CALGARY – A high-priced defenceman and high-mileage goaltender donned the flaming ‘C’ in Calgary on Monday.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving introduced defenceman Travis Hamonic and goalie Mike Smith at a news conference after acquiring the two men in trades in the span of a week.
Hamonic, 26, came with a gaudy price tag that included next year’s first- and second-round draft picks going to the New York Islanders.
The deal also included Calgary’s second-rounder in 2019 or 2020 going to the Isles for a fourth-rounder.
How the 35-year-old Smith will perform on what’s been a goaltending carousel in Calgary since the retirement of Miikka Kiprusoff four years ago will be a water-cooler topic this summer as much as Hamonic’s addition.
Smith is a seasoned No. 1 after six seasons with the Arizona Coyotes. He’s twice been Canada’s starter at the world hockey championship and won gold in 2015.
The six-foot-four, 215-pound netminder from Kingston, Ont., was also the Canadian Olympic team’s third goalie in 2014.
But his one and only extended playoff run was 16 starts in 2012 when the Coyotes reached the conference final.
“There’s nothing like it. You just want to get back there,” Smith said. “I want to get back to that level.
“I want to play in those important games and I want to be a big part of pushing this franchise forward in a good direction.”
Karri Ramo, Jonas Hiller, Joni Ortio, Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson have come and gone in Calgary’s net in the four seasons since Kiprusoff’s retirement.
Johnson’s negotiation rights went to the Coyotes in the Smith deal along with a prospect and a conditional draft pick.
Elliott will become an unrestricted free agent Saturday. The Flames would owe St. Louis a draft pick if they traded his negotiation rights.
Calgary (45-33-4) had one of the best records in the NHL after Nov. 15 (40-23-3), but was swept in the first round of playoffs by the Anaheim Ducks.
Smith may be taking on the pressure of playing in a Canadian market, but should see less rubber in Calgary than in Arizona behind a defence that includes Mark Giordano, T.J. Brodie, Dougie Hamilton and now Hamonic.
“He doesn’t have to steal the game every night, but no matter how good your team is, you still look back on your goaltender and there’s nights he’s going to have to be really good,” Treliving said.
“We’ve just asked him to come here, be consistent, give us a chance each night. We’ve got a pretty good group in front of him. We’re going to try to add to it.”
With the potential loss of Michael Stone to unrestricted free agency Saturday, Hamonic was an important get to round out the top four defencemen.
The six-foot-two, 205-pound right-handed shot from St. Malo, Man., is coming off a lacklustre minus-21 season but can play big physical minutes and has seven seasons under his belt with the Islanders.
“You try to always grow your game and I’ve certainly been in the league for a little while now, but I always feel you continue to grow,” Hamonic said.
“I’m young enough I feel where I can always get better. No better place to do it than around some of the best guys in the league. I’m going to be surrounded with some really good D-men.”
Deryk Engelland was claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft so Treliving likely isn’t done tinkering with Calgary’s blue line.
“We tried to be as aggressive as possible to add to the current group we do have,” Treliving said. “We don’t do these things to make statements. We do it to make our team better.”
Also, Calgary extended qualifying offers to centre/winger Sam Bennett, right-wingers Micheal Ferland and Garnet Hathaway, defencemen Brett Kulak and Tyler Wotherspoon, centres Curtis Lazar and Linden Vey and goaltenders Jon Gillies and David Rittich.
The Flames did not extend right-winger Alex Chiasson, defenceman Ryan Culkin and centre Kenney Morrison.
Smith’s wife is Brigitte Acton, a two-time Olympian in alpine skiing for Canada. The couple have four children.
Hamonic won the NHL’s Foundation Award last week for his D-Partner Program that helps youngsters who lose a parent navigate their grief.
Hamonic’s father Gerald died of a heart attack when Hamonic was 10 years old. Hamonic intends to continue the program in Calgary.
“It’s definitely following me here,” he said.