Flames' Feaster: "We're not done"

Brad

Brad

Steve MacFarlane, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:14 AM ET

Losing out on the Brad Richards sweepstakes was still a big win for the Calgary Flames.

Not because they ultimately failed to land the biggest fish on the free-agent market, but because they succeeded in snagging some serious positivity in the public perception department.

Even though they were the runners-up in the bidding, Flames GM Jay Feaster validated a deal some were still skeptical about.

Sending cornerstone defenceman Robyn Regehr to the Buffalo Sabres for prospects Chris Butler and Paul Byron, and the pleasure of ridding themselves of underachieving winger Ales Kotalik’s troublesome $3-million price tag, would likely have been more easily acceptable to the fanbase if it didn’t mean also parting with a second-round pick next summer.

But by showing the Flames

are serious about adding big-time talent now and into the future, it’s hard to argue the logic of what they gave up to clear enough cap room to get in on the action on July 1.

Now, everyone has to be wondering what might be next?

The answer — anything is possible.

“This is where we are right now. We regrouped immediately this morning. The staff was in, and we started looking again at what our options are,” Feaster said Saturday.

“Guys are getting traded. Teams are starting to make phone calls, teams trying to unload salary. Now, for the first time in a long time, we are poised to take advantage when we see an opportunity we like.

“We’re not done. We think there will be opportunities in the trade market. We think there will be opportunities when camps open.”

There isn’t much star power remaining on the free-agent market, but you can bet GMs around the league took notice of the fact Feaster nearly landed Richards and, should they be looking to make waves of their own, will be sure to give the Flames a call.

They established themselves as a team looking to shake things up.

“We were told by Brad and his agent that our presentation was top-shelf. It certainly put us right there in contention,” Feaster said of the bid. “What we were led to believe is pretty much it was down to the two of us. It was Calgary or the New York Rangers.”

He picked the Rangers, and a nine-year, $US60-million deal. Although they wouldn’t confirm their terms, the Flames offered more.

Don’t look at his decision to turn down more money as a slight on the state of hockey in Calgary.

He chose to join his former coach in John Tortorella rather than his ex-GM in Feaster and opted to set up winger Marian Gaborik instead of the Flames’ Jarome Iginla.

But other elements such as the lighter travel schedule and competition level in the Eastern Conference, and life away from the rink in New York City, also had to factor in.

Good on the Prince Edward Island product for not dragging things out and fishing for more coin the way the magnetized Jaromir Jagr did, heading across the state of Pennsylvania to Philly just to pull in an extra few hundred thousand dollars rather than joining former friend Mario Lemieux’s Penguins to finish his NHL career where he started.

And good on the Flames for giving Calgarians a reason to stay tuned this summer.


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