SUN Hockey Pool

Er-ring on side of caution

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:44 AM ET

Having cleared waivers for the second time in a matter of months, Anders Eriksson nearly cleared through members of the media assembled at the Saddledome yesterday.

Caught from behind as his likely soon-to-be former teammates skated on the ice, the Calgary Flames defenceman didn't skate around the situation he and fellow veteran blueliner Rhett Warrener are now facing.

"I'm going to go home and take precaution for what needs to be done for what the worst-case scenario is for me," said Eriksson, who is thinking as much about his wife and two young kids as he is about his future in the hockey world.

"I still feel like I can play here and contribute and help somebody. There's 29 other teams, and hopefully somebody has a need for a player like myself and Rhett.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed that's going to happen sooner than later."

Warrener wasn't around yesterday, but both blueliners cleared waivers along with Jamie Lundmark at 10 a.m.

Lundmark is on a two-way deal and will join the Quad City Flames at his AHL salary.

Unless Flames GM Darryl Sutter can find a willing trade partner or two to take the 33-year-old Eriksson's ($1.5M) and the 32-year-old Warrener's ($2.35M) combined $3.85 million hit off the books, the duo could be sent to the AHL, where they'll be paid their full wage but won't count against the salary cap.

It would be a first for the Flames in the post-lockout NHL, but it is looking more and more likely.

Not yet a done deal, though, Eriksson said.

"I don't think anybody wants to pay somebody that much money in the minors," he said. "There's so many different options.

"Darryl is smart enough and knows the game enough that we'll find a solution. If it's today, or if it's the next couple of days, who knows?

"Hopefully sooner than later, so everybody knows what to do, what to expect ... me and my family know where we're going to go."

They could be sent to the minors without actually reporting and then be picked up by an interested NHL party at half the price on re-entry waivers.

Heading to Europe is also an option -- one that Flames forward Marcus Nilson and his agent J.P. Barry worked out with Sutter this summer to save the team $1 million in cap space -- but it's not something Eriksson is too excited about exploring.

At least not yet.

"If it was to the point I didn't think I could contribute and play well (in the NHL), yes. I'm not going to stay in this league just to stay and play in the National Hockey League," said the Swede.

One of the more friendly and positive members of the Flames locker-room in recent years, Eriksson continued to wear a smile yesterday.

He isn't bitter, isn't dreading what comes next.

"I haven't really gotten any other indication about what's going to happen," he said.

"It's a cap-space issue. It's about money. It's about numbers. In this business, I don't think it's personal.

"I know it's not personal."

The fact he's played in the NHL for more than a decade helps him separate the heart and brain from turns of events like the one he now faces.

"It's more of a business than it used to be," he said. "You have to look at it that way. If you take it too personal, it's going to hurt you more than anything else."

Knowing after being waived this summer the day could soon come he would no longer be a member of the Flames also means he's probably already dealt with the emotional side of things.

"The hardest part is for your family, the wife and kids," Eriksson said.

"There's a lot of stuff outside hockey that needs to be taken care of. It's not just pack up and leave.

"It's harder on them than it is on me when it comes to that."

Eriksson said his agent and Sutter will work together to find a solution.

"There are teams out there that have injuries and could use, hopefully, somebody that can move the puck," said Eriksson, who had a goal and 17 assists in 61 games with the Flames last season.

"I'm speaking for both me and Rhett. We know we can play. We've been in the league for a while, for a long time, and it's not a mystery what they get if they get us. Retro is a really rugged, really good defensive defenceman, and teams could use that.

"Hopefully, I will be looked at as a puck-moving defenceman that can help both offensively and defensively."


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