Flames, Oilers make a swap
Defenceman Steve Staios moves south to Calgary
The Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, arch rivals on the ice in the Battle of Alberta, consummated the first trade ever between the two teams.
Steve Staios, a veteran defenceman who was in his eighth season as an Oiler, was acquired by the Flames on Wednesday at the NHL Trade Deadline in exchange for defenceman Aaron Johnson and a third round draft pick in either 2010 or 2011 (Flames choice).
As Flames and Oilers fans got over the shock of the two provincial rivals making a deal, Flames general manager Darryl Sutter explained that this was not the first deal he has tried to make with the team from the north.
"I've tried lots," said Sutter, adding he had been talking with the Oilers over the last month on the deal for the 36-year-old Staios.
"We wanted a veteran defenceman with some leadership qualities where the money would work for us and that's where it fell. Steve is a player I have liked for a long time. I have seen him in the Calgary-Edmonton rivalry lots and quite honestly, in Vancouver, too. We are thankful to get him," added Sutter.
The Flames also acquired veteran goalie Vesa Toskala in a trade with the Anahiem Ducks for back-up goalie Curtis McElhinney and sent forward Dustin Boyd to Nashville for a draft pick.
They also acquired defenseman Andy Delmore from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Riley Armstrong. Delmore has been assigned to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League.
Delmore, a native of Windsor, Ontario, has played in 283 career games over six NHL seasons. He has accumulated 43 goals, 58 assists for 101 points and 105 penalty minutes. He has also played in 20 career NHL playoff games netting six goals and two assists for eight points and 16 penalty minutes.
Staios has had plenty of experience in the Battle of Alberta and some very physical battles with his new teammates.
"We're all professionals," said Staios. "We all play hard. I have no problem going into that dressing room. I couldn't say this when I was with the Oilers but I have a high amount of respect for the Flames organization. They have a lot of grit. A lot of character. You knew you were in a game when we played them. I hope they say the same thing about me.
"I really like the make-up of the team. The leadership. The character of the team."
Still, it was just a little weird when he first let himself say 'I am a Calgary Flame.' And he is well aware that he will be a trivia question for years to come.
"I am a Calgary Flame now and I will have no problem doing what I do when I put the jersey on," he said.
Staios was in Chicago where the Oilers were playing on Wednesday. He was to arrive late Wednesday and was looking forward to his first practice as a Flame on Thursday.
"Once you get the first practice out of the way you are part of the team," said Staios. "We've played against each other enough that I think we know each other pretty well. For me to play in another Canadian city with a chance to do something in the playoffs, I'm very excited about it."
The Flames have now added nine new players to the roster since January 31. Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik came via a trade with the New York Rangers; Ian White, Jamal Mayers, Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman came over in a trade with Toronto.
And now Toskala and Staios.
"There are not that many quality, veteran, leadership type defencemen in the market. If there were, we didn't feel they were as good as Steve or they were making a lot more money," said Sutter.
"He is a top guy when it comes to leadership and that is important to our team. I don't think I would have brought kids into the room. I think it is important to bring in veterans with the changes we have made. We are fighting with four or five teams for one or two spots and you don't want somebody who has not been through that experience."
Sutter, now done with his overhaul, likes the make-up of his team.
"We were playing good going into the break. Now we can get these guys settled and continue to fight for that (playoff) spot," said Sutter.
Staios, for one, is looking forward to that.
"I know the type of leadership and character we have in Calgary just from playing against them. It's been a while since I've played some meaningful games and big games, so I am excited," said Staios.
NOTES: Sutter said the Flames are about $1 million under the salary cap. "It's not an issue," he said...The Flames have 15 forwards, seven defencemen and two goalies on the roster, which is unlimited following the trade deadline...After all the deals, the Flames have two third round picks, two fourth round picks, a fifth round, sixth round and seventh round pick in the upcoming draft.