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Flames reportedly pausing all contract talks amid awful start to season

The Flames have recorded a mere five points through their first nine games of the 2023-24 NHL season.

Those good vibes Calgary Flames fans felt in the wake of Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin wanting to sign with the club could soon be gone — if they're not already.

According to Sportsnet’s Eric Francis, the Flames have put a pause on all contract negotiations amid their rough start to the season.

Considering the Flames are sitting second last in the Western Conference with a 2-6-1 record, it’s not all that surprising to hear that Calgary is rethinking its approach. Dating back to the 2005-06 season, teams that are four or more points out of a playoff spot by Nov. 1 miss the postseason 88.7% of the time, according to Francis (who credited his colleague Elliotte Friedman for that figure).

Based on that number, it seems unlikely the Flames will squeak into the playoffs this season.

Flames players Elias Lindholm (28) and Noah Hanifin (55) might see their names appear in trade rumors in the coming months. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Flames players Elias Lindholm (28) and Noah Hanifin (55) might see their names appear in trade rumors in the coming months. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Nine games into 2023-24, the Flames are 29th in goals per game (2.11), 28th in goals against per game (3.67) and 29th in team save percentage (.874). They’ve been horrible at 5-on-5, with a 31.43% Goals For percentage to show for it.

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Jonathan Huberdeau, the fourth-highest-paid winger in the league, hasn’t been able to produce anywhere near the 100-plus points he was recording before arriving in Calgary. Nazem Kadri has scored just two points in nine games. The Flames' leading scorers are Andrew Mangiapane and Lindholm, who each have six points in nine contests.

Calgary is smart to make its intentions clear at this point and drum up potential trade interest in Lindholm and Hanifiin. As of now, there aren’t really any intriguing rental options for the upcoming trade deadline. Every pending big-name UFA – like Steven Stamkos, Jake Guentzel, William Nylander, and Chandler Stephenson — is on a contending team.

Now, it looks like Lindholm and Hanifin will vault up the hypothetical, way-too-early 2024 trade deadline target list.