Flames pick up Staios, Toskala

The last-place Edmonton Oilers dealt veteran defenceman Steve Staios to Calgary on Wednesday for fellow blue-liner Aaron Johnson and a third-round draft pick.

Sutter ships Boyd, McElhinney, Johnson out of Calgary

Steve Staios is switching allegiances in the Edmonton Oilers-Calgary Flames NHL rivalry.

The last-place Oilers on Wednesday dealt the veteran defenceman prior to Wednesday's trade deadline at 1 p.m. MT in exchange for fellow blue-liner Aaron Johnson and a conditional third-round draft pick in 2010 or 2011.

Earlier Wednesday, Flames general manager Darry Sutter swapped goalies with Anaheim, sending Curtis McElhinney to the Ducks for Vesa Toskala, who once played for Sutter in San Jose.

Calgary also shipped centre Dustin Boyd to Nashville for a fourth-round pick, while Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini sent Lubomir Visnovsky to Anaheim for another defenceman, Ryan Whitney, and a sixth-round pick.

Former NHL tough guy P.J. Stock said the Flames failed to add the offence required.

"I think [captain] Jarome Iginla is still going to be a guy looking for an elite player to pass him the puck. It's been the same story for five years," said Stock, now with Hockey Night in Canada.

"They're great defensively, they're great in the net but are going to have to consistently win games 3-2, 2-1."

Staios, 36, leaves Edmonton after seven-plus seasons. He had seven assists and a minus-19 rating in 40 games this year.

"As a hockey player and the person that I am, you want to be playing in meaningful games [late in the regular season] and be able to compete for a playoff spot," Staios said in an interview with HNIC Radio host Jeff Marek."

"They got a great group in Calgary with a lot of depth, great leadership and great goaltending [with Miikka Kiprusoff] so I couldn't be happier."

Not surprised by trade

Staios wasn't too surprised at getting moved, given Edmonton's 19-37-6 record and the fact they're in serious rebuild mode now.

"It's been a difficult situation here in Edmonton over the last little while, so I'm excited to be able to play in some big games and get integrated with my new teammates. I have to earn their respect first and try to play my role."

HNIC analyst Kelly Hrudey likes the move for the Flames, calling Staios a gritty, steadying force on the blue-line.

"He comes to play every single day and he can move the puck pretty well for a defenceman."

Johnson, 26, had one goal and three points in 22 contests in Calgary this season.

"He's a guy that has some upside," Hrudey said. "He's maybe a little bit less consistent than Steve Staios and the Oilers obviously get a draft choice as well."

Toskala, who never played a minute for the Ducks, had a 6-5 record, 2.45 goals-against average and .910 save percentage for the Toronto Maple Leafs this season before he was shipped to Anaheim along with forward Jason Blake on Jan. 31.

The 32-year-old Finn hasn't played since Jan. 30 when he allowed four goals on 35 shots in a 5-3 loss to Vancouver.

"It's been a long time since he has been a top-flight goalie in the NHL," said HNIC'sGlenn Healy of Toskala, who is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. "I really question if this is the right move for Calgary.

"He's not played a lot of good hockey and hasn't won in a long time (a 4-0 shutout against Philadelphia on Jan. 14)."

Kiprusoff needs rest

Sutter told reporters the Toskala trade was based on the number of games Flames starting netminder Miikka Kiprusoff has played this season — 55, excluding his Olympic participation with Finland, and the team's schedule in the final month of the regular season.

In the 2002-03 season, they combined for 33 appearances with the Sharks behind No. 1 man Evgeni Nabokov.

McElhinney, 26, went 3-4 with a 3.23 GAA and .885 save percentage in 10 games this season.

"I'm surprised if anything," said McElhinney. "Obviously, it was a tough situation. It's difficult playing behind Kip. He loves to carry the load and he does very well with it, but I think this is a good thing.

"I'm looking forward to it as a good opportunity and hopefully a new setting will prove good things."

Boyd has eight goals and 19 points in 60 games this season but has gone six games without goal or assist.

"Boydy wanted to make sure I could give him a shot in the top nine [forwards] and we did that," Sutter told reporters. "He just got pushed out [by more productive players].

"I think [going to Nashville] is a good opportunity for him. They (Predators) lost [left-winger Ryan] Jones on waivers."

With files from The Canadian Press