Flames Rumors: Goaltender Trade Very Likely Ahead of Deadline

The Calgary Flames are expected to be THE team to watch ahead of the March 8 trade deadline. GM Craig Conroy has a number of pending unrestricted free agents that he'd like to move as several teams have been calling of late trying to pry them away for a good bargain.

Conroy is expected to hold his ground until as close to March 8 as possible as the trade talks have ramped up in a major way of late. While the attention has been mostly on Chris Tanev, Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm, it's the crease which could actually be Conroy's biggest move.

Jacob Markstrom or Daniel Vladar is expected to be traded this season as Dustin Wolf is ready for consistent NHL action to help kick-start his development. Wolf's been dominating the AHL for a couple of seasons now and teams have noticed the pressure he's put on the Flames.

Recently, Markstrom's name has made his way onto several trade boards, however at 33 years old and with two seasons left on his contract for $6 million AAV, it's going to be very tough for Conroy to rid his hands of the Swedish netminder. 

Sportsnet's cast recently published an article on names to watch before the deadline this season and Markstrom made the cut. Here's what they had to say on a potential deal:

Armed with a no-trade clause and two more years at $6 million on his contract, it’s a long shot to believe the 33-year-old could be on the move anytime soon. The Flames certainly have to decide how they’ll make room for their top prospect, Dustin Wolf, at some point this year. But the club would have to go into full rebuild mode to consider approaching the former Vezina finalist to see if he’d waive his trade protection. Returning to being a reliable puck stopper this year, there are certainly several contenders who would love to add an impact goalie like him. He would come at a huge price as the haul for him would be bolstered by the likelihood the Flames would have to retain a big chunk of his salary to make things fit. Despite the chatter, he’s an unlikely trade piece for this year’s deadline, even though L.A., Edmonton, Toronto and New Jersey would all like to upgrade their goaltending.

While Markstrom is borderline untradeable with his contract and no-movement clause, Vladar is set to make just $2.2 million this season and next and doesn't hold any trade protection. He's been linked to the Maple Leafs in the past, and there's a number of other teams including the Kings and Jersey who are looking to add depth in net. 

Keep an eye on Conroy and the Flames. They'll be the busiest team ahead of the deadline as they look to re-tool on the fly and come back next season in much better shape.

Photo credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports