They used to evaluate CFL trades by judging who received the best Canadian.
So with Canadian receivers Jabari Arthur and Arjei Franklin lining up next to each other in the Calgary Stampeders starting line-up Saturday night against the B.C. Lions (7:30 p.m.,
TSN), the answer on last year’s blockbuster seems clear.
On Sept. 20, 2009, the Stamps sent Arthur and two other players as part of a huge package to get Franklin and Romby Bryant from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
With Nik Lewis officially out of the Stamps’ lineup due to a knee injury, Arthur starts in his spot — after returning to the Stamps in the early this season — meaning three of the club’s four receivers starting Saturday were involved in that deal.
“Who would have thought?” Franklin said. “It’s almost exactly a year since the trade took place. That’s the CFL. You never know how things are going to work out.
“I would say (the Stamps won the trade). Everything worked out for the Stamps in that deal.”
It nearly didn’t work out for Arthur. The second-year Stamps receiver was hoping for big things in 2009 coming off a rookie season in which he dressed down the stretch and then in the Grey Cup win over the Montreal Alouettes.
A foot injury suffered in training camp kept him from dressing for the Stamps, and he was shipped to Winnipeg where he didn’t play a game last season.
A couple of weeks into this season, Arthur was released by the Bombers, and the Stamps picked him back up immediately.
He’s played seven games for the Stamps and caught three passes for 34 yards, but his role will expand in this game.
“I didn’t get a chance to see him when he was here, and I don’t think anybody did because of his injuries,” Franklin said. “He’s a great player. I look forward to seeing the kind of player he will be tomorrow and in the future. For the rest of his career, he can be a standout Canadian. He’s a good guy, as well.”
As of Friday, Lewis was still holding out hope he could play despite knee injury that looked worse right after it happened during last Friday’s 43-37 loss to the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
Stamps head coach John Hufnagel officially ruled him out, though, which means Lewis will be on the sidelines for the third time in his career.
“I will go about my business being a leader, still being part of the receiving corps,” Lewis said. “I will allow them to have fun and go out there and make plays.”
Injuries forced the deal last year, as both Ken-Yon Rambo and Ryan Thelwell went out with season-ending injuries.
Both are back to play against the Lions, as Thelwell is returning from a groin injury that kept him out three weeks.
The likelihood is Lewis only misses one week, so this is Arthur’s lone chance to make something happen and prove he deserves more playing time.
“Everybody wants the opportunity to play,” said the 28-year-old Montreal native. “I will try to give the team the best chance to win. “I feel I’m progressing very well. I’ve been here a few weeks now, and I’m comfortable with the offence. I’m getting a lot of reps. When the whistle blows, I will be ready to play.”
As for being part of a deal that sent big names either way, Arthur finds it funny he’s lining up next to players he was dealt for.
“I think Calgary got the better end of the deal,” Arthur said. “It’s great having all of us on the same team. We’re going to give our team the chance to win. It’s good for us.”