Number One Center for the Calgary Flames
This has been a rumour for 2-3 years, every deadline for a while, now it appears to be true.
The new deal is Matthew Lombardi (2.3 million), Brandon Prust (1 million dollar salary), and a first round pick (2009 or 2010), for Olli Jokinen and a third round pick.
The issue is now cap space, the Flames need to unload a bit more salary to make cap space, perhaps an Adrian Aucoin (especially since Leopold has been traded to the Flames). (TSN made a good point, you can’t just temporarily go over the cap, you need to have the room. May be that the players on the IR (like Warrener) and some more (Giordano) will make room.)
Daryl Sutter chimed in and said the media has hyped the cap space problem and in fact the Flames are fine. Likely a case that the injuries have decreased the cap space (see previous paragraph). We can be sure they they are pretty much maxed though but they HAVEN’T exceeded the cap.
Also Sutter mentioned that he DID give up the first round pick because he was comfortable with the talent they have in the system and they could afford to miss a year. He was reviewing the prospects and thought they have 9-10 good prospects in the system (are three of them goalies though ??? :P)
Does this suggest Mike Cammalleri is a lock for leaving the Flames next season? Seems to us the writing is on the wall that we can’t have a #1 and a #1 LW. Some cheaper talent on the wing will arrive next year, but for now we hope Cammalleri can contribute for a Cup.
Olli Jokinen Career Stats
Jokinen IS signed for next season at 2009-10: $5.5 million.
Calgary finally has a legitimate number one center. Props to Craig Conroy for filling in, but he was never a first line C. He’s a third line C and is valuable to the team absolutely, however, he’s not a #1. Daymond Langkow could be, however, he’s hurt, and he’s smaller. Langkow makes for one of the top #2 C’s in the league though.
Our initial sense if the deal goes through there is a lot of change in the Flames line. In fact, with the rash of injuries, the Flames would literally change almost half their team. This will certainly have an impact on the dynamic of a team trying to have a lengthy playoff run.