Mikael Backlund’s season from hell continues apace with the news today that he’ll miss up to six weeks with an "upper body" (shoulder) injury. And although Mikael’s lack of scoring has been well highlighted recently, the truth is his absence is even worse news for the the Flames.
With Backlund shelved, Calgary’s second line in practice today was the trio of Kostopolous, Cammalleri and Comeau, wtih Cammalleri as the pivot. That’s a career 4th liner, a guy plucked off of waivers and a one-way forward who is far better suited to wing than center. Yikes.
Thanks to the rash of injuries, it gets even uglier after that. The bottom six rotation will be filled out by some combination of Horak, Kolanos, Byron, Jackman, Stajan and Lance Bouma. That’s an AHL roster.
The timing of the current Injure-paloosa couldn’t be any worse. A couple weeks from the trade deadline and embroiled in a tooth-and-nail battle for a playoff spot, the Flames are getting desperate on a number of fronts. They need NHL bodies to fill out the roster in order to stay in the hunt and they’ve also lost a number of bargaining chips that could have been moved at the deadline in return for either futures or upgrades. Feaster therefore enters February 28th on the weak side of the negotating table with precious few expendable pieces to offer. It’s a bit of a catch-22.
So the question of "buy or sell" may be rendered moot – as the Flames need to buy increases, their bargaining power and assets decreases. Calgary may have to stand pat at the deadline if the priecs for useful players grows beyond their means. Unless, of course, the club gets desperate enough to put really big chips – like the team’s first rounder – into play.
I guess we’ll see. For now, Calgary will have to try to hang on by their fingernails.
UPDATE – By request, here are the Flames other injured bodies and when they are expected back in the line-up:
Curtis Glencross – early March (hurt Jan. 17)
David Moss –
??? mid-March is what I’m hearing now (hurt Nov. 12)
Derek Smith – early March (hurt Dec. 29)
Lee Stempniak – mid-to-late March (hurt Jan. 29)
Blair Jones – late March (hurt Feb. 9)
Mikael Backlund – late March (hurt Feb. 11)