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Flyers should take advantage of Western Conference arms race after Lindholm, Monahan trades

Scott Laughton
Photo: Heather Barry Images

Trade season is officially upon us. The NHL is in its All-Star break but there has been an increase in trade activity around the league.

On Wednesday, the Vancouver Canucks acquired center Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames for Andrei Kuzmenko, Joni Jurmo, Hunter Brzustewicz, a 2024 first-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick (third-round if Canucks make Western Conference Final). Lindholm was one of the top players on the trade board as the top-six center’s contract is expiring after this season. 

Moving Lindholm signaled the start of a potential fire sale in Calgary. The Flames have a few core pieces locked up, so they can’t go on a full-fledged rebuild, but rather the re-tool that Chuck Fletcher is so fond of.

For Vancouver, adding Lindholm shows that they’re going for it. They’ve been the most surprising team in the league this season and, despite having a sky-high PDO (shooting percentage plus save percentage), it doesn’t look like they’re going to regress anytime soon.

Then on Friday, the Winnipeg Jets traded a 2024 first-round pick (and a 2027 third-round pick if Winnipeg wins the Stanley Cup) to the Montreal Canadiens for Sean Monahan.

It’s been quite the turnaround for Monahan. The Flames gave Montreal a 2025 first-round pick to take his $6.375 million cap hit off their hands, and now the Canadiens got another first-rounder on top of that.

The Western Conference arms race has started with Vancouver (first in the West) and Winnipeg (second in the West by point percentage) adding top-six pivots. The Avalanche, Stars, Oilers, and Golden Knights are the next four teams in the standings and they could each use at least a little bit of help. 

It’s worth noting that the Avalanche are struggling to find depth pieces as shown by them signing Zach Parise recently. They’re currently running a second line of Miles Wood, Ross Colton, and Logan O’Connor. However, they do have decent depth on defense headlined by Cale Makar and Devon Toews, perhaps making 22-year-old Bowen Byram available in a “hockey trade” like the one Briere pulled off for Jamie Drysdale.

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