Michael Cammalleri Heating Up As Free Agency Nears
As the Calgary Flames‘ season winds to a close, Michael Cammalleri has caught fire at just the right time as he prepares to enter unrestricted free agency this summer.
The 31-year-old Cammalleri is currently riding a four-game point streak. While he has missed time due to injury, most notably nine games in January with a concussion, Cammalleri has been a steady threat on offense for the goal-shy Flames. His return of 19 goals and 11 assists in 51 games played this season is more than respectable.
The Flames were unable to shop Cammalleri prior to the NHL trade deadline of March 5. With all signs pointing to him leaving this summer, here are three destinations to consider:
Los Angeles Kings. A return to the team that drafted him in 2001, and for whom he played parts of five seasons for, could be the most logical destination. Cammalleri’s most productive season, 2008-09, saw him on a line with Jarome Iginla, a right-handed sniper. Envisioning Cammalleri on the left wing of a line featuring Jeff Carter, a right handed shooter similar to Iginla, with Mike Richards centering them, would be a welcomed site for the offensively challenged Kings. Keep in mind, Darryl Sutter, the Kings’ head coach, was the general manager for the Flames who orchestrated Cammalleri’s trade to Calgary in 2008.
Minnesota Wild. The Wild’s interest in signing Cammalleri will hinge on whether or not they can sign Matt Moulson, the left winger they acquired at the deadline, who will also enter free agency this summer. Moulson has been open with his intent to test the free-agent waters and appears destined to go to the highest bidder, which is unlikely to be the Wild. Should Moulson leave, Cammalleri could be a great plan B. While Cammalleri and Moulson possess contrasting styles of play, filling the second line’s left wing void will be a top priority for the Wild this offseason.
New Jersey Devils. Despite spending the majority of his career in the Western Conference with the Flames and Kings, Cammalleri opted to join the Eastern Conference in the summer of 2009 by signing a five-year $30 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens. Had Cammalleri not been traded back to the Flames in January of 2012 for Rene Bourque, it’s conceivable that he could’ve stayed out east. With Ryan Clowe‘s production in steady decline for the Devils, slotting in Cammalleri on the second line could provide some much needed punch to the second-lowest scoring team in the Eastern Conference.
If he can stay healthy and keep producing at a high level for the remainder of the season with the Flames, Cammalleri will have no shortage of suitors come summer. The Kings, Wild and Devils could all be major players in an effort to get his signature.