The 5 most important trade deadlines in Calgary Flames history
Photo credit:Candice Ward/USA Today Sports
By Ryan Pike8 months ago
These days, during the National Hockey League’s salary cap era, teams do most of their major team-building moves in the off-season. But if you look back over the history of the Calgary Flames, they’ve actually made a lot of big-time moves during the run-up to the annual trade deadline.
Let’s dive into the time machine and take a look at the five most consequential trade deadlines in club history.
The 1979 trade deadline
Man, Cliff Fletcher did some tidy work back in Atlanta. The Flames drafted well, transitioned players onto the NHL roster with regularity, and then flipped those players for assets that helped the team get better. Case in point? The 1979 trade deadline!
The Flames traded Greg Fox, Tom Lysiak, Harold Phillipoff, Pat Ribble & Miles Zaharko to Chicago for Ivan Boldirev, Darcy Rota & Phil Russell. Lysiak was a really good scorer and Ribble was a really reliable defensive blueliner, but the Flames had a young team that needed some veteran players to balance things out, and they got that, getting older with Boldirev, Rota and Russell. Heck, Russell ended up serving as Flames captain for two seasons before he, too, was traded as the team took another step in the mid-’80s.
The 1986 trade deadline
By the mid-’80s, the Flames were a team that was always in the mix in the playoffs but had trouble getting to that next level. They were good, but they weren’t quite “oh, I hope our team doesn’t play them” good. That changed in 1986.
The Flames made two pretty big moves in the six weeks leading up to the deadline that year:
- They traded Charlie Bourgeois, Eddy Beers and Gino Cavallini to St. Louis in exchange for Joey Mullen, Rik Wilson and Terry Johnson
- They traded Steve Konroyd and Richard Kromm to the New York Islanders in exchange for John Tonelli
Mullen found another level to his crazy scoring pace with the Flames, while Tonelli was a playoff warrior and veteran of four Islanders Cup wins that gave the Flames a lot of intangibles in addition to being a reliable scorer.
The 1988 trade deadline
By 1988, the Flames had been to a Stanley Cup Final (yay!) and were making a push towards their first Presidents’ Trophy (yay!). They were a scary-good team that hadn’t yet gotten over the final hurdle and won the big one.
They made two big trades prior to the deadline:
- They sent Kevan Guy, Peter Bakovic and Brian Bradley to Vancouver for Craig Coxe
- They sent Brett Hull and Steve Bozek to St. Louis for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley
Primarily a fighter added to give the Flames some grit, Coxe only played nine games for the Flames (between the regular season and playoffs) but was part of the trade the following September that landed the Flames some guy named Doug Gilmour.
In terms of Hull, the Flames were a team that had the ability to out-score their problems in 1987-88. Heck, they did that before Hull played a single game with them. So with a need to find some defensive help (and a reliable backup to spell off Mike Vernon), they opted to send a young player that was at the time a luxury in an effort to round out their group. It remains one of the most controversial moves in club history, but it seems to have worked out for both franchises because Hull score a zillion goals for the Blues and the Flames won a Stanley Cup.
The 1999 trade deadline
The Flames made a few notable moves before the 1999 trade deadline. Obviously, we all remember their acquisition of Tom Chorske from Washington in exchange for a pair of late picks, and the blockbuster swap of Chris O’Sullivan to the New York Rangers in exchange for Lee Sorochan.
But a lesser-known trade came three weeks before the deadline, when they sent Theoren Fleury and Chris Dingman to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Rene Corbet, Wade Belak, a second-round pick in 2000, and future considerations – with the Flames selecting from a list of Avalanche prospects selected in 1998. On deadline day itself, the Flames settled on Kamloops Blazers blueliner Robyn Regehr.
Losing Fleury sent the Flames into a short-term identity crisis, as they finally lost the final member of the 1989 Cup-winning team, but it began a soul-searching process that ended in 2001 with Jarome Iginla emerging as the club’s undisputed heart-and-soul.
The 2013 trade deadline
If the 1999 deadline enabled the beginning of the Iginla Era, the 2013 deadline was its unceremonious end as the team came to terms with trading its star rather than losing him to free agency for nothing – a similar situation as 1999’s deadline.
While the team made two smart tweaks on the fringes of their roster, moving Blake Comeau to Columbus for a fifth-round pick and sending minor-league blueliner Joe Piskula to Nashville in exchange for Brian McGrattan, the deadline period is remember more for two fairly disappointing returns on two big assets.
A few days before the deadline, Iginla was traded to Pittsburgh for college prospects Kenny Agostino and Ben Hanowski and a first-round pick in 2013. Jay Bouwmeester was subsequently traded to St. Louis for another first-round pick in 2013, plus Swiss goaltending prospect Reto Berra and minor-league defender Mark Cundari. None of the prospects added were considered A-level, blue-chip prospects, and both picks were in the second half of a first round of a draft that hasn’t aged particularly well aside from the tippity-top guys selected.
(Hey, we said these were important deadlines, we didn’t say they were all good deadlines.)
THE DAILY FACEOFF TRADE DEADLINE SHOW
Join us on March 3rd for the Daily Faceoff Live: Trade Deadline edition as Frank Seravalli and the panel break down all of the latest rumours, news, and rumblings from around the NHL. The show will be live on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter from 10 AM – 2 PM MT to keep you up to date on all things trade deadline no matter where you’re watching from.
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