SUN Hockey Pool

Kiss this Flame goodbye

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:30 AM ET

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why chances are slim Curtis Glencross will be back in Calgary next year.

With an upside like the one he put on display Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators, there’s little chance the Flames will be able to afford him.

For the second game in a row, the 28-year-old winger was the game’s top player, not only for being a defensive stalwart but for scoring the winning goal.

Not just any ol’ game-

winner — a second consecutive roof-job that froze rookie Robin Lehner late in the second frame of a surprisingly close game.

Add to that another solid penalty-killing effort, and it was evident to all those watching No. 20 was the biggest difference-maker of the evening.

Savour those type of performances, Flames fans, as the odds are long acting GM Jay Feaster will be able to keep Glencross in the fold past July 1.

After all, if Niklas Hagman is making US$3 million and Matt Stajan is making $3.5M a year, what is the value of a second-line winger who actually scores? And hits, amongst other things.

Glencross’ agent, David Kaye, confirmed the Flames have yet to talk to him about the possibility of re-upping the winger, who currently toils for US$1.2 million.

Feaster says “all in good time” when it comes to talking contract with Glencross, but it’s clearly too late.

Not just because the Flames’ hands are tied salary-wise, but because Glencross is well on his way to a 20-goal season despite the fluctuations in his play that have plagued him throughout his career.

When he’s on, he’s as solid a contributor as the Flames have.

There aren’t many GMs and coaches out there who don’t think they can help a player with his sort of attributes turn into a more consistent player. So, you can bet if he gets to free agency in a decidedly weak market, he’s in line to flirt with tripling his salary.

After all, on the open market, you pay for upside.

The Flames likely can’t afford such a luxury.

One wonders if the whispers about mutual frustration between him and coach Brent Sutter will also factor into Glencross’ future plans.

Any scouts who saw him play against the Sens would have marvelled at the patience he showed midway through in setting up Olli Jokinen’s game-tying marker on the powerplay. Hesitating ever so deliciously while Lehner scrambled to face Glencross on the left faceoff dot, he faked before dishing it to a wide-open Jokinen for the tap-in to tie it 2-2.

Four minutes later, he took advantage of a Matt Carkner error at the Sens blueline to move in alone on the 19-year-old goaltender and perfectly picked the top glove corner — just as he did two nights earlier to beat Chicago.

Senators coach Cory Clouston called the snipe the turning point in a game that went on to be a 5-2 win for the Flames — their ninth in 10 games.

“We were outplaying them a little bit and it kind of escalated from there — it lifted the bench ,” said Glencross, whose goal was his 15th of the season, tying a career high.

“If I get it in my wheelhouse, that’s where I like to put it. That’s where I’ve scored a lot of my goals. I’m going to have to start putting it somewhere else.”

Why bother?

“He certainly has been involved in different ways in the games,” said Sutter of Glencross.

“Whether it’s scoring or killing penalties or playing five-on-five or on the powerplay, he’s contributing positively in a lot of ways.”

And as Glencross and his agent are well aware the Flames aren’t the only ones reaping the benefits.


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