According to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, the Flames have put a pause on all contract negotiations amid their rough start to the season.
Considering the Flames are sitting second last in the Western Conference with a 2-6-1 record, it’s not all that surprising to hear that Calgary is rethinking its approach. Dating back to the 2005-06 season, teams that are four or more points out of a playoff spot by Nov. 1 miss the postseason 88.7% of the time, according to Francis (who credited his colleague Elliotte Friedman for that figure).
Based on that number, it seems unlikely the Flames will squeak into the playoffs this season.
Nine games into 2023-24, the Flames are 29th in goals per game (2.11), 28th in goals against per game (3.67) and 29th in team save percentage (.874). They’ve been horrible at 5-on-5, with a 31.43% Goals For percentage to show for it.
Jonathan Huberdeau, the fourth-highest-paid winger in the league, hasn’t been able to produce anywhere near the 100-plus points he was recording before arriving in Calgary. Nazem Kadri has scored just two points in nine games. The Flames' leading scorers are Andrew Mangiapane and Lindholm, who each have six points in nine contests.
Calgary is smart to make its intentions clear at this point and drum up potential trade interest in Lindholm and Hanifiin. As of now, there aren’t really any intriguing rental options for the upcoming trade deadline. Every pending big-name UFA – like Steven Stamkos, Jake Guentzel, William Nylander, and Chandler Stephenson — is on a contending team.
Now, it looks like Lindholm and Hanifin will vault up the hypothetical, way-too-early 2024 trade deadline target list.