July 13 2010 10:31AM
There's been plenty of fuss about the Flames' dabbling in the free agent market, with the return of Olli Jokinen front and center. Darryl Sutter's recent press availability was the first time that news of Daymond Langkow's slowish recovery from his neck injury got an airing, and said injury was a reason that the boss used as partial justification for resigning the Finn.
That may or may not be why Olli Jokinen will resume his career in Cowtown, but even with that, the Flames are in an uncertain spot if Langkow can't go to start the year. The automatic assumption, and it may well be correct, is that Mikael Backlund will simply fill in until Langkow can rejoin the club. That noted, and this is tea-leaf reading stuff on my part, the feeling I got from the Sutter presser was that the club might like Backlund to mature a bit more before they give him a permanent job.
July 12 2010 12:20PM
According to Rob Kerr, AHL puckstopper David Shantz has signed with the Manitoba Moose. A free agent signing by the Heat last year, Shantz started the season in the ECHL, but ended up as the Heat's starter at the end of year and into the playoffs owing the struggles of Leland Irving and Matt Keetley.
I was asked several times in comments and in emails why Shantz didn't appear in any of my prospect profiles back in March and June. The truth is, Shantz was never truly a Flames prospect. His one year contract with the organization was "AHL only", meaning the Flames couldn't have called him up even if they had wanted to.
I'm guessing Sutter declined to re-sign him this off-season in order to allow more development space Irving and Keetley. The trade for Kenrik Karlsson also further limited Shantz's opportunities in the org.
July 11 2010 11:52AM
The Flames organizational strength in terms of pure depth is the back-end. That's a source of some comfort this summer, but italso raises a number of questions moving forward into the new season. Once Ian White is re-signed, the club will have 8 NHL defenders on one-way contracts (Bouwmeester, Regehr, Sarich, Staios, Giordano, Pardy, White, Kronwall) as well as at least one hopeful who could probably make the team out of camp (Pelech).
Should White score a $3.5M deal, Calgary will have about $22M committed on the blueline.
Here's how things stand if nothing major changes between now and training camp -
July 09 2010 09:00AM
According to Russian journalist and twitterer Alessandro Seren Rosso, Lokomotiv is considering signing boat anchor Ales Kotalik.
Should that happen, it would take immense pressure off of Darryl Sutter to find a place to stash Kotalik's burdensome contract for the next two years. It would alo render sending Steve Staios to the minors a bit more probable this October. More good news.
It wouldn't surprise me if Sutter has gently prodded Kotalik to look for options elsewhere this summer (it's the KHL or the AHL, Ales). If that happens, Darryl will take his place next to lucky Lou in New Jersey as a guy with the uncanny ability to shed his cap errors. Of course, I'd prefer he not make them in the first place, but at least it seems he can slide out of them when they happen.
In terms of real money, I'm not sure if this would be a "loan" where the Flames would still owe Ales his salary, or an outright "suspension" where his departure means total financial relief. First, we'll have to see if the signing actually happens and then assess the details afterwards.
July 08 2010 04:05PM
According to twitter reports, it looks like Sutter has found someone willing to make balloon animals. Ironically, it's Jay Feaster, the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning team that defeated the Flames in the 2004 Stanley Cup finals.
That sounds like a good resume, of course, but frankly I'm unimpressed by Feaster. His team slid into terrible territory soon after winning the cup and his writings at the Hockey News since being deposed have caused me to both laugh derisively and raise my eyebrows more than once.
So, yeah...color me less than thrilled.