Cammalleri’s stock on the rise


– pic via halifax drunk


It wasn’t long ago Mike Cammalleri wasn’t even able to grip a stick.

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Now nearly everything that touches it seems to be finding the back of the net. After sitting out the first seven games of the regular season with a hand injury that also kept him sidelined through for most of the exhibition schedule, Cammalleri has been the team’s most consistent goal scorer.

He potted eight in his first 11 games, including four in three games before Thursday night’s ugly loss to the Dallas Stars. And even though his offensive contributions aren’t leading to many victories, Cammalleri’s hot hand has to have the Flames executives smiling upstairs.

Few teams were willing to make a serious offer for the 31-year-old winger this off-season when the Flames were open for business on the trade front, but you can bet a few of them have noticed what’s happening in Calgary and are flipping through the rolodex to find GM Jay Feaster’s number now.

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The sniper has reason to grin as well, with his solid play coming in a contract year. Before the game against the Stars, Cammalleri wasn’t real interested in talking about all that, though. He gave his version of a verbal shrug as members of the local media asked him how it feels to be the hottest Flame and what it might mean for his future here — or somewhere else.

“There’s been no talk in that room about it,” he said. “I’ve got a young family, we’re pretty busy when we’re not playing. There’s been a lot of travel. I haven’t really had time to think about anything like that.”

What he means is shut up about it already.

Accepting that kind of attention has a way of ending hot streaks, annoying teammates, and making it seem as if he is motivated by things other than winning. Yes, his stock is rising, and the likelihood of him being traded earlier in the year rather than at the deadline is going up right along with it — if the right offer comes along.

Team will bide its time

The Flames aren’t in a hurry to make a move, but are always willing to listen. By the end of the calendar year, they will have identified which of the pending UFAs they hope to retain going forward. It’s a group that includes Matt Stajan, Lee Stempniak, Tim Jackman, Kris Russell, Chris Butler, and Derek Smith.

Stajan and Stempniak have proven to be good value players with leadership qualities, but neither is a natural goal-scorer like Cammalleri. That means the 30+ goal scorer would fetch more on the trade market for a team that will be looking to add additional pieces if (when?) making the playoffs is no longer a realistic possibility.

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The Flames might also want to ask him if he’d be willing to stick around, and what kind of cash it would take to keep him. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely Cammalleri is interested in continuing down the path of this rebuild with his window to win a Stanley Cup dwindling and this possibly being his last chance to ink a lucrative deal with a contending team of his choosing. Plenty of them will be eyeing him if he continues to put the puck in the net regularly. His abilities have been questioned in recent years, but you can attribute his inconsistency to health issues, confidence variables, and the personal challenges of becoming a father.

He’s clearly still got the kind of shot coaches drool over, and a knack for finding room on the ice to unleash it. “He has that ability to shoot, with an unbelievable release,” said Flames coach Bob Hartley. “You can’t teach that.”

You can practise it, though. And Cammalleri did plenty of that growing up in southern Ontario with a net nestled in an unfinished basement where he spent hours firing pucks until it became almost effortless. It wasn’t so easy just a few weeks back, and for a guy who makes his living by leaning heavily on his stick, that hand injury was difficult for him to deal with.

“It was pretty concerning,” Cammalleri admitted. “It was one of those injuries I couldn’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel. It didn’t feel good at all, and then I had one day of puck handling. The next day I was able to shoot a bit, and then I was back in the lineup. It went from thinking, ‘Man, I can’t even really hold my stick properly,’ to playing — almost overnight.”

Apparently, there was very little rust to shake off.

  • piscera.infada

    Next season:









    One can dream..

    • Byron Bader

      You have 6 returning veteran forwards(Backs is now a Vet) which I think is one to many. You have failed to make room for the development of Porier and at least one of Granlund, Ferland, Arnold Hankowski or Rhino.

      On D you are spot on except there is no guarantee we get Ekbald and you have also forgotten the following players; Billings, Spoon and Ramage. I would like to see the back end get more physical ar at least larger.

    • Parallex

      You’re missing Harltey’s favorite player in the world on there – Big B!

      I’d like to keep Stemp. He’s a very hard worker and plays both ends. Great player for the transition period.

      They pretty much need to keep Russell as well.

