|Craig Conroy skates during a Flames practice at the Saddledome earlier this season. (QMI Agency/Lyle Aspinall)
CALGARY - Craig Conroy's days with the Calgary Flames could be over.
The popular 39-year-old centre was placed on waivers Tuesday, and could be assigned to the minors if no team claims him by 10 a.m. Wednesday.
There is a strong possibility Conroy will retire rather than report to the American Hockey League's Abbotsford Heat.
He suited up for his 1,000th NHL contest this season after signing a one-year, two-way deal with the Flames in the off-season, but has been a healthy scratch in 27 of the last 28 games and has two goals in 18 appearances.
Selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the seventh round of the 1990 draft, Conroy became a full-time player with the St. Louis Blues before joining the Flames during the 2000-01 season.
He played parts of four seasons with the Flames and became a fan-favourite before signing with the Los Angeles Kings as a free agent just before the lockout in the summer of 2004.
A trade brought the charismatic and chatty forward back in January of 2007.
If his professional career comes to a close, his final statline will read 182 goals and 360 assists for 542 points in 1,009 regular-season NHL games.
"Itís tough to see. Itís disheartening, not only as a teammate but as a friend of his," fellow veteran Brendan Morrison said Tuesday. "He's played a lot of great years in this league, won major awards and meant a lot to this organization not only on the ice but off the ice."
Flames acting GM Jay Feaster will address the move Wednesday morning.
Head coach Brent Sutter doesn't see the move as a potential downer in the dressing room.
"Itís not a distraction whatsoever," Sutter said. "These guys are professionals. Itís the nature of the beast in professional sports. It's not a distraction in the dressing room."
Conroy wasn't at practice Tuesday and, when reached, wasn't ready to comment.