Insider links Calgary Flames to veteran winger Anthony Duclair

Anthony Duclair, Jonathan Huberdeau
Anthony Duclair, Jonathan Huberdeau / Brett Carlsen/GettyImages

Over the past two years, the Calgary Flames have tried everything to get star forward Jonathan Huberdeau going, but unfortunately, nothing has quite worked yet. Huberdeau did improve in the year 2024 however, as he played in 44 games for Calgary with seven goals and 27 assists for 34 points, giving the Flames optimism that he can be a genuine difference maker moving forward.

With the team locked into Huberdeau’s contract for years to come, the team are determined to get him going somehow, and after pairing him with Yegor Sharangovich in 2023-24, it appeared they found some type of chemistry. Now however, Flames insider Eric Francis has revealed they may look to someone from Huberdeau’s past this summer to help the process.

That someone would be winger Anthony Duclair, who Huberdeau shared a line with during his career year back in 2021-22, the final year in Florida before he was acquired by the Flames alongside Mackenzie Weegar in the deal for Matthew Tkachuk. While it’s understandable that some would have objections to this move, Duclair’s last deal saw his cap hit sit around $3 million, and given his performances over the past three-years, it’s possible that his next deal could be around the same price.

On the flip side, this is a Flames team with plenty of depth on the wing, with Huberdeau, Sharangovich, Jakob Pelletier, Blake Coleman, Andrew Mangiapane, Matt Coronato, Andrei Kuzmenko, Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil all fighting for spots in the top nine. If the team were to go after Duclair as a free agent, this would result in moving at least one, if not more of their wingers, with Mangiapane and Kuzmenko prime candidates.

At this point however, it makes sense for the Flames to get Huberdeau going, as a healthy and confident Huberdeau with chemistry makes them a much better team moving forward, so that raises the question, could Calgary go all in on this top line? This summer, Sam Reinhart, another former teammate of Huberdeau hits free agency, and after tallying 57 goals on the year, his third straight season with over 30. As a Western Canadian, Reinhart could look to head closer to home, and if the Flames do indeed land Duclair, no one would be shocked if this front office wanted to go all in and land a full Panthers top line.

Ultimately, this summer it makes sense for the Flames to get Huberdeau going in any way possible, with Duclair likely their last card to play on that front, so while it doesn’t matchup with the rebuild timeline, Craig Conroy has targeted a re-tool similar to the Dallas Stars, and if this is what the front office believes makes that a reality, expect them to go hard for Duclair.