Flames trade Chris Tanev to Stars for Artem Grushnikov, 2024 second-round pick, 2026 conditional third-round pick

Written by Pierre Lebrun, Chris Johnston, Saad Youssef and Julian McKenzie

The Calgary Flames have traded veteran defenseman Chris Tanev to the Dallas Stars for a 2024 second-round pick, a conditional 2026 third-round pick and prospect Artem Grushnikov, the teams announced. The Flames retain 50 percent of Tanev's cap and salary. Calgary will not receive Dallas' 2026 third-round pick unless the Stars advance to the 2024 Stanley Cup Final. If that doesn't happen, no conditional pick will transfer.

The Stars also sent their 2026 fourth-round pick to the New Jersey Devils. The Devils retained 50 percent of Tanev's salary for 2023-24.

Tanev has been in high demand as an effective shutdown defender and is the No. 2 player The athleteLatest Board of Trade.

Stars general manager Jim Neal has made some smart deals over the years but this is probably at the top of the list. It wasn't hard for anyone in the NHL to see that the Stars were having a bad situation on the blue line, especially after the recent injuries to Jani Hakkanpäa and Nils Lundqvist. This was supposed to give teams leverage and try to pry away one of their top three star prospects in Logan Stankoven (who was recently promoted to the NHL), Maverick Burke and Leanne Pixel.

The Stars confirmed that none of these three possibilities were on the table in commercial discussions, especially with regard to leasing. For Neal, getting one of the best right-shot defensemen on the market without giving up a top prospect or a first-round pick is an instant win. Having 50 percent salary retention with how tight the Stars are against the cap makes it even more interesting for Dallas, who could hold on to their current blue chip group for more depth.

The Flames will miss Tanev with this trade. At 34 years old, Tanev has proven to be a reliable defenseman while allowing Noah Hanifin to showcase his offensive talents. His easy-going, fun-loving personality in the Flames' locker room endeared him to many of his teammates. With his UFA status up in the air and retooling on the horizon, Tanev had to be dealt before last week's deadline. It could be argued that if the Flames had waited longer, Tanev's return could have been different. But what if he gets injured?

Tanev's style of play likely played a role in why this trade happened now and not next week. Tanev has no problem sacrificing his body for the good of the team, and will play through anything. While the risk of injury exists for any player — and Tanev has proven to be mostly durable during his tenure with the Flames — Tanev's style of play has been more cause for concern than most.

The addition of Tanev immediately provides star options in the lineup for groups. They could opt to put Miro Heiskanen and Thomas Harley together at the top, a pairing that has been incredibly productive for the Stars. They could also explore pairing one of these natural lefty players with Tanev and pairing the other with another player to elevate the second pairing. Dallas coach Pete de Boer will have options to explore before the postseason.

With no GMs out there handing out a first-round pick to Tanev, this seems like the best move Flames GM Craig Conroy could make. The Flames receive a second-round pick in this year's draft, giving the Flames four picks between the first two rounds. The Flames will also receive a conditional third in 2026, but only if the Stars advance to this year's Stanley Cup Final, and a draft prospect is 20-year-old Grushnikov.

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What's also astonishing is the Flames retaining salary on Tanev, which is not something that typically happens with this franchise in their history via trades. But the Flames may have been more comfortable doing that when the contract expired than they would with one that included more strings attached.


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Youssef: The Chris Tanev trade puts the Stars in prime position to chase the Stanley Cup

On the surface, it's a modest return given expectations. Unless Grushnikov excels at the AHL level and emerges in the next few years, the prize for this deal is a 2024 second-round pick.

Tanev signed as a free agent with the Vancouver Canucks in May 2010 and spent 10 seasons with the Canucks before signing a four-year, $18 million contract with the Flames in 2020.

Tanev scored 14 points for the Flames this season. He scored one goal and provided 13 assists in 56 games played in the 2023-24 season.

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(Photo: Sergey Belsky/USA Today)

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