Barn Burner: A look at Craig Conroy’s work and where to go from here for the Calgary Flames (featuring Darren Dreger)

Photo credit:@NHLFlames on Twitter
Justin Mackenzie
1 month ago
On Friday’s episode of Barn Burner, Pinder and Rhett had TSN insider Darren Dreger on the show to provide his thoughts on how first year general manager Craig Conroy did in his first trade deadline.
“Well he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and he’s a man true to his word,” said Dreger on the work Conroy has done so far. “When he accepted the job, he talked about how difficult it was to see Johnny Gaudreau walk out for nothing and to be positioned in a way where they quite literally had a team that Matthew Tkachuk was going to go to… He learned from that experience of trying to never pigeonhole yourself. In saying that, I think he did pretty well across the board, I do.”
“It’s not easy when you’re trading expiring contract because they’re good players and the fanbase always thinks that you should get more. But, as we’ve already established, I think what we learned in this year’s trade deadline is, for the most part, most teams weren’t willing to pay the premium price for the rental market. Conroy and others were dealing with a weakened hand but he did it. He stayed true to his word and he acquired some useful pieces and future assets and all of that.”
After Dreger gave compliment to Conroy on the tough task he had when he took the general manager job, he also indicated that some of the heavy lifting still might be coming this off-season.
“I do think aside from the contracts he’s going to have to wrestle with, there are going to be some very difficult situations that he is going to have to manage and it probably starts with Jacob Markstrom,” says Dreger. “If Markstrom decides he wants to see how it plays out here if Calgary can keep things on the rails and they play well – he’s dealing with something, we know that – but maybe he has a change of heart. Maybe things settle down for him and he buys into what Craig Conroy and management are selling in the belief that there could be a shorter term transition here and that all falls to the wayside. I’m not so sure.”
Later in the segment, the fellas discussed the idea of a rebuild on the fly instead of tearing it down to the studs and what would be needed in order for that to happen.
“I think that there are some pretty profile people around that organization who have made a strong case that the best path for the Calgary Flames is to go through a pretty significant renovation. That’s how you build a much better foundation for a brighter future. But man, it’s difficult. Look around the league here. I don’t know that Calgary needs a full scale [rebuild],” says Dreger on what the Flames path forward could look like. “It’s a Canadian market, obviously. Try and get your fan base to buy into a five to eight year rebuild. It’s hard. It might be in the best interest of what’s good long term hockey wise but trying to make that reality? It’s almost impossible.”
Pinder would go on to provide his input that with the combination of youth and veterans they have on the roster currently, a retool on the fly might not be as wild an idea as some fans think.
Pinder: “They’ve got some vets that might not let you bottom out that hard, but they’ve also got some kids that are already arriving and you haven’t quite started this thing yet. It’s not Buffalo. This is very much not the Oilers decade of darkness nor the Buffalo 15 years because you have very good players that are arriving already.”
Watch Friday’s episode in full here:

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