If the Boston Bruins want to acquire Calgary Flames center Elias Lindholm before the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline, they are going to have some stiff competition on the NHL trade market.
The NHL Holiday Roster Freeze is in effect until Dec. 28, but that doesn’t mean that the NHL trade rumor mill has stopped churning. On the most recent edition of ‘TSN Insider Trading‘ NHL insider Pierre LeBrun became the latest to link the Boston Bruins to the Flames’ potential 2024 unrestricted free agent. He also linked another Stanley Cup contender in the Colorado Avalanche.
While LeBrun stressed that neither the Flames nor Elias Lindholm have told each other that they’d like to move on, LeBrun, like many around the NHL do, believes Lindholm will be dealt prior to the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline.
“Well, first thing is, it’s been really quiet on that front too. And part of it is that there have not been a lot of conversations between the Lindholm camp and the Calgary Flames,” LeBrun said when asked for an update on Lindholm. “Not that you should read into that because the Flames haven’t told him they’re definitely moving him, and Lindholm hasn’t told the Flames he definitely wants out. So there’s that.
But I do think he’s going to get dealt closer to March 8, and the two teams that come to mind for me are the Boston Bruins and the Colorado Avalanche. Both could use that fit. We know no one can replace Patrice Bergeron, but a right-handed center like Lindholm, who has defensive acumen, certainly would be a nice fit.”
As LeBrun pointed out, though, the Boston Bruins are behind the eight ball when trying to acquire a hot commodity like Lindholm on the NHL trade market. Not only do the Bruins lack a 2024 first round pick, but they will have to compete with the likes of the Avalanche and other contenders if they want to acquire the 29-year-old, 6-foot, 194-pound pivot.
“The problem for Boston? They traded their first-round pick this year last year for Tyler Bertuzzi as a rental,” LeBrun pointed out. “Colorado is looking for an upgrade in their top six. But again, acquisition cost. They don’t want to spend too high a price; they’ve done that a lot in the last few years. But it’s a name that will be near the top of our Trade Bait Board closer to March 8.”
Making matters even worse for the Bruins is even if the Flames don’t ask for a 2024 first round pick as part of a trade return for Lindholm, the Bruins don’t have a 2024 second or third round pick either. So if the Flames were willing to do a return combo of picks and prospects or picks, prospects, and players, the Bruins likely can’t compete with other interested Lindholm trade suitors unless the Flames are willing to take back 2025 and beyond picks.
The only thing that could save the Bruins in their pursuit of Lindholm is if the Flames were still in playoff contention heading into the deadline and wanted roster players instead of futures. If that was the case, and the likes of Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk and defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, both potential 2024 UFAs like Lindholm, were still unsigned, could they, along with a top prospect, entice Flames general manager Craig Conroy?