3 Flames Trade Targets From the Canucks

The Calgary Flames are off to a strong start, but they still have lineup concerns, especially on the wing. The new first line hasn’t gotten going this season, and despite it being early in the season, there is some concern. The right-wing appears to be the area where the Flames will look to add to at one point in the season.

Related: 3 Flames’ Early Season Trade Targets From the Blackhawks

The Vancouver Canucks are near the bottom of the league standings. After a horrible start, they’ve won two games in a row, but that doesn’t change the fact that they have a long way to go to become a competitive team. Canucks president Jim Rutherford stated, “we may very well be in a rebuild in the direction we’re going. But ideally, we’d like to transition this team on the fly. We do have some core players, some young players that are really good.”

The team does have a few untouchable players, but they also have a number of underperforming forwards that could be moved. The Flames could have their choice of them if things continue to go south in Vancouver.

Conor Garland

Conor Garland is likely the first to go if the Canucks decide to shake up their roster. His name has been floating around for a while now, and he is a good top-six winger. The Flames need the most help on the right side, and Garland is a natural right winger who shoots right.

If the Canucks become sellers, it should ease any concern that they would be helping the Flames get better right now. Garland plays on the Canucks’ top line but can be effective anywhere in the top six. Adding him would also push someone down to help create more offence from the bottom six and, more importantly, the third line, which has struggled to produce.

Conor Garland Vancouver Canucks
Conor Garland, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The biggest need on the Canucks is defence. They have four full-time defenders on injured reserve and, despite making two trades this season for defencemen already, both are third-pairing players at best. The Flames have more than enough strong defencemen, and trading a player like Oliver Kylington for Garland would help with the cap space, fill a need for the Canucks, and set the Flames up for a few seasons.

Andrei Kuzmenko

Andrei Kuzmenko is a rookie who chose Vancouver as the first place he would play for in the NHL. He had eight years of experience in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) before he made his NHL debut and is too old to qualify to win the Calder Trophy. Still, he became Canucks’ steal of the offseason, signing him to a $950,000 contract for one season. He will be an unrestricted free agent and will be sought after on the market because of his ability to produce.

Latest News & Highlights

Last season in the KHL, Kuzmenko produced 20 goals and 53 points in 45 games. He has a ton of playoff experience and fit seamlessly into the Canucks’ lineup with three goals and six points in the team’s first nine games. The Flames could ask about him if they are worried about cap space. Their offence isn’t clicking outside the second line, and even though it won’t stay that way for long, Kuzmenko could add the offensive boost for a deep playoff run.

Bo Horvat

The first three players are wingers, which is what the Flames need, but Elias Lindholm can also play right-wing. This could open up the possibility of acquiring a centerman and moving Lindholm to the wing on the top line. This is where Bo Horvat comes in. The Canucks have a few untouchables, but Horvat is not believed to be one of them.

Bo Horvat Vancouver Canucks
Bo Horvat, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He is an upcoming unrestricted free agent who will demand north of $7 million a season on his next deal. The Canucks will have a tough time meeting that number. There was also the message sent that if the players don’t step up, there will be changes to the roster. That will start with the UFAs, as teams are always searching for short-term help.

Horvat believes he is a number one centre. Whether he or Nazem Kadri assumes the role, if the Flames were to acquire him, they would have another weapon in their top six. That should bolster their lineup enough to remove any weak spots.

Nobody is on the move just yet unless the Canucks continue to lose, and it’s never too early to make a move for a contending team like the Flames, who have time and room to build chemistry. Keep an eye on the Canucks, but also the production of the Flames’ forwards.

Sign up for our regular 'Flames Newsletter' for all the latest.