Calgary Flames, Chris Tanev, Columbus Blue Jackets, Gustav Nyquist, Nikita Zadorov, Oliver Kylington

Flames Can Look to Blue Jackets to Trade for Forward

The Calgary Flames have yet to move one of their many defencemen on one-way contracts. A couple of them don’t seem to be worth much since they already cleared waivers this season, but a few should pique the interest of teams struggling to find help on the backend. Defecne is the area the Flames must utilize in a trade to help them get stronger up front and back to the top of their division.

The Columbus Blue Jackets stand out as possible sellers looking to the future. They have a number of pieces that they could move on from this season who are on expiring contracts as well as other players with trade value that aren’t in their long-term plans. They could use defensive help and players with term, both of which the Flames have.

Flames Should Have Two Blue Jackets on Their Radar

The Blue Jackets have a lot of young forwards that should be part of the organization’s future. With so many to choose from, they would do well to free up some roster spots and offer more playing time to players like Kent Johnson, Cole Sillinger, Carson Meyer, Liam Foudy, Trey Fix-Wolansky, Yegor Chinakhov, Kirill Marchenko, and Emil Bemstrom.

Two of the Blue Jackets’ top-six will likely be moved this season, Jack Roslovic and Gustav Nyquist. Roslovic made Frank Seravalli’s top-20 trade targets of November at no. 11. The second-line centre has one more year remaining on his deal at $4 million AAV before becoming an unrestricted free agent (UFA). Nyquist is a UFA at the end of the season and has a cap hit of $5.5 million. The Blue Jackets have a lot of cap space to work with since Zach Werenski will be on the LTIR for the remainder of the season. This will help the team make a move by retaining whatever salary is needed.

Gustav Nyquist Columbus Blue Jackets
Gustav Nyquist, Columbus Blue Jackets (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The Flames have not gotten the production from many of their forwards they had hoped for this season. It is a reason for the 9-7-3 start. Jonathan Huberdeau, Andrew Mangiapane, and Dylan Dube are some of the team’s underperforming forwards. They don’t need help on defence, and they are secure in net right now despite the poor play. Adding a forward is the clear move. Whether the Flames want to go for the more consistent option in Nyquist, who would serve as a rental and play exclusively on the wing or try to acquire Roslovic, who is streaky, younger, can play centre or the wing, and has term, they should engage in talks with the Blue Jackets.

Flames Need to Move a Defenceman, Blue Jackets Need One

The Blue Jackets have a defensive crisis on their hands. They only have three healthy regulars and four are injured for a while. Zach Werenski is out for the season, while Jake Bean is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury, Nick Blankenburg will be out two months with an ankle injury, and Adam Boqvist is expected to be out for six weeks with a foot injury. All four have contracts extending past this season, but only two defenders in the lineup are signed through 2023-24 at least.

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Not only is Columbus very thin on the backend, but they will get thinner when they (likely) trade their number one defenceman at the deadline Vladislav Gavrikov. He may offer the most value of anyone the team is willing to move this season, and he also made Seravalli’s trade list at no. eight. Assuming he will be moved, there is at least one defenceman on the Flames who can offer value in return.

Oliver Kylington‘s name continues to come up. He is out right now but should return at some point this season. The Flames signed him to a two-year, $2.5 million AAV deal in the summer, so he is locked up for next season at least. Kylington had a breakout campaign for the Flames in 2021-22, scoring nine goals and 31 points while playing just over 18 minutes a game. He can be productive in a lesser role and provide stability to the Blue Jackets’ young core on the backend. With not a lot of high-level talent on Columbus’ blue line, Kylington will fit right in and be effective.

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

If the Blue Jackets aren’t interested in Kylington, Calgary has other options available. I would say, Noah Hanifin, Rasmus Andersson, and MacKenzie Weegar are safe, but the Flames could probably be convinced to move Chris Tanev or Nikita Zadorov. Both are signed until the end of next season and would provide strong defensive play in front of the Blue Jackets’ goaltenders, who sorely need it. With Michael Stone as a solid defenceman in the lineup for the Flames every night due to his strong play this season, it provides the team more options to use in a trade without losing too much on the back-end.

There isn’t enough room in the lineup for seven effective NHL defencemen to play every night, despite that they deserve to play. The Flames will soon have to decide which defender they are going to move and what forward they can acquire in return.

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