Vancouver Canucks acquire Elias Lindholm from Calgary Flames
The Vancouver Canucks have made the first big splash of the 2024 NHL Trade Deadline, acquiring centre Elias Lindholm from the Calgary Flames in exchange for Andrey Kuzmenko, Hunter Brzustewicz, Joni Jurmo, and a first- and fourth-round pick in the 2024 NHL draft.
Lindholm, 29, is in the final season of a six-year, $29.1-million contract, set to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, though the Canucks could sign him to an extension if they like the fit. It would be difficult given their short-term salary cap outlook, but perhaps not impossible.
Elias Lindholm, reportedly acquired by VAN, is a two-way scoring centre. He's an off-puck player, specializing in getting open for high-danger looks rather than spending a lot of time with possession himself. Needs to play with strong passers and puck-movers to excel. #Canucks pic.twitter.com/3JvX2LyHzH— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) February 1, 2024
Lindholm is in the midst of a down year offensively, sitting at only 32 points in 49 contests as of this writing, but his two-way form remains strong and is likely the main draw for a Canucks team that's improved their territorial play of late but isn't necessarily an elite 5-on-5 team yet. We're only two seasons removed from Lindholm finishing second in Selke Trophy voting, after all.
It's hard to argue with the fit, too. Lindholm will presumably slide into the second-line centre spot that Pius Suter has occupied in recent weeks as the Canucks have moved J.T. Miller from that spot and onto Elias Pettersson's flank, alongside Brock Boeser, to form a super-charged first line, known in Vancouver as the lotto line.
The Flames, meanwhile, centred their return around Kuzmenko, a first-round pick in this year's draft, Hunter Brzustewicz,
Kuzmenko, 27, is in the first year of a two-year extension that he signed with the Canucks ahead of last year's deadline, valued at $5.5-million annually. At the time, he seemed like a perfect fit with the club, displaying outstanding chemistry with Pettersson to the tune of almost 40 goals as a first-year NHLer.
It's been all downhill since, though, as he failed to mesh with new head coach Rick Tocchet, who's healthy scratched Kuzmenko and pared down his ice-time as the season's progressed. A trade seemed inevitable, and here it is.
Brzustewicz is nothing to scoff at either. The Canucks took him in the third round of last year's draft and he's far outplayed his pedigree with the Kitchener Rangers this season, with 69 points in 47 games.