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Brad Treliving prefers to do his wheeling and dealing in the off-season, particularly around the National Hockey League Draft.
The Calgary Flames general manager rarely makes a splash at the trade deadline.
So, true to form, it wasn’t unexpected that he would make two rather insignificant deals on Monday to acquire a pair of left-handed defencemen to bolster his blueline at the NHL level.
By picking up Derek Forbort from their Pacific Division rivals, the Los Angeles Kings, and Erik Gustafsson from the Chicago Blackhawks, the Flames were able to put a temporary patch on their situation — that is, the fact they’re operating without two of their top defencemen : captain Mark Giordano and shut-down guy Travis Hamonic.
Clearly, Treliving wasn’t seeing enough from his current group, which features Michael Stone in the top-four and the relatively inexperienced Rasmus Andersson, Oliver Kylington and Noah Hanifin.
The left-shooting Gustafsson can play the right side, while the left-shooting Forbort, paired with Drew Doughty, has faced top competition on a nightly basis. That being said, Treliving didn’t give much up for a temporary solution (Forbort’s US$2.525-million cap hit expires this summer; ditto for Gustafsson’s $1.2-million cap hit) as it cost him a fourth-rounder in 2021 and a third-rounder in 2020.
They also off-loaded left defenceman Brandon Davidson in a deal with the San Jose Sharks.
However, one couldn’t help but wondering if their approach would have be different if the Flames didn’t need to fix their blueline and plug some holes.
All along, the thought was to get a right-shot winger to help out the team’s forward group — Treliving failed to do that.
That could work out just fine.
The Flames haven’t been terrible this season, especially given the amount of adversity this team has faced. They’re still in the mix for a playoff spot with 19 regular-season games remaining.
But it seems like the rest of the Pacific Division improved on Monday … and the Flames are relatively the same.
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