The Calgary Flames have traded F Olli Jokinen and F Brandon Prust to the New York Rangers for F Chris Higgins and F Ales Kotalik.
In what has to be considered one of the most bizarre trades in recent history (the trade itself and they way in which it went down), the Flames send a guy they paid a premium for less than a year ago (Matthew Lombardi, Brandon Prust & a 1st round pick) to New York for a guy that has been written off by the Rangers and been a healthy scratch for eight of the last nine games. They also trade Prust for the second time in less than a year, something I’m not overly impressed with.
Kotalik, 31, is a PP specialist and can replace Dion Phaneuf’s shot from the point. He’s also known as a shootout specialist, something I suppose the Flames could use. But that’s about all he brings to the table. And he’s also under contract for two more years at $3 million per. Given the fact that Jokinen’s $5.25 million contract was coming off the books this summer, I can’t figure out why Flames GM Daryl Sutter would make this trade. But with the surplus of forwards now on the roster, one would think Sutter’s not done dealing. Perhaps he flips Kotalik?
Higgins, 26, is a former first round pick of the Habs, and had three 20 goal seasons before an injury filled campaign last year that seemingly derailed his career. He’s probably best suited in a two-way 3rd line role. A UFA at season’s end, the hope is Higgins can find his game in Calgary.
While Jokinen has essentially been a bust in the Western Conference, he gets a shot at redemption with the return to the East. Thankfully, the Flames replaced him with a better Finn yesterday in Niklas Hagman.
Prust is the guy I’m gonna miss. He’s a 4th line energy guy that will take on all comers and from what I understand, was a well-liked teammate. I was sad to see him leave at last year’s deadline, happy to see him return in the summer, and am once again disappointed to see him leave. I guess this shows why they got Jamal Mayers yesterday.
Strange deal, in my opinion. One I’m not quite sure is done yet. Aside from the PP option, I see no reason why the Flames would bring in Kotalik. He doesn’t fit the profile of a Sutter-type player at all, something a guy like Hagman indeed does. It makes no sense. Is there another shoe to drop? With 13 wingers – Iginla, Hagman, Bourque, Boyd, Lundmark, Higgins, Kotalik, Glencross, Nystrom, Mayers, McGrattan, Dawes, Moss – something’s got to give.
Alex Ruiz Trade Comments
Calgary television host/writer/producer Alex Ruiz got some comments from both Jokinen and Prust. She had them posted on her twitter account. You should definitely follow her!
JOKINEN – "You play for that sweater, that logo. Until they tell you you’re not part of the team, and they just told me I’m not part of the team… It comes with the salary – you make 5 million, 11 goals not going to cut it. It’s definitely a slap in the face to get traded… Going back to the Eastern Conference is exciting – Original 6 team… Opened my Flames career playing against Philly, and closed the book doing the same, it’s pretty crazy."
PRUST – "Calgary’s become my home and I’ll always respect the city and the organization… This is the ugly side, have to make the best of it… It was definitely tough – my phone was ringing off the hook last night… You’re waiting to hear confirmation, pacing around for hours, definitely didn’t sleep too well… You come out here, you have to get focused, help your team get two points, but we’re professionals. It’s done now."
Olli with some audio comments. Nice pic.