August 18 2012 09:46AM
One of the potential risks of the looming lock-out for the Flames (both team and fans) is the possibility Jarome Iginla's final season in town will either be severely shortened or wiped out entirely. The club could eliminate that risk by re-signing the captain sooner rather than later, but that causes the org to step into a whole new minefield given his age and the uncertainty surrounding a new CBA.
Of course, we also don't know if Iginla is even willing to re-sign in Calgary at this point.
With his career nearing its sunset, the team around him faltering and fresh uncertainties facing him about the labor agreement, Iginla may choose to wait things out and see what a new horizon brings come summer 2013. If the season is wiped out or, alternatively, if the Flames again fail to make the dance, Iginla would be entirely justified in looking beyond the borders of the only NHL team he's ever known to experience life elsewhere as the inspirational vet or solid support player - and perhaps get a chance to win before he finally hangs up the skates.
With that in mind and considering the age of many of the club's other money players, I began to wonder recently what the club's roster would look like 3 years down the road. At that point, it's entirely possible Iginla and Kipper will be gone, while 35 year old Alex Tanguay will start to slow down significantly. Jay Bouwmeester will likely be gone by then as well, which is either a good or bad thing depending on where you stand on the player.
The Flames only have 4 current major leaguers signed until 2014-15: Jiri Hudler, Dennis Wideman, Mark Giordano and Tanguay. Sven Baerstchi should be at least a sophomore by then and Mikael Backlund will be 25-26 and either a key cog on the team or traded. In net, it could be a combination of Karri Ramo and Leland Irving (or neither, because who knows with goalies). By then, Lance Bouma will probably be a regular 4th liner and Greg Nemisz...probably the same. Maybe Johnny Gaudreau or Mark Jankowski will be making a debut that year as well. Roman Cervenka might still be around if he manages to translate his game in North America. etc.
So get out your crystal balls Flames fans. Who sticks and is around in 3 years? Who are the club's big guns? Who anchors the blueline? Who is stopping pucks?