Of the pending unrestricted free agents on the Calgary Flames, names like Alex Tanguay, Anton Babchuk and Brendan Morrison may draw more headlines than Adam Pardy. But what the Flames decide to do with Pardy will be very interesting, as he’s coming off a serious injury and a season where he didn’t play anywhere near as much as he’d like. There are reasons to keep Pardy around, but there are also mitigating factors that play into it as well.
Pardy is coming off a season where he played just 30 games thanks to two seperate injuries; one suffered in game one of the season, and one suffered a little later on. The shoulder injury he suffered in February sidelined him for the rest of the season, and at this point, there’s not a whole lot known about the recovery. We do know he was nowhere close to returning at the end of the season, which points to it being something fairly severe. Obviously the status of his shoulder will be the number one thing that determines if and what kind of offer the Flames put forward.
So lets assume it’s all systems go and Pardy is at 100%. Why is Pardy an attractive option to bring back for the Flames? First off, he’s still 27 years old, so it’s not as if he’s going to up the average age of the team. But more importantly, at 27 years of age and his professional body of work, he’s not really in line for much of a raise at all. Pardy just finished a two year, $1.4 million deal and gave the Flames fair return in his role: a number 5-7 defenceman.
If the team were to resign him, they wouldn’t be asking for anything more than that same role. Plain and simple, at 27, that’s what Pardy is as an NHLer: a 5-7 defenceman. NHL teams need players like that, who give you steady, affordable minutes down the depth chart, and I believe Pardy fills that role nicely when healthy. For us to expect anything more from the guy would be silly at this point, but that doesn’t mean he can’t continue to fill that role at a manageable price.
The downside would be viewed as Pardy potentially taking the spot of a younger player on the blueline, whether it be Gord Baldwin or T.J. Brodie or whomever. I don’t buy it myself, though. So maybe a blueliner makes a huge impression in camp. I don’t think Pardy having or not having a contract will decide whether that younger blueliner makes the team…at all. Pardy is an easy guy to move to the seventh spot to elevate someone else, and he’s also an easy guy to insert into the lineup without any hesitation. There’s a value in that.
Two things are key when talking about Pardy’s future with the team, though: his health and the cost. If he’s not recovered from the shoulder injury, it doesn’t make much sense to sign him. And if he’s not going to come at around the same pricetag he’d been at the last two seasons, it doesn’t make much sense either.