(Reuters) - The Montreal Canadiens traded Mike Cammalleri to the Calgary Flames on Thursday, 24 hours after the forward had made some controversial comments regarding the team and complained about his lack of playing time.
In addition to Cammalleri, Montreal traded goaltender Karri Ramo and a fifth round draft pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft for forwards Rene Bourque and Patrick Holland, and a second round pick in the 2013 draft.
“I am extremely excited, I was told I was traded and I wasn’t sure where. I hoped it was Calgary,” said Cammalleri, who was pulled out of Thursday’s game against Boston after two periods and told to wait at the hotel for further information.
“It’s a place that I have such fond memories, I really have strong relationships with some of the players. I really appreciated playing there.”
The 29-year-old Cammalleri enjoyed his best NHL season with the Flames in 2008-09, scoring 39 goals and amassing 82 points in 81 games.
On Wednesday, Cammalleri sparked controversy when he told reporters: “I can’t accept that we will display a losing attitude as we’re doing this year. We prepare for our games like losers. We play like losers. So it’s no wonder why we lose.”
He added that his ice time has been reduced under new head coach Randy Cunneyworth.
“The comments Mr Cammalleri made had nothing to with it at all,” Montreal general manager Pierre Gauthier said following Thursday’s 2-1 loss to Boston.
“I explained to him the situation and what we’re trying to do with the team, but he never asked to be traded. He cared a lot about this team.”
Bourque is a power forward who has 13 goals this season, and currently has one contest remaining on a five-game suspension for elbowing Nicklas Backstrom of the Washington Capitals.
“We felt that if we wanted to improve the club we have to be bigger up front. We need to score harder goals. We need to score goals from the tough areas with the second chances, third chances and screen shots,” Gauthier added.
“That’s why Mr Bourque was very attractive to us, because he scores a great majority of his goals from the hard areas.”
Montreal and Calgary are both outside of the NHL playoff spots with around half the regular season remaining.
Reporting by Mike Mouat in Windsor, Ontario; Editing by John O'Brien