While one team in Alberta spent Monday bolstering its forward depth, Calgary spent the day trying to strengthen its defense.
First, the Flames acquired defenseman Derek Forbort from the Los Angeles Kings for a fourth-round draft pick.
The bigger move, though, is the one that saw them get Erik Gustafsson from the Chicago Blackhawks for a third-round pick.
Gustaffson is purely an offensive-defenseman and should bring some added scoring punch to Calgary’s blue line.
He may never going to repeat the 16-goal, 60-point season he had for the Blackhawks a year ago, but he is still on track for close to 10 goals and 40 points this season. He is not going to be the player you want playing 25 minutes against other team’s top players every night, but if you put him in the right spot and put him into situations where he can excel offensively he can be a really useful player.
He is an unrestricted free agent after this season and signed for just $1.2 million against the salary cap.
For the Blackhawks, trading Gustafsson (and Robin Lehner to Vegas) is a pretty clear sign that management has given up on the playoffs this season. And rightfully so. The team has completely stalled out with its current roster and is headed for its third consecutive non-playoff season. The time has come to look toward the future.
What’s surprising here — and probably a little disappointing if you are a Blackhawks fan — is that they were only able to get a third-round pick for him. That seems like an incredibly low return, especially when San Jose was able to get a first-round pick for Barclay Goodrow and Montreal was able to get two draft picks for Marco Scandella, including a second-rounder. Even Forbort went for a fourth-round pick and he has only played in 13 games this season.
Given Gustaffson’s production and low salary cap hit you would have thought he would have more value around the league.
The big takeaway from that has to be that teams did not feel the defensive shortcomings were worth the offensive upside.
In the end, the Blackhawks received a backup goalie, a prospect, and second-and third-round draft picks for Gustafsson and Robin Lehner. Even with the fact they are both rentals, that does not seem like enough.