Having played for four NHL teams, Tom Kostopoulos knows it’s easy on him to join a new squad.
The trade Wednesday which sent him to the Calgary Flames from the Carolina Hurricanes means hoping a flight and suiting up.
The tough part is the impact on a family, and he saw first-hand with his three-year-old daughter, Lily.
“She had her ’Canes jersey on today and I had to tell her she wasn’t going to the game,” said Kostopoulos, who also has a one-year-old son, Luc. “I had to try and explain the best I could what was going on.
“For me, it was a shock, at first. I didn’t see it coming, but once you digest that, and think about it, I’m excited to come to Calgary.
“I think it’s a good team and has a good shot of going all the way.”
Kostopoulos and defenceman Anton Babchuk were acquired by the Flames for defenceman Ian White and minor-league forward Brett Sutter.
Kostopoulos would appear yet another third/fourth line winger for a Flames team which has an abundance of that type of player, especially with Ales Kotalik and Raitis Ivanans nearing return from injury, but the 31-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., is arriving with high regards.
“He’s a guy who brings energy. He brings passion. He competes hard every shift. He’s very, very good at killing penalties. He helps make us a grittier team,” said assistant GM Jay Feaster. “He adds to our team toughness and is a hard guy to play against, and that’s what we’re looking for.
“We want guys who are hard to play against, the opposition doesn’t enjoy playing against, and that’s the role we feel Tom brings each and every night.”
Kostopoulos, 31, was a seventh-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1999, and has played 475 career games over nine seasons for the Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens and Hurricanes.
He has one goal, three assists and 30 penalty minutes this season — 14 of those minutes coming in Saturday in a 7-2 loss against Montreal.
Where he fits in with the Flames remains to be seen, but the winger whose media bio says his favourite road rink is the Saddledome, plans to just let it shake out.
“I’ll wait to see what the coaches want of me and see where I fit in,” he said. “I’ll just work hard, do my best and wherever they see me at, I’ll try my best.”