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Monday February 1, 2010 9:52 pm

Blockbuster breakdown: Calgary Flames

Matt StajanThe Calgary Flames were part of the first of two bold trades involving the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday. The blockbuster trade saw the Flames give up defensive strongman Dion Phaneuf, as well as right winger Fredrik Sjostrom and prospect Keith Aulie. In exchange, they picked up forwards Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers, and defenseman Ian White. Calgary’s offensive woes have plagued them in January, and the addition of three mid-level forwards, they hope to provide a shot of adrenaline that will carry them through the playoffs.

Flames captain Jarome Iginla has struggled through most of the season, and the additions of Hagman may be the help he needs to get his offense going. The 30-year old winger has 20 goals in 55 games this season. Hagman will probably flank Iginla on the front line. His smooth skating skills and ability to pass the puck through traffic to Iginla should prove to be very useful to the Flames, who, aside from Saturday’s crushing of Edmonton, just haven’t been able to find the back of the net with any sense of regularity.

Stajan broke into the NHL at 20 years of age with the Maple Leafs. He quickly earned a reputation as one of the top penalty killers and impressed fans and coaches alike. During the 2008-09 season, he led the Leafs in scoring throughout most of the season before teammate Jason Blake (who was traded to Anaheim minutes after Stajan was sent to Calgary) passed him down the stretch. In a Flames uniform, Stajan will serve as a top-six forward and should instantly make his presence felt at both ends of the ice.

The focus of the deal for Calgary was offense. While White will serve as a temporary placeholder for Phaneuf, the Flames will look to Hagman and Stajan to help Iginla get back into a groove. Mayers seems only to be a part of this deal after expressing his frustrations with the team to the media last week. The loss of Phaneuf won’t be a big punch to the Flames, as they have more than enough defense and a top-level goalie in Mikka Kiprusoff. Now with the problems at the other end of the ice are addressed, they hope they can reap the rewards.



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