Flames make flurry of moves to beef up blue line

Reuters

In the thick of the playoff race but without two of their top defensemen -- including the reigning Norris Trophy winner -- the Calgary Flames shook up their blue line on Monday with a trio of trades before the NHL deadline passed.

First, the team sent a conditional third-round pick in 2020 to Chicago for Erik Gustafsson. Then the Flames sent a fourth-round pick in 2021 to Los Angeles for defenseman Derek Forbort.

Finally, Calgary traded defenseman Brandon Davidson to San Jose for future considerations.

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Gustafsson, who turns 28 next month, has six goals and 20 assists in 59 games this season, after going for 17 and 43 for 60 points (all career highs) last season. He has 116 points (28 goals) in four seasons with Chicago, which selected him in the fourth round (No. 93 overall) in 2012.

His 26 points were tops among all Blackhawks defensemen. He can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

The 27-year-old Forbort has played in only 13 games this season, registering one assist and four penalty minutes with a minus-4 rating. He has missed much of the season dealing with a back injury. He, too, can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

The No. 15 overall pick in 2010, Forbort has six goals and 47 assists with 176 penalty minutes and a plus-8 rating in 268 career games. He has averaged 19:55 of ice time in his career.

The 28-year-old Davidson has not registered a point in seven games this season, and has nine goals and 14 assists in 169 career games with Edmonton, Montreal, the New York Islanders, Chicago and Calgary.

The Flames are without 2018 Norris winner Mike Giordano and fellow blue-liner Travis Hamonic. Giordano has been out three weeks with a hamstring injury but is with the Flames on their current five-game road trip. Hamonic is week-to-week with an upper-body injury that has kept him out of the lineup since Feb. 8.

Calgary (32-25-6, 70 points) entered Monday two points behind Vancouver for third place in the Pacific Division (though just six points behind first-place Vegas) and is tied with Arizona for the two wild-card slots in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Winnipeg.

--Field Level Media

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