January 6, 2012
Flames make minor trade with Bolts
By STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
Anyone expecting a major shakeup after the Flames' awful road trip over the holidays might consider this a minor tremble.
Dealing away minor-league defenceman Brendan Mikkelson for Tampa Bay Lightning centre Blair Jones, the Flames and Bolts each strengthened depth at a position that needed it.
With plenty of blueliners in the system — even with Mark Giordano and Derek Smith currently out with injuries — the Flames added the 25-year-old Jones Friday.
The big-bodied pivot (6-foot-2, 216 lb.) from Central Butte, Sask., will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season as he plays out the last year of a two-way contract worth $525,000 at the NHL level.
Jones, who played most of his junior hockey for Flames head coach Brent Sutter's Red Deer Rebels in the Western Hockey League, has suited up for 22 games with the Lightning this season, scoring twice and adding a pair of assists along with 10 penalty minutes.
Flames GM Jay Feaster selected Jones in the fourth round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.
"Blair is a player that both Brent Sutter and I are familiar with," Feaster said in a statement. "He is a good sized centreman and someone we feel will fit in well here with our organization."
Also a pending RFA, Mikkelson has played 33 games for the AHL Abbotsford Heat and has three goals and 15 points.
The Flames plucked the 24-year-old off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks last season.
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