      Stajan needs to go to clear out the log jam at centre.

      I don’t mind keeping Smith for depth.

    • Byron Bader

      I might be inclined to add Poirier to that list. Watching him in the pre-season, he definitely didn’t look out of place and I was surprised he got sent down as early as he did. I hope he rips up the Q and ends up surprising in training camp and makes the team. I wouldn’t mind slotting him in on the other wing with Colborne and Gaudreau.

      • everton fc

        Poirier’s a LW, is he not? So how does he slot with Colborne and Gaudreau? Am I missing something?

        When you think of prospects we have on the left side not mentioned above – Poirier, Ferland and Klimchuk to be more specific, and maybe even Granlund – moving a guy like Glencross might make sense. And I think Glencross may be worth a first round pick. Maybe. So plug Poirier in Glencross spot. Potentially the same point-production and grit. Ferland has more offencive potential than Bouma. And I don’t see Ferland as a 4th liner if he actually makes the NHL. He’s a pure power forward. I’m thinking Baertschi needs to really be on his game, if he wants to keep his spot on the left side safe in a regime being run by Burke. And it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of Colborne.

        As for re-signing Russell, no brainer. You have to reward the guy, and he’s only 26. And I must say I’m not incredibly impressed these days with Ramo or Berra.

        And with Ben Street getting a hat-trick this evening vs. the Barons, can he be ruled out of the mix, as a flexible 4th line option who might be able to take more minutes when a guy or two is down?

  • MichaelD

    Perhaps he stays? Feaster has mentioned multiple times he wants to surround young players with the “right veterans”. Now that he has a young family, and is performing, perhaps he will be interested in staying in the city where he has enjoyed the most success.

    Is that the right thing for the Flames? Likely not, but wouldn’t rule it out either. Looks like a little bit of space between them and the cap floor next year without Cammy.

  • Tenbrucelees

    Russell won’t be traded.

    Cami? Well I think it depends on the return. I certainly would not put a bargain price round his neck.
    Personally I think he is worth at least a projected mid round first plus parts if possible. MAybe even as high as a 2015 second.

  • NHL93

    Depending on the market later in the season, it’ll be interesting to see what Calgary can get for him. He’s only worth what some team is willing to pay for him.

    I’d hate to see Russell moved. He’s been a good scrapheap reclamation project so far. He may be more valuable to keep than send off for a 2nd or 3rd.

  • NHL93

    For sure CAmmi wants to move on and for sure he’s going to bring back the best return.

    You hate to lose him, but the team has to keep the rebuild in mind first and foremost, something that I think was maybe slipping from them earlier, but shouldn’t be now.

    Cammi has the potential to bring back an asset that could prove very valuable in a few years.

    One more piece, as it were.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      I’ve been surprised before, but I agree. A 31 year old nearing the end of his most productive years as an NHL’r likely doesn’t want to hang around a rebuild a la Sundin.

      Hard not to like what he brings, and this time around without the need of Iginla as his setup man. Let the bidding war begin!!

  • Byron Bader

    I have mentioned before…keep Cammy health and happy. It’s all in the timing…all you need is 2-3 teams bidding for his services = 1st or a pair of 2nd’s.

  • everton fc

    Forgot to mention in my post that I continue to be impressed with Troy “G” Ward. Classy post-game interviews, and he knows how to get the best out of his team. He’s doing a good job with Ferland, too. Patience with Ferland will help him realize his potential.

    I’d like to see Ward get a look with the big club. He’d be better (perhaps) for the kids than Hartley (perhaps)

  • SmellOfVictory

    I’m okay with him being traded. I like his attitude, but he is, at the deadline at least, worth the most of any of the pending UFAs, as long as he produces at even his normal rate henceforth.

    Which UFAs would you consider most important to re-sign? I’d personally say only Russell and one of Stempniak/Stajan would be priorities, with the rest being tradeable.

    • Steve Macfarlane

      I like Russell and Stajan, who will likely come cheaper on his next deal. Stempniak is worth a shot as well.
      In a perfect world I’d keep Cammalleri above them all, but the return could be worth more than his goals for the next year or two so it would be hard not to shop him around.
      I also don’t think Cammalleri would give up a chance to go to a team closer to contention.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The only player I think is a shoe in to re-sign is Russell.

