Rangers’ Return for Lundkvist May Benefit Flames in Big Way

A trade took place in the NHL on Monday evening, as the Dallas Stars announced that they had acquired defenseman Nils Lundkvist from the New York Rangers in exchange for a conditional 2023 first-round selection as well as a conditional 2025 fourth-round selection.

Related: Flames: Everything You Need to Know About Sonny Milano

Lundkvist being on the move didn’t come as a surprise, as the 22-year-old defenseman let it be known he wanted a change of scenery and was willing to skip training camp to ensure that happened. What was a bit of a surprise, however, was the rather big return the Rangers were able to get, especially given the fact that it was well known the player wanted out.

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There are likely many reading this who don’t know much of or perhaps haven’t even heard of Lundkvist. The 28th overall pick from the 2018 Draft has a ton of talent, but has yet to showcase it at the NHL level. In fact, he has only logged 25 games in his NHL career to this point, making it a steep price to pay for the Stars.

Nils Lundkvist New York Rangers
Nils Lundkvist, New York Rangers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Aside from many fans likely going straight to Google to search up Lundkvist after this trade, it wouldn’t have meant much to them unless they were a fan of either the Rangers or Stars. However, what they may not have realized was that this trade may in fact impact their team in one way or another. One particular example is the Calgary Flames, who could reap the rewards of what is a market clearly desperate for defensemen.

Flames Looking to Move Defenseman Ahead of Season

With 10 defensemen heading into training camp on one-way deals and Michael Stone having also recently signed a professional tryout offer, the Flames need to do some roster shuffling. It has been heavily reported that Brad Treliving is looking to move out at least one blueliner ahead of camp, though who that will be remains to be seen.

Oliver Kylington Calgary Flames
Oliver Kylington, Calgary Flames (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

One option who has been talked about plenty is Oliver Kylington, who is coming off of a career season in which he recorded nine goals and 31 points in 73 outings. His overall skillset in many ways matches that of Lundkvist, as both are excellent puck-moving defensemen who can skate like the wind. That said, it is obvious that at this point in time, Kylington is the superior of the two. That may change in the future, but as of right now it isn’t particularly close.

Why this trade between the Rangers and Stars could benefit the Flames is that it set a very high price for potential defenders available on the market. If Treliving were in fact to move Kylington, he should be able to get a serious haul in return given what Lundkvist went for. Of course, with the Flames being in “win now” mode, it isn’t likely he would be moved for picks, though the market price being raised could result in some teams choosing to part with a current roster piece they may not have considered before.

Another interesting player the Flames may look to move on the back end is Juuso Valimaki. The 23-year-old went from top prospect to overlooked in a few short years due to injury and inconsistent play. While most have assumed he wouldn’t fetch much of a return, the extremely high price Lundkvist went for may prove to help raise Valimaki’s value on the market. While he isn’t as promising of a prospect at this point, the 2017 16th overall pick still has a chance to become a regular top-six defender. That potential, paired once again with the newly-set market price, may be enough for Treliving to obtain a decent return should he wish to do so.

Juuso Valimaki, Calgary Flames
Juuso Valimaki, Calgary Flames (Photo by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

What could also help the Flames in maximizing a return is with Lundkvist traded, there aren’t many defensemen on the market at this time. After Jakob Chychrun, who will require a ridiculous haul before being moved, it is slim pickings out there. This should help Treliving get a better return than originally thought if he does indeed move a blueliner before the 2022-23 season begins.

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