Most were anticipating the Calgary Flames to trade Mike Cammalleri at this year’s trade deadline. It didn’t happen, and for Flame fans, that’s proven very beneficial.
Instead of netting goals for a playoff contender down the stretch drive, the 31-year old veteran has found his scoring touch in a big way, and his latest goal proved to br the difference in a 3-1 Calgary win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres. After struggling mightily in the few weeks leading up to the deadline amidst all of the trade speculation, Cammalleri has taken off since the deadline passed.
Instead of brooding about not being dealt to a team poised for the postseason, Cammalleri has responded by notching seven goals in his last nine games. He’s been a key reason as to why the Flames have been securing points at a time when it would have been very easy to mail in the efforts with no hopes of advancing to the playoffs.
Cammalleri’s professional approach has rubbed off on a very young group and with the game-winning goal against the Sabres, he took over the team lead in that department from talented rookie Sean Monahan. His 20th goal of the season marked the fifth time in his career that he’s been able to reach that mark. It’s also been a solid level of production given that injuries have limited him to just 52 games played.
The Flames improved to 28-34-7 on the season and continued an encouraging trend of sticking to the game plan and battling to the end. They’ve won nine of their last 11 games on home ice and continue to show plenty of grit and determination under the watchful eye of head coach Bob Hartley. Many of the younger players currently in the lineup are in full-blown auditions for next season, which explains the high levels of play.
Cammalleri is an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and no doubt one of the major offseason storylines for the organization will be whether or not they can get him to sign on the dotted line prior to that date. He’s in the final year of a five-year, $30 million contract. The team has had discussions with Cammalleri’s agent and are likely to continue with those talks in the hopes of re-signing him.
One thing is for sure: Cammalleri is showing not only the Flames, but other teams around the league why he’s a valuable commodity.
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports