Proteau: Time for Flames to trade Iginla, Kiprusoff
I hope you’re sitting down, because the following sentence may blow out your kneecaps as well as your mind: It’s time to blow up the Calgary Flames.
I kid, of course. That notion isn’t new at all. In fact, people have been arguing for the demolition of the current Flames roster since former GM Darryl “Sunshine” Sutter was turning the world on with his smile and acquiring former Maple Leafs like he was the ghost of Harold Ballard. In spite of the numerous cries for change, when Sutter was asked to resign Dec. 28 of last year, his replacement, Jay Feaster, saw enough worth salvaging and chose not to clear out the team’s veteran core.
I have a ton of respect for Feaster, who, in John Tortorella’s world, has won a Stanley Cup and thus has earned the right to have it his way. But in many regards, that decision was akin to looking at rotting road kill on the side of the highway and focusing on the sole sliver of meat that was still technically edible.
All the doubling down Feaster has done on the Flames has not paid off in standings points. Despite a solid turnaround from the spiral that got Sutter fired, Calgary still failed to make the playoffs last season. And although coach Brent Sutter and his players understood full well they needed to charge out of the gate this year like a bucking bull, they instead have been much closer to one of those shopping mall children’s horse rides, posting a 4-5-1 record and the fourth-lowest goals-for number in the entire league, tied with Detroit at 23.
Only the woebegone Columbus Blue Jackets have a worse record in the Western Conference than does Calgary. In the East, only the Islanders (who’ve played one fewer game) and Bruins have fewer standings points than the Flames.
But wait, it gets worse: with just two goals and four points in 10 games, Flames captain Jarome Iginla is on pace for a 16-goal, 32-point season (his lowest totals since 1997-98) and is a team-worst minus-3. Star goalie Miikka Kiprusoff has posted a rather ordinary .913 save percentage and no longer appears capable of singlehandedly carrying his offensively challenged teammates as he once did. Center Matt Stajan – who received a mind-boggling, four-year, $14 million contract extension from Darryl Sutter before he was canned – has been a healthy scratch twice so far.