Calgary obtained what amounts to an entire forward line as well as a mobile defenceman in the deal that sent longtime Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf to Toronto on Sunday.
Erstwhile Toronto forwards Niklas Hagman and Matt Stajan, along with defenceman Ian White, will be expected to help the Flames restore a balanced scoring attack.
To a man on a media conference call Sunday, the trio said they were taken by surprise and that the move was difficult with families and young children involved. But they said they welcomed the opportunity for a new start with a team expected to compete in the post-season.
"At the same time, I'm very excited to go to a hockey city to a team that's right there in the playoff mix and to go with three other teammates — I know we're all pretty close — to go into this together with, from what I hear, a great group in Calgary is exciting for all us," said Stajan.
Hagman brings the most recent playoff experience to bear, having played 20 playoff games with the Dallas Stars before joining the Maple Leafs prior to the 2008-09 season.
Stajan and Jamal Mayers haven't been in a playoff contest since before the lockout, while White has yet to play in the NHL post-season.
"Trust me, we've got some pretty good players coming back [in the trade]," Flames head coach Brent Sutter said at a Sunday news conference. "The Calgary Flames are excited about acquiring the players that we've got and the Toronto Maple Leafs are excited about acquiring the players they got. Like all trades you want it to work out best for everybody."
The Flames were fourth in the Western Conference in 2008-09 in goals but they have been hard to come by this season.
Calgary is 22nd in the league in goals scored and had scored just 14 times in nine games before feasting on the hurting Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. In the West, only Edmonton, St. Louis and the injury-depleted Detroit Red Wings have scored less.
Veteran Mayers, meanwhile, brings toughness and will likely compete for playing time on the fourth line. The 35-year-old Mayers indicated his interest earlier this week in being dealt to a contender.
"Jamal brings us … great experience, great leadership and plays hard and competes hard every night," Sutter said.
Stajan and White are moving for the first time in their careers.
Stajan has spent all 445 career games with the Leafs, scoring 87 goals and 136 assists, with 247 penalty minutes. He has already tied a career high with 16 goals this season, to go along with 25 assists.
The centre is decent on the draw and can also play wing, and wasn't unenthusiastic when asked about the prospect of teaming on a line with Calgary captain Jarome Iginla.
"I've been lucky to play a lot of minutes here in Toronto the last few years with some key players ... I like to pass the puck and find guys who can shoot the puck, so maybe it'll be a fit there [with Iginla], but all I can do is try my best with what the coach wants."
White has nine goals and 17 assists in 56 games this season. For his career, he has 28 goals and 77 assists in 296 games.
Sutter likes what White brings from both an offensive and defensive perspective.
"He's a right-handed shot," he said. "He's a guy that moves the puck well. He's an intelligent player. He may not have the stature of a six-foot-two or six-foot-three defenceman, but he's someone that's very capable of handling that part of the game."
White, a Western Hockey League alum, is the only defenceman Calgary received, but isn't looking to replace the big-name player heading the other way, Phaneuf.
"I don't know, personally feel, I'm there to replace anyone. I have my own style of game and I play a certain style that I know how," said White.
"I don't feel extra pressure or any added scrutiny — we've been under the microscope here in Toronto for quite a few years and I've dealt with the pressure in playing in a market like this, so I'm just excited to have the chance to go there and help the team win."
Hagman hit the 20-goal mark for the third consecutive season this week. He has scored 122 goals and 118 assists in 601 NHL games, beginning his career in Florida where his time overlapped with current Calgary forward Olli Jokinen.
Sutter saw plenty of Hagman when he coached the New Jersey Devils and likes what the Finnish forward offers.
"He's a player that plays hard. He's got good skills," Sutter said, adding Hagman is responsible in all three zones. "There wasn't a game that we didn't play against the Toronto Maple Leafs that he wasn't very noticeable and in a positive way."
Calgary returns to action Monday with a home game against Philadelphia.