As the Calgary Flames head into one of the biggest rebuilding seasons in their history, there is at least one veteran player that needs to step up. Matt Stajan will be in the final year of a contract that carries a cap hit of $3.5 million, but so far he has failed to live up to expectations. The Flames need consistent scoring, and with many of their veteran players gone could also stand to see Stajan contribute on the leadership end of things as well.
A former 15-goal scorer for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Stajan has been pretty disappointing since coming to Calgary in a trade during the 2009-10 season. The last three season have now seen him score six, eight and five goals, and while his point total in a lockout-shortened 2013 season was actually up from the previous year, the Flames could stand to see him find the back of the net more.
Stajan finished the season seeing top-line time with Mike Cammalleri and Lee Stempniak, which makes his lack of production even more troubling. Cammalleri and Stempniak finished first and second on the team in scoring, while somehow Stajan’s five goals and 23 points were good for sixth. One positive for Stajan was that he did finish the season with a team-best plus-7 rating. Starting with the 2005-06 season, he scored 10 goals or more in five straight seasons, and that kind of production is something the Flames desperately need to see again. Stajan’s cap hit and lack of production would make it all but impossible to trade him, but if he doesn’t find a way to improve his game next season that’s certainly an avenue the team might pursue.