In this edition of Calgary Flames News & Rumors, it sounds as though Tyler Toffoli wasn’t the only player general manager Brad Treliving was interested in from the Montreal Canadiens, as they nearly landed defenceman Ben Chiarot in the same trade. In other news, head coach Darryl Sutter doesn’t appear to be overly surprised or excited about his team tying a franchise record 10 game winning streak. Meanwhile, Adam Ruzicka was fined by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety (DoPS) for elbowing Anaheim Ducks defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk. Last but not least, being placed on a line with his former junior hockey teammate in Toffoli seems to be providing a spark to Sean Monahan.
Flames Nearly Acquired Chiarot From Canadiens
When news broke that the Flames had acquired Toffoli from the Habs, fans in the city of Calgary were very excited and happy with the job Treliving had done. Apparently, there was an opportunity for even more to happen that day. TSN’s Darren Dreger said on Insider Trading that Treliving was also in on Chiarot, but the price he would have had to pay eventually led to him making a move for just Toffoli.
Shortly after Dreger’s comments, Pierre LeBrun suggested that the Flames, who many believe will add a defenceman ahead of the trade deadline, may circle back to Chiarot in the near future. Both seem to think the cost to add the Habs defenceman will be a first-round pick, with LeBrun saying he believes a prospect will need to be added as well. The 30-year-old has played in 46 games with the Habs this season, recording five goals and 10 points while averaging north of 23 minutes in time on ice per game.
Sutter Not Satisfied With Current Winning Streak
The Flames are quickly turning into one of the NHL’s top teams as they are riding a league-best 10-game winning streak. It ties the best stretch they have had in franchise history, and as one would imagine, the fan base is extremely excited. One member of the team who isn’t, however, is Sutter. The two-time Stanley Cup champion emphasized that while these current wins are important, they don’t matter a whole lot until the playoffs begin.
“I don’t put a whole lot into 10 in a row unless they were 10 in a row in the playoffs,” Sutter told reporters.
That isn’t the answer some coaches would give, but Sutter has never been one to open up a whole lot to the media. His serious demeanor has played a big part in the Flames’ success this season and is why he is being considered one of the favorites for the Jack Adams Award.
Ruzicka Fined by NHL
The NHL’s DoPS announced on Thursday that Ruzicka had been fined $2,004.17, the maximum allowable under the CBA. The hulking 22-year-old forward caught Shattenkirk with an elbow in Wednesday night’s tilt and was originally given a five-minute major in the play. However, after the officials got together and reviewed the incident, they changed it to a two-minute minor.
While they will need him to be more disciplined moving forward, Ruzicka has been a nice surprise for the Flames in limited action. Though he began the season in Stockton, he has since been called up to the Flames and has suited up in 18 games. In those 18 games, he has managed to put up a respectable four goals and seven points.
Toffoli Helping Monahan Through Struggles
After years of being the Flames’ most consistent goal scorer, things have fallen off for Monahan. After setting a career-high 34 goals and 82 points in 2018-19, he has slowed down each season and is in the midst of his worst year as a pro with eight goals and 22 points in 49 games. As a result of his struggles, his once team-friendly contract that carries a cap hit of $6.375 million is now one of the team’s worst contracts.
While many believe his injuries are to blame for his drop-off in play, others have alluded to a confidence issue. That is why some are hopeful that, with the acquisition of Toffoli, Monahan’s play may get back on track. The two played on a line together with the Ottawa 67’s in the Ontario Hockey League and had plenty of success while doing so.
Sutter, likely hoping the same as fans, has decided to put Toffoli on Monahan’s wing through his first four games as a Flame. The results to this point, though in a very small sample size, are encouraging, as Monahan has a goal and three points since the addition. What is already a very good Flames team could get even better if the 27-year-old is able to get back to being anywhere near the same player he had been before the 2019-20 season.
Up Next for the Flames
The Flames will look to continue their winning streak on Thursday when they take on the Vancouver Canucks. They will then have an off-day Friday before returning home and facing off against one of the top teams in the Western Conference in the Minnesota Wild. It should be a great game between two teams that are surprising plenty this season.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.