Flames get Gustafsson from Blackhawks, Forbort from Kings

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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.

 

MORE: PHT’s Trade deadline live blog

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Canucks’ Ilya Mikheyev to have season-ending knee surgery

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Vancouver Canucks right wing Ilya Mikheyev is set to have season-ending surgery on his left knee.

Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin said Friday night the 28-year-old Russian forward tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team’s first preseason game Sept. 25. Mikheyev will undergo surgery next week and is expected to be ready for training camp in the fall.

Mikheyev was originally listed as week-to-week with the injury and played 45 regular-season games, finishing with 13 goals and 15 assists. He scored in his final appearance Friday night, a 5-2 home victory over Columbus.

Mikheyev signed a four-year, $19 million contract as a free agent last summer.

Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

“I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

“I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.