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Keegan Brekt Avatar

Now that the 23/24 NHL regular season and the 2024 NHL Draft Lottery is done and behind the Flames, I wanted to take a look past the disappointment of missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year, and look ahead to why excitement is starting to build for fans in Calgary.

  With the 2024 NHL Entry Draft quickly approaching, the Flames have some big decisions to make. Will they trade up using the 28th overall pick they received from the Lindholm trade? Will they trade Markstrom? Or even Rasmus Andersson?

  Although some of the noise around Jacob Markstrom has quieted for now, the question remains to be answered whether or not the Flames will pull the trigger on a deal to trade Markstrom before the start of the 24/25 NHL regular season, and quite possibly even before the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, which begins on June 28th in Las Vegas, NV.

  Some of the rumors circling the Flames have them looking to use Markstrom in a trade to land another top 10 draft pick, as they currently only hold one top 10 pick at 9th overall. Most fans are not opposed to that idea, and it would clearly be a great addition to an already abundant draft capital Calgary has attained for this year.

   The New Jersey Devils, who are picking 10th overall in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, have reportedly been in talks with the Flames about acquiring Markstrom since before the Trade Deadline of the 23/24 season. While there is speculation that New Jersey could still be a possible fit for what the Flames are looking to get back in a trade, things may have been soured beyond repair between the two teams due to the high asking price of Markstrom, and lack of compromise from the Flames to close a deal.
  From afar, this seems to be what lead to the comments from Tom Fitzgerald during the Devils Trade Deadline Press Conference:

  “At the end of the day, you know what, like, there is a market, um, people before me have set that market”, Fitzgerald explained.

“All I’m trying to do is be fair in that market, um, but you also need a team that wants to, you know, make fair deals too.

Versus just, you know, extorting you for every big asset you have.”

  The rumored trade with New Jersey had names like Holtz and Mercer being thrown around as possible return targets for the Flames.
  If the Devils are open to trading their 10th overall pick, it might be enough for the two teams to engage in serious talks again.

  There are a couple of teams that did not win a top 10 draft pick this year that I would like to mention as being potential suitors for Markstrom this off-season in my eyes.

   Several teams that were not frontrunners in the Markstrom sweepstakes leading up to the 23/24 Trade Deadline have since been eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and could now be willing to talk business with the Flames due to a poor showcasing of goaltending during the post-season, ultimately being one of the primary reasons for the early playoff departure.
  The Los Angeles Kings, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are at the top of that list for me, as both organizations could see fascinating roster changes this summer, and have assets the Flames could be targeting.

  I’ll start with the Kings.

  The Kings looked completely out of place in their first round series against the Oilers speed and fire power, where a once strong defensive team, looked slow and outmatched completely. With a lot of criticism falling on their goaltending, as neither Talbot nor Rittich was able to steal a game or two in the series against Edmonton. The Kings were eliminated on May 1st, after a losing game five, 4-3.

  On May 15th, the Kings announced they had signed netminder David Rittich to a one-year, 1 million dollar contract to carry through the 24/25 season. This feels like a show me deal for the Kings, as Rittich played well down the stretch.

   As far as a legitimate #1 starting goaltender, management is obviously yet to be convinced. Considering the rumors that swirled around Trade Deadline Day about G Linus Ullmark of the Boston Bruins, and that a deal that could have sent the netminder to the Kings, fell through last minute. It feels like the Kings are looking to the outside to secure the position.
  Could the Kings solidify the position with the addition of Jacob Markstrom to tandem with Rittich?
  They would have to offer something eye catching for the Flames to part with their starting goalie. What or who would the Flames be asking for in return?

  The Kings still hold their 1st round pick for this year’s draft at 21st overall. If they don’t want to part with this year’s 1st, their 2025 1st round pick might still be something the Flames are interested in, along with top prospect Quinton Byfield.
    Byfield, had an explosive 2023/24 campaign. Notching 20 goals and 35 assists, with a +/- of +19 in 80 regular season games played for his squad. More than doubling his point total from the previous season.

  My proposed trade would see Calgary send G Jacob Markstrom at 35% salary retention along with the 28th overall pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft to the Kings, for LW Quinton Byfield and the Kings 1st round pick in the 2025 NHL Entry Draft.

   While the Kings are unlikely to part with Byfield as a contract extension feels imminent, the fact that the Flames are willing to deal significant assets now, might entice L.A. enough to engage in  communication on a trade.
  The clock feels like its ticking for Rob Blake, who had shown faith in his team at the time of the trade deadline.
  During the Los Angeles Kings End of Season Media Avalability, Blake was blunt in revealing the dilemma ahead in finding a fix in net,

“…I thought our goaltenders gave us quality play this year, for sure…”

“What we don’t have is a long-term solution going forward.”

    During the Flames Year-End Press Conference, Conroy elaborated on the interest to retool the Flames through multiple facets. His focus mainly being in acquiring players between the ages of 18-23. Players that may already be making an impact in the NHL:

  “…Even when we were making the trades this year, you’d love to grab guys from 22 to 18 that are drafted, maybe a couple of young guys, 23 or, in that age group.”

“Those players are hard to, kind of, pry out of teams.

You know, that’s what you’re trying to do”, Conroy stated.

    The Flames general manger also alluded to how powerful the Pacific is, and how it’s going to take time to build a team to be able to compete with the top teams in the division. One thing the Flames are missing  besides young talent? Star players.

  Enter the Toronto Maple Leafs.

  The Leafs have been opposed to breaking up the core four in the past, regardless of the playoff failures that have followed each illustrious regular season. Now, after hearing from Leafs management during their End of Season Media Avalability, it’s crystal clear they’re motivated to change the narrative advancing forward.  

GM Brad Treliving, spoke about the summer ahead,

“…As Brendan said (referring to Leafs president Brendan Shanahan), when you go through a season as we have, everything must be on the table.

Everything needs to be looked at, everything needs to be considered.”

   One player who received a hefty amount of criticism from media and fans throughout the Leafs bout with Boston in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, was Mitch Marner.
   I think the Leafs are ready to move on from him, and the Flames could potentially land Marner using a combination of resources at their disposal. With the Leafs needing to cement their goalie position, and add a top pair defenceman, Calgary might have just what the doctor ordered.

  My proposed trade sees the Calgary Flames acquire RW Mitch Marner, C Fraser Minten, D Timothy Liljegren and the Leafs 2024 1st round Pick (23rd overall). In exchange for G Jacob Markstrom with 50% salary retained, D Rasmus Andersson and Calgarys own 2024 2nd round pick.

Some Fans believe that Marner would be hesitant to waive his NMC to come to Calgary, but I think he knows he needs to get out of Toronto.
  This would give the Flames that superstar flare again. Even if Marner didnt want to sign an extension, it still gives Calgary another asset to sell high on at the 2025 NHL Trade Deadline.

    There are a plethora of options for Calgary pertaining to what they could pursue. With every added trade rumor stoking the fire, Flames Fans are likely to see some big trades before draft day arrives. There was news recently suggesting that the Flames could also be in trade discussions with Utah and Carolina.

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