The Flames recalled forward Dryden Hunt from the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers and activated goaltender Daniel Vladař off injured reserve in simultaneous transactions Friday morning, according to a team announcement. To clear the two necessary roster spots, the team assigned forward Cole Schwindt and netminder Dustin Wolf to the Wranglers.
Hunt, 28, has played in four games for the Flames this season, all coming within the first few weeks of the campaign after he made the NHL roster out of training camp. He has not been recalled since the Flames placed him on waivers and reassigned him to the minors in early November.
The undrafted free agent signed by the Panthers in 2016 has done quite well in his latest minor-league stint, posting seven goals and 22 points with a +11 rating in 23 games. The veteran of over 200 NHL games is on his fourth NHL team in the last two seasons after bouncing between the Rangers, Avalanche and Maple Leafs in 2022-23.
Calgary acquired Hunt in a deadline swap of minor-league forwards from Toronto at last year’s trade deadline, but he did not play for the team in the season’s final weeks. He reached unrestricted free agency without an extension in hand on July 1. Still, the Flames brought him back to the organization one day into the signing period with a two-year, two-way deal worth $1.55MM that pays him a minimum guaranteed salary of $400K this year and next.
Hunt scored three goals in 37 games split between the trio mentioned above of squads last season, averaging a career-low 8:04 per game. His expected -2.2 rating was also a career low. He is, however, two years removed from posting a career-high 17 points in 76 games with the Rangers in the 2021-22 campaign.
Vladař returns to the active roster after missing the last three games with a lower-body injury sustained off-ice. He hasn’t played since starting three straight games in mid-January, backing up starter Jacob Markström in five straight before landing on IR last week. The 26-year-old has a career-low .888 SV% and 3.27 GAA, not counting his five-game stint with the Bruins in 2020-21, and has a 7-7-2 record in 16 starts. This year is his third season backing up Markström after being brought over from Boston for a third-round pick in the summer of 2021.
While Markström’s high-end performance this season has generated a significant amount of trade interest, Vladař could be a chip for the Flames to move out if dealing the final three years of Markström’s $6MM AAV deal becomes too much of an obstacle in-season. The 26-year-old is signed through next season at a $2.2MM cap hit.
Schwindt returns to the Wranglers after playing 7:40 in yesterday’s 6-3 loss to the Sharks, posting zeros across the board. He has 2 PIMs, one shot on goal, and a -1 rating in four NHL showings this season dating back to late January.
The latest NHL shot for the 22-year-old Wolf didn’t go as planned. Calgary’s top goalie prospect conceded six goals on 31 shots against the division-worst Sharks last night, dropping his NHL SV% in 2023-24 to .878 through five starts and one relief appearance. The 6-foot California native has still performed at an elite level with the Wranglers, though, recording a .927 SV%, four shutouts, and an 18-7-2 record in 28 games.