I have to say over here (in Calgary) I had a great time. It’s a great organization. Great fans. Great city. They gave me the opportunity to make my first step into the NHL so I’m really thankful for that. - Reto Berra
CALGARY, AB -- Heading into Wednesday’s NHL Trade Deadline, Reto Berra was warned by teammates that the day could get a little hectic.
They weren’t kidding.
Much to Berra’s surprise, the rookie goaltender was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for a second round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft moments before the final cutoff at 1 p.m. MST.
“It’s funny how fast it goes over here,” Berra said. “I mean, it’s my first time I’ve seen all that how the trades at the end go fast and everything. I don’t know what to say. It’s special how fast it goes over here.
“I didn’t have that much of an idea so it was surprising a little bit. The guys told me a couple days ago to wait when it comes to the end something is going to happen. It’s like everything. It was really the first time and it was new for me.”
In his first season of North American hockey, the 27-year-old acquitted himself well.
He put together a 4-3-1 record with a 2.66 goals against average and .908 save percentage before earning a promotion to Calgary. In 29 appearances with the Flames, the 6-foot-4, 194-pound keeper earned a 2.95 GAA and .897 SV.
With that, the Avalanche saw more than enough in Berra to pluck him off Calgary’s roster, sacrificing a second rounder in the process.
“Colorado came after Reto Berra,” president of hockey operations Brian Burke said. “We would not have done it for a lower pick than that pick. This is a guy who has made significant progress here in my mind. I thought the price tag demanded we make the deal especially with the emergence of (Joni) Ortio.
“What Reto Berra does in Colorado will determine whether this was fair value or not.”
Berra was flattered with the Avalanche’s advance.
“It is special,” he said.
“It’s nice to hear that they were happy with what they saw about me, in me and everything like that. I have to say I know a little bit of Francois Allaire, the goalie coach. He’s coming over to Switzerland in the summer and has goalie camps there. I was there two times, so I know him a little bit.
“It’s for sure a good feeling to have when you know it’s not just something, they think you’re a good goalie.”
Berra, acquired alongside Mark Cundari and a first round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft (Emile Poirier) for Jay Bouwmeester in advance of last year’s deadline, was both disappointed to leave Calgary behind but excited for his opportunity with the Avalanche, who currently sit fourth in the Western Conference with 85 points through 62 games.
“I have to say over here (in Calgary) I had a great time,” he said. “It’s a great organization. Great fans. Great city. They gave me the opportunity to make my first step into the NHL so I’m really thankful for that.
“On the other hand, I’m really excited to go to Colorado, a great team and probably a great city, great hockey town too, and a really famous coach when I was a child in Switzerland, he was one of the biggest.
“I’m excited and happy.”