Not what you(th) think

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:37 AM ET

On the surface, the Calgary Flames have only made a tweak here and a tweak there.

Seeing as last year's team squeaked into the playoffs in the final days, that would not appear a good thing.

However, GM Darryl Sutter is not buying the theory the Flames, as they appear today, are no different from the 2007-08 squad.

"If they do that, they're guys that are out on the golf course and write something, but don't really know much about our team," Sutter said yesterday.

"But that doesn't really bother me. I fully understand how ignorant they are."

With yesterday's announcements the team re-signed defenceman Jim Vandermeer and added unrestricted free agent forward Curtis Glencross, both on three-year contracts, the 2008-09 Flames are almost completely built.

Sure, there are still a few moves to watch for. One or all of Rhett Warrener, Anders Eriksson and Marcus Nilson will not be around when the puck drops on the regular season in mid-October.

Likewise, expect another winger added -- something in the Owen Nolan mold in terms of second/third-line ability -- depending on how much salary is jettisoned.

Still, Sutter has addressed a couple of glaring needs. Speed and enthusiasm will be much more prevalent in the coming season.

The club will be younger along the wings, and that youth should provide the spark that simply didn't exist the last couple of years. A key to the Flames' climb from the depths was the desire to win. Much of the playoff run of 2004 stemmed from old-fashioned competitiveness.

"That's a trait you have to have to be successful, and quite honest, I think we've had players in the last couple of years, prominent players, that haven't done that. And they've hurt us," Sutter admitted. "Now we'll have young guys that do it on a nightly basis. Maybe they don't put the same numbers up, but we'll have the same success.

"It's a younger team. It's a quicker team. We'll live with some of the mistakes, and it'll put a little bit more onus on some of those veterans that are supposed to be providing great leadership. There is going to be fewer of them and that's going to put more pressure on them."

Sutter said he and Nolan's agent "continue to talk" but he doesn't want to go beyond a one-year deal for a veteran player and is "not going to overpay to fill that spot."

Likewise, he doesn't appear interested in pursuing a replacement for enforcer Eric Godard, saying, "You look at our team and I don't think it's a team anyone wants to fool around with."

Sutter also insisted the team will not buy out any of the contracts of Warrener, Nilson or Eriksson.

"They're gonna fight for spots to play on our team and they're all not gonna be here -- that's obvious," he said.

ICE CHIPS

Jim Vandermeer and the Flames couldn't come to terms before free agency struck, but came to a deal reportedly worth US$6.9 million. "I had a good idea they wanted me back. Everything at the end of the year was really positive," Vandermeer said. "It's right in the ballpark of where we wanted to be. I'm happy with the term, I'm happy with the money and I'm happy with the city." His older brother Pete also signed yesterday, and is expected to add muscle and experience to the minor-league affiliate in Quad-Cities ... GM Darryl Sutter said forward prospect Daniel Ryder will re-join the organization and attend the summer camp later this month. Ryder spent a couple of weeks with the AHL club and walked out on the team, saying he needed to contemplate his future.

Potential team roster:

LEFT WING

Mike Cammalleri; Rene Bourque; Eric Nystrom; Curtis Glencross

CENTRE

Daymond Langkow; Matthew Lombardi; Craig Conroy; Wayne Primeau

RIGHT WING

Jarome Iginla; David Moss; Dustin Boyd; Brandon Prust; Marcus Nilson

DEFENCE

Robyn Regehr; Cory Sarich; Dion Phaneuf; Adrian Aucoin; Jim Vandermeer; Mark Giordano; Rhett Warrener; Anders Eriksson

GOALIE

Miikka Kiprusoff; Curtis McElhinney


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