No team in the entire league did as badly at the trade deadline as Darryl Sutter’s Calgary Flames. Sutter pulled the trigger on three different deals, all of which aspire to reach the lofty heights of mediocrity.
The least odious of the three moves saw Sutter send young depth forward Dustin Boyd to Nashville for a fourth round draft pick. Sutter said that Boyd was simply “pushed out,” which is an asinine thing to say when players like Jamal Mayers and Brian McGrattan are supposedly doing the pushing. Boyd’s young, dirt cheap, and the Predators didn’t spend much to pick him up.
The next move was a total head-scratcher. Unsatisfied with Curtis McElhinney and his mediocre-to-bad performances in net, Sutter went out and traded him for Vesa Toskala, whose most remarkable quality is that he’s one of the few goaltenders in the league with inferior numbers to McElhinney. He hasn’t posted decent numbers since prior to the NHL lockout, and he comes with one other minor disadvantage: he makes nearly eight times as much money as the player the Flames sent away. At best it was a wasteful transaction.
Sutter saved his worst move for last, however. His divisional rivals in Edmonton have spent a ton of money on some questionable veterans, and one of them was Steve Staios. I like Staios as much as I like any current NHL player; he works hard, he gives his all, and he doesn’t cut any corners. Unfortunately, he’s (at best) a third pairing defenceman at this stage of his career, and his cap hit is $2.7 million both this year and next season as well. Sutter valued him highly enough to surrender a dirt cheap pending free agent in Aaron Johnson along with a third round pick, helping Steve Tambellini salvage what had to that point been a highly disappointing day.
It was a lousy day for the Flames.