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Still plenty of questions facing Flames as they head for training camp

When Craig Conroy was hired as the Calgary Flames general manager, he said he would never let a Johnny Gaudreau situation happen again.

Gaudreau was an unrestricted free agent and all indications were he was going to re-sign with the Flames.

But every Flames fan knows what happened next: Gaudreau did an about face and signed with Columbus instead. 

The Flames ended up getting nothing for him.

This year, the Flames have six players who will head into unrestricted free agency once the season is over.            

Speaking before he teed off in the Flames annual charity golf tournament Wednesday, Conroy said he isn’t pushing the panic button just yet.

“Well I mean obviously everybody wants to get things done quickly but when it’s guys with one year left they do have one year left,” Conroy said.

“They’re all excited to be back and you know we’ll continue to talk to them.  That’s what we’ve been doing all summer.  You know I think it’s a different landscape, everyone knows the salary cap or thinks the cap is going up so there’s going to be more money out there and that’s probably part of the challenge right now.”


Conroy has made it clear his top priority is re-signing centre Elias Lindholm but so far no deal has been done.

Lindholm says he wants to be here.

“I’ve been pretty clear that I’m willing to stay,” said the 28-year-old.

“I love it here.  I love Canada as a country and I love Calgary as a city and ever since I got here it’s been great.  The fans have been good and everyone has treated me well and great teammates and everything else.”


Conroy believes the team is making headway towards a new contract for Lindholm.

“It’s been good,” he said.

“I mean Elias wants to be here and we’re working on that with his representation and we’ll just continue to do that but I think it’s going in the right direction.”


The other players who will be unrestricted after this season are forward Mikael Backlund and four defencemen: Chris Tanev, Nikita Zadorov, Oliver Kyilington and Noah Hanifin.

The 26-year-old Hanifin is entering his ninth NHL season and indicated in the off-season he wasn’t going to sign in Calgary long term.

Hanifin says he’s going to take a wait-and-see approach.

Noah Hanifin made his first start of the 2021-22 season Monday after returning from shoulder surgery at the end of last season

“I think there was just a lot to digest last summer after the year we had and not making the playoffs”, said the smooth skating rearguard.

“There were a lot of expectations on the team and for me personally I just want to see how this year plays out a little bit and take my time a little bit.  It’s a big year for the group and me individually as well so I’m excited to get it going.”

Flames prospects will hit the ice on Thursday at Winsport for the start of rookie camp and will head to Penticton in the afternoon and get ready for this weekends Young Stars Tournament. 

Here’s a look at the schedule of games the Flames prospects will play in.

Friday-Flames vs Canucks-8:30 pm-MT

Saturday-Flames vs Oilers 8:30 pm-MT

Monday-Flames vs Jets-11:00 am MT Top Stories

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