Vancouver Canucks acquire Elias Lindholm from Calgary Flames

The No. 1 team in the NHL has acquired the No. 1 target in the trade market.

The Vancouver Canucks announced Wednesday night that they had acquired All-Star forward Elias Lindholm, a pending unrestricted free agent, from the division rival Calgary Flames. They give up forward Andrei Kuzmenko, prospects Hunter Brzustewicz and Joni Jurmo, a 2024 first-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick.

The trade occurred hours after Canucks general manger Patrick Allvin was rewarded with a three-year contract extension and more than five weeks before the trade deadline.

Kuzmenko had a modified no-trade clause that gave him some say on where he went.

"We have been working with the Vancouver Canucks and the Calgary Flames since Sunday," his agent, Dan Milstein, posted on social media. "Andrei Kuzmenko spoke with both the GM and Head Coach prior to agreeing to the trade. He is looking forward to joining the Calgary Flames."

The Canucks, who have missed the playoffs the past three seasons, showed they are going for it. They're tied with the Boston Bruins with 71 points, the most in the NHL.

What the trade means for each team:

What the Vancouver Canucks get

Lindholm, 29, is a solid, two-way player who was a runner-up for the Selke Trophy (top defensive forward) in 2021-22. He'll instantly boost the Canucks' top six forwards. He has scored 20 or more goals four times, including 42 in 2021-22 on a line with since-departed Matthew Tkachuk and Johnny Gaudreau.

He's strong on faceoffs and kills penalties, and should help the Canucks improve their 16th-ranked penalty kill.

The trade of Kuzmenko, 27, clears up cap space. He's in the first year of a two-year, $11 million contract. The Canucks need to re-sign restricted free agent Elias Pettersson, plus Lindholm.

What the Calgary Flames get

The Flames weren't going to lose Lindholm for nothing as they did when Gaudreau left in free agency in July 2022. Kuzmenko has a year left on his contract and could benefit from a change of scenery. He had 39 goals and 75 points last season, but has been a healthy scratch at times this season and has eight goals and 21 points.

Brzustewicz, 19, and Jurmo, 21, are third-round picks. Brzustewicz has 69 points in 47 games in the Ontario Hockey League while Jurmo is a 6-foot-3 defenseman in Finland.

The Flames, who are five points out of a playoff spot, still have to make decisions on pending unrestricted free agents Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev before the March 8 trade deadline.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Elias Lindholm trade: Canucks acquire Flames center