NHL Trade Deadline: Flames acquire Gustafsson, Forbort

In what seemed like a quiet 2020 NHL Trade Deadline for the Calgary Flames, turned into some solid defensive acquisitions without any major losses to the current lineup.

The Flames acquired defenseman Derek Forbort from the Los Angeles Kings, which cost the team a conditional 4th-round pick in 2021. Then, the Flames acquired a second defenseman from the Chicago Blackhawks — Erik Gustafsson — which came at the price of a 3rd-round pick this year.

Forbort, who has played alongside Drew Doughty recently, has played in 268 NHL games since starting in the league in 2015-16. He has 6 goals and 47 assists for a total of 53 career points. According to CapFriendly, the Kings will retain 25 per cent of Forbort’s contract.

Gustafsson is an impressive pick-up for the Flames, who in the absence of veteran defenseman Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic, were in need of another defenseman. The ex-Blackhawk entered the league also in the 2015-16 season and has 28 goals and 88 assists for a total of 116 NHL career points. Gustafsson led Blackhawks defensemen with 26 points so far this season. On the Flames’ roster, Gustafsson becomes the second-highest point-getter among defenseman — only after Giordano who has 27 points.

28 Goals88 Assists116 Points

One major question the Flames and General Manager Brad Treliving were facing ahead of the deadline was if the team was going to unload a current roster player. A list of Mark Jankowski, Sam Bennett, TJ Brodie, and Noah Hanifin had been circling among Flames fans for months. But, Treliving didn’t offload any core members of this Flames team, while also protecting any high draft picks the Flames currently hold — including the Flames’ first-round pick in this year’s deep draft.

But, the Flames did offload one member — Brandon Davidson — who saw an exit from the Flames to the San Jose Sharks in exchange for future considerations. The 28-year-old defenseman doesn’t have any points in his seven NHL games this season.

Although, the Flames’ GM seemed happy with the work he did on deadline day overall.

“We’re happy with what we got accomplished. A big thing to remember is strategically, we may have had to change gears here a little bit the last three weeks, with our injuries on defence,” Treliving says.

He adds that Forbort has some promise and can be a potential benefit on the Flames’ penalty kill.

“[Forbort] adds some weight. He adds some size. He adds some defending ability. He’s very good on the penalty-kill,” Treliving says.

Then, Trelving praised Gustafsson on being a “premier power-play player.”

“That’s really his bread and butter. He had 60 points in the league last year and we felt that was an area, up top, that we could address and a job that we could fill and he could help us,” Treliving says.

The new deadline acquisitions were important as there’s still the question of when Giordano will draw into the lineup, along with the uncertainty of the Hamonic injury. Giordano, last season’s Norris Trophy winner, has been out since Feb. 4 with a hamstring injury. Hamonic has been dealing with an upper-body injury since Feb. 8 and is listed as week to week.

Fortunately, Giordano has been practicing with the team the past few days and is with the team on a five-game road trip, which began on Feb. 23.

The Flames are on a five-game road trip, which started with a 4-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 23.

Next up: Calgary plays the Boston Bruins on Feb. 25. It’s still not official if either Forbort or Gustafsson will draw into the lineup, but those details will be known once the team shares the lineup for tomorrow’s game.

The Flames (32-25-6) are tied with the Arizona Coyotes for the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are also two points behind the Vancouver Canucks for third place in the Pacific Division.