Flames and Canadiens Trade Wingers, Shake Things Up

Jim FlanneryAnalyst IJanuary 13, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - DECEMBER 29:  Rene Bourque #17 of the Calgary Flames skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on December 29, 2011 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders defeated the Flames 3-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens made a deal on Thursday that received significant attention when Montreal sent Mike Cammalleri to Calgary for Rene Bourque, with some prospects and draft picks being shuffled as well.

Both Cammalleri and Bourque have been performing below expectations this year. Bourque, who has one more game of his five-game suspension to serve before he can join his new team, has just 16 points in 39 games this year, well shy of the 50-point pace they have come to expect of him. And Cammalleri has only 22 points in 38 games this season for a team that was hoping for a return to his 30-goal/80-point levels of years past.

The good news is that both teams could benefit from the change of scenery for these two players. While Bourque can be very streaky, the move might re-energize him and get his performance back on track, at least for a little while. Cammalleri has been unhappy with things in Montreal for a while, as his very public recent outburst suggested. A move back to Calgary, where he had his best offensive season of his career in 2008-2009, might find the left winger with renewed focus and his scoring touch may return with it.

On first blush, it looks like the Flames have gotten the better of this trade. Cammalleri is a capable finisher and the Flames are badly in need of another option aside from team captain Jarome Iginla if they hope to contend for a playoff spot.

Bourque, on the other hand, gives the Habs some much-needed size up front and is capable of scoring goals in bunches. He could revitalize an offense that is only 21st in the NHL by opening up the ice for others as well as putting quality shots on net.

While this move will not turn either team into a Stanley Cup contender, it may well be the first step for both teams towards improving things going into the second half of the season.