In what can only be described as an incredibly surprising move, Daryl Sutter has signed free agent forward Jamie Lundmark.
Lundmark had spent parts of two seasons with the Flames, his first of which after being acquired in the deal with the Coyotes for a fourth round pick. He was expected to add depth to our forwards for a playoff run and add some scoring. He did just that, racking up 10 points in 12 games leading into the playoffs. He was great on the faceoffs and sound in his own end.
The future seemed bright for Lundmark and the Flames. But a new season brought upon expectations of the young centre; he was considered a shoe-in for 15 goals after being so productive in his first 12 games with Calgary. However, he proved to be a disappointment and was a throw-in chip in the deal that brought Craig Conroy back to Calgary. Increased ice time and a chance to prove himself on a young LA squad did nothing to help him improve his stock and he fled to Russia for the 07-08 season.
Lundmark would return to North American hockey before long, playing with Lake Erie of the AHL.
I can only assume (hope... that's what I mean... hope) that this is a two-way deal meant to replace the loss of Krys Kolanos in Quad Cities. Kolanos scored over 30 goals and was a veteran presence for the minor-league.
It's been argued that the New York Rangers were to blame for Lundmark not developing. A 9th overall pick and scoring centre, he seemed a lock to be a 30 goal scorer in the NHL. The Rangers called him up after a couple productive seasons in Hartford and promptly placed him into a checking role, not allowing him the opportunity to score goals.
Sure, that probably never helped him with his scoring confidence but he's been given ample opportunity to prove he can score at the NHL level. He can't. It's just that simple.
I can't argue with Sutter wanting to see if a scorer can find his hands again. And if he doesn't take up an NHL roster spot, then I think it's a nice addition to a minor-league team in Quad Cities that could really use some success and a taste of the post-season. Surely Lundmark could provide veteran leadership for the flaming QC.
Anything more than that and we're dreaming.
And yes, with the off-season slowing down somewhat throughout the league, I've been dying for some Flames news to banter about...
Yes, saneopinion in the comments section is right, it is a two-way deal, giving Lundmark a chance to prove himself. Which as you will read in this article from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald, is exactly what Lundmark plans to do.
In many of my blogs in the past few months I've expressed my desire for Daryl Sutter to give Grant Stevenson a shot in the NHL. However, Stevenson was an RFA this off-season and was signed on July 9th, along with Junior Lessard, by the Atlanta Thrashers. I was unaware of this move as it fell by the wayside. I felt I should include this just in case other Flames fans were hoping he would challenge for a roster spot after finishing 10th in the AHL in scoring.
It's likely Stevenson will compete for a roster spot in the A-T-L. On a personal standpoint, it was probably a stronger move for Grant. This, along with the Krys Kolanos signing in Minny, was a precursor to the Lundmark signing.