I love starting rumors.
So Jay Feaster said on Thursday that the Flames don’t feel like they have a bonafide number one centre. Talks with Brad Richards were close, oh so close, but Richards didn’t want to play in the Western Conference (lazy ass). And now with the Langkow, Regehr and Kotalik deals in the ledger, the Flames have about $3.5M in cap room. So let’s have a look at the top five candidates that will definitely probably become a Flame at some point in the very near future, maybe.
#5 – Paul Stastny
Currently with: Colorado Avalanche
Points last year: 22G 35A 57P
Reason why he’s expendable: Two words. Matt. Duchene. Duchene outperformed Stastny last year and is 5 years younger. And let’s face it, Colorado isn’t going anywhere this year.
Reason why he’s not: Stastny makes $6.6M/year. Ouch. Plus at 25, he has got 10 years of hockey left in him. Why would the Avs get rid of that?
#4 – Mikhail Grabovski
Currently with: Toronto Maple Leafs
Points last year: 29G 29A 58P
Reason why he’s expendable: Because Toronto is dumb, and they have a history of dumping guys right before their breakout year. And we have a history of picking up their trash.
Reason why he’s not: Toronto has a producing hockey player for less than $4M/year, even they can’t screw this up. Can they?
#3 – Nicklas Backstrom
Currently with: Washington Capitals
Points last year: 18G 47A 65P
Reason why he’s expendable: Because teammates in Washington have recently come out saying that Backstrom doesn’t try hard enough. If your teammates lose confidence in you, it becomes a steady march down trade street – or perhaps to the KHL. The Caps are also over the cap, so they have to dump some salary before the season starts.
Reason why he’s not: $6M/year for the next four seasons. Enough said.
#2 – Joe Pavelski
Currently with: San Jose Sharks
Points last year: 20G 46A 66P
Reason why he’s expendable: Jumbo Joe will always be the number one guy in San Jose. Mini Joe will have to go elsewhere for the opportunity.
Reason why he’s not: The Flames would have to find another half million dollars to make this deal possible. Which isn’t that unrealistic.
#1 – Tuomo Ruutu
Currently with: Carolina Hurricanes
Points last year: 19G 38A 57P
Reason why he’s expendable: Carolina has two centres already ahead of him on the depth chart in Staal and Skinner. He is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of this year.
Reason why he’s not: He only had 2 more points than Jokinen, so he’s not that much of an improvement points-wise. The Flames would still also need to find a million dollars in cap space somewhere. Sorry Sarich.
There you have it, my money is either Pavelski or Ruutu in a Flames jersey at some point during the year. You guys may as well get both jerseys numbered up now just to make sure you beat the rush.