TORONTO — Elias Lindholm said he expected the Calgary Flames might trade him. He didn’t expect it to happen so close to his NHL All-Star game, on a flight after a beach vacation.
“I was on my way back from Mexico and somehow I got service. There were a few texts and phone calls,” said Lindholm, who was sent to the Vancouver Canucks on a multi-player deal Wednesday night. “I got traded on my way back to Calgary, got home late last night, packed a new bag and got ready to come here.”
The Canucks acquired Lindholm from the Flames for forward Andrei Kuzmenko, defensemen Hunter Buzstevic and Joni Jurmo, a 2024 first-round pick and a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick. . Lindholm was one of the most coveted players ahead of the NHL trade deadline in March, and is a versatile center who excels on both ends of the ice. He is also a pending unrestricted free agent.
Lindholm said neither he nor his agent specifically informed the Flames that he did not intend to re-sign this summer.
“I always wanted to stay here. I loved my time there. I tried to make it. But Calgary wanted to do something,” he said.
However, Calgary GM Craig Conroy said he expected to trade Lindholm before the March 8 deadline. His timeline was moved up as Vancouver aggressively increased its offer.
Lindholm said his agent indicated days before the trade that things were trending toward a move.
“I was ready. I was ready for anything. Of course I didn’t know when or which team it was going to be. And I didn’t expect to come back from Mexico and get traded. But… Like I said, I’m really excited to be a part of this.”The team was there and very motivated. ”
Lindholm was traded at the All-Star break from a non-playoff seeded Calgary team to a Vancouver team tied for the NHL’s most points with the Boston Bruins. He will also be reunited with Vancouver Hockey Operations Director Jim Rutherford, who drafted Lindholm fifth overall in 2013 when he was general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Lindholm said he spoke with Rutherford after the trade was completed.
“I will always be grateful to him for giving me that opportunity. It’s a small world, and now we’re crossing paths again, so it’s fun,” he said.
Lindholm will represent the Canucks at All-Star Weekend in Toronto, leaving the Flames without a representative at the midseason event.