August 11 2010 03:00PM
The Calgary Flames have signed free agent forward Craig Conroy to a one year, two way contract, basically ensuring Conroy will get to 1000 games in a Flames uniform. The deal is for the league minimum salary, and with what he brings on and off the ice, there is little downside to it.
His offensive numbers were down last season, but he was good in other areas during the season. His penalty killing role was strong, and he also was utilized in a defensive role at time last season. There were times when Conroy was used in a matchup role against some of the opposing teams top forwards, and performed very well. If Langkow is not good to start the season, his role could be very valuable this coming season.
Overall, Conroy put up his lowest full season totals of his career last year, tallying just three goals and 15 points in 63 games. But this signing is not an offensive move, it's a move to bring back the other qualties that made Conroy valuable last season. He started in the defensive zone 50.9% of the time, one of only three regular Calgary forwards to start more shifts defensively than offensively (Daymond Langkow and Eric Nystrom being the others).
His work in the faceoff circle also makes him valuable, as he won 51.5% of his draws last season; converesly, Langkow won just 43.5% of his tries. Assuming Langkow returns to the team from his scary injury, you've got two players down the middle who can be counted on to play tough minutes against opposing forwards. However, Conroy can be utilized for key faceoffs deep in Calgary's zone while not giving up a whole lot when it comes to his play compared to Langkow.
Smart signing in my eyes, but being that it is a two way deal, he'll have to earn his spot. But there's not much downside to it.