Change afoot for Stamps

The Stampeders cleaned out their lockers following a season-ending playoff loss to the Eskimos on...

The Stampeders cleaned out their lockers following a season-ending playoff loss to the Eskimos on Nov. 14, 2011. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI AGENCY)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:37 PM ET

Over the two weeks, John Hufnagel and his coaching staff will get bonus time on player evaluations heading into the CFL off-season.

But it only takes one quick glance of the active roster to figure out that there will be plenty of change in the next six months.

The Stamps conducted exit meetings with personnel Tuesday and coaching meetings start Wednesday to decide who goes and who stays off the team roster.

There are 12 Stampeders players who are over the age of 30, and three of the club’s five free-agents are on that list.

There is a chance that punter Burke Dales, 34, centre Tim O’Neill, 32, and linebacker Marc Calixte, 33, are done with the team.

Among that over-30 set is quarterback Henry Burris, running back Joffrey Reynolds and defensive tackle DeVone Claybrooks, who all might leave the team for different reasons.

By next season, this should be a much younger group, as the team is expected to part ways with the majority of the over-30 set.

“We only have five free agents, which is probably the envy of the league,” said Stamps GM-head coach Hufnagel. “I think there will be great stability within the roster.

“I really enjoyed seeing this team’s growth during the season. I really enjoyed coaching this team. I look forward to coaching this team next season. The table is set for a good nucleus of these players coming back.”

Starting in December, the Stampeders front-office staff gets busy for a few months.

There will about 12 or 13 free-agent selection camps scheduled around the U.S., some before the holidays and some afterwards.

Once the coaching staff gets back from the Christmas holiday break, they will start a film review on the 2011 season and make revisions to the playbooks when they aren’t travelling around looking at prospects.

Preparation for the CFL evaluation camp of Canadian talent will begin in February, and there will be work leading into the draft in May and and into the final free-agent selection camp around Easter in DeLand, Fla.

Of course, Hufnagel will focus on getting his own free agents under contract before the league-wide free-for-all starts Feb. 15.

“We know how we are going to do things, so now it’s a matter of getting it done,” Hufnagel said.

Then, there are the unforeseen obstacles.

With coaching vacancies around the CFL, there is always the chance the Stampeders staff is up for promotions.

The Stamps could have coaching vacancies to fill.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t receive phone call or two,” Hufnagel said. “I just asked my staff that if something occurs, let me know so I don’t read about it in the paper.”

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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