Steve Staios goes down in history as the first player ever aquired by the Calgary Flames in a trade with the Edmonton Oilers. Staios took a lot of abuse this past season, without a ton of just cause in my eyes, but it is fair to say one thing: you don’t want $2.7 million counting on your cap for a guy who only played 39 games. There is no way Staios should be back with the team next season, but his time with the Flames wasn’t a total waste, even if the cap hit didn’t fall in line.
Staios gave us some moments during the 2010-11 season, scoring a couple of pretty big goals in exciting hockey games. We all remember Calgary’s thriller of a shootout win in Philadelphia back in November, and most will remember Steve’s tying goal in the third period, when he jumped in on the rush and fired the puck past Sergei Bobrovsky.
There was his goal against the Dallas Stars in February at the ‘Dome when he sniped a shorthanded marker past Kari Lehtonen in a 4-2 win, or there was that goal in Edmonton. In fact, all three of Staios’s goals last season were pretty big ones, and none bigger than the one he scored against his former team on March 26th. In the midst of a third period comeback, Staios jumped up into the play and scored from the right circle with just 1:55 to go in the third period to send Calgary to a shootout, locked in a 4-4 tie. He certainly did give us some moments this year.
Look, I know having a $2.7 million defenceman taking up space in the press box is not a desirable thing, and really, there was no reason for Darryl Sutter to have made the trade in the first place. It didn’t make sense at the time and it doesn’t make sense today. That said, it’s not as if Staios was awful in his role when he played it; I felt that more often than not, he gave the team steady enough minutes in the 5-6 slot. It’s not his fault the trade was made and it’s not his fault he’s getting paid what he does, so from a strictly on-ice perspective, it wasn’t a total disaster.
However, there’s no way Steady Steve is coming back under conventional wisdom…or any wisdom whatsoever. He’s turning 38 in July and the Flames need to give shots to younger players on the blueline, and there’s really no room for Staios. It’s probably a long shot he gets offered a contract early on in free agency, as he might be a guy more suited for the Brendan Morrison tryout route. That’s no knock on him, it’s just the business these days, and the fact is, Staios will be two years away from 40 when the season starts.