The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded defenceman Andrew Nielsen to the Calgary Flames in exchange for forward Morgan Klimchuk, the team announced Tuesday.
Klimchuk was a first-round pick of the Flames back in 2013. He hasn’t been able to find a foothold in the lineup for Calgary – he’s only played one NHL game in his career.
Over 203 career AHL games, Klimchuk has 44 goals and 100 points. This season, he’s appeared in 17 games, posting eight points over that span.
The 23-year-old signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Flames this past summer and will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season. His current deal holds an annual average value of $700,000.
Nielsen was taken by Toronto in the third round of the 2015 NHL Draft. While his post-draft campaign in Lethbridge left Leafs fans excited for his future, he hasn’t quite panned out as of yet in the pro ranks.
The defender spent the past two campaigns with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. After scoring 14 goals and finishing the 2016-17 season with 39 points, he took a step back last season.
His goal total was cut in half, and while he managed to still finish with 26 points, Nielsen also had 143 penalty minutes – which was the fourth-highest total in the league in 2017-18.
Nielsen, 22, was able to get his name on the Calder Cup last season after appearing in eight postseason contests. In eight games this season, he has three points and 12 penalty minutes.
The Marlies have several skilled bodies on the blue line, which made Nielsen the odd man out. The emergence of 2018 first-rounder Rasmus Sandin certainly didn’t help his cause.