The contract signed by Calgary’s Curtis Glencross Monday turns out to be a decent cap hit over a four year term, working out to $2.55 million per season. In his three seasons with the Flames, Curtis has been a valuable depth forward for the team, doing his job well in a "setup role", if you will. His contributions were great on his last contract, but long term stability and a $1.3 million raise will hold Glencross to a different standard.
Last season had it’s very good ups for Curtis, but also had a far-too-long span of infuriating invisibility, lasting longer than a month. So while his career high 24 goals and 43 points were great value for his $1.2 million cap hit, a similar disappearing act in the next four years goes from very frustrating to unacceptable. However, that Harry Potter like cloak of invisibility has really only happened once, and it’s not as if he’s alone among NHL players or even teammates, so I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here.
The reason I’m willing to do that is his high, high value on this team in a variety of different roles. First off, his point production has been just fine in his time here, putitng up career numbers twice with increased ice time and responsibility. But Glencross is more than just goals and points, starting with his possession ability. As a third line forward, Curtis destroys the opposition on a regular basis, going against the same depth on the other side, which is valuable in itself. When you add what he’s done in much more difficult circumstances, it becomes more impressive.
Two seasons ago, Glencross put up ridiculous possession numbers while playing mostly with the similarly valuable Craig Conroy and David Moss. While being utilized against pretty good players on the other side, the trio did exactly what they were asked to do, and did it very well: get the puck to the offensive end, and keep it there, limiting the effectiveness of who they were out against, and making circumstances easier for the next line over the boards.
After a decent 2009-10 campaign, something similar was found once again this year with Curtis again finding himself on a line with David Moss, this time with Olli Jokinen. While Olli did contribute to that line, it’s still my belief that it was the two wingers driving the bus, and for a good span of time, those three went out and wreaked havoc on opposition top lines. They put up some decent numbers together, but it was the "setup" mentality that won me over most. They were only broken up when Brendan Morrison was injured, elevating Moss to the top unit before David suffered a season ending injury of his own.
The other large area of value for Glencross comes shorthanded, where he has proven to be more than capable in his time with the Flames. He typically is near the top when it comes to penalty kill time-on-ice among forwards, and for good reason, because he’s one of the best on the team at doing it. Add in his six shorthanded goals in his three seasons here, and you get the idea.
I’m a huge Curtis Glencross fan, but I’m worried a four year contract may be more conducive to complacency as opposed to, say, a two year deal at the same terms. However, with the player entering unrestricted free agency poised for a big payday, a two year deal at a relatively affordable price wasn’t really realistic, so some concessions had to be made by the Flames. I’ll take Glencross at that cap number, but there is an inherent expectation now: that he’ll be, at the very least, the same player he’s been on a very regular basis. He’s being paid like a top six forward, and he’ll need to perform like one (independent of counting numbers) night in and night out, which he’s done for the most part minus last season.
As for the no-trade/no-movement clause, I don’t like it, but it’s more of an issue that would fall under an article about management, as opposed to the player itself. While I think it’s silly another NTC had to be added to this teams roster, it doesn’t diminish what Glencross should be able to do on this team.