Although the Flames moves were relatively minor today, Darryl Sutter nonetheless managed to make trade deadline a controversial one for Clagary fans. Let’s go through the club’s moves trade-by-trade.
Vesa Toskala for Curtis McElhinney
This move is less about acquiring Kipper’s buddy and more about the team giving up on CuMac and moving his contract out of the organization. He was re-signed in the off-season with question marks surrounding his ability and his performance this year went a long way to answering them – to the negative. McElhinney had some of the worst stats of any NHL puck stopper this year and was clearly on the outs with franchise. Getting rid of the second season of his contract is the boon here.
As for Toskala, he’s an upgrade on McElhinney, but the difference is marginal. McElhinney’s even strength SV% of .874 is good for 72nd in the league. Toskala’s .898 is 69th. This basically means that Kipper is the guy for the rest of the season and the club hopes bringing in his BFF can keep him happy I guess.
Dustin Boyd for a Nashville’s 4th round draft pick
Since Darryl Sutter took over as GM for the Calgary Flames, he’s had precisely two of his draft picks become regular forwards at the NHL level: Brandon Prust and Dustin Boyd. Today, he dealt Boyd, a 23 year old who scored at a near PPG pace in his rookie AHL season, for a lower pick than was used to select him in 2004.
Although I forecasted this move last week due to Boyd’s plateauing development, I still regard the extremely limited return for him to be a major disappointment for the team and organization. There’s a vanishingly small chance that whoever the Flames pick will be anywhere near as good a player as Boyd, even if Dustin fails to progress beyond the 4th/3rd line support player he is now.
Steven Staios for Aaron Johnson and a 3rd round draft pick
I regard the first ever trade between the Flames and Oilers to be a clear win in favor of Edmonton – and I personally think Steve Tambellini is one of the most incompetent GM’s in the league. Steve Staios was once a tough and capable 2nd pairing defender in the NHL, but the truth is he’s a 35 year old player on the decline. There’s almost no chance he’ll provide value for his $2.7M cap hit, which extends through next year. On the current Flames roster, probably Adam Pardy is the only player Staios may usurp. So, in essence, he’s a depth defender for Calgary. At best.
For some context, here are Steady Steve’s advanced stats:
Second worst penalty differential on the Oilers
Middle tier level of compeition
Worst corsi rate amongst regular Oiler defenders (-12/60)
Third easiest zone start on the Oilers
The acquisition of Staios costs the Flames another draft pick (of which they have precious few), adds another middle-tier, poor value contract the club will have to deal with in off-season (joining Sarich and Kotalik) and did the Nothern rivals a favor by allowing them to dump a bothersome contract. From my perspective, it’s the acquisition of a potentially toxic asset for no apparent reason.
Overall, the Flames didn’t improve today. The back-up issue is moot (unles Kipper gets injured), a 4th round pick is a lottery ticket and Staios doesn’t measurably improve the back-end. Calgary took a step-down in terms of draft picks (acquired a 4th, but lost a 3rd) and added another contract to their rapidly diminishing cap space for the sake of a 35 year old defender on the downslope of his career. Frankly, I have almost nothing good to say about Sutter’s work today.