Calgary Flames Rumors: Team's Entire Summer Hinges On One Player's Decision

Trade targets, extensions, free agents... With the Calgary Flames in turmoil, it seems that a lot of what happens next can be traced to one player.

Yes, the Flames have a number of big decisions to make around key members of the club this summer, but it appears, according to NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman, that it all hinges on Elias Lindholm's decision—will he stay or will he go?

Lindholm is entering the final season of his 6-year, $29M contract with a $4.85M cap hit; but is he looking for an extension or a trade?

I think the Flames are waiting for Lindholm's decision before they start to decide on some of their other contracts, like the Toffolis, the Zadorovs, the Tanevs, other players like that. Because look, if Lindholm and Hanifin are out, Calgary could have some very different decisions they need to make... If Lindholm stays, I think they're going to try to stay in the race... (His) decision is the big linchpin in all of this.

And it's all based on having a chance to compete in 2023-24. 

"I think there've been conversations not only about the contract, but about the direction of the team," continued Friedman. "Which way are the Flames going? Lindholm has indicated that if he commits, he wants to know that the team is going to try to compete, and it won't be a rebuild. I think they know they've got to plug in some younger players and he's ok with that, but he just doesn't want it to be a complete rebuild." 

New GM Craig Conroy has a lot on his plate this summer, and it might all start with a serving of Elias Lindholm. 

Photo: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports