Two things are often said about the National Hockey League’s trade deadline.
Outside of the NHL Draft, the trade deadline is the busiest time of the year for general managers and scouting departments. Teams make many, many moves at the deadline. And as Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke is fond of saying – teams make many mistakes at the deadline, as well.
Over the next couple days, we’ll take a look at the history relevant to this season’s trade deadline. We start off with a look at the trade deadline activity for the Calgary Flames over the past five deadlines and selected dates from the franchise’s past.
Days of Yore
- 1986: Flames are quiet on deadline day, but had previously acquired Joey Mullen and John Tonelli. They go to the Stanley Cup Final.
- 1989: Flames are quiet on deadline day, but previously sent Shane Churla and Perry Berezan to Minnesota for Brian McLellan and a fourth round pick (used to take Robert Reichel). They go to the Stanley Cup Final (and win).
- 1991: On a deadline day that, in retrospect, represented the beginning of the decline for the 1980s dynasty, the Flames swapped out Dana Murzyn, Mark Hunter and Marc Bureau in three trades that gave them Ron Stern, Kevan Guy, Carey Wilson and a draft pick (used to take Sandy McCarthy).
- 2001: Craig Conroy acquired from St. Louis on deadline day (along with a seventh round pick) in exchange for Cory Stillman.
- 2003: Flames re-acquire Dean McAmmond on deadline day after trading him to Colorado earlier in the season; he is ruled ineligible to play due to a CBA quirk, and the Flames miss the playoffs anyway. The Flames lose a fifth round selection in the process of trading for a player they couldn’t use.
- 2004: The Flames were quiet on deadline day, making a handful of minor moves leading up to the deadline, including adding Chris Simon. They go to the Stanley Cup Final.
- 2009: The Flames trade for Olli Jokinen, trading away Brandon Prust, Matthew Lombardi and 2010’s first round pick in the process.
The Flames hit the March 3, 2010 deadline a single point out of a playoff spot. They had a record of 30-23-9. It was Darryl Sutter’s last trade deadline as Flames general manager. He went a little nutty.
Arguably the most major trade was the end of the decades-long trade embargo with the hated Edmonton Oilers, as defender Aaron Johnson and a pick were sent to Edmonton in exchange for Steve Staios. In addition to launching FlamesNation’s popular “Staios! Is! Available!” meme, it also gave Calgary more old, slow defenders. Other moves including a back-up swap of Curtis “McBackup” McElhinney to Anaheim for Vesa Toskala, Dustin Boyd going to Nashville for a pick and a minor swap of minor leaguers Riley Armstrong (to Detroit) for Andy Delmore.
Twas a busy deadline, but not a particularly good one. The Flames went 10-9-1 after the deadline and missed the post-season by five points.
The Flames hit the February 28, 2011 deadline one point up on the ninth place club for the final playoff spot. They had a 32-23-9 record. It was Jay Feaster’s first trade deadline. He didn’t really do anything.
Okay, fine. He traded a late pick to Atlanta, who still had a team at that point, for Fredrik Modin. Modin was hurt most of his tenure with Calgary. It was a nothing move. The Flames went 9-6-3 after the deadline and fell out of the playoffs, missing by three points.
The Flames hit the February 27, 2011 deadline three points back of the playoffs. They had a 28-23-11 record. It was my first trade deadline covering the team on a daily basis and we sat and waited in the Saddledome media lounge awaiting moves.
The Flames did nothing, except giving Tim Jackman a contract extension. They could’ve flipped him for a pick or something, or the team could’ve begun their rebuild, but Jay Feaster delivered his “This team deserves a chance to win!” speech instead.
The Flames went 9-6-5 after the deadline and missed the playoffs by five points instead.
The April 3, 2013 deadline came significantly later than usual due to the lockout mucking around with the calendar. The Flames were a bad, bad team, with a 13-17-4 record. They were eight points out of the playoffs.
The deadline was quiet. One reason for this was that Calgary had already sold off everything of value (except for Miikka Kiprusoff) for picks, prospects and sandwiches. At the deadline they traded Blake Comeau for a draft pick. They went 6-8-0 afterwards and ended up 13 back of the playoffs.
And thus the rebuild began in earnest.
Last season, the Flames came into the deadline on March 5, 2014 with a 23-31-7 record. They were 15 points out of a playoff spot and under no delusions of what they were. This was the deadline under the guidance of interim GM Brian Burke.
Somehow he turned Reto Berra into a second round pick. Lee Stempniak was sent to the Penguins for a third rounder. The Flames brought up more kids and went a surprisingly impressive 12-9-0 after the deadline, but still missed the playoffs by many points.