Calgary Flames president Ken King says a decision on Jay Feaster’s future won’t be made until “after the Stanley Cup parade.”
Read into that any way you’d like.
However, despite suggestions from an agent that Feaster’s acting GM tag has suspended any talk of his client re-signing with the Flames, King insists it’s business as usual.
“Believe me, there are no hands tied based on the acting GM status. Not true at all,” said King of the allegation.
“Jay has full obligations and responsibilities in every sense involving whatever transactions are required.”
The agent, who represents one of the team’s eight unrestricted free agents, was allegedly told by Feaster his “hands were tied” until he was given the nod as full-time GM.
“The organization needs to get its crap in order,” the agent told the Calgary Sun.
“Every day they wait, they’re costing themselves money and run the risk of losing guys, because the closer we get to this summer, the more likely guys are going to say ‘why would I sign when I can wait until July 1 and get top dollar?’”
While it’s quite likely the Flames do intend to try re-signing the player represented by the agent, the rant can easily be passed off as pure frustration by an agent and player wanting to solidify employment.
Regardless, Feaster is infuriated by the accusation as he insists he’s never communicated anything of the sort.
“I certainly have never told anyone I can’t do certain things because of my title — that’s just not true,” said Feaster, whose ability to sign players is complicated by the long list of pricy deals already in place as opposed to his title.
“A team like us that’s up against the cap has issues like tag space to deal with, and that’s a consideration as we look at possibly re-signing certain guys.”
Essentially, tag space refers to a team’s in-season ability to spend up to this year’s cap for next year.
Amongst other things, Feaster needs to get a handle on the playing future of Daymond Langkow before deciding if there is cap or roster room for guys like Alex Tanguay, Brendan Morrison, Curtis Glencross or even Anton Babchuk.
Much to some critics’ chagrin, King and the ownership group spearheaded by Murray Edwards are intimately involved in many of the hockey moves made.
Fact is in today’s NHL, where multi-million dollar cap mistakes can hamper a franchise for years, there aren’t many organizations left that give the GM complete autonomy.
“Maybe someone like Lou (Lamiorello) doesn’t have to go through anyone for approval, but I’ve never been anywhere in hockey there isn’t a chain of command – an approval process,” said Feaster.
“The only difference here is we have an owner involved on a daily basis, whereas in Tampa, Mr. (Bill) Davidson got involved a couple times a year.”
Even then, Feaster still had to report to (team president) Ron Campbell.
“I’d love to meet the GM who has unfettered and unbridled ability to spend as freely as he wants,” said King, insisting he has no interest in acting as a GM as opposed to overseeing one.
“As a professional manager, I hire people to do the jobs they are paid to do. In Jarome Iginla’s case, nobody commits $35 million without a fully fleshed out process.
I’d be shocked and stunned if any team is making million-dollar, multi-year deals that didn’t include management and ownership reviewing it.”
So, despite the fact he’s only made a few minor moves since taking over Darryl Sutter’s seat at Christmas, is Feaster still on track to keep the job?
“You don’t base it on singular moves, you base it on a complete strategy and management skills,” said King.
“I think he’s doing a wonderful job, and we’re really encouraged.”