With the state of the Calgary Flames season seemingly on a bubble it’s shocking to say the least when you see several names who could be on the move scratched for this afternoon’s game. Prior to puck drop Kris Russell, Matt Stajan, and David Jones all were announced as scratches.
Whoa … #Flames D Kris Russell listed as a scratch. Ditto for RW David Jones, C Matt Stajan.
— Wes Gilbertson (@WesGilbertson) February 15, 2016
With Russell being the most interesting of the three scratched, it’s impossible to not question whether or not this is a premeditated decision to keep them healthy or close to; regardless of the Flames tweeting out that they were day-to-day with injuries.
Injury Update: Kris Russell (lower body, day-to-day), David Jones (lower body, day-to-day), and Matt Stajan (maintenance) won’t play today.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) February 15, 2016
Jones left the game on Friday against the Sharks after just 3:44 played from an apparent lower-body injury. The man who is often made of glass is an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the season. Given he is likely gone at the end of the season it would be critical that if the opportunity to move Jones before or at the deadline to keep him as close to healthy as possible.
Jones is on the final year of his $16M contract he signed back in 2012 as a member of the Avalanche. Earlier this season Jones missed a game with a lower-body injury.
The veteran centre whose contract is well above the results he creates now has $3.125M coming to him until the end of 2017/18. With nine points on the season (four goals) and primarily seeing usage on the penalty kill he may be sought after for a team looking for centre depth moving forward.
From what was observed, Stajan’s game against the Coyotes was less than stellar with a measly 7:25 played and four PIMs. He was also victimized to some degree against Arizona forward Martin Hanzal. Of which could be a result of today’s scratch.
Hearing Kris Russell has been nursing a nagging injury for 6 days. Could not go this afternoon with the problem. #Flames
— Roger Millions (@RogMillions) February 15, 2016
He’s an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the season who is seeking big money. The suspension to Dennis Wideman dampens to varying degrees of a trade happening any time soon too. If anything is nagging him and keeps out any longer than a few games there may be some diminishment on his trade value.
Russell also missed two games between December 4th to the 12th with an upper-body injury. His 15 points are fifth in defensemen scoring for the season too.
Hopefully the injuries are minor and nothing that hinders the team any more than the on-ice results of the trio lately. If the Flames are sellers and they should be, all three are worth trying to get something back on. All three off the books would make the long-term situation with the salary cap even better with pending contracts for Monahan and Gaudreau are on the horizon.