The Calgary Flames and St. Louis Blues are no strangers when it comes to trades in the NHL. The two teams have made 23 trades involving 69 players and cash (that’s how they rolled back in the 70’s and 80’s). So let’s take a look at the more notable deals made by the Flames and Blues over the years and how they turned out.
The first notable trade between the Flames and Blues came on February 1, 1986 when the Flames sent Eddy Beers, Charles Bourgeois and Gino Cavallini to St. Louis in exchange for Terry Johnson, Rik Wilson and Joe Mullen. Joe Mullen played four and a half seasons in Calgary, his best being the cup-winning season of 1988-89 when he scored 110 points in the regular season and 24 points in the playoffs. Cavallini played a handful of seasons in St. Louis and was alright, with his best being 1986-87 when he scored 44 points. The four other players in the deal were pretty much un-notable.
On June 13, 1987 the Blues sent Ric Nattress to the Flames in exchange for a 1987 4th round pick and a 1988 5th round pick. This trade is only notable because Nattress went on to play four seasons with the Flames, and won the Stanley Cup with the Flames in 1989. The two draft picks sent to St. Louis turned out to be players that never did play in the NHL.
The next year, on March 7, 1988, the Flames made one of the dumbest trades in franchise history. The Flames sent Steve Bozek and Brett Hull to St. Louis in exchange for Rob Ramage and Rick Wamsley. While Ramage and Wamsley were a part of the cup-winning team in 1989, we all know what became of Brett Hull. Hull became one of the best snipers in the game, with the ability to sneak to the top of the circle or slot and unleash one of the best shots in the game. He went on to record four seasons in a row with 100+ points in the early 90’s.
On September 6, 1988 the Flames Acquired Steve Bozek, Michael Dark, Mark Hunter and Doug Gilmour from St. Louis in exchange for Mike Bullard, Tim Corkery and Craig Coxe. Most of the players in this deal didn’t do much before or after the trade. Mark Hunter had a few alright seasons in Calgary scoring around 30 points on average. In his three and a half seasons with the Flames however, Doug Gilmour scored a point per game or better and was a key part of the Flames 1989 Stanley Cup team where he scored 22 points in 22 playoff games. The Flames, however, would make another one of the dumbest trades in franchise history sending Gilmour to the Toronto Maple Leafs midway through the 1991-92 season.
As mentioned in my ‘89 Champs: Where Are They Now’ article, during the off-season in 1994 the Flames sent Al MacInnis and a 1997 4th round draft pick (Didier Tremblay) to the Blues in exchange for Phil Housley and a 1997 2nd round draft pick (John Tripp). While he didn’t do as well as he did in Calgary, MacInnis went on to play many more years in St. Louis and was voted an All-Star many times. Housley put up pretty much the same numbers statistically before leaving the Flames and then returning in 1999.
On March 13, 2001 the Flames acquired fan favourite Craig Conroy and a 2001 7th round pick, which turned out to be David Moss, from St. Louis in exchange for Cory Stillman. Conroy’s career skyrocketed after being dealt to Calgary. His point production doubled and He was a key performer in the 2004 Stanley Cup Playoffs scoring 6 goals and 11 assists for 17 points in 26 games. Moss turned out to be an alright player in his six seasons with the Flames. Stillman went on to do fairly well in St. Louis before winning back to back Stanley Cups with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004 (against the Flames and the Flames actually won in Game 6) and The Carolina Hurricanes in 2006.
In June of 2007, the Flames and Blues traded 2007 1st round draft picks. The Blues ended up with Ian Cole and the Flames ended up with Mikael Backlund. Ian Cole hasn’t done much on the scoresheet, but has posted some good plus/minus numbers. Backlund is developing and had his best season yet last season with 47 points in 82 games. Backlund seems to score timely goals when they are needed.
As the Flames lost hope for a playoff appearance in 2013, they traded away Jay Bouwmeester to the Blues in exchange for a 2013 or 2014 1st round pick, a 2013 conditional 4th round pick, Mark Cundari, and Reto Berra. Bouwmeester’s numbers aren’t as impressive as they should be, considering he is on a team that has been pretty good the last few seasons. The Flames still lost this deal so far as the only thing that has started to pan out is the play of Reto Berra who hasn’t looked terrible, but still needs to play more and develop.
During the off-season in 2013 the Flames also traded Kris Russell to the Blues in exchange for a 2014 5th round pick.
That being said, we come to what should be one of the best trades the Flames and Blues have made. Back in June the Flames acquired Goalie Brian Elliott from St. Louis in exchange for a 2016 2nd round pick and a 2018 conditional 3rd round pick. Elliott has shown some stellar goaltending when called upon by the Blues including a Stanley Cup run that went to the 3rd round in 2016.
In conclusion I would like to say that the Flames got the better end of the deal most of the time, but the thought of trading away Brett Hull and Doug Gilmour still makes me queasy. Flames fans are hopeful that with some key off-season moves along with some key contract signings, all the pieces are now in place for a great season and Stanley Cup run in the 2016-17 season.