Flames GM Jay Feaster has continued his purging of big contracts by shipping out center Daymond Langkow in return for the unpredictable RW/LW Lee Stempniak.
Langkow was acquired during the lockout year of 2004, basically replacing Craig Conroy who then GM Darryl Sutter let walk via free agency. The mantra at the time was "bigger and younger" and Langkow managed to fill that. He was never expected to put up huge numbers or be "Iginla's dream number one center", but he played with heart, consistency, and an all-around good game.
Its unfortunate to see him go but clearly he was not in the Flames future plans. The Flames have plenty of depth at center with Brendan Morrison, Ollie "you're f*cking jokin me" Jokinen, Matt Stajan, Mikael Backlund, and Paul Byron available. Also, David Moss is quite capable of filling that position. There is also the young Greg Nemisz who maybe ready to step in full-time next year. Therefore, removing Langkow now doesn't really hurt the team at this position and they free up over $2.5 in salary.
Lee Stempniak brings a hard work ethic, yet horribly inconsistent, to the Flames. He will provide some depth at wing, especially if Feaster decides to move someone out or if the Flames face an injury problem. He is known as a streaky scorer, but if coach Brent Sutter can keep Stempniak's confidence up, he could become a very effective scorer on both the second line and the powerplay. He can also contribute on the penalty kill.
I think we can add this trade to the other moves that Feaster has made so far: nothing big or flashy, but something that makes the team a tiny bit better now and helps the team out in the future. Feaster seems to be righting the ship slow and steady which is the way I would prefer because the great run last year leads me to believe this team can be very competitive this year.