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Staios, Toskala acquired by Flames

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

Two Finns are better than one.
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At least that's the theory for the Calgary Flames who acquired veteran Finnish goaltender Vesa Toskala from the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday just prior to the NHL Trade Deadline.

Curtis McElhinney was traded to the Ducks.

The Flames also acquired defenceman Steve Staios from the Edmonton Oilers in the first-ever trade between the two Battle of Alberta rivals. The Flames sent a third round draft pick in either 2010 or 2011 to Edmonton along with defenceman Aaron Johnson.

They also acquired defenseman Andy Delmore from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Riley Armstrong. Delmore has been assigned to the Abbotsford Heat of the American Hockey League.
 
Delmore, a native of Windsor, Ontario, has played in 283 career games over six NHL seasons. He has accumulated 43 goals, 58 assists for 101 points and 105 penalty minutes. He has also played in 20 career NHL playoff games netting six goals and two assists for eight points and 16 penalty minutes.

Yes, by the way, that's Edmonton and Calgary making a trade.

"I've tried lots," smiled Flames general manager Darryl Sutter when asked about making a deal with the rivals from the north.

Calgary also sent forward Dustin Boyd to Nashville for a draft pick.

Sutter said acquiring veterans for a room that has already undergone significant changes -- six new players had been added via two trades on January 31 with the Leafs and the Rangers -- was important.
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Both Staios and Toskala are 36 years old. Toskala can become a free agent on July 1 while Staios has another year on his contract.

"I don't think I would have brought kids into the room. I think it is important to bring in veterans with the changes we have made. We are fighting with four or five teams for one or two spots and you don't want somebody who has not been through that experience," said Sutter.

Ironically Toskala was with the San Jose Sharks at the same time as Miikka Kiprusoff when current Calgary general manager Darryl Sutter was the coach in the Bay Area. The acquisition of Kiprusoff in November, 2003, was one of Sutter's first moves as a general manager.

At the time the Sharks had three top goaltenders in Kiprusoff, Toskala and Evegeni Nabokov.

Toskala was initially a fourth round pick of the Sharks in 1995. He was traded to Toronto in 2007 and played the last two seasons in Toronto before being traded to Anaheim earlier this season.

However, he had not played a game with the Ducks since being traded.

While with Toronto Toskala played 26 games, posting a 7-12-3 record and a .874 save percentage and a 3.66 goals against average.

Toskala will have some familiar faces in the Flames dressing room -- Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers, Ian White and Niklas Hagman all played in Toronto with Toskala. Those four were acquired in a trade with Toronto on January 31. The Flames also acquired forwards Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik from the Rangers a couple of days after that trade was made.

In all, there are nine new players and, if you include Mikael Backlund, 10 new players, in the Flames line-up since the season began in October.

Toskala is also said to be very good friends with Kiprusoff.

Sutter said the organization had concern about Kiprusoff's workload. That and the fact that the team wasn't happy with what McElhinney had done in a back-up role was the reason for the move.

"A lot of it was based on Kipper and how much he has played and the Olympics and then the schedule. He is a goalie we are familiar with and, obviously his relationship with Kipper," said Sutter.

"Whoever it is has got to perform. It's not that hard to figure out. When you look at the big picture all the No. 1 guys play 60 to 70 games. Those other guys better not just be going in to give the other guy a night off."

Neither Toskala or Staios will be in Calgary tonight for the Flames game against Minnesota. (8 p.m. Sportnest West, The Fan 960). They are flying from Los Angeles and Chicago, respectively, and will arrive late Wednesday night and practice with the team on Thursday.

Meanwhile, McElhinney, rushed out of the Saddledome to try and catch a flight to southern California in time for the Ducks game against Colorado Wednesday night.

"Surprised, if anything," was McElhinney's response when asked what his reaction was to be traded. "Obviously, it's a tough situation. It's difficult playing behind Kip. He loves to carry the load and he does very well with it. But I think this is a good thing and I'm looking forward to it as a good opportunity. Hopefully a new setting will prove good things."

He was quick to point out that despite his lack of playing time, he was extremely grateful to the organization that drafted him in the 6th round (176th overall) in the 2002 Entry Draft.

"I'm not blaming the organization for not getting an opportunity or anything like that. There were games and there were chances to play, it's just a matter of taking advantage of those and being in the right place at the right time. Things were going good and then I kind of had a tough last game. Coincidently, it was against Anaheim.

"That's the way that things unfold and bottom line is that I think this will be a positive thing for me."

Sutter's message to McElhinney was that this would be a positive move for his career.

"He let know what had happened and said 'Best of luck,' and said it was going to be a good thing. Sometimes that's all you need - a change of scenery."

While McElhinney was shocked to hear about the trade, his positive attitude was on display as did his last interviews in the Pengrowth Saddledome.

"You never expect to be traded at any point in your career, regardless of how things are going. I hope it works out best for Calgary and I'm looking forward to it, it'll be fun.

"They're getting a veteran presence back there, someone who has played a lot of games as a starter and a backup at certain points in his career. This is going to be good for them going down the stretch, that's for sure. For me, it'll be a new opportunity and we'll see what happens with the games played in Anaheim."
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