March 01 2010 10:40AM
According to TSN, Matt Stajan has re-signed with the Calgary Flames to the tune of four years at $3.5M/season. There were some concerns that Dion Phaneuf was traded away for expiring contracts (Stajan, White, Mayers) but with this signing, Sutter has ensured the club will retain the two main pieces of deal from a Calgary perspective (Hagman and Stajan).
The contract is probably "fair" at best given Stajan's age and production. The 26 year old has once topped 50 points in the NHL, although he's never pierced the 20 goal mark. His underlying stats are fairly strong this year, despite playing on the Toronto Maple Leafs and he has yet to hit his ceiling in terms of developement. He's a pass-first center who is not overly big or physical and will probably top out at a "second line" pivot.
Stajan's contract is perhaps in line with his market value, but it's also unlikely to be "high value" unless he takes a real step forward in Calgary. His offensive results in 6 seasons have been just okay and there's no indications he'll turn into a "Bourque-like" forward who can drive results against any level of competition. In short, Calgary didn't overpay but there's no bargain here either.
With this signing, the Flames have essentially replaced Phaneuf's cap dollars with Hagman and Stajan going forward. The recent re-signing of Bourqe as well as the acquisition of Kotalik and the potential re-upping of Higgins, Calgary has their forward ranks pretty well solidified heading into the off-season. The club now has approximately $50 million in cap space tied up for next season with the likes of White, Boyd, Nystrom, Higgins, Conroy and Aaron Johnson needing to be re-signed or replaced.
Ironically, Darryl Sutter has gone in almost the exact opposite direction relative to the course he set this past offseason. The Flames began the year with a few big contracts up front and lots of money in the defense. It was suggested by myself and others that the Flames would be advised to re-invest some cap dollars in the forward corps given that disparity and the fact that forwards tend to drive possession in the NHL, but it took half a season of disappointing results and a 9 game losing streak to convince Sutter it seems.
It remains to be seen, however, if he's re-invested the dollars in the right players.