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Okotoks, AB • Canada • 27 Years Old • Male
Part 2 of my outlook on the Calgary Flames off-season looking ahead to 08-09...

Sure enough, Daryl Sutter's quiet demeanor leading up to the draft was exactly what I thought it was... he was gearing up for a major deal.

As I pointed out in my pre-draft blog, the Flames are going to be up against the cap in a major way this year and desperately need to shed some salary.

Sutter addressed this early and in a big way at the draft. Shipping Alex Tanguay to the Habs for their 1st rounder, 25th overall and also a 2nd rounder in 2009. Although I felt we could have gotten more for Tanguay, his huge salary was now off our books, but before I had the time to break it all down in my head the news came across that the Flames had acquired Mike Cammalleri in exchange for our 1st rounder, 17th overall... as it turned out later when the Flames were surprisingly picking in the 2nd round, is that we also re-acquired our 2nd rounder that we gave to the Kings in the Conroy deal last season.

Breaking it down, it looks like this. The Flames end up with C/LW Mike Cammalleri from the LA Kings at a cap hit of 3.35 million with one season remaining on his arbitration-winning contract. In terms of prospects, the Flames landed John Nemisz, a goal-scoring centre from the Windsor Spitfires with their first pick, Montreal's 25th and drafted Mitch Wahl, with the Kings 2nd round pick, from the Memorial Cup champion Spokane Chiefs. A play-making centre whom some scouts believe to be highly under-rated due to his competitive nature. Calgary gave up Alex Tanguay, their top LW (although not used like it), and his salary to the Habs while the Kings flipped the Flames 17th pick to the Ducks who selected Jake Gardiner, a smooth-skating American defenseman. Also, the Flames shed 1.9 million in salary for the upcoming season.

Make no mistake about it, Alex Tanguay will likely flourish in Montreal. It's a system that will thrive with a player like him in the lineup and Kovalev/Higgins could be due for a big, goal-scoring season. But I would like to add that the Habs will be receiving a better player than the one that originally came to Calgary from the Avs. His 58 point season is a little deceiving as although he may not been used as the offensive force that he can and will be, but Keenan made him defensively responsible and will be a better overall player because of it. If you're a Habs fan, you've got to be on Cloud 9 right now as giving up a late first-rounder will mean nothing when Tanguay goes back to his point-a-game self.

In return comes Mike Cammelleri, and Flames fans may be excited about this, but again, I have to point out that he is a serious downgrade from Tanguay and has been known to want boatloads of cash for his services. But Cammy brings a lot to the table as well. He's about 3 years younger, 2 million dollars cheaper... can play LW or C, has a great shot and is a very fast skater.

All in all, I'm okay with the moves that Sutter made over the draft and it gives us a little more flexibility going forward.

Our next big date is July 1st, but not because the Flames are going to be major players in the UFA market, but because we have a half-dozen slots to be filled on our current team and several UFA/RFA's of our own. Rumors continue to swirl about the Daymond Langkow deal and whether their actually is something to it. I heard Daryl Sutter say the two had a "gentleman's agreement" and I have to think that's where they stand. What would the terms be of that agreement... my guess, is it's as simple as, let's map this out when we know where we both stand.

As of now, all we can do is speculate... and speculate we shall.

I believe the following players will be re-signed and remain a part of the Calgary Flames, beside their name I will include a ball-park figure of their salary and discuss their current/future role with our organization and the impact it has on the upcoming year.

Langkow: expected to be 5 million... I personally would like to see this at around 4 mil and think that the term of 4 years which has been bantered about is also too long. I think a 3 year deal would be more than sufficient for a 32-year old who has had his best 3 seasons as a pro, with the Flames. He's likely nearing the end of his "prime" and can't be expected to get 70-75 points when he's 36 or 37.

Conroy: I expect him to come back for a 2 year, 2 million dollar deal. He'll take the role as a 3rd line centre but will probably see a lot of special teams minutes, including power-play. Connie loves Calgary, and the fans love him, but more importantly, he's Jarome Iginla's best friend... and guess who phoned him just minutes after hearing he was coming to Cowtown, Mike Cammelleri, who was excited to be teamed with Conroy once again. I'm sure Conroy could also address the issues of how Cammy's attitude is in the locker room.

Nystrom: He finally showed that he is capable of logging important checking-role minutes in the NHL. He would fit perfectly as a 3rd/4th line, penalty killing LW and I expect that he'll be back with a slight raise on his salary from last season. I pencil him in at around 875,000 and I would think he'd also sign a 2-year pact in order to get back to his UFA status with improved stock.

