For the second season in a row, the Calgary Flames have sent a big-ticket forward to the Abbotsford Heat.
Last year, it was Ales Kotalik suiting up for 25 games with the Heat, after the Flames felt his performance did not measure up to his $3-million annual cap hit.
Niklas Hagman, coincidentally, also makes $3 million a year. The 31-year-old left winger from Espoo, Finland was placed on waivers by the Flames on Thursday, and assigned to the Heat on Friday after going unclaimed.
Hagman is a three-time 20-goal scorer at the NHL level, but he hasn’t matched that production with the Flames since coming over from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a January 2010 trade that saw Dion Phaneuf, among others, head eastward. In 101 games with Calgary over parts of three seasons, Hagman managed just 17 goals and 25 assists.
The Heat, for their part, would be delighted if Hagman’s AHL tenure is as productive as Kotalik’s was last year. Kotalik – traded to the Buffalo Sabres over the summer and currently playing back home in the Czech Republic – posted 22 points (six goals, 16 assists) in his 25 games in Abbotsford in 2010-11.