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Chris Tanev Trade Perfectly On-Brand for General Manager Craig Conroy



Craig Conroy Identity Miromanov

Four trades and a little over nine months into the tenure of Craig Conroy as general manager of the Calgary Flames has given us a solid sample of the 52-year-old’s approach to dealing out and acquiring NHL talent.  

Evaluate assets internally, identify market needs, see if a deal can be made to benefit three parties:

1.) The organization they’re trading with

2.) The players being dealt

3.) The Calgary Flames

The ideal trade for Conroy is win-win-win trade.

When Tyler Toffoli reportedly wanted a trade out of Calgary? The Flames managed to pick up a younger, less proven Yegor Sharangovich and a coveted third round draft pick in 2023. The Devils are happy with Toffoli’s impact this season and are seeking an extension with the 31-year-old sniper.  

Nikita Zadorov makes a very public trade request in late November after being stuck outside of the Flames top four? Conroy swings a deal for a 2026 third round pick, a 2024 fifth round pick, and enough cap space to capacitate further trades as the season progresses. The 6-foot-6 Russian was immediately inserted into the Canucks second defence pairing.  

Elias Lindholm isn’t exactly happy with his situation in Calgary. Insider Elliotte Friedman spoke on Lindholm’s disposition in a Feb. 2 episode of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast:

“Lindholm this year, he was uncomfortable all year. Like I said, I think right before the season the last time the Flames and Lindholm really looked at it,” said Friedman. “I think they were more than a million a year apart, like that’s a really tough, tough bridge to make up. And he was struggling, and it was weighing on him and you know, he was miserable.

With Lindholm unhappy and the Flames needing to build towards the future, off he went to, once again, Vancouver for a fresh start and a chance to prove his worth in a playoff push.  

Calgary recouped electric offensive forward Andrei Kuzmenko, a 2024 first round pick, a conditional 2024 fourth round pick, and defence prospects Hunter Brzustewicz and Joni Jurmo—the classic haul for a first line center.  

Three win-win-win trades.  


Chris Tanev

Conroy once again rooted out that particular outcome nn Wednesday night by sending grizzled veteran defenceman Chris Tanev to the Cup-contending Dallas Stars in exchange for a 2024 second round pick, 20-year-old AHL stay-at-home defenceman Artem Grushnikov, and a conditional 2026 third round pick. 

Per Eric Francis, the veteran of 814 NHL regular and postseason games had one goal if he was to be moved. 

“We had brief talks in training camp and then basically a couple weeks ago I sat down with Connie and said, ‘I want to try to win – this could be my best chance to do it. He was super understanding and would only trade me to a team where they had the potential to win, and I appreciate that.  

“As hard as it was, I felt it was the best opportunity to win a Stanley Cup, which has been my ultimate goal my whole career.” 

Queue the Toronto Maple Leafs jokes. 

The condition around the third is that the Stars need to make the Stanley Cup Final to transfer the pick to Calgary.  

Conroy has since let it be known that the Flames brain trust sees Grushnikov as more valuable than a late first round pick in 2024.  

Conroy Building a Brand

Former Flames head coach and general manager Darryl Sutter is a big identity guy. The rancher out of Viking, Alberta, spoke to that notion when he was re-hired in October of 2022.  

“In order to become a legitimate contender, you have to do it over and over and over to get there. The way you do that is you have to build that, and you have to establish an identity or a style of play or a core group of players that are committed to the long term.” 

Rookie GM Craig Conroy has taken that concept from the ice to the front office.  

With eight days remaining before the March 8 NHL Trade Deadline and pending unrestricted free agent defenceman Noah Hanifin still on the roster, the writing on the wall implies that at least three more wins may be on the horizon.  


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(AP Photo/Abbie Parr)


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