The Chicago Blackhawks have announced that they traded defenceman Erik Gustafsson to the the Calgary Flames. The Blackhawks included Gustafsson in a trade package to receive conditional draft picks. Gustafsson had a career year in the 2018-19 NHL season. In the summer, the Swedish defenceman will become an unrestricted free agent. His present salary-cap hit is $1.2 million, which is an affordable sum for his new team.
Conditional picks for both Flames defensive acquisitions, not costing them anything from the current roster. https://t.co/dOIchFn6X3
— Eric Francis (@EricFrancis) February 24, 2020
Erik Gustafsson Traded
Erik Gustafsson was selected 93rd overall in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. However, Gustafsson never played for the Oilers. Instead, he signed an entry-level contract with the Blackhawks in 2015. Prior to that, he played two quality seasons with the Frolunda HC in the Swedish SHL. In his first season in North America, Gustafsson participated in 41 games with the Blackhawks in the NHL. In those 41 contests, he collected 14 assists.
During the following 2016-17 season, the Swedish defenceman spent the whole year in the AHL. He received an opportunity to play another 25 NHL games during the 2017-18 season. His career season came in the 2018-19 campaign, where Gustafsson gathered 17 goals and 43 assists for 60 points in 79 games. Before that, the Blackhawks signed to a two-year contract worth $1.2 million per season. This season, Gustafsson has lowered his offensive production to 26 points in 59 games.
What Does This Mean For The Future
With the offensive abilities of Erik Gustafsson and the fact that he is expected to be an unrestricted free agent, the Blackhawks decided to pull the trigger and trade him. His cap hit was certainly quite attractive for any trade suitor. With Chicago’s chances to make the playoffs getting thinner, trading a valuable offensive defenceman was very logical. Gustafsson is a left-shot defenceman. Besides point-production, the 27-year-old rearguard can add an edge to his game, as well.