The Calgary Flames held a media availability on Wednesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Here is what was discussed in no particular order:
– Roman Cervenka (pronounced “Sher-venka”) was introduced to the media formally in what may have been his first visit to Calgary. He’ll wear #10 and Blake Comeau will be finding a new number for next season. Through a translator, Cervenka explained that he was born on the tenth (December 10), he wore #10 growing up and his father wore the same number when he played. According to Feaster, Cervenka requested the jersey number.
– In terms of leaving the KHL and coming to North America, Cervenka (via translator) explained that it was always his dream to play in the NHL. He praised the skill level of the KHL (saying it was a “very, very good league”) but that it’s not at the level of the NHL. He also praised Calgary as a strong hockey town and noted that the Flames were the best organization for him to arrive with in the NHL.
– Feaster noted that the club is making “progress” with their final remaining restricted free agent, goaltender Leland Irving. He also noted that Karri Ramo is expected to be staying in the Kontinental Hockey League for the final season on his contract with Avangard Omsk.
– The Flames are at 48 NHL contracts, including Irving, which Feaster admits somewhat ties their hands in regards to roster moves. The club was previously waiting for the trade market to open up as expected following the July 1 free agent frenzy. While that hasn’t happened, they appear to still be hoping to make some deals to free up contracts.
Feaster mentioned that the organization has identified some players that they don’t really have in their plans going forward, so they may be looking to make some moves. He cited “45 or 46” as the number of contracts he’d feel comfortable having on the books headed into the season.
– It was also noted that the Flames’ atrocious face-off record last season (dead-last in the NHL) was one of the factors that led to the club pursuing Cervenka so aggressively. Feaster also explained that improving face-offs was also an influence on the hiring of the new coaching staff and is a major focus for next season.