If you creep around Flames forums and sites as much as I do, it's not rocket science to notice the majority of Flames fans think there's another major trade coming from the the bizzare mind of Darryl Sutter; if not "major", then at least a few minor tweaks. Let's look at where the Flames are at right now, and where they need to be...
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Right now, the Flames are sitting at 17 forwards:
1 player listed as day-to-day (Bourque)
2 players on two-way contracts (Backlund, Lundmark) that could be sent to Abbottsford
3 players soon to come off of IR (Dawes, Moss, Conroy)
1 player keeping the press box warm (McGratton)
10 players on one-way contracts (Iginla, Boyd, Glencross, Nystrom, Stajan, Hagman, Mayers, Kotalik, Higgins, Langkow)
With 17 roster-ready players, how do you cut 5 out?
Sure, you have the option of demoting them, but Backlund is playing fantastic hockey for the Flames (and should have Top 6 minutes, IMO) while Lundmark has had as much point production as David Moss but in only half the games.
Bourque, Dawes, and Moss are both skating and feel healthy enough to return now while old man Conroy is expected to be back after the Olympic break.
So what to do? I think Sutter has to make some more trades to ensure he has the best possible team to make a run to he playoffs. He's going to find success in doing that by filling the one gaping hole in Calgary's arsenal: a #1 play-making center. Matt Stajan and Iginla have found a bit of an offensive punch since being paired up, but it's been Stajan scoring and Iginla feeding the puck. Those roles should be reversed to fully make use of Iginla as a pure goal-scorer. Here're some names that have been rumoured or would fit the bill to man the middle of Calgary's tpo line:
Ryan Getzlaf (most likely untouchable)
Jeff Carter (a tough move to make, but no impossible)
Mike Richards (less likely to move than Carter)
Brad Richards (excellent passer, but carries a big salary)
Marc Savard (just signed an extension, and oft-injured)
Vincent Lecavlier (is he or ins't he available? do Flames have assets to get him?)
Nathan Horton (a Sutter-type player, but part of Panthers' young core)
Jordan Staal (playing 3rd-line center with Pens, but is he a Top 3 somewhere else?)
Patrick Sharp (Hawks need to ditch salary, but Sharp is big part of team's success)
While my first choice is certainly Getzlaf, he is near impossible to attain since he is Anahiem's franchise player. I would look at three possibilities: Carter, B Richards, & Staal
Carter - he's a big, powerful centerman, but more of a goal-scorer than a playmaker. Much like Jokinen not gelling with Iginla, maybe Carter wouldn't either, but Carter has the ability to do more than Jokinen and creates chances. I would offer:
to PHI: Daymond Langkow (NTC), Curtis Glencross, Cory Sarich, Prospect, Pick
to CAL: Jeff Carter, Blair Betts
Brad Richards - right before announcing the Phaneuf trade to Toronoto, Darryl Sutter was in Dallas. He says he was watching his farm team play in Austin. But, some say he was scouting the Dallas Stars and with Dallas' current financial situation (and their need to shed a considerable amount of salary), Brad Richards coudl be the guy the top line needs. Richards is a pure-passer and playmaker. Not only that, but he can kill penalties and play sound defensive hockey. however, his $7.5 million/yr contract is a tough sell considering he's often injured. If Dallas become out of playoff contention, they'll want to ditch a large contract and pick up some UFAs and smaller contracts. I'd offer:
to DAL: Matt Stajan, Dustin Boyd, David Moss, Chris Higgins, Prospect
to CAL: Brad Richards, Pick
Jordan Staal - it's tough to say if Staal is raelly a #1 center or not since he's spent most of his time on centering the Pens' 2nd and 3rd lines. But, there is one thing that's for sure... Jordan Staal is a game-changer, and plays amazing two-way hockey. Not only do I think he'd help the Flames, but the Flames have teh assets that Pittsburgh need as well, included defensive depth:
to PIT: Ales Kotalik (Crosby's new winger?), Matt Stajan (new 3rd line centerman?), Cory Sarich (tough, stay-at-home d-man), David Moss
to CAL: Jordan Staal, Pascal Dupuis
Here're some other minor swaps I might make to thin out cow-town's herd:
to PHI: Cory Sarich, David Moss, Prospect
to CAL: Braydon Coburn, Pick
to FLO: David Moss, Nigel Dawes, Chris Higgins, Jamal Mayers, Aaron Johnson
to CAL: Steven Reinprecht, Dennis Seidenberg, Ville Koistenen
to CHI: Cory Sarich, Chris Higgins, Nigel Dawes, Pick
to CAL: Kris Versteeg
to BUF: Cory Sarich, David Moss, Chris Higgins, Nigel Dawes
to CAL: Drew Stafford, Toni Lydman
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