Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flame Out

Have you ever seen flames bursting out of control? That's how I'd describe what's happening in Calgary. Jay Feaster was the architect of Tampa Bay's only Cup. However, I'm lost as to what he's doing in Alberta. If the plan is to be as old as possible, then the Flames certainly will have no problem with AARP.

In the latest puzzling move, Calgary acquired the rights of vet defenseman Dennis Wideman from Washington for defense prospect Jordan Henry and a 2013 fifth round pick. It wasn't so much the pick up of a player who can help their back end but the absurdity of the contract speaks volumes. Before you knew it, Feaster signed off on a five-year contract worth an average of $5.25 million.

To sum it up, I will reference Tom Arnold's True Lies character in response to Arnold Schwarzenegger's request to follow his wife:

"Insane!!!!!"

I'm not saying Wideman is a bad player. He had a very good '11-12 with the Capitals, posting 11 goals and 35 assists for 46 points over 82 games. The 29-year old Kitchener, Ontario native added three helpers in the playoffs. One could argue that it was one of his best seasons. Coincidence that it was a contract year?

By adding Wideman, the Flames may decide to shop Jay Bouwmeester. However, it should be tough considering that he has two years remaining with a $6.68 million cap hit.  If he stays, Calgary's top four would be Bouwmeester, Wideman, Mark Giordano and Anton Babchuk. On paper, it doesn't sound bad. However, with Olli Jokinen available July 1, Feaster needs to free up room to re-sign him. They also might want to bring back David Moss and Lee Stempniak.

As usual, the Flames will rely heavily on franchise leading scorer Jarome Iginla, who is entering the final year of his contract. It's hard to picture him in another uniform. He is Calgary. Perhaps that's why they refuse to rebuild. Instead Alex Tanguay, Mike Cammalleri and probably Jokinen will make another push to crack the top eight out West. A tall order considering how deep it is. With Miikka Kiprusoff still in the fold, they actually believe they're good enough to make it.

They're much older than the Kings, who became the first eighth seed to win Lord Stanley. I just don't see how they succeed. Los Angeles, Vancouver, Nashville, Detroit, Chicago, Phoenix, San Jose and St. Louis are all better. That excludes emerging teams like Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton and Minnesota. It's a young man's league. Tying up cap space with an uncertain CBA in the future is a recipe for disaster. Unless there's an influx of talent coming through the system, it could be a Flame out.

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