NHL's first brother-for-brother swap headlines Flames trade deadline day
CALGARY — The Calgary Flames' trade deadline deals Friday included the NHL's first swap of brothers.
The Flames got Nick Ritchie from the Arizona Coyotes and sent his older brother Brett to the desert.
"I think it got leaked out, so they were laughing by the time I called them," Flames general manager Brad Treliving said. "It's unique. If nothing else, we're unique. It just worked out that way."
The four-player deal with the Arizona included defencemen Troy Stecher to Calgary and Connor Mackey to the Coyotes.
Calgary also picked up winger Dryden Hunt from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Radim Zohorna.
In the Ritchie-for-Ritchie deal, the younger sibling from Orangeville, Ont., arrived with nine goals and 12 assists in 58 games for Arizona this season.
In 480 career NHL games, the 25-year-old Nick Ritchie has scored 80 goals and had 101 assists.
Brett Ritchie, 29, departs after three seasons in Calgary's organization.
He totalled 13 goals and seven assists in 107 games as a Flame.
While the sibling swap is a fun bit of trade-deadline trivia, Stecher was the get of the day for Calgary.
He provides back end depth the Flames have missed with Oliver Kylington out the lineup this season due to a personal matter.
Treliving doesn't expect Kylington back this season, and Michael Stone is on the injured list with a lower-body injury.
The 28-year-old Stecher from Richmond, B.C., had seven assists in 61 games for the Coyotes.
He's played 420 career games with the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Coyotes.
"Highly-competitive player. He's got some leadership qualities," Treliving said. "He's been known as a hard-working, dedicated athlete wherever he's been.
"Not the biggest guy in the world, but he's not a small guy either. Moves well. That's one thing we've missed is Oliver's mobility. Troy brings that."
With 20 games remaining in the regular season, Calgary is five points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Flames' deadline moves were their first in-season trades.
"We were not entertaining moving any 'A' assets, significant assets for short-term gain here," Treliving said.
"I do believe that we've got a good team. We've got a good team that's underperformed here and for various reasons.
"We felt it was most prudent right now to work around the edges. We've got 20 games here. We know the hill is steep."
Hunt came from the American Hockey League's Toronto Marlies to join his fourth NHL organization this season.
The 27-year-old from Cranbrook, B.C. will report to the Wranglers, Treliving said.
Hunt has 15 goals and 28 assists in 202 NHL games with the Coyotes, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers, Colorado Avalanche and Toronto.
Mackey, 26, appeared in 10 games for the Flames this season for two goals and one assist.
Zohorna played eight games for the Flames. The 26-year-old Czech compiled 10 goals and 19 assists in 40 games for the AHL's Wranglers.
Treliving picked up Tyler Toffoli before last year's trade deadline for Tyler Pitlick, a prospect and first- and fifth-round draft picks.
With the departure of Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary's GM engineered blockbuster transactions last summer.
He traded with Florida for Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar, and signed free agent Nazem Kadri.
"Last year we made some significant moves at the deadline. We spent assets at and leading up to the deadline," Treliving said.
"We made significant, significant change over the summer. I don't know if there's anybody that's made as much changes over the summer. You can't just keep changing and changing and changing."
One potential addition to the roster in the coming weeks is winger Matt Coronato.
Calgary's first-round pick (13th overall) in 2021 could sign when his Harvard season concludes, but that could be as late as April 8.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2023.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press