Note to Flames GM

ERIC FRANCIS -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

The trade deadline is one month away and there's little chance the Calgary Flames will do anything radical to their roster.

Few teams will be active given cap restrictions that will render all-day coverage on Feb. 27 a colossal waste of programming that could otherwise be used for paintball championships.

The reality is, the Flames aren't missing much.

Daymond Langkow's top line is as potent as the league has (no matter who plays on it), Matthew Lombardi's second unit has helped turn the club into one of the league's highest-scoring teams and the balance of third- and fourth-line checkers have fared well enough to keep their jobs, outside of Jeff Friesen and Jamie Lundmark, of course.

The goaltending tandem is solid and the emergence of Mark Giordano has ensured the top six defencemen are competent enough to keep Andrei Zyuzin in the press box with regularity.

And while you know Darryl Sutter is looking hard to find the next Marcus Nilson or Ville Nieminen, who arrived quietly near the trade deadline to pay big dividends, there is one acquisition out there as obvious as a streaker at Safeway: Bringing back The Eliminator, Martin Gelinas.

Currently playing out the string in Florida where he'll walk as an unrestricted free agent at season's end, Gelinas would easily be farmed out to any team willing to give up a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick.

Truth is, few teams would be interested in the 36-year-old workhorse who has just six goals and 15 assists in 50 games. He's only being used 12 minutes a night.

Nowhere in the world would he be more appreciated than Calgary where the feisty left-winger became a local icon after scoring the winning goal in each of the first three rounds of the club's 2004 playoff run.

Reporting to camp every year as the fittest Flame, Gelinas epitomized the work ethic and heart that got the Flames one goal from a Stanley Cup that year.

Two years later, could he duplicate his heroics down the stretch or into the playoffs? Not on your life.

But what the extremely likable Frenchman can do is bolster the Flames' dressing-room character and experience while improving the club's depth.

It simply makes too much sense not to be looked at.

The sentimental favourite, a fan favourite, a players' favourite.

Mr. Clutch.

While Flames fans dream of seeing Gary Roberts back in Flames togs or Peter Forsberg crashing around in Cowtown, neither could fit under the club's cap structure without shipping out a pricey player in return.

Sutter has no desire to shake the club up in such fashion or give up any of the prospects he's worked so hard to stockpile.

Gelinas only makes $975,000, putting the Flames on the hook for roughly $225,000 if he's acquired Feb. 27.

Every time he's asked --from the day he signed with Florida to the day he visited with the Panthers earlier this month -- Gelinas reiterates his love for Calgary, where he rented out his home to Roman Hamrlik.

He would've signed here for less money but couldn't turn down the security of Florida's two-year offer.

Well, now Sutter only has to make a two- or three- month commitment without giving up much at all.

He just has to decide if Gelinas can still help this club.

He can. He would.

Make the deal.


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