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Calgary Flames

Back End Backup

Analyzing exactly what the Flames gave up, and what they paid for, to get some D line help this deadline.



The 2020 edition of the NHL’s trade deadline has come and gone once again. The Calgary Flames made 3 moves, bringing in 2 LH defencemen and sending one (rarely used) one out. In this column we’ll dive into see what the Flames really acquired and what kind of value they gave up to get it.

Flames acquire: Erik Gustafsson – Blackhawks acquire: 3rd round conditional* draft pick (2020)

*Chicago receives the earlier of the two thirds between Calgary’s own and the Edmonton one that’s potentially acquired in the James Neal trade.

2019-20 Advanced Statistics 5v5

CF% – 49.43%

xG% – 45.23%

SCF% – 47.23%

HDCF% – 44.99%

Gustafsson had 60 points as the main offensive option for the Hawks last year, but he’s not good at doing what his job title says, defending. While his corsi number looks salvageable the rest are not ideal. Gustafsson gives up more scoring chances than he creates, especially from high danger areas of the ice. When he does get chances the aren’t typically of the quality you’d want. His low xG% is due to the fact that he allows more quality chances against than he creates. All in all the 3rd is probably a step too steep to pay, but with all the injuries the Flames have endured on their back end something needed to be done to get Michael Stone out from playing 20 mins a night. 

Verdict: Necessary Overpayment

Flames acquire: Derek Forbort – Kings acquire: 4th round conditional* pick (2020)

*The 4th round pick can turn into a 3rd round pick if the Flames make the conference final and Forbort plays in half the games. 

2019-2020 Advanced Statistics 5v5

2019-2020 Advanced Statistics 5v5

CF% – 53.20%

xG% – 53.89%

SCF% – 52.15%

HDCF% – 55.56%

(These look too nice, let’s look at last years too)

2018-2019 Advanced Statistics 5v5

CF% – 45.89%

xG% – 44.59%

SCF% – 45.46%

HDCF% – 46.59%

(Yeah that’s the Forbort we should expect)

Derek Forbort is a former 1st round pick whose possession number over his career actually looks decent, not great, but serviceable. I can’t get a sense of his quality suppression because during his time in the league he went from playing on a structurally sound Kings squad to, whatever the hell they are now. We can see the trend of what’s happening to Forbort through his scoring chances and xG% decline. I have some faith in him not being as bad as last year’s numbers suggest, due to the fact the Flames are a better, more deeper squad. I also think he’s not going to continue at his current pace (taken in a 13 game sample size). Forbort should be a decent enough replacement for Hamonic if he’s truly out long term, and is a significant upgrade on Davidson and Stone.

Verdict: Low cost rental, good risk

Flames acquire: TBD – Sharks acquire: Brandon Davidson

Davidson wasn’t good, the TBD might turn out to be nothing, which shouldn’t matter. This trade just allows them to carry more roster players and does Davidson a solid by maybe letting him keep earning some NHL cash.

Value Paid:

Draft pick value after the 3rd round really drops off. The pick we’re giving up for Gustafsson has only about 2-4% more value than the pick we gave up to get Forbort. (Maybe less if it becomes a 3rd). A 3rd round pick holds about a ⅓ chance of netting a replacement level NHL player, whereas the 4th gives up a ⅕ chance of that. That means the Flames traded 8/15th’s of a chance at getting a (LOW LEVEL) NHL player for 2 rental D-man that can help shore up their abysmal depth. 

Gustafsson should compete directly with Kylington for his ice time, Forbort should take Stone’s and will probably be put in the press box if Hamonic were to come back. With these deals though, i doubt they envision Hamonic coming back until after the regular season ends. This leads to a top 6 D of:


Giordano – Brodie

Hanifin – Andersson

Forbort – Gustafsson


Next week we’ll dive in to why Noah Hanifin should actually be given a chance to run the Flames extremely crappy Powerplay.

(All stats compiled from // @Flash_33 on Twitter for any Q’s)

by Shane Stevenson