3 Best Moves Flames Made During 2022 Offseason

The Calgary Flames made the biggest splashes this offseason in not only one big trade, but also a massive signing. Emotions were all over the place for fans, and given the situation the team was put in, it is one of the best re-tools in NHL history.

The Flames had a bounce-back season in 2021-22, led by their top line and strong defensive play. With a new look and a deeper forward and defensive group, they are primed to do even more damage this season. Let’s check out the three best offseason moves by Brad Treliving for the Flames.

Matthew Tkachuk Trade

Though it may have looked as if the deal could end in the Flames having just Cole Schwindt and a first-round pick after the 2022-23 season, the perception has quickly changed. Many initially thought that the Flames had won the trade that saw Matthew Tkachuk head to Florida while Jonathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, Schwindt, and a first-round pick came back to Calgary. But since Tkachuk had signed an eight-year deal, the long-term favoured the Panthers.

Jonathan Huberdeau Florida Panthers
Jonathan Huberdeau with the Florida Panthers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Treliving and the Flames made the absolute best out of a situation where they were handcuffed. Tkachuk wanted out, and the team didn’t want him to head to arbitration since he would be given a one-year deal. Instead, the Flames pulled off a sign-and-trade to one of what had to have been few teams Tkachuk was willing to play for long-term.

There is no doubt that the Flames came out on top after Huberdeau re-signed for eight years in short order. Since there is one final year on his deal that holds a cap hit of $5.9 million, the Flames get last season’s second highest scorer at an amazing price and for nine total years. Weegar, a very underrated defenceman who makes the Flames’ defence arguably the best in the league, is also willing to re-sign long-term. So if Treliving can get Weegar signed as well, then the trade would have been a complete success.

Flames Recovered From Gaudreau Departure

Johnny Gaudreau put the Flames in a bad spot letting them know less than 24 hours before free agency opened that he would not be re-signing despite the efforts of Treliving and company. It may have also caused the ripple effect that led to Tkachuk’s departure.

Nazem Kadri Colorado Avalanche
Nazem Kadri with the Colorado Avalanche (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Flames were able to recover immediately, but they were able to land the second biggest free agent that was available this offseason, Nazem Kadri. While Mikael Backlund is declining offensively and is better suited for the third line, Kadri comes in to bolster the top-six and spread out the scoring a bit. He is coming off a Stanley Cup-winning playoff run, where he battled and is a playoff performer. The veteran is also coming off a career year and is known to score goals and play a gritty and pesky style of game.

Related: Flames’ Stanley Cup Window Will Stay Open Longer With Cap Rise

The contract of $7 million average annual value may look fine now, and that’s what matters as the Stanley Cup window remains open. To lock up players, the back-half of the contract doesn’t typically turn out well. But teams are paying for the player in his prime for three to four years and deal with the effects of the remaining years at a later date. Without giving up a ton of more assets, Kadri was the best the Flames could do to recover and fill out their top-six for next season and beyond.

Flames Had to Move Monahan

It may not have been the most ideal move losing a first-round pick, but the Flames still hold their 2023 first-rounder. The first-round pick used to move Sean Monahan to the Montreal Canadiens was part of the deal that brought Huberdeau and Weegar over and is a few years down the line.

Sean Monahan Calgary Flames
Sean Monahan with the Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

It may sting a little losing a high draft pick, just to move a bad contract, but it was very necessary in the Flames’ situation. After three significant declining seasons from Monahan and health concerns, the Flames weren’t about to hope he could stay healthy and contribute the way he once did. Instead, he was shipped out in a cap dump since he had one year left at $6.375 million to make room to sign Kadri that same day.

Kadri is a very good second-line centre with the ability to cover on the first line if needed. He showed that last season when Nathan MacKinnon missed time and Kadri became an All-Star. Monahan was on the fourth line at times last season and struggled for the Flames before suffering a season-ending injury.

Treliving saved the Flames from certain doom and a likely rebuild with the stellar offseason highlighted by a lot of key signings and necessary trades. They will remain a top team in the west this season with their new look.