SUN Hockey Pool

Flames ready for Feaster famine

Flames general manager Jay Feaster. (STUART DRYDEN/QMI Agency)

Flames general manager Jay Feaster. (STUART DRYDEN/QMI Agency)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:58 PM ET

When the clock strikes 1 p.m. Monday in Calgary, Jay Feasterís job for this season is pretty much complete.

Then, once the final gun sounds on the NHLís trade deadline, the acting GM becomes just like every part of the Flames faithful.

Feaster will be hoping the Flames have it in them for another winning run to clinch a playoff spot.

ďReally, the only thing you can do to improve your hockey club is be one heck of a cheerleader,Ē Feaster said earlier this week. ďYes, you have your four recalls from the minors, but all you can do after the deadline is create an environment, set the table where all these guys have to worry about is winning games, and youíre a cheerleader.

ďThatís the reality of it.Ē

Prior to that moment, Feaster does have control over the fate of the Flames.

(And thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people who would be more than willing to give their advice if he asked for it. Actually, plenty would be more than happy to provide some advice even if he didnít solicit, too.)

Either way, the man who took over for Darryl Sutter just after Christmas will do what he can when the trade frenzy reaches its annual fever pitch, but itís doubtful heíll be able to do much.

At least, it would be a tough order.

In fact, it would probably be foolish to swing any trades of major significance.

Say what you want about Sutterís days as Flames GM, but at least you knew trade deadline ó or at least the days leading up to it ó would bring something.

Sutter was, at times, a riverboat gambler, dealing in and out players like a fantasy team owner, but at least you knew there would be busy days around the Saddledome eventually.

Itís likely in the teamís best interests Feaster be the complete opposite at this juncture.

Sure, it would a treat to see him drum up a trade for a marquee player, such as acquire old friend Brad Richards and sign him to a new contract, but the reality is Feaster doesnít realistically have any chips to play with.

Barring a shocking move to swap out a core player, which heís said repeatedly wonít happen, or dealing away more high-end draft choices, which goes against another admitted goal, life around the Flames will be quiet.

Feaster has admitted he would like to add depth on the blueline, which could be someone such as former Flames defenceman Jim Vandermeer, and another top-nine forward ó you have to think the Flames were interested in Cory Stillman before he was traded to Carolina and maybe also Christopher Higgins, although he suffered a broken thumb.

Trades of that level hardly conjure images of Lanny McDonaldís arrival to the Stampede City.

Itís a romantic notion the Flames will go from 14th in the Western Conference to a playoff team and then go on an extended run in the Stanley Cup tournament. For all we know, it could happen, and would be worth making a splashy trade for it.

However, itís not even a sure thing the Flames will claim one of the eight playoff berths, let alone create a Cinderella story.

Which is why the Flames canít afford to deal away any more top 100 draft choices.

Unless he goes completely away from what heís been saying recently, Feaster only has some later-round draft choices and prospects who donít have much future in the organization to part with.

Feasterís Blackberry will require plenty of charging between now and the deadline, but barring something unforeseen, expect to see him with pom-poms at the ready.

Which is the way it should be this season.


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