Jay Feaster finally got a chance to put his stamp on the Calgary Flames Monday.
Whether its impact is as tiny as a postage stamp or it winds up getting a universal stamp of approval won’t be determined until season’s end.
However, given how little was expected from a team with nothing to offer up, it was Feaster’s previous life as Tampa Bay’s GM that helped the Flames come up with a somewhat creative way to land a potential second or third-line forward for the stretch run.
Familiar with the capabilities and character of the 36-year-old left winger who twice scored 30-goals under Feaster’s charge in Tampa, Modin provides the type of inexpensive depth the club was searching for yesterday.
And while Modin has spent the last five years battling injury and production problems in Columbus, L.A. and Atlanta, he just might be as serviceable a rental as the Flames could possibly have landed. It came as cheap as a rental possibly could — a seventh-rounder — and it came without any hint of hype.
“This isn’t about him having to be a second line player or third liner — heck, I don’t even know if he’ll play (Tuesday) because (coach) Brent (Sutter) likes our lineup,” said Feaster after the deadline passed.
“The injuries have taken their toll on (Modin) and he’s not the same player he was back in 2003/04. The difference is we brought him in as a depth player.”
How or whether he fits into the lineup remains to be seen, but the upside on the once-gifted scorer is intriguing.
Add to that the fact Feaster grabbed an eighth-defenceman off waivers earlier in the day via former Hitmen Brett Carson and the team now has two more serviceable bodies down the stretch for the hockey equivalent of the ol’ $1 deal.
The fact that nothing was done to further the club’s deficit spending is a positive, so is the fact nothing was done to disrupt a core that has miraculously clawed its way back into the playoff picture.
But perhaps the most exciting development for the organization Monday is the fact that there was a war room: A fully catered meeting of the minds that featured several prominent scouts, advisors, president Ken King and a few others openly exchanging information and ideas on how the Flames could best proceed.
In past years, the club’s deadline day braintrust consisted of Darryl Sutter essentially alone with his thoughts.
Feaster has openly called on all his resources to help him and this club move forward in a fashion it hasn’t for years.
Case in point: While the acquisition of Carson may end up being completely irrelevant down the stretch, the move came heavily recommended by Brent Sutter. After all, nobody watches more Carolina games than Sutter, whose son Brandon plays for the ’Canes.
He’d pushed the organization to make inquiries on the former Hitman blueliner even prior to the Ian White deal.
Another thing not to forget: The only way the deal to acquire the $1.2-million Modin was made possible was by demoting Ales Kotalik and ridding the club of his $3 million cap hit. While ownership deserves most of the credit for swallowing such a cap hit, Feaster deserves some, as well, for asking his moneymen to make the sort of move it appeared Darryl Sutter wouldn’t.
Those who aren’t familiar with Modin’s body of work may vaguely recall the big Swede’s presence in the Stanley Cup final against Calgary in 2004, where he wrapped up a playoff in which he had almost a point a game over 23 outings.
His game has since eroded, as has his wonky back.
But given how little he cost the club it appears to be a well-calculated, well-discussed addition.
“They’re not sexy, but they’re functional,” said Feaster of his two moves.
Not the kind of moves that will have fans or media in any other city talking about, but a small step forward by a man who is slowly positioning himself well to do plenty more of in the future.
Eric Francis appears regularly as a panellist on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada