The Utility of Craig Conroy

Kent Wilson
August 18 2010 10:39AM

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 13:  Craig Conroy #24 of the Calgary Flames faces off against R.J. Umberger #18 of the Columbus Blue Jackets during the game on October 13, 2009 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)


While the reaction to the Conroy signing was mostly positive, there were a few voices raised in protest when the old man's deal was announced. I'm sympathetic to the argument that the Flames seem to be once again squeezing the kids out of the equation this year (having made similar protestations in the past), but given his skill-set and the price, I think this signing is a clear win for the club.

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Flames Hire Michel Goulet as Wetsern Pro Scout

Kent Wilson
August 18 2010 09:48AM

DENVER - OCTOBER 16:  Adam Foote (R) #52 of the Colorado Avalanche is honored for playing in his 1000th career game along with his wife Jennifer and sons Callan and Nolan as he recieves a silver stick from Michel Goulet (C) as Vice President of Hockey Operations Jim Gregory (far L) as Jacques Cloutier (2L) looks on during a ceremony prior to facing the Philadelphia Flyers at the Pepsi Center on October 16, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. Foote played his 1000th game on October 12, 2008 in Edmonton, Canada.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)


Calgary continued to remake their organization beneath the surface today, naming former NHL star Michel Goulet as the club's western pro scout. Outside of serving as the director of player personnel in Colorado for several years (and playing in the NHL), I'm not sure what other credentials or experience Goulet has.

The move, while minor, is another indication of an unspoken impetus in the org to change things after a disappointing season. One wonders what will happen if the Flames fail to make the post-season for a second straight year...

UPDATE - TSN notes that the Flames have also hired Finnish scout Ari Haanpaa and Ottawa based Fred Parker.

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Bright Spots - Mark Giordano

Kent Wilson
August 16 2010 10:38AM

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 04:  Defenseman Mark Giordano #5 of the Calgary Flames at American Airlines Center on November 4, 2009 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)


There's no getting around the fact that last season was a big disappointment for the Calgary Flames. Many of the big money players and notable acquisitions had off-years. The team missed the post-season for the first time under Sutter as GM. The club boasted one of the very worst offences in the entire NHL.

Of course, there were a few enduring bright spots last year. In this post, the first of a series, we'll look at perhaps the single best silver lining - the play of Mark Giordano.

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On Team Building and the Fourth Line

Kent Wilson
August 13 2010 11:27AM

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 03:  Sami Lepisto #18 of the Phoenix Coyotes is checked by Nigel Dawes #15 of the Calgary Flames during the NHL game at Arena on December 3, 2009 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Flames 2-1. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)


For a long time now - certainly since the league expanded to 30 teams - the fourth forward unit has been the place to ditch the least capable even strength players on the roster. Usually that means checkers and goons, although the odd doddering vet and fresh faced rookie makes an appearance occassionally. This was mostly pragamatics: a combination of dilution of player talent, a need to budget and the recoginition that playing the worst guys the least is a good thing.

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Picking Your 13th Forward

Kent Wilson
August 10 2010 10:10AM

PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 08: Sean Bergenheim #20 of the New York Islanders prepares for a face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Mellon Arena on April 8, 2010 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Islanders 7-3. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)


Although the Flames currently have 13 NHL forwards under contract, one of them is Ales Kotalik who is the most likely candidate to be cast into purgatory should the club fail to shed salary in some other fashion come October 1. So assuming Kotalik makes his Abbotsford/KHL/SEL debut this season, the Flames will have one open roster spot up for grabs.

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