, a stout right-handed defenseman who is effective defensively but limited offensively, is certainly of interest to most Cup contenders. He will bring back at least a second-round pick.

In He’s even talking to Calgary about trading No. 1 goaltender Jacob Markstrom, 34, even though he still has two years left on his contract with an annual salary of $6 million. Markstrom has been linked to the New Jersey Devils for several weeks. To facilitate this trade, it would certainly be necessary to allow the Devils to release an overpaid player, but most of them have a no-trade clause. The Flames could also absorb a portion of his salary, but we wouldn’t agree on that. says Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Rebuilding with so many 30-somethings on long-term contracts, like Jonathan Huberdeau, Nazem Kadri and MacKenzie Weegar, is obviously not ideal. However, this is a situation that general manager Craig Conroy inherited from his predecessor Brad Treliving, now in Toronto, and should not be an obstacle to the long-term recovery of this organization. Weegar might find a buyer, but the other two might not.

The Sharks did not shy away from joy, although they experienced a similar situation with Logan Couture, Marc-Edouard Vlasic and Tomas Hertl. They even found a club for Erik Karlsson, who was thought to be impossible to transfer.

For a club like Calgary, and perhaps eventually for Pittsburgh and Washington, a rebuild is a dream in anticipation of the 2026 draft. A kid just 16 years old will be available, Gavin McKenna, 16 years old since December 20… 81 points , including 28 goals, in 50 games at Medicine Hat in the Western Junior League, probably the most electrifying prospect since Connor McDavid.

Unfortunately for the Canadian, a rebuild in Calgary will not improve the quality of the option offered by Treliving in August 2022 out of Sean Monahan’s contract.

The Flames will have to be bad next year, but not that bad. If Calgary finishes among the NHL’s worst clubs in 2024-25 and ends up with a pick in the top 10, will have the opportunity to give the Canadian the first-round pick received from the Florida Panthers in the Jonathan Huberdeau trade. In light of the Panthers’ success, this pick would come late in the first round. On the other hand, if the Flames have a difficult season, without languishing at the bottom of the standings, Montreal could inherit the chance to choose between 11my and 20my rang.

Let’s have fun moving the scenario to this year so it’s easier to understand the situation. By virtue of their current position in the standings, the Flames would have 9my choice altogether. Since this election is in the top 10, Conroy would cede the pick to the first-overall-ranked Panthers. Despite a setback in the playoffs, this election would be after the 26thmy rang.

On the other hand, it would be enough for the Flames to move up two places, ahead of the Seattle Kraken, 57 points, like Calgary, but with one more game to play, Minnesota, 58 points, one less game to play, or even Pittsburgh, 56 points, three less games to play, so that Calgary’s election ends at 11my or 12my range. In that case, Montreal would inherit this election. But this was just an illustration for understanding purposes.

Franco-Quebecois fairy tale in Washington

PHOTO DOMINICK GRAVEL, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Pierrick Dubé

Pierrick Dubé has just been called up by the Washington Capitals. The 23-year-old, who was never drafted, began his professional career in the ECHL with the Trois-Rivières Lions two years ago. He was promoted to the Laval Rocket during last year’s season and finished the year strong with 32 points in 44 games. He joined the Washington Capitals organization and did even better this winter, with 24 goals in 50 games, hence this retirement of him.

The 5-foot-9 forward was born in Lyon, France. After four years in the QMJHL, in Quebec, Chicoutimi, Trois-Rivières and Longueuil, his father, Roger, went into exile in France to play professional hockey. His mother is French. He moved to Quebec at age 14, but always played for France in international events. What a wonderful story!

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