It was announced today that the Calgary Flames have picked up former Junior star and WHL player-of-the-year candidate Nigel Dawes off of waivers from the Phoenix Coyotes. Dawes is 24 and has scored at every level of hockey he’s played at…except the NHL. Still lots of development time ahead for the relatively diminutive winger, however.
Dawes is a good low-cost addition for Calgary. He required zero assets to acquire, his salary demands will be nominal (<1M) and he has the potential to develop into a solid outperformer offensively. Dawes is what we like to call a “good bet”.
The problem, of course, is that the Flames have almost no cap room and the bottom end of their roster is absolutely stuffed to capacity with established NHLers: Primeau, Boyd (yet to sign), Sjostrom, Conroy, Nystrom, Prust, McGrattan and now Dawes. Not to mention hopefuls like Greentree, Backlund, Lundmark, Van Der Gulik and Jaffray who will likely start the year in Abbotsford.
This move therefore signals one of two things:
1.) Wayne Primeau is on his way out. After a couple of years filled with nominal contributions punctuated by significant injuries, there’s almost no chance Primeau will be able to cover his 1.4M cap hit this year. His salary, which is the 4th highest amongst Flames forwards, sticks out like a sore thumb.
2.) Things are going poorly with the Dustin Boyd negotiations. Boyd remains an RFA and almost nothing has been heard about him inking a new deal. Boyd is the most similar player on the Flames roster to Dawes in terms of age and contributions so Sutter may have acquired Dawes as either leverage in talks with Boyd’s agent or an out-and-out replacement.
If scenario one is true, I like the Dawes move more. If it’s scenario 2 and Boyd is either being squeezed or on his way out completely, I’m not a fan.