Two Out of Three

Pat Steinberg
July 13 2010 04:13PM

CALGARY, CANADA - OCTOBER 31: Head Coach Brent Sutter of the Calgary Flames stands behind the bench as Craig Conroy #24 and Eric Nystrom #23 go over the boards for a line change during their game against the Detroit Red Wings on October 31, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Red Wings defeated the Flames 3-1. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)

No offence to Brian McGrattan and Jamal Mayers, but there were three pending free agent players Flames fans were most interested in when it comes to their future destinations.  Of those three, Craig Conroy, Eric Nystrom and Chris Higgins, only the former remains on the free agent market.  So how will the fits be for Higgins and Nystrom in their new locales?  And where, if anywhere, will Conroy end up?

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Middle Kingdom

Robert Cleave
July 13 2010 10:31AM


Dominic Moore

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.

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Shantz Signs in Manitoba

Kent Wilson
July 12 2010 12:20PM

SUNRISE, FL - 2007:  David Shantz of the Florida Panthers poses for his 2007 NHL headshot at photo day in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Getty Images)

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.

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The Flames Blueline

Kent Wilson
July 11 2010 11:52AM

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 14:  Alexei Ponikarovsky #23 and Matt Stajan #14 of the Toronto Maple Leafs wait to tip a shot between Cory Sarich #6 and Jay Bouwmeester #4 of the Calgary Flames in a game on November 14,2009 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario. The Flames won 5-2. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

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 -

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Kotalik to Sign in Russia?

Kent Wilson
July 09 2010 09:00AM

OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 09: Ales Kotalik #26 of the Calgary Flames skates during the NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on February 9, 2010 in Ottawa, Canada. (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)


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.

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