With the end of another playoff-less season comes a series of predictions, plans, and most of all, a lot of questions.
Mainly, what is going to be done about the Flames?
I think it’s safe to say that a team “cleanup” and rebuild isn’t going to happen this summer. It looks like Jay Feaster will soon have the “acting” tag removed from his GM title, and as we all know, he believes in the core players.
Problem? Alex Tanguay, a part of that core, is an unrestricted free agent, and the Flames aren’t going to get him for the same discount that they had him for this year.
This is coupled with the fact that the Flames cap space (as of right now) is very limited (about 1.8 million), as well as the ongoing criticism that the Flames are an aging team (average age is about 29), re-signing some of the free agents could come at a huge cost.
This is the list of UFAs: Alex Tanguay, Curtis Glencross, Brendan Morrison, Fredrik Modin, Steve Staios, Anton Babchuk, Adam Pardy, and Henrik Karlsson.
It’s safe to say that you can kiss Steve Staios and Fredrik Modin goodbye (yes it’s safe; Darryl is no longer running the team). The rest are all of interest.
As many have mentioned, it would be foolish to let Tanguay go; the chemistry that he and Jarome Iginla have is undeniable. He also stated he would accept a lower offer in order to stay in Calgary.
Though Curtis Glencross had a streaky season, he ultimately finished with a career-high 59 points and will most certainly get a raise. Unfortunately, it’ll be hard for the Flames to sign him, given the cap issues.
Brendan Morrison also turned out to be a bargain, but his season unfortunately ended prematurely with a knee injury. There hasn’t been much discussion regarding Morrison, but if the Flames can get him for a decent price, I don’t see why the Flames wouldn’t want him back next season.
Anton Babchuk had a rather encouraging end to the season, ultimately finishing with 27 points and at a +18. But the high price tag of d-men Jay Bouwmeester, Robyn Regehr, Cory Sarich, and Mark Giordano means the fate of Babchuk is unknown. However, I think it’d be safe to say that we will be seeing the much improved Adam Pardy again.
Lastly, there’s the question of what to do with the fist-pumping Calgary Tower, Henrik Karlsson. There was a question of whether or not it was time to give Leland Irving his chance in the NHL, until it was stated by Feaster that “clearly, we have to get Karlsson re-signed.” In 17 games, Karlsson had a a 2.58 GAA and .908 save percentage, and frankly was the only back-up for Miikka Kiprusoff that didn’t make me cringe. He was reliable, and that was a nice change.
**Numbers are courtesy of www.nhlnumbers.com