In past years, the Calgary Flames have been relatively quiet on Trade Deadline Day. This year was a different story as the Calgary Flames were front and centre in the media on the last day of trades for the 2008-2009 season. They made trades with the Phoenix Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche to improve their team for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
While saying goodbye to 2 proven players – Matthew Lombardi and Brandon Prust – the Calgary Flames welcome back former Flames defenceman Jordan Leopold and add some offensive punch with big center Olli Jokinen.
The Flames gave up Lombardi and Prust plus a 2nd round pick in the 2009 draft, and a 1st round draft pick in either 2009 or 2010. The Flames replaced these draft picks with a 3rd round pick in the 2009 draft as a part of the Jokinen deal.
In response to the question of the loss of draft picks in the 2009 entry draft, Flames General Manager Darryl Sutter said that he looked deep into the Flames farm system to see if this would be a problem. There are currently 9 or 10 players that can be called up to the NHL at any time if necessary, so the impact of no first round pick next year will be minimal.
As soon as the news of the trade was announced in the media, the immediate response was, “How will the Flames fit this into the Salary Cap?”.
In response to this quesion, Sutter replied that the Flames went into today with about $1.5 million in cap space available. With injuries to several key players (Langkow, Bertuzzi, and Giordano), the Flames found themselves with more space to play with. This allowed them to make the move for Jokinen at a time when they could get him for a price they were willing (and able) to pay.
It is no secret that the Flames were looking to trade for Jokinen last summer before he was traded from Florida to Phoenix in June. The Flames have needed another big center for several years to complement their first and 2nd lines. Daymond Langkow has filled that role well, but some of the pressure will be off him with Jokinen in the lineup.
In Leopold, the Flames have found a suitable replacement for Mark Giordano who is out for the season after shoulder surgery. Leopold was a big part of the Flames 2004 Stanley Cup Finals run and will surely help the team down the stretch this season. He he moves the puck incredibly well and is capable of playing with just about anyone.
Jokinen should flourish in the Flames organization as he will not have the pressure of being the “big leader” that he was in Florida and Pheonix. He will get a chance to come into a team that already has solid leadership in Jarome Iginla and Robyn Regehr, and he should be able to prove himself on the ice.