Calgary Contender: Does The Phaneuf Trade Fix The Flames' Problems?

Tab BamfordSenior Writer IJanuary 31, 2010

TORONTO - DECEMBER 26:  Ian White #7 of the Toronto Maple Leafs makes a pass play under pressure from Scott Gomez #91 of the Montreal Canadiens during their NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on December 26, 2009 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

What an incredible Sunday morning for fans of the Calgary Flames!

After just completing a miserable 4-8-3 January that left them clinging to a one-point advantage on Detroit for the eighth playoff spot in the Western Conference, their fans arrive at their morning coffee with a blockbuster trade to read about.

The Flames and Maple Leafs agreed on a seven-player blockbuster that, on paper, appears to be able to fix almost all of the issues in Calgary.

Gone are Dion Phanuef and a couple of guys that really aren't worth much more than salary. Of course Phanuef, the team's top draft pick (ninth overall) in the 2003 draft is coming off consecutive All-Star Game appearances, so this certainly wasn't a small price to pay.

But the bounty the Flames received back makes this deal worth it. Coming back are Niklas Hagman, Matt Stajan, Ian White, and Jamal Mayers.

What does that mean? Well, Hagman was Toronto's leading goal scorer with 20, and Stajan was second on the Leafs with 44 points. Oh, and White has outplayed Phanuef this year on the blue line as well.

The net result of this deal is an increase of 80 points in 2009-10 production from the four incoming players.

The Flames averaged only 2.13 goals per game in January, and that's with Saturday's six goals and a four-goal loss in Anaheim included. Poor Mikka Kipprusoff hasn't had any offense to support some incredible efforts during the month.

That has changed now.

Now, the Flames could realistically skate a top line of Hagman, Stajan, and Jarome Iginla that would have 125 points between them. The second line for Calgary could now include Rene Borque, Curtis Glencross, and Damond Langkow, a line that would have scored 95 points this year.

There is not denying the upgrades made to the forward lines in Calgary with this deal.

What makes the deal even more impressive is bringing back White in the package. White likely won't play as many minutes as he was in Toronto (23:47 per game), but adding someone with his scoring ability to the already talented group of Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, and Robyn Regehr means that this deal won't negatively impact the depth Calgary had on its blue line for the sake of adding offense.

The Flames now have two weeks before the Olympics to work out their lines and figure out their chemistry for a big playoff push in March and April. Making this deal, however, will go a long way in helping Calgary compete in the West.

For more great NHL coverage, check out Tab's blog:!