For the second straight NHL trade deadline, Erik Gustafsson is on the move.
His stint with the Flyers did not last the length of the shortened 2020-21 season.
Ahead of Monday's 3 p.m. ET deadline, the Flyers traded the 29-year-old defenseman to the Canadiens in exchange for a 2022 seventh-round draft pick. The Flyers are retaining 50 percent of Gustafsson's salary.
Gustafsson was signed last offseason to a one-year, $3 million deal. The puck-moving defenseman had been relegated to a healthy scratch all of this month. He was not going to be re-signed this offseason, so you had to think the underachieving Flyers were going to try to move him for any compensation.
"With respect to a player like Erik Gustafsson, clearly it didn't work," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said after the deadline. "Erik wasn't playing and I thought it was very important — not just from our perspective, but from Erik's perspective — to give him a chance to play."
Gustafsson had 10 points (one goal, nine assists) in 24 games for the Flyers. He had struggled in the defensive zone, which had him fall out of favor in the club's blue-line plans. The Flyers have struggled mightily to prevent goals this season and Gustafsson is an offensive-minded defenseman. With Shayne Gostisbehere playing well, Gustafsson had slid down the depth chart.
"By moving him to Montreal, hopefully we give him that opportunity to get a chance to get in the lineup and help his career along," Fletcher said. "Part of the reason we can do that is the emergence of Sam Morin, the continued resurgence, too, of Shayne Gostisbehere — remarkable how well he has been playing, how he continues to grow. And we have other defensemen that maybe deserve a chance. I think with Erik, it was more we feel we have pretty good depth on D right now."
Gustafsson is now set to play on his fourth team in the last two seasons.
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