SUN Hockey Pool

Fans lucky Fab Five locked up

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:24 AM ET

Off-season additions have given the Calgary Flames a makeover.

But it's the core of the team that makes them special.

With Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff, Robyn Regehr and Dion Phaneuf locked up until 2013, and Daymond Langkow and Cory Sarich's contracts expiring just one season earlier, the major pieces are in place for a long time to come.

"It's cool. When you come at the beginning of each year, it's starting to feel like a lot of us have played together for a long time," said Iginla, who settled for $7 million per season to stick with the Flames.

"It is exciting, and we want to win."

Only a handful of franchises can boast similar situations.

The Detroit Red Wings have Pavel Datsyuk, Valtteri Filppula, Daniel Cleary, Brian Rafalski, Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall locked up through 2012, but only Datsyuk can be considered a star.

In addition to some talented youngsters the Oilers hope to keep in Edmonton, they have Dustin Penner, Ales Hemsky, Shawn Horcoff, Lubomir Visnovsky and Sheldon Souray inked for the next four years.

A handful of up-and-comers are under contract for the same term in Florida. Nathan Horton, Rostislav Olesz and Stephen Weiss bolster the forward ranks, while defencemen Bryan Allen and Keith Ballard will guard the blueline for another four seasons.

The Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, Ottawa Senators and Tampa Bay Lightning also have solid core groups in place.

The New York Rangers are set up pretty well for the future, as well, with Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival and goaltender Henrik Lunqvist all inked through 2012.

But it's hard to find another team with a group as well-rounded as the Flames.

"Every team has a group of players that make up the foundation of that team," said Regehr, a steal shutdown defender at $4 million a year

"I think we are very fortunate that we have a very diverse group here in Calgary, with Miikka and Dion, Jarome, Daymond and myself all really bringing some different things to the table. I think we might be a little unique that way."

Iginla agrees.

"It is pretty cool," said the captain. "We have one of the best goalies in the world. We have some of the best defencemen in the game. There's not a harder guy to play against in the game than (Regehr). Dion's up for the top few defencemen in the league."

The Lightning have Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Malone, and Vaclav Prospal up front and defencemen Andrej Meszaros and Matt Carle signed through 2012, but the approximately $24 million invested doesn't include stars on the back end like Phaneuf and Regehr.

Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza, Daniel Alfredsson, Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly will cost the Sens about the same for the next four seasons, but not a penny is committed to defencemen or goaltenders.

Maybe the best aspect of the Fab Five -- Iginla, Kiprusoff, Regehr, Phaneuf, and Langkow -- is the total cost per year against the cap is a reasonable $28 million.

You could argue every one of them took less than what they likely could have received on the open market.

They did so because they want to win together.

More importantly, they believe they can.

"You sign to a long-term contract, you take a lot into consideration. The city -- your family likes it, first of all," said Iginla. "Dollars are a huge part of it -- wherever that is -- but what I think is there's a lot of great NHL cities.

"A big part of where you want to be is where you think you have a chance to win."

---

LONG-TERM FLAMES

Cap hit UFA

RW Jarome Iginla $7M 2013-14

D Dion Phaneuf $6.5M 2013-14

G Miikka Kiprusoff $5.833M 2013-14

C Daymond Langkow $4.5M 2012-13

D Robyn Regehr $4M 2013-14

D Cory Sarich $3.6M 2012-13

D Jim Vandermeer $2.3M 2011-12

LW Curtis Glencross $1.2M 2011-12

D Mark Giordano $892,000 2011-12


Videos

Photos