Flames tinker at deadline, but stay the course with key players
Acquire role players Nick Shore, Chris Stewart but no major overhaul
The Calgary Flames kept their young core in tact at Monday's NHL trade deadline rather than overhauling their roster.
With Vegas holding on to an 11-point lead atop the Pacific Division, Calgary remains in a race for second or third place along with their three divisional foes from California.
Calgary (32-22-9) was fourth in the Pacific, one point behind Anaheim, two back of San Jose and two up on Los Angeles entering play Tuesday. The Flames occupied the second wild card spot, one point behind Dallas.
"What we rely on, our top guys, are early-20s guys. We need to continue to grow with them, add where we can and get our team playing to their capabilities," said general manager Brad Treliving.
"We looked at all sorts of different things and this is ultimately what made sense and fell our way."
Chris Stewart brings physicality
Calgary claimed right winger Chris Stewart off waivers from Minnesota in the first of two minor moves Monday. Stewart is in the final season of a two-year, $2.3 million deal.
He scored six goals in his first six games this season, then failed to pick up a point in his next 16 games. The 30-year-old has 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in 47 games this year. The Wild made him a healthy scratch in eight of the last 10 games.
"He's big and strong and plays a heavy game, but he'd be the first to tell you that this season hasn't gone the way he wanted it to go," said Treliving. "In speaking with Chris today, we've got a very motivated player. He's on an expiring contract who wants to continue his career."
Stewart scored a career-high 28 goals as a sophomore in 2009-10, then repeated that the following season. He has failed to top 15 goals over the last four years.
"You're looking at a sprint right now and my viewings is that he's good at the sprint," said Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan. "I've watched him be a dominant player at times in this league and I think it's a good swing for us."
Stewart has the ability to provide scoring depth to a Flames forward group that boasts four 20-goal scorers in Sean Monahan (29), Matthew Tkachuk (24), Micheal Ferland (20) and Johnny Gaudreau (20). Nobody else has more than 11.
He also brings a physical presence.
Nick Shore brings versatility
"He's a tough guy to play against. He's a big, strong guy with a lot of speed and goes to the net hard," said captain Mark Giordano. "He's always been a handful when we've played against him and he's really tough."
Calgary also acquired 25-year-old centre Nick Shore from Ottawa in exchange for a 2019 seventh round pick. Shore gives Calgary the added versatility of a right-shot centre, which it did not have.
"There's more talent, skill and ability there than has translated into his numbers," said Treliving. "He's still a young player in this league and we think he can come in and help us."
Calgary expects Kris Versteeg back in the near future. The 31-year-old right winger was a fixture on the No. 1 power play unit when he was sidelined in late November with a hip injury that required surgery.
"We're hopeful that he's going to be back sooner than later and we know when Kris is up to speed, the type of impact he can have," said Treliving.
The Flames held a spirited practice Monday morning before flying out to Dallas where they play the Stars on Tuesday. Stewart and Shore will both meet up with the team there.