Flames Top 5 Player Contracts Ranked

The Calgary Flames don’t have any huge contracts entering the 2022-23 season but have good and bad ones alike, as they have been fortunate to have traded for or signed players for cheap before they have broken out and become major contributors.

Related: Flames’ 5 Worst Contracts of 2022-23

As the Flames hope to be contenders once again, they are going to need productive players on great deals. Here are the top five contracts ranked for this upcoming season.

5. Noah Hanifin

It was close between Noah Hanifin and his top defence partner Rasmus Andersson, but there were subtle differences. Andersson edges Hanifin in a number of regards while Hanifin is paid $400,000 more per season. He isn’t a number one defenceman and isn’t paid as such either. But he and Andersson split the duties of what should be the role of a number one.

I believe Hanifin has more potential than Andersson and could very well have a better season in 2022-23. But he struggled in last season’s playoffs. He was a horrible minus-11 in 12 games but led the Flames in ice time. He is going to need a contract in two seasons. That also plays a factor in the rankings since he will need a pay raise sooner.

4. Rasmus Andersson

Andersson may have finished with fewer goals than Hanifin, but was more productive offensively overall. He recorded 50 points, two more than his partner, more power-play goals, and power-play points. He was also the Flames’ go-to defenceman on the man advantage, averaging a minute more of ice time per game than Hanifin. Not only that, but Andersson’s relative Corsi for percentage was also 10.3 percent better than Hanifin’s.

Rasmus Andersson Calgary Flames
Rasmus Andersson, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Andersson’s cap hit is very good considering how much he contributes in all situations and had a career year (from “Flames defenceman Rasmus Andersson having career season with Noah Hanifin”, Calgary Sun, 4/12/22). He is signed for four more years on top of that, the only defenceman on the Flames locked up for more than two more seasons. Furthermore, Andersson is less of a risk-taker considering he has fewer takeaways than Hanifin, but much fewer giveaways.

Despite scoring four goals, Andersson’s through-percentage on shots is five percent higher than his partner’s. This is an indication that he will shoot more when he knows he has a lane, resulting in rebounds and assists more so than goals. Getting shots through also prevents blocks and turnovers coming back the other way. He averaged the most ice time on the team per game and was a blocking machine. The Flames are fortunate that Andersson has developed into the defenceman he is and is locked up at a great price.

3. MacKenzie Weegar

The first of the great contracts acquired in a trade this offseason was MacKenzie Weegar’s. He has been a staple in the Florida Panthers’ defence group for the last two seasons, having to take over as the number one defenceman in both. He was up to the task and finished eighth and 14th in Norris Trophy voting while on a contract with a cap hit of just $3.25 million.

Though Weegar won’t be counted on to run the power-play, he is very effective on the penalty kill, as he will provide a ton of physicality and blocks while scoring goals and putting up a lot of points. He logged more minutes than any Flames player last season and will take some pressure off of Hanifin this season in multiple areas. Weegar may be the most underpaid defenceman in the league, and the Flames hope they can take advantage of this season while he’s cheaply under contract.

2. Elias Lindholm

Elias Lindholm has been very consistent and effective since joining the Flames four seasons ago. He really broke out and became nearly a point-per-game player in his first season with the team in 2018-19. His offence dipped a bit after that, but finally had a season to remember in 2021-22, putting up 42 goals and 82 points on arguably the best line in the league alongside Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk.

Elias Lindholm Calgary Flames
Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames (Photo by Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images)

It’s not impossible to see Lindholm repeat the success he had last season, but chemistry may take a little time to develop as he won’t have two high-calibre players to play with. Number one centres in the NHL are typically the highest paid and viewed as the most important player on the team. So seeing as the Flames have their number one centre, who also happens to be an amazing two-way player, locked up for two more seasons at $4.85 million, they must be very pleased.

Lindholm finished second in Selke Trophy voting last season while being a 40-goal scorer and a point-per-game player. That’s a huge accomplishment and he will play a big role defensively once again as his linemates aren’t as strong in the defensive zone. He is a top option on the power play and penalty kill, so his value is very high. The Flames have a steal in Lindholm.

1. Jonathan Huberdeau

Jonathan Huberdeau is one of the top players in the NHL, and for that, he has a cap hit of $5.9 million for this season. He finished fifth in Hart Trophy voting against some very tough competition, second in scoring with 115 points, and was completely dominant on the power play. The Flames don’t have to worry about any risk of their new top forward leaving as he is signed for eight more years after 2022-23.

Huberdeau should be able to help push the Flames’ power play forward and produce a ton of points on the top line. His playmaking ability will likely help Lindholm stay at the same level while boosting Tyler Toffoli’s goal production as well. He is without a doubt one of the most underpaid players in the NHL.

The Flames’ season will be majorly affected by these five players on great deals and the team needs to take advantage of their unique situation. The Flames have saved a lot of money and it can really come into play as they make another run for the Stanley Cup. Do you agree with the list? Leave your thoughts down below.

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