The biggest question in my mind when it comes to the Calgary Flames is: Can they bring back Alex Tanguay? This much we do know - Jay continues to tell people that he remains optimistic that the Flames can sign Tangs.
If the Flames really wish to go after Tangs hard, they have two options. The first one is to trade to make room for his cap hit. Which more than likely would mean trading one of the core, something that Jay has said he has no interest in. In reality, a General Manager usually plays it close to the chest, and rarely leaks what he is really thinking.
I really like this option of bringing in some young talent and clearing cap room. The problem with this option is that the core all have either no-movement or no-trade clauses. Regehr seems to be the best option. Robyn is one of the best stay-home defencemen in the league. The other key point here is that the Flames have plenty of young defencemen who are ready to take the plunge into the NHL.
The other asset the Flames could trade is the streaky forward Rene Bourque. Rene has all the tools to be a star. He is very fast skater with a wicked and heavy slap shot. He was often used on the penalty kill, because he has good speed and he can score. Bourque was also used on the second powerplay unit; he would definitely be missed . At times, he had great chemistry with Oli and Scarface. In fact, the line was often tagged as 1A. The main problem with this solution is that the Flames really don’t want to trade offense. They want to add offense. In other words, trading Bourque and keeping Tangs is almost a wash.
The other asset I have heard they are thinking about trading is Kipper. The main reason I really oppose this is that I am not sure that Karlsson is ready to be a full-time number one goalie. The Flames would have to get a number one goalie and re-sign Tangs. If they took this option, it would put them in worse shape cap-wise than they are now.
Some people have asked me if the Flames are trading Sarich. While there is nothing wrong with this choice, the return would not be as high as Regehr. At times, I thought Cory was the Flames best dman on the team. The biggest obstacle in trying to trade Cory is his 3.6 million dollar price tag. The price might be too steep.
Trading Jbo and his $6.5 million would be terrific. He is a great dman. He is a solid player, but his contract is really hurting the Flames' salary cap hit. The major problem with trading him is that the Flames are obviously going to have to take cap back. I am not to sure the Flames could save enough cap to keep Tangs.
The second option as is buyouts, or sending players down to the farm. There were a few players who really struggled last year, such as Kotalik or Hagman. If the Flames use this option, I suspect there will only be one player sent down, which means Hagman will more than likely be on the roster. Kotalik might very well playing in Russia and might not cost the Flames any money in the long run.
In the long run I would like to see Alex Tanguay on this team. For one thing, he brings the best out in Iggy. He is our best player. As a general manager, it is my job to keep my best player happy.
The next question is: How would I go about doing it? I would consider moving Regehr. Not because of his play, but simply because it would have the best return.
So I went to my Flames panel with two questions. Here are their thoughts.
The first of my guests is Dearen Tiest Van de Velde.
Should the Flames sign Tanguay and why? If yes at what cost?
I want to begin by saying that I preferred the Jokinen signing over the Tanguay one last year when the news broke…This probably makes me crazy but in hindsight, in my opinion both were “good” signings but clearly Tanguay was a steal!
My view is that the Flames HAVE to sign Tanguay. With the weak UFA class, no #1 Centre for Iginla, and the attitude that we want to be a winner next season, Jay Feaster has no choice. So my quick and simple answer is “YES”.
At what cost is the real question, $4.5 million per year is too much (for Calgary) but $3 million will not get it done. Can we afford him at $4 million? We can with the cap going up, but Feaster keeps saying he does not want to start the season up against the salary cap. So I assume a contract will be moved; perhaps Regehr, although I highly doubt it, or Bourque. Easier said than done, but possible, I know Bourque got a recent contract, but he is not “Feaster’s” guy, and his lack of emotion and drive last year could see him moved. Then there are Kotalik and Hagman. Moving both to the AHL roster or buying them out could open some serious money, but I do not believe that will happen to both.
I predict Tanguay signs a 3 year $11.2 million dollar deal, and Bourque is dealt at the draft.
Dearen makes some good points. Iggy needs a slick playmaker to work with, and Tangs is better than any other free agent on the market. Bourque could fetch a pretty decent return, and Hagman and Kotalik both cleared waivers.
My second guest also has his own thoughts on Tanguay. Here are Mike Walsh's thoughts on the situation.
Should the Flames sign Tangs and why?
I think they should sign him, as long as there is no rebuild in the future. He has great chemistry with Iginla, and seemed to be a more complete player last year.
How should we do it? Trade one of the core? Or buyout Hagmen or Kotalik?
First of all, I am hoping that the Flames would be able to sign Tanguay to a 2 year deal for about $3-$3.5 million per season. However, rumors have surfaced that is it likely going to be a much longer term deal with no home-team discount; I am not for it. Those type of deals got the Flames into their current mess. I truly believe that Regehr will be moved at the draft. Possibly for a pick and a younger defenceman. I also believe Kotalik ends up going over to Europe, which would give the Flames some cap relief. I would like to see Hagman waived if he is unable to be traded. Matt Stajan is another guy who can be sent packing, but at that cap hit, I doubt he can be moved for anything of great value. I’m hoping that Feaster moves Regehr and is then able to sign James Wisniewski.
Mike made a great point; Iggy scored most of his goals with Tangs. They formed a powerful twosome on the first line. Trading Regehr makes sense. His cap hit for a top 2 dman is reasonable. Kotalik is rumoured to be going to play in Europe, and Hagman should clear this year.
There it is in a nutshell. The Flames need to sign Tangs, and do it quick. I would like to thank Mike and Dearen for their thoughts and contribution today. They are great and knowledgeable hockey men.