Flames Bring Back Sarich Refusing to Admit the Need to Rebuild
Cory Sarich agreed to a two-year, two million dollar contract to return to the Calgary Flames this morning.
Bringing Sarich back puts some more size at the blue line, but it shows Calgary’s lack of commitment to rebuilding.
They lost prized Swedish defender Tim Erixon to the Rangers in the Scott Gomez trade and after seeing limited time last year is expected to compete for a shot on a team known for their defense.
The Flames tried to replenish the hole Erixon left in their system, but Joey Leach and John Ramage (2010 draft picks) have stayed in the same tall, lanky build that they walked into the Staples Center as 19-year-olds on Draft Day. Both these average prospects weigh no more than 190-pounds soaking wet, which isn’t the size the Flames need guarding their goal.
In one of hockey’s best defensive drafts, Jay Feaster chose to 17-year-old center Mark Jankowski. He is a promising two-way forward with already exceptional passing and through development at Providence should turn out to be a great player. But the Flames are shaky on defense and what’s the point of spending consecutive first round picks on offensive players when they desperately need to bolster their blue line.
They passed up on highly touted defensemen Olli Maatta, Michael Matheson and Jordan Schmaltz, who their respective teams took like they were the first present on Christmas morning.
The Flames tried to address this problem by signing 29-year-old Dennis Wideman and bringing Sarich back until he is 35. He is a tall defensive defenseman who has done everything Calgary asked of him and finished every season with a plus rating since joining the Flames in 2007. He reached his plateau in 2011 with 17-points on the year and his numbers dwindled drastically to closeout last season.
People have argued that he is coming off of a solid year, but he only had a +1 rating and both his hits and blocked shots dropped significantly. He isn’t a goal scorer and his passing isn’t as crisp as his days with Tampa Bay. A two-year contract isn’t a horrible move, but why not finally turn op Christopher Breen or James Martin to showcase their talents in the pros.
All in all, this move leaves me uninspired because just like the signing of Wideman, the only thought that enters my mind is “so what?”
If Feaster actually wants to compete in a fast-paced NHL, it’s time to make a splash in the free agent or trade market and I’m not talking about signing a 34-year-old role player who might net five goals by the end of the year, which seems inevitably to be after the second week of April for the Flames.
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