If the season begins to spiral, Conroy’s patience with the UFA contracts could be an asset
This is a hopeful and positive article, so for the sake of the exercise, join me in manifesting success.
BUT, in the event the Flames’ position in the division standings at American Thanksgiving or the holiday season don’t have them poised for a playoff appearance or at the very least, a statistically supported meaningful playoff race, perhaps we should be thankful that only one UFA contract extension has been handed out (Backlund). Players on expiring deals are much easier to deal in-season as the trade deadline approaches and teams may be willing to pay a pretty penny to add to their roster in preparation for the playoffs. The Flames’ current potential UFA trade chips are Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, A.J. Greer, Jordan Oesterle, and Dennis Gilbert (yes, five of Calgary’s seven defencemen – all except Andersson and MacKenzie Weegar – are set to become unrestricted free agents on July 1 next summer).
Of course, with rumours abuzz and Conroy mentioning he’s in talks with “all” of the UFAs’ agents, that could change quickly (most notably with a Lindholm or Hanifin extension).
With that being said, UFAs aren’t the only trade bait; the Flames are currently shopping Dan Vladar and someone like Dillon Dubé could be an exciting fourth line add for a contending team.
Again, let’s hope things don’t go south for the Flames, but in the event they do, it would be a good thing that every single available dollar for years to come isn’t already committed to the exact group that was unable to provide a winning culture year over year.