Giordano: He has been signed since mid-December when he realized that he may have made a mistake by leaving North America. But he had a solid season in Russia and was an alternate for Canada's World Championship team. I can only assume that he was given a one-way deal for this season, but you never know. Calgary fans should temper their expectations for Gio, but he will make an excellent 3rd pair D-man and he should see regular time on the 2nd power play unit. I expect this deal to be similar to Nystrom's in that it's just a raise from his last contract year. Yes, many will argue that he's worth 1 to 1.2 per... but he just left our team high and dry, and has only played 55 NHL games. He'll get around 700-750,000 per.

Vandermeer: I'd like to see him back in the fold for the Flames for next season. When he was paired with Phaneuf the Flames played some of their best hockey of the season. It wasn't until Keenan broke them up, started playing him on the LW and made him fight every game that his production decreased and coincidentally, the Flames started losing again. Unfortunately, I don't see him signing with the Flames again unless Sutter can rid our books of the Anders Eriksson or Rhett Warrener deals. Vandermeer would likely cost anywhere from 1.2 to 1.7 million per.

If these deals are made (excluding Vandermeer), the Flames would look like this heading into free agency.

Committed Salary: 51.5
Expected Cap: 56.0
Cap Space: 4.5

4.5 million to address the following needs...

1 top 6 forward
1 3rd/4th line forward (likely to be filled by a prospect from Quad City)
1 3rd-pair defenseman (this is more of a WANT on my part, again, highly likely nothing is done to the D unless Eriksson or Warrener is moved)
1 backup goalie

I expect at least 1 prospect from Quad City to make the jump and I would think Grant Stevenson would top the list.

After the draft, things look a little brighter for the Flames but there's still going to be some sleepless nights for Sutter as he tries to build a squad to get over the hump. I think he's heading in the right direction and a couple small moves could put the Flames in a good position for this season.

I'll be back before July 1st to give my thoughts on free agency... but for a little teaser, here's a list of names I think Sutter may be looking at. This is not my wishlist, just players who I think would fit the mold and may be pursued.

Mark Mowers
Glen Metropolit
Keith Aucoin
Jason Williams
Niklas Hagman
Curtis Glencross, probably the highest on my list as it's heard from Glencross himself that the Flames are interested...
Aaron Voros
Arron Asham
Ruslan Fedotenko
Pascal Dupuis

Let's hope for July 1st to be as crazy as the draft was! Here in Calgary, we're just gearing up for the Stampede next week..........

With the Toronto Maple Leafs expected to buy out the remaining 3 years on Darcy Tucker's contract, I expect the Flames to make a pitch for his services. I've written blogs before, expressing my interest in bringing Darcy Tucker to the West. He would be the ideal fit for Calgary and would fill a major void on the right side of our 2nd power-play unit. Depending on how the bidding goes for his services, we could see him sign for less than his current 3 million dollar contract. Although I would think that the New York Rangers would be another team who would seriously consider adding Tucker... and I wouldn't count out the Sens or Sharks.

If the Edmonton Oilers didn't have such an influx of young wingers, I would think that they would also love to have a player like Tucker.

But for the Flames, it seems like he would really help the lack of scoring on our right side following Iggy. I understand his health is a major concern and maybe due to his style of play, he likely can't be counted on for 80 games... but I'd love to give him a chance. He would be a slightly-younger, smaller version of Owen Nolan, except with the capability to score 25 goals.

I'll be very interested in where he ends up... a healthy Darcy Tucker can be the difference in putting a team over the top. You can't deny his fiery, competitive nature... the only thing he ever did wrong for the Leafs was get hurt... he'll give whoever he goes too, everything he has, like he always does.

