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Flames trying to look forward after busy weekend

by Adam Kimelman / NHL.com
Nametags weren't passed out at the door, but they would have been appropriate for the players entering the Calgary Flames' locker room Monday morning.

Not only was the team getting ready for a visit by the Philadelphia Flyers (9:30 p.m. ET), they also had to adjust to four new teammates who all arrived in the last 24 hours.

Forwards Matt Stajan, Jamal Mayers and Niklas Hagman, along with defenseman Ian White, came over from the Toronto Maple Leafs as part of Sunday's blockbuster deal that sent out defenseman Dion Phaneuf, forward Fredrik Sjostrom and defense prospect Keith Aulie.

The new look to the Flames will see Stajan centering the top line, alongside team captain Jarome Iginla. Left wing Dustin Boyd will fill out the trio. Stajan had 16 goals and 41 points with the Leafs, but playing with Iginla could help him improve those numbers. It's also not a bad chance for a player heading toward unrestricted free agency.

"I'm excited," Stajan told the team's Web site following Monday's morning skate. "I think it is a great opportunity. I have to play my game, work hard and get him (Iginla) the puck."

While the arrivals make for an exciting time, there certainly is some sadness regarding the players -- and friends -- who had to leave. Especially considering when the moves happened. The players went to sleep Saturday night still giddy over snapping their nine-game winless streak against the Oilers, only to wake up Sunday morning to the news of three teammates leaving.

"Dion's a friend of ours," Flames captain Jarome Iginla told the Calgary Sun. "I enjoyed playing with him and getting to see his tenacity night in and night out, his competitiveness."

Daymond Langkow was Phaneuf's closest friend on the team and said, "It's tough to see him leave," but liked the offensive talent coming back.

"They're definitely going to help," Langkow told the Calgary Sun. "I know Hagman, Stajan and Mayers are going to help us up front offensively, and there's some grit there. Obviously, Ian White is a good puck mover and good passer. He'll help our power play. It just comes down to not winning games. When that happens, there's moves that are going to be made."

Those might not be the last moves, either. A rumored deal that would have sent centers Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to the New York Rangers for forwards Ales Kotalik and Christopher Higgins is on the table, although with Jokinen and Prust playing Monday, it could just be a rumor.

With their team in flux, it remains to be seen how the Flames will handle their next seven games before the Olympic break, which includes Jay Bouwmeester's first trip back to Florida since leaving the Panthers this past summer, as well as a visit to red-hot Ottawa, both next week.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com.




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