There is an old hockey adage that when things come off the rails and start heading south for a team, roster changes are not always required.
Instead, the team just needs to find the “answers in the dressing room”.
This is not a belief that Calgary GM Theo Pepper necessarily adheres to. He is known to have an itchy trade finger and over recent weeks has pulled off some trades meant to wake up his formerly 1st place team.
When asked about his roster-building style, Pepper says, “I’ve always believed that the quickest way to bust a slump is to trade your way out of it.”
This season, the Calgary Flames had been at the top of the league for a number of weeks, but a prolonged slump has recently knocked them down into a wildcard battle. Pepper says that is “unacceptable”.
The first move by Pepper was to identify his team’s glaring weaknesses. There were many (lol) but the immediate needs were for a defensive centerman and a puck-moving D-man that can help create opportunities on the PP. The Flames were able to fill both voids over the last few weeks.
Pepper swung deals to bring in Jordan Staal and Luke Glendening, now the 3rd and 4th line centers, respectively.
“They have done a great job bringing hard-working, responsible play to the bottom 6 of
Calgary’s lineup,” says Pepper.
He then set his sights on the other hole on the roster, an offensive defenseman. “We talked to a number of teams, looking for the right guy to come in and lead the puck transition game from the backend. We ultimately focused on one guy, Cam Fowler.”
The deal was consummated fairly quickly with Nashville’s capable GM Mat Peltier and Fowler took his spot on the Flames’ blueline right away. According to Pepper, Fowler has “fit right in and he’s been welcomed by the players and fans alike.”
Fowler has indeed fit in - he has two points in his first two games including an impressive PP goal in last night’s game against the Islanders.
One thing is for certain: this won’t be the last trade made by Calgary this season. We are excited to see what lies in the future for this team.