Our beloved Flames will be starting training camp in a couple of weeks. And after they get reacquaint themselves, ask how each other’s summers went, take those lovely player photos we all adore so much, it’s time to get back to work. Drills, meetings, and scrimmages are a part of training camp, but this year is different.

Don’t worry. It’s a good different.

I remember after the 05-06 season everybody pinned offense as the Flames Achilles’ heel. Sutter traded Jordan Leopold and a pair of picks for Alex Tanguay. The following season had a career year with 81 points. Not too shabby eh? Unfortunately, Tanguay was reduced to a smaller offensive role playing less powerplay minutes and played more of a defensive role which led to a season of only 58 points. 58 points isn’t terrible, but it is expensive at 5 M per season. Tanguay’s a great player, especially in the playmaking department. But let’s call a spade a spade. It was rather frustrating watching Tanguay looking for the perfect pass when the opportunity for a shot was there. That being said, the man that Sutter essentially traded Tanguay for, will not give up a shot. If so, than rarely. Mike Cammalleri has an amazing shot. He will shoot from anywhere. He’s put up impressive numbers in a team that has played in cellar. He should flourish playing with Iginla and Co. And I think that he should flourish better than Tanguay was expected to flourish simply because Cammalleri drives to the net like there’s diamonds in there. He knows the pressure that comes with playing for Calgary, and hopefully he knows the expectations as well. He won’t go with a goal or a point for 4 plus games without someone noticing. He should take advantage of this opportunity.

With the exits of Kristian Huselius, Owen Nolan, Stephane Yelle, and Mark Smith, the Flames had the opportunity to add some youth to the forward ranks. In the outgoing folder, there’s the aforementioned players, and the in the incoming folder there’s Glencross (who scored a lot against us as an Oiler and a Blue Jacket), Bourque and Cammalleri. Nolan and Yelle did their job of grinding it out, but having younger legs to replace them gives the team a needed boost in the speed department. Hey, I loved Nolan too, but not at 2.75 M. That’s seems a little much don’t you think?

Everybody has their own opinion about Todd Bertuzzi, so here is mine. What he did was wrong, I know that. But if you look past the problems, Sutter signed a good Flames player. He hits, grinds it out and can put some points on the board. If he doesn’t work out, we only signed him for one year and at a reasonable price at 1.95 M.

Looking at the roster, you can say that the team lost natural skill in Huselius and Tanguay, but Sutter made that up with grit and work ethic in Bertuzzi and Cammalleri. Plus, at the same time, our depth players got a lot younger and faster. Our Flames are ready to go, with a mix of skill, strength, speed, youth and experience. I can’t wait for the season to start. Is it October yet?