VANCOUVER -- Caught off guard? That's an understatement.
Jordan Leopold's plans yesterday were to go to a wedding.
Instead, he received word the Calgary Flames had dealt him to the Colorado Avalanche for Alex Tanguay.
"I was really surprised," said Leopold, whose name had surfaced the last while as trade bait for the Flames to answer their need for scoring. "I wasn't expecting anything to happen.
"The last time I'd heard my name (being mentioned as a trade possibility) was at the deadline but then nothing happened. I didn't hear anything lately so wasn't expecting anything."
Leopold came into the league an offensive defenceman and developed his defensive skills to the point he averaged more than 22 minutes a game under the Flames defence-first system.
However, he slumped last season offensively, netting only two goals and 18 assists and took heat from GM/head coach Darryl Sutter.
"To me, it was more Darryl being frustrated for me," Leopold said. "I had three goals called back and that would have put me at five and that would have been an pretty good season."
Sutter said the trade wasn't an indictment of Leopold's development.
"To get a top player, you've got to get up a good, young player and we gave up a good, young player," Sutter said. "That's how I explained it to Leo.
"It's not that you want to trade a player like that but to get to where we wanted to go, it's obvious what we had to give up."
Though excited about a restart of his career in Denver, Leopold said it was difficult leaving the only NHL city he'd known.
"My family had become accustomed to being there and settled in, to it's tough to leave," he said, before adding: "I am surprised I went to another team in the division."
Though that's not a normal practice in the NHL, Sutter wasn't fazed: "Hey, no brains, no fear."