I really hope Daryl Sutter makes a move for Tucker. Come home Darcy...
Filed Under:   Flames   Canadiens   Cammalleri   Tanguay  
June 24, 2008 3:40 PM ET | Delete
Bang on...you beat me to the punch, i was waiting for the new cap to get released, lol. Great job slepp, though I disagree about Vandermeer. It's super easy for Sutter to get rid of Warrener and Erikkson, just buy them out and save $2.56M in cap space.
June 24, 2008 3:42 PM ET | Delete
Also, I hate to double-post but I think Hagman would be out of the Flames' price range.
June 24, 2008 4:26 PM ET | Delete
I thought the same thing when I put Hagman on the list, probably too pricey, but I think he may get a look from Sutter... as for your blog, don't hold back on my account! another view/opinion on the Flames off-season would be a good read... look forward to it.
June 24, 2008 4:31 PM ET | Delete
Well, if we're going to buy out those two, let's buy out Aucoin too ... you would save $5.237 million. You pay Vandermeer 1.23 and Liles 4. Done, backend is fixed imo anyway, and then you go and fix the forward ranks...
June 24, 2008 4:35 PM ET | Delete
I don't know about Cammalleri being a "serious" downgrade, a slight one sure but really over the past two seasons they have less than 10 points difference and he's more of a goal scorer as opposed to Tanguay's pass to anyone rather than shoot style. I think Montreal will allow him to open up a bit more for sure though and we should see his return to a very productive player point wise. After the following season we have just a huge amount of cap room as it stands and if Cammalleri should prove he's going to live up to the hype and his potential then maybe we pay him but if he is only alright...maybe we pay him as such! It's a no lose situation, I agree with SKR as well, i'd love to see erikkson and Warrener bought out...at the very least Warrener.
June 24, 2008 4:51 PM ET | Delete
Pascal Dupuis would be a great fit with the Flames, but the fact that he had a great playoff run with Pittsburgh might inflate his price. I hope Martin Gelinas comes back.
June 24, 2008 7:07 PM ET | Delete
Great Post! I have to disagree with the comparison btwn Cammelleri and Tanguay. While Tanguay will most likely thrive in Montreal he has become a one dimensional player. He is probably one of best playmakers in the game but he gives the puck away too much. Also he is quite soft and has lost some of his scoring touch and confidence around the net. Cammelerri has huge up side! I like to put him in a group of young, fast, very skilled shorter players. He is like a Parise or Roy. I think he has potential to score 35 goals and replace Huselius who will most likely be gone. I hope we can drop Rhett too but I think Sutter has too much loyalty to certain guys. I know everyone complains about Erikkson but I think he is a solid 6th defenceman. The problem last year was he was given too much ice time and responsibility.
June 24, 2008 8:19 PM ET | Delete
Finally a quality Flames post. Good. Good discussion around Tanguay and Cammelleri. Of course, only time will tell whether these were good moves. I am not making this comment flippantly, the true test is whether Cammy can develop chemistry with Iggy (or whoever he plays with). What we have lacked is a killer shut down line - like Maltby- Draper- McCarty, Moen- Pahlsson-Neidermayer. I'd love to see us pick up Travis Moen and old draft pick of ours, who could easily have won the Conn Smythe two years ago. Pascal Dupuis - maybe - if the price is right. I think this is a make it or break it camp for Grant Stevenson. Also need to see Moss and Boyd pick it up this year. Do you think Backlund might have a shot at making the team? What do you think Huselius will be asking for? You give that guy some confidence and he is as killer as anyone on the PP. So patient. In the playoffs, he was obviously frustrated (like he had Keenan breathing down his neck). He was ineffective but not for lack of trying. I hope we have a bit of patience with him. Of course, if he's too expensive, we don't have much choice. Looking forward to the return of Giordano and saying bye bye to Eriksson and Hale. Most importantly for our long term future, it is time to give our young prospect goalies a little action - Irving or Mc'Elhinney...
June 24, 2008 8:35 PM ET | Delete
I'm in agreement with Bunstar, in that I don't believe Cammy is a "serious downgrade" from Tanguay. He's younger, cheaper, and easily comparable in talent to Tanguay. If he's not put on penalty killing duty for most of the season and can stay healthy, Cammellari should easily replace Tanguay's "80-point" potential. As for free agents, the pickings will be slim for Calgary. We're still up against the cap, and anyone worthwhile is going to be highly overpaid in this market. (Any idea what Vrbata might want?) I suspect next year is going to be a struggle to make the playoffs. Unless our D can somehow be totally fixed, which I can't see happening. And while I like the Cam/Tang swap...we still lose Huselius for nothing. Say what you will about him, but we're not going to be able to replace that scoring. So less firepower and the same ineffective D as last year? Could be a painful season.
June 25, 2008 10:08 AM ET | Delete
You guys may be right... referring to Cammy as a "serious downgrade" is probably a bit over the top. But I'm a wait and see kind of guy and he didn't have the proven track record that Tanguay did when he came in. I need more than 2 solid seasons to just pencil in 80 points. Also, I don't see Sutter buying out Rhett Warrener; it's probably the right thing to do, and he's more than likely considering it heavily. In the end, I think he stays.
June 25, 2008 10:11 AM ET | Delete
really solid post..hmmm.
June 25, 2008 10:56 AM ET | Delete
good post.i think i'd be even more willing to bring in wellwood, kid's got too much skill (should be read 'potential') to be written off just yet. He is super creative, and can/should grow into a top 6 forward in the right setting.tucker would be nice, but considering he's already making the $$$ he basically can pick and choose where he wants to play.
June 25, 2008 8:38 PM ET | Delete
Hey Ek...if you're looking for a new Flames blogger, I suggest a "blog off" between S Kasper Rollins and mslepp!! :-p
June 26, 2008 12:16 AM ET | Delete
Dammit you guys better not steal Glencross from us.
June 26, 2008 2:06 PM ET | Delete
Well the warrener, eriksson and nilson buyout are in the works, I think we can all agree that rhett was great guy and great player at one point but we needed to move on and free up this salary. Giordano and ?? to fill the holes...
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