Flames: Calgary Boosts Blueline as Uncertainty Looms

The Calgary Flames didn’t exactly make a big splash on trade deadline day and that’s probably okay given some of the asking prices out there. They were in the market for some forward help and didn’t find much to fit the bill, especially with Jean-Gabriel Pageau shipping off for New York and promptly signing a six-year deal with the Islanders.

The Flames weren’t ever going to part with what the Isles coughed up for Pageau, the scoring leader from the Senators.

But what Calgary did do was tinker with the edges.

The Flames traded for defenceman Erik Gustafsson to get the ball rolling. They sent a conditional pick for the third round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft to the Chicago Blackhawks, so that’s a reasonable asking price.

Gustafsson was probably always going to be moved out of the Windy City with the Blackhawks again out of contention. The 27-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent and he’d been with Chicago since 2015. He found the better half of his offensive game this season, posting 26 points in 59 games this season.

Gustafsson will bring an offensive defenceman to the Flames, who are in need of blueline support given the injuries to Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic. This is a smart, no-fuss move for Brad Treliving, although it could give him more work to do this summer if he wants to keep the Swede. The Flames have four UFA defencemen in the hopper: Gustafsson, Hamonic, T.J. Brodie, and new guy Derek Forbort.

Forbort was acquired Monday from the Los Angeles Kings for a conditional fourth-round pick for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He has one assist in 13 games this season, having returned from back surgery on January 6.

The upside with Forbort is that he’d been playing with Drew Doughty on the Kings. That gives him a high level of exposure to the opposition’s best players, plus he’s a big dude at 6’4, 220 pounds. He’ll see his role diminish when Calgary gets their full complement of blueliners back, but the cost isn’t high and the risk is low.

Finally, the Flames sent defenceman Brandon Davidson to the San Jose Sharks for future considerations. He’s had a pointless six games with Calgary this season, so this is kind of a nothing deal from a hockey perspective.

Photo credit: AP

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