Nick Ritchie is well aware of the joke.
After being swapped from the Arizona Coyotes to the Calgary Flames in the NHL’s first brother-for-brother trade, a flipping of keys — both house and car — seemed almost automatic for the siblings.
Not so fast.
“We haven’t figured that out yet but that could be a possibility, too,” he said in his introductory availability with Flames media on Saturday.
“All the guys have said that already. It’s kind of getting old. We’ll see how it goes.”
"I'm really excited to be here and have a chance to have a playoff push here down the stretch."
Nick Ritchie talks to the media after his first skate with his new team.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) March 4, 2023
So, a new punchline might be required for the rugged 6-foot-3, 236-pound winger who is the latest and only addition directly landing on the Flames roster.
The full swap, which features Nick Ritchie and Troy Stetcher joining the Flames in exchange for Brett Ritchie and Connor Mackey, made NHL history.
And that was something Nick Ritchie could have a chuckle about.
“We were laughing for sure,” Nick said. “I called him right after. He found out from Brad (Treliving) and I talked to Bill Armstrong. They were both chuckling a little bit, too. That’s the sport and that’s the profession. Hopefully we can make the most of the new change.
“I don’t think so, no. You never really think of that. It’s never happened before where you get traded for a sibling or a brother.
“First for everything, I guess.”
“I think they kind of got leaked out so they were laughing by the time I called them,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving added. “It’s unique. If for nothing else, we’re unique. It just worked out that way. I think it’s going to give Brett an opportunity there. We get Nick, give him an opportunity. First time for everything. It’s a little unique, and I had a chuckle with both of them while we were talking.”
The pair won’t be trading everything, though.
Nick is going to sport No. 27 — not his brother’s No. 24 — when he makes his Calgary debut. Brett will sport his familiar digits in Arizona.
New jerseys, but not new teams for their parents to track.
“I guess they get to watch the same teams,” Nick Ritchie shrugged. “Not much changes. Just a swap, I guess.”
It’ll be a new buzz for Nick, too, who moves from the 28th-place Coyotes to a Flames team in an uphill battle for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Calgary trails the Winnipeg Jets by five points for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference, and are nine back of the Edmonton Oilers for the second. The Flames also trail the Seattle Kraken by nine points for third in the Pacific Division.
They’re just one up on the retooling Nashville Predators, too, with the latter having three games at hand.
It’s a welcomed challenge for the former Coyotes forward, who sat 21 points out prior to the swap.
“Coming from a team that’s not going to make the playoffs to a team that has a really good chance here. I’m just excited to be here,” Nick said.
“You don’t really see it coming and you get a call and that happens and it’s just exciting. My time in Arizona was really good. Nothing but good things to say about them. But nice to have a chance to play some real meaningful hockey the last 20 games here.
“I think it’s definitely a possibility. You look at the roster of this team and how good they’ve played. I think it’s five points out so it’s obviously going to take some good hockey. Get on a good run and be right there.”