Elias Lindholm is entering the final year of his contract in Calgary, and following the unexpected departure of franchise star Johnny Gaudreau last summer, the Flames need to either convince Lindholm to sign a long-term extension or explore a trade with a team willing to give up at minimum a first-round pick for the
28-year-old Swedish forward.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: I've tried to do this on every platform I'm on. I don't know if you've seen this, but people in Calgary are discussing hey, what if the Columbus Blue Jackets would trade their third overall pick for Elias Lindholm, who's going to be a UFA next summer? That was a question that was put to me in a mailbag column I had, and then Aaron Portzline, who covers the Jackets for "The Athletic," entertained that. I got him to look at that question. And now, there are people who will go on platforms and say, hey, the Flames should trade for the third overall pick for Elias Lindholm.
I don't think that's a good idea, man. I don't think it's a good idea for Calgary, unless they're tanking, unless they decide they're rebuilding. And if Columbus is going to do it, why are you doing that, man? Like, you're nowhere near competing. You are not Elias Lindholm away from competing. I'm sorry. Don't tell me--
OMAR: Who is he here-- is the--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Don't tell me your opinion about it.
OMAR: Third overall pick? No, no, no. I just don't-- I don't get where that-- how that even makes sense.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: It doesn't make sense. It was just-- it was just someone asked a question, and we entertained it, and then it just snowballed into a rumor-- quote, unquote rumor.
OMAR: Yeah. That only makes sense if one, if it's clear-cut who the third overall pick is, which I don't think it is. I think it's Bedard and then Fantilli and then--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Could be Will Smith. Could be Leo Carlson.
OMAR: Right. So and then, like, why would you trade for someone who's going to be a UFA soon? Like, unless it comes with an extension, but even still, and if you look at Calgary, does that mean Calgary-- are they going to be bad for a year, maybe two? Like, I guess--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Because you still have Huberdeau and Kadri on those NMCs.
OMAR: Yeah, like you can't like-- yeah.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: And Jacob Markstrom.
OMAR: I don't think that would make sense at all because if you're doing that, then that means that you're admitting that the problem was not just the coach. But I think we've all talked about, like, on many episodes of Zone Time that the issue was, like, there is the cast, and then the person in charge of the cast doesn't really mesh together. But if you're getting rid of Lindholm, then that kind of takes away that opportunity for the cast to thrive under new leadership. So--
JULIAN MCKENZIE: But that could still happen if Elias Lindholm, who is due for a contract next summer, still feels he wants out. He didn't seem all that committed to staying in Calgary when it came time for those exit interviews. Now that some changes have transpired-- you can go back and see what those changes have been-- maybe he changes his mind. But if he doesn't, what are you going to do? Do you want to go through Johnny Gaudreau 2.0? Craig Conroy doesn't want to go through Johnny Gaudreau 2.0.
OMAR: Yeah, but I was going to say, wasn't he a bit like I only want people who want to be here type of thing?
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Mm-hmm.
OMAR: So maybe he does get moved. I don't know if it's for the third overall pick, but maybe he gets moved somewhere.
JULIAN MCKENZIE: Yeah, because he has to get moved for-- I hate to do it, but it might have to be Matthew Tkachuk 2.0. You'd rather Matthew Tkachuk 2.0 than Johnny Gaudreau 2.0 in that you're trading a player for assets. You just have to hope those assets you trade away don't end up four wins away from a Stanley Cup Final, though.