Category Archives: Calgary Flames
Source tells me it’s official: Olli Jokinen’s days with the Flames are over and he will head to free agency July 1.
— Eric Francis (@EricFrancis) June 28, 2012
Make no mistake: the Calgary Flames have held trade talks regarding Jay Bouwmeester here in Pittsburgh at the NHL Draft. They also talked about trading their $6.7 million defenceman at February’s trade deadline. I’ve been a big defender of Bouwmeester during his time with the team, but there are good reasons for the move to happen.
The first and most obvious thing that comes to mind is saving money and cap space. Getting Bouwmeester’s money off the cap can only help the team financially and can only increase their flexibility in making moves for the near future. If a big move is what the club wants to do, saving a few million dollars on Bouwmeester’s contract will only help.
Any news that is filtering out regarding a trade doesn’t seem to suggest a “your bad contract for ours” type deal. That’s a step above what was being thrown around even a few months ago. The Flames aren’t going to be getting a huge return in a trade for Bouwmeester, so all that talk of a first round pick and a top prospect are probably unrealistic. But, the fact that the team would be able to get some sort of a return and not have to necessarily eat a terrible contract? That’s a positive in my eyes.
The merits of trading Bouwmeester go a little deeper, however. Plain and simple, there just hasn’t been a fit. Because his contract is so steep and because he’s such a high profile contract, the attention is hard to escape, and right now bad attention isn’t what this team needs. And I’m not even talking from a PR standpoint. Being around the team on a daily basis last year, there was no doubting how frustrated players got at times with constant questions about the team. It’s part of the business and no one is feeling sorry for them, but it can have a negative effect.
Divesting yourself from Bouwmeester’s contract sends a fairly clear message of moving on. He was signed by former general manager Darryl Sutter, his three years in Calgary haven’t lived up to expectation, and there just doesn’t seem to be a natural fit.
The Twitterverse, in its constant quest to satiate the ravenous beast, has been alive with Jaromir Jagr conjecture over the past couple of days.
And the degree of possible Calgary Flames’ interest.
Speculation is that once the 40-year-old two-time Stanley Cup winner and ’99 Hart Trophy recipient lapses into unrestricted free agency on July 1, the local heroes will be in there pitching ardent woo, hoping to win his heart and land his decorated but decaying services not only to play a little right wing but as a buffer for incoming countryman Roman Cervenka’s smooth transition to the hurly-burly of the North American game.
General manager Jay Feaster is certainly banking heavily on Cervenka, splashing $3.75 million on a one-year deal for the Czech-born sniper. He scored 54 goals and racked up 100 points over the last two seasons for a Kontinental Hockey League outfit, Avangaard Oomsk, which Jagr used to captain.
There are, naturally, no guarantees that such Russian production is anymore than a cruel tease; will translate into pulsating NHL success. But having Jagr, the greatest-ever Czech to play in the big leagues, here to greet him, the thinking goes, should help Cervenka get over the inevitable initial stage fright and allow him to find his creative groove sooner than later.
The year Cervenka was born, Jagr was busy scoring 82 goals for the Pittsburgh Penguins. He’s grown up watching the predatoryNo. 68 shred defences and bamboozle goaltenders.
On the telephone from Montreal late Thursday afternoon, when called to discuss the Gelnias hire, Hartley might’ve unwittingly given a tipoff as to how this all might play out.
“For me,’’ he declared, “looking at Jarome, Giordano, Tanguay, Glencross, Cammalleri, Kiprusoff . . . that’s going to be the core of our team.’’
Now maybe it was nothing more than an honest omission, or the overactive imagination of a scurrilous scribbler, but one prominent name was missing from Hartley’s list. There was no mention of No. 4. Of Jay Bouwmeester. Of a guy whose logged murderous minutes since the day arrived here.
If there’s to be a Regehr scenario unfold for the Flames in Pittsburgh next week, Bouwmeester shapes up as it. Yes, his compensation is wildly out of whack (he’s owned $6.68 million for this season and next), he put up almost as many minuses (minus-21) as points (29) last year and has the standard no-trade clause, but at age 29 when (if?) the 2012-2013 regular-season kicks off, the time seems right.
That persistent Columbus rumour that made the rounds a year ago is floating out there again. Toronto’s been mentioned, too. And despite the stiff tariff, you can wager there are bound to be other suitors willing to overlook certain flaws to secure the services of a player with the motor, the effortless skating prowess, of a Bouwmeester.