You could bet when Mark Giordano and Travis Hamonic went down for the Calgary Flames that the team called around on every available defenseman. Well, even though Giordano is set to return soon after being a full participant in practice again today, they’ve added some depth on the blueline. The team has acquired Derek Forbort from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a 2021 conditional fourth-round pick, and Erik Gustafsson from the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2020 third-round pick. The Kings also retained 25% of Forbort’s contract.
The Flames have made moves like this in the past. Last year they added Oscar Fantenberg at the deadline to give them a little more depth on defense, and in 2017 it was Michael Stone coming in. Forbort and Gustafsson may come with even more excitement than those two, given their recent history. Forbort has been a partner of Drew Doughty, logging more than 20 minutes a night for the Kings in each of the previous three seasons. Injury stole most of this year, but he can be a reliable addition to a third pairing while the Flames work through injury.
It’s Gustafsson that brings the real intrigue however. Quietly the Blackhawks defender put up 17 goals and 60 points a season ago, and has established himself as a legitimate offensive threat. While his defensive work leaves something to be desired, the 27-year old could add a new dimension to the Flames.
Both players are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the year, explaining the relatively low costs. Some mid-round picks for the Kings and Blackhawks are just pieces to add to the cupboard as they both try to climb their way back to the top of the Western Conference.