    Butler, Stajan, Jackman, Smith and possibly even MacDonald should all be traded for picks.

    It might be in the best interest of the team to try and resign one of Stempniak or Cammalleri but I would be fine trading them both if the return was worth it.

    All in all though my prediction is Russell and Stempniak re-sign and Cammy gets traded to a contender.

    • piscera.infada

      No one would trade a pick for MacDonald, no one claimed him on waivers, you’re not even getting a 7th for the guy. Likely the same story for Jackman/Smith.

      • piscera.infada

        Well we have seen in the past Karlsson passed through waivers then got traded for a 7th.

        MacDonald and Jackman/Smith aren’t going to net you anything overly valuable but late rd picks may be a possibility.

        Sometimes players pass through waivers because teams cant take on a contract so need to exchange contracts to get a deal done.

        Brossoit was a late rd pick so these things aren’t completely useless…

        If there’s no market for them then fair enough but if you can get 6th/7ths for them then you do it.

        • piscera.infada

          While I agree you can get maybe get a seventh for MacDonald, I don’t know why any team wouldn’t just wait it out and sign him next year – if they actually want him, he’s not very good (at least you could maybe make a potential upside argument for Karlsson).

          Jackman, maybe you can get something better than a seventh. But again, team’s are more likely to just wait for him to be a free agent. Unless you find one of those teams that “needs” a player for 5 minutes a night in the playoffs – which I would venture to say is unlikely.

          Smith could be be a decent throw-in on another trade, which could net you a better/other pick.

          Obviously if you can get something you do it. I was just saying that the market for those players (assuming stand-alone value) probably doesn’t exist.

          • MichaelD

            Well around the trade deadline teams may be looking for cheap depth for a playoff run. That’s when teams will give up a 6/7th for a guy like Jackman or possibly Smith even if they are pending UFAs. I believe we got a 5th for Comeau and he was a pending UFA wasn’t he? Different players, but same idea.

            Question? If we lend Monahan for the World Juniors does he come back to the NHL after the tournament, or by ‘lending him’ are we sending him back to junior?

    • MichaelD

      My thoughts too. Russell has earned another look so far. Cammi would be nice but no way he signs a home discount prior to the trade deadline. His return is too great to take that risk. Stajan, Stemps, Butler, Jackman, Smith all need to get moved for best possible return, don’t care if we take back a contract to get a better return. I think Feaster listens up to Christmas & the doors for sale open Jan 2nd. At this point I think we lend Monahan to the World team in December & we start revolving Rhino, Knight, Hano,Cundari & whoever else has earned some games. The jet between Abbey & Calgary should have a full tank for many trips back & forth in the near future.

      Anyone think we should be considering good offers for the likes of Wideman & Hudler & GlenX. You know, not actively shopping them but if a GM like Hommer calls with an offer you cant refuse, maybe you look at it.

      • RedMan

        Glencross, yes (trade him).

        Wideman and Hudler you keep. They are going to win a cup here in 4 years.

        Keep butler as well.

        Butler and Smid are both OK as 2nd/3rd pairing depth guys as long as they have a good puck moving, skating defenseman to pair with.

        there are a lot of replacement level players that people are suggesting have no trade value, but keep in mind guys like these (Jackman, Smith, etc) can be pieces for a trade where a replacement player needs to go the other way.

        I think Stajan, Glencross and Cammilari need to be traded for value. these guys can be the depth that a team needs to get over the hump. Stajan and Glencross would make exceptional 3rd liners on a team that is already very good. Cammi slots in as a top six sniper that can put it in the net on any team, plus is professional and hard working and a good person to have around.

  • piscera.infada

    The opinion of Russell seems to have changed a great deal. I think you definitely resign him. The guy’s been good, and if he continues to get better, maybe you have a trade piece down the road if his contract is kept reasonable (which is likely).

    That said, I think you try and trade Stajan, I think he’s been alright, but I’d rather see a rotation of young centres next year, over him taking a roster spot.

    Stempniak is probably the best choice to resign, IMO. It’s tough to say if he’ll want to though. I mean, the guy was on St. Louis and Toronto when they were pretty bad, and the Coyotes when they weren’t much better. He may also want some playoff hockey – but that’s all dependent on how he performs.

