Michael Cammalleri. Ten goals, eleven assists in 25 games and two game winning markers. The Flames are getting exactly what they asked for in this diminutive forward who has an eye for the net and a rougher side than most people think. He has a rifle of a shot and actually uses it, unlike the number 13 who plays for Les Habitants and used to dawn the Flaming C. He, along with Matthew Lombardi and Jarome Iginla have formed a top line in Calgary that is quicker, faster, more agile and can blow by opposing defence better than previous instalments of the top unit have ever done before. Cammelleri is the x-factor on that line. Not only are defensemen worrying that Iginla is going to fire it by them, but now they have another forward to cover with Cammy on the other side. Case in point the one of three goals Mike scored against the Canucks two weeks ago where Iginla made one of the nicest passes, in recent memory, cross ice and Cammy potted it into the empty net. Everyone was thinking Iginla would shoot but he knew No. 13 was wide open and rarely misses. Last year Iginla did not have that other shot, showing how valuable Michael Cammelleri really is.
Looking into the future Cammy is an unrestricted free agent as of July 1 of next year. He currently makes $3.6 million a year and for a guy that averages just under a point per game, you can bet that he might want a raise of some sort. I am guessing he will garner offers in the $4.5 to $5.5 million a year earnings and will likely be looking for a multi year deal. So where on the Flames does he fit in? Who do they get rid of to free up the needed salary room for No. 13? You look to the back end where you have Adrian Aucoin making $4 million, due for UFA this summer and you have Jim Vandermeer who makes $2.3 million a year and should not garner such a salary. With Adam Pardy gaining confidence game by game, I think you can afford to let go of Pylon boy. So you let Aucoin walk, you do you best to trade Vandermeer, or release him if necessary. Then you have an extra $6.3 million to give Cammy what he needs plus a little more to spend on the defense reinforcements.
Losing this guy can not happen. Sutter should be working on some sort of an offer right now to lock him up long term before he starts seeing Toronto (rumours are he wants to play for his hometown) in the forefront. He makes Calgary’s offence better and changes it from the one dimensionality it has been for so many years.
So Sutter, give Iginla, this city’s superstar on and off the ice, some re-assurance that he will not be the only one producing here for the next five years.