It's been announced that the Calgary Flames have moved minor league scorer Kyle Greentree to the Chicago Blackhawks for 26 year old defenseman Aaron Johnson. Greentree led the QC Flames in scoring with 39 goals last year (good for 2nd in the AHL) while Johnson appeared in 38 games for the Blackhawks, scoring 3 goals and 5 points.
I gotta say, I'm confused as hell by this trade. The Flames had a similar player (in terms of impact, cost) in Anton Stralman a couple of weeks ago. In fact, one could argue he has a higher ceiling than Johnson given his age and the fact that Aaron has done little more than bounce between the minor and big leagues for the last 5 years or so.
Anyways, traded Stralman, after a stellar pre-season, for a nominal return (3rd round pick) only to turn around and pick-up Johnson some 2 weeks later for an actual player who has at least proven he can kick ass at the AHL level.
The deal clearly indicates 2 things:
1.) Cory Sarich is badly hurt and the organization wants to (further!) shore up it's depth should someone else go down in the mean time. That or Staffan Kronwall looks as awkward to the men in charge as he does to me and he's on his way to Abbotsford.
2.) Sutter and company didn't have any faith in Greentree being able to take the next step to the NHL.
That said, I still find the deal curious. The Flames are relatively thin on scoring forwards at the organizational level, but are bursting at the seams with young defenders (although they saw fit to move one of them for magic beans recently). Perhaps the fact Johnson has 184 games of NHL experience makes him more attractive than the likes of Stralman and the various kids laboring on the farm, but...yeah, no I still don't really get it.
On the other hand, good news for Kris Chucko I'd say.
UPDATE - Sam from 2nd City Hockey provide this insight on Johnson:
The consensus here is that Johnson got caught hitting on Quenneville's wife or something. During the fall last year, he was leading the league in +/- and Behind The Net Rating, but got hurt against San Jose at Thanksgiving (American version). After he came back two months later, he could not displace Matt Walker for reasons unknown. He's been passed over for Sopel and Jordan Hendry now, and the Hawks are not thrilled with his agent, Alan Walsh, for flaming the RFA fiasco. Still, as a #6 or #7 he'll hardly let you down, plays a very simple game that he doesn't stray from. But don't you guys have like four of those already?