Two days ago, Rhett Warrener reported that veteran Flames defenseman Cory Sarich had requested a trade. While he did talk with Flames general manager Jay Feaster, and while it seems the possibility of a trade was discussed, Sarich wants it clear that he did not demand to be moved.
From the Calgary Herald this morning:
“We discussed a wide variety of topics,” Sarich said. “It was initiated by me, because I just wanted to be open and honest with him. I really wanted to express to him that I want to contribute to this team. I want to be part of this team.
And, a little later on:
“I definitely did not demand to be traded,” he said. “As long as I’m in Calgary, I want to be here, I want to contribute . . .
As many pointed out in the comments section where Warrener’s report was first discussed, this fits a little better with the reputation that Sarich has. The idea that he just wants to play, and that he would approach Feaster to talk over the options, makes more sense than the notion that he stormed up to the Flames’ GM and demanded to leave. If a trade was discussed – something that seems probable – it was in that context, rather than the context of an entitled player demanding something from management.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t change the basic problem: Sarich is 33 years old, was never blessed with an abundance of foot-speed, and has a big-money contract. In the short-term, at least, it’s difficult to imagine NHL teams falling over themselves to pick up that combination.
In the medium term, it’s more conceivable that the Flames could get something for him. Every year at the NHL trade deadline, some contending team needs to add a depth defenseman, and the things that Sarich is known for – his toughness, his experience – are typically the sort of things that general managers look for. The Flames have done it themselves, acquiring Steve Staios from the Edmonton Oilers for precisely those reasons.
It’s not even unreasonable to assume that Sarich could be a good pickup for some team at that point. He has an expiring contract, teams will have a little more salary cap room to play with, and nobody wants to get caught without enough healthy defenders. The 2006 Buffalo Sabres, one game away from the Stanley Cup finals, discovered that the hard way – a rash of injuries decimated their blue line, forcing them to go into their most important hockey game of the post-lockout period with a defense that included Rory Fitzpatrick and Doug Janik in the top four, and Jeff Jillson and Nathan Paetsch to round out the group.
In the meantime, Sarich knows what he needs to do. From that same Herald piece:
I’m just trying to stay ready now for whenever I get a chance to play.