  • MichaelD

    One we need to remember according to capgeek both Cammi and Stajan have some form of no trade clause. Does anyone know what level these are? If I was in charge I would already have had a basic discussion with all three are UFA’s. These guys all know the situation and are true professionals. My conversation would be something like this with both Cammi and Stemp: “We really like how you have fit in and if your really interested in staying knowing we are committed to the rebuild we would love to have you. If you want to move on we would like to help you move to a team where you can have a chance to win a cup? If you don’t sign with your new team we would like you to know we would be interested during free agency. (Tampering?) The conversation with Stajan would be different. I would be a little less excited about his future here but I would not want to be negative. I would look at resigning Russell as well as long as the price tag was right. We willneed to be giving TJB a good raise soon.

  • On one hand, having Mike Cammalleri around to mentor Johnny Gaudreau on surviving as a small man in a big man’s league could be valuable. On the other hand, you probably can’t have too many physically under-sized wingers on your club and be successful.

  • everton fc

    He has been playing well recently, I think he will be traded. He wants to win a Cup and come trade deadline when teams have injuries and/or are looking to add that extra piece for a Cup run they will be calling Jay and hopefully we can get a good return if a GM is willing to give up a lot for a rental.

  • MichaelD

    Heat win again last night; is it because of Ward or is it because for the first time in a long time they have some talent on the farm, it’s probably a combination of both. I have listened to bits and pieces of at least 10 of there games via the internet and it sounds like they have played well.(listening to the game is a bit trying at times)

    Up front they have a number of people playing well which is why they were able to move Horak.(he had 2 assists last night)The Flames should be looking to reward those players who are doing well and that would begin with BJones but for some reason Hartley does not want him.(Even if Hartley does not see him in the future he should be brought up and given a chance if for no other reason than to trade him) However there are some other big body guys who are playing well; Knight,Hankowski and dare I say it Nemisz(he is having his best season in the AHL and I wonder if he is maturing or if it is because he has some skilled players to play with)(*note I am not a big fan of his but he has been playing well)These guys are all 23, 6’2″ or 6’3″ and around the 200lb mark,why not give them a chance and move, shuffle to Abby the likes of Jackman or MCg. This the part of the rebuild process that I don’t understand. Management talks about merit and then we don’t see it. The team has enough veteran leadership form the likes of Cammi, Stemp, Hudler,DJones up front not to need the truculent twins on the ice at the same time.

    • RedMan

      regarding the whole “merit” thing, what does Hartley do after the last two stinker games??

      wow, we did not only get pulverized, but we looked bad doing it, outside of brief spurts in the last period.

      • SmellOfVictory

        It was interesting that he gave them a day off of physical activity. You are right to ask the question what do you after the two stinkers and an unsuccessful road trip. As they did not recall anyone you are stuck with the guys you have. You could reshuffle your lines or suck it up and see how they respond tonight against a team closer in the standings.

        Here’s my team for tonight:
        Ramo in net


        Colborne/TJG/??? I guess McG

        But I suspect we will see Backs stuck with the truculent twins.

        I have tried to understand how waivers work but am not 100% sure. I know if we tried to waive anyone over 24 they would have to clear waivers and we could lose them(a real shame if we lost Jackman of McG)I know we can’t send Monahan down except to the OHL, but what about Bouma and Colborne could they be sent down and not be lost so that we could see some of the other players. It’s based upon their age, when they signed their contract and the number of NHL games. I also know we could send Sven down but am not sure what good that would accomplish. if anyone could clarify the waiver rules I would like to be enlightened.

        By the way it’s nice to have a game against a team that is close to us in the standings for a change and it will be good to see how the team responds.

  • MichaelD

    Projected lines are posted:
    TJG/Backs/DJ (this line could see a lot of Hall)
    Sven/Staj/Stemp(Sven and Stemps have had good chemistry at times)
    Bouma/Colborne/ McG

    This as close to being able to roll 4 lines that we have seen; let them play like this for a couple of weeks. Please!!

    D pairings as expected.

    Berra in net.

  • beloch

    Given that the Flames actually won the last tilt with the Oilers, shouldn’t BookofLoob or someone similarly insane be posting a hilariously offensive game-day-thread to Oilersnation?