The Calgary Flames spent their trade deadline day acquiring depth defensive pieces, as they traded a 2020 3rd round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Erik Gustafsson, and a 2021 4th round pick to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for Derek Forbort. At the time, their defensive group was missing Captain Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic, so acquiring these players was necessary to temporarily fill their void. Calgary is looking to make a deep postseason run, and as former President Brian Burke once said, “you can never have enough defensemen come playoff time.” Currently, the Flames have a record of 36-27-7 with a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 games. They are 3rd in the Pacific Division with 79 points in 70 games.
Erik Gustafsson is a 27-year old defenseman making $1.2 million and is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. In the six seasons of data we have on him, he has a +0.12 career AB score. However, he is coming off the worst individual AB season of his career last season with a -4.41, and three of his last four seasons have been negative individually. In 59 games with the Blackhawks, Gustafsson scored 6 goals and registered 20 assists for 26 points. So far in Calgary, he has played 7 games, in which he has registered 3 assists for 3 points. For a defenseman, he has a solid penalty taken/drawn ratio during his time with both teams, as the ratio was 9:5 in Chicago and is 1:0 in Calgary. Gustafsson doesn’t have equally impressive giveaway/takeaway ratios in either city however, as it was 53:21 in Chicago, and currently is 5:0 in Calgary. He has a -9 +/- number on the season as well. Under 2nd-year head coach Jeremy Colliton, Gustafsson was averaging about 30 seconds more ice time than his previous career average of 19:59 per night. However, in Calgary under Geoff Ward, he is playing almost two fewer minutes than he was in Chicago at 18:01.
Derek Forbort is a 28-year old defenseman making $1.893 million and is also set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. In the four seasons we have on him, he has a -5.97 career AB score. He has never registered a positive individual AB season, and in fact, registered one of the worst individual AB scores in our database at -15.12. He is coming off a -7.52 score last season as well. Forbort has only played 20 games in the NHL this season, and during his time with the Kings, he has a 2:0 penalty taken/drawn ratio and has failed to take or draw a penalty in Calgary yet. Like Gustafsson, he doesn’t have great giveaway/takeaway ratios, as he had a 10:2 ratio in LA and a 6:0 ratio in Calgary. In 13 games with the Kings, he only registered one assist for one point, and in 7 games with the Flames, he hasn’t registered a single point. Under new coach Todd McLellan, he was averaging around two fewer minutes per game than his previous career average of 19:53. Under Geoff Ward in Calgary, he is playing about the same amount of ice time as he was in Los Angeles. It’ll be interesting to see how the Flames play out their final dozen games, and how they finish in the Western Conference playoff race. More to come.