SUN Hockey Pool

Rhett bets comeback still possible

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

With the NHL trade deadline fast approaching, the Flames don't have to look far for at least one potential lineup addition.

Rhett Warrener continues to skate hard with the hopes his surgically repaired shoulder will someday be good enough to play again.

Hit hard by injuries of late, the Flames may look to boost their blueline depth with the playoffs getting closer.

"If that's all we do, we'll be in trouble," Warrener said with a laugh.

Warrener has been skating back into shape for almost a month.

He's been out of action all season and had surgery on his shoulder in mid-November. It's not unrealistic to think he'll never play again, but he has some hope.

"Hopefully by the end of the year. Whether that's during the season or the playoffs, I don't know," he said.

"It's going to come down to the doctor. If he feels it's healthy enough, I'll give it a shot. If not, I'll have to find a different path.

"I'm a hockey player. That's what I want to do. I want to be out there. If there's a chance, I'll take it, but only if there's a chance.

"It was a quality of life surgery, first and foremost, but it wasn't ruling out playing. It was a case of 'Let's do this and see how it feels and make some decisions down the road.' It's getting down the road and time to decide one way or another what we're going to do."

Mark Giordano's shoulder surgery this week leaves the Flames with six healthy defencemen.

Their options with the farm team include veteran Anders Eriksson, although he'd have to clear re-entry waivers, and if he was claimed by another team, the Flames would be on the hook for half his remaining salary and would lose salary cap space.

Matt Pelech is currently battling a leg injury.

Other options include Ryan Wilson, Brett Palin or Brad Cole.

It's likely GM Darryl Sutter will be looking for one pointman, maybe two, at the deadline.

Warrener -- who'll be an unrestricted free agent this summer -- has seen his team become shorthanded.

"You see it and think, 'I'd better get ready.' If I get the green light, I will be ready," he said.

"It would be nice to get in some games and get a feel for it. You saw (Mats) Sundin get back. It takes a few games to get going."

"I feel better skating, but you can't get into game shape without practising with the guys and I haven't been practising with the guys. There's been no bumping and grinding, and that's a whole different level."

RANDY.SPORTAK@SUNMEDIA.CA


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