Help on the Wing

By Derek Kessinger
The Calgary Flames Mascot

The Avalanche take on the Calgary Flames tonight in Alberta with an 8:00 PM start. The Flames. The Calgary Flames are off to a 2-4-1 start and their General Manager Jay Feester is threatening to blow the whole team up. The Flame survived for nearly a decade on the firepower of Jerome Iginlia but have never risen to the top of the NHL’s class for long periods of time. Jerome currently sits at 486 goals but may soon have a new set of teammates.

That brings us to the surging Colorado Avalanche who have won all six of their road games this year. While they have had success, their lack of depth at winger is likely to catch up to them down the road. The two top wingers are of course Milan Hejduk and David Jones. After that, it is all up in the air.

Peter Mueller was supposed to be a top six winger.  Unfortunately, he still appears to  be suffering from concussion symptoms. Since the last incident occurred over a year ago, his reliability will always be a question. I think the Avalanche should have addressed the need for another winger over the summer.

The current candidates for a top wing position include TJ Galiardi, Joakim Lindstrom, Chuck Kobasew and Gabriel Landeskog.

Galiardi seems to be continually stuck in a sophomore slump. He really broke out at the end of his rookie season but has since struggled to find footing as a top winger. While I think he’s improved this year, he’s played all of the offensive positions on different lines over the spectrum under for Coach Sacco this season including center.

Joakim Lindstrom appears to have a lot of talent. A year in the Swedish elite league has transformed his game into more of a scorer role. However, his durability in the NHL will be tested as the season goes on.

Chuck Kobasew is the biggest question mark on the team. I have seen nothing grand from him but he continues to play on the top two lines. He seems like an excellent fourth line compliment along with Cody McCleod and Jay McClement.

Finally, let’s discuss Landeskog. He is having a stellar rookie season with four goals in eight games, including two over the weekend. He’s playing on the team’s best line right now that includes Daniel Winnik and Ryan O’Reilly. As long as the line continues to produce points, there’s no reason for those three to be split up, especially with the emergence of Ryan as the heart and soul of this team.

So if none of these people are prime to step up in Mueller’s absence, what should the Avalanche do? They obviously need to acquire someone in a trade and I think that a strong winger is worth a prospect. If the Avalanche decide to stay on the cheap side, which they love to do recently, then look no further than the Calgary Flames.

Thirty-one-year-old Alex Tanguay may be the perfect fit for this position. The 1998 Avalanche draft-pick had a resurgence last year in Calgary notching 22 goals and 68 points. He had a ton of success years ago in Denver, including two goals in the Avalanche’s game 7 win in the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals. His partner in crime was the still agile Milan Hejduk. Now of course the big difference is the pair would not be playing between future hall of famers Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg. Of course, the two were never split up when moving between those two lines.

It’s definitely worth considering acquiring a guy from a team that is looking to sell. And no I’m not asking for the Avs to bring back Patrick Roy. Let’s hope the team can continue their road perfection tonight.

Alex Tanguay and Patrick Roy before their Stanley Cup Game 7 win in 2001

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