SUN Hockey Pool

Flames' Feaster would like to make moves

Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster watches his team's prospects take on the University of...

Calgary Flames general manager Jay Feaster watches his team's prospects take on the University of Calgary Dinos at Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary on Friday, September 16, 2011. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency)

BRUCE GARRIOCH, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

There are more than a couple of contracts Flames GM Jay Feaster would like to burn.

Two league sources told QMI Agency that Feaster is desperately trying to get money off the books.

Not only would Feaster move struggling C Olli Jokinen in a heartbeat, the word around the league is the Flames have been shopping C Matt Stajan, W Niklas Hagman and W David Moss.

You can’t blame Feaster for trying to clean up the mess of bad spending left by former GM Darryl Sutter, but he’s going to have a difficult time finding anybody willing to take on those contracts, especially this early in the season.

Stajan will be particularly tough to move.

The 27-year-old Stajan, who was part of the deal that sent D Dion Phaneuf to the Leafs, received a mystifying four-year, $14-million extension from Sutter. The contract, that has three years remaining, will make it nearly impossible for Feaster to trade him.

Depending on where the Flames sit in February (and by all accounts they’re expected to be on the outside looking in) then Jokinen, Hagman and Moss could all be deadline rentals for teams looking to bulk up in the playoffs.

All three are set to become UFAs in July and won’t have much left on their contracts by that time.

For now, Feaster’s hands appear to be tied.

THIS ’N’ THAT

Columbus GM Scott Howson is in trouble. Not only have the Blue Jackets been bad, despite having the fifth-highest payroll in the league at $62.9 million, they’ve taken a hit in the stands with poor attendance. If the situation doesn’t improve, Howson could be shown the door. He was named GM in July 2007 and the Jackets have yet to make the playoffs. Acquiring C Jeff Carter from the Flyers over the summer could be Howson’s last move. “The heat is on him big time,” said one league executive. “That team has got to make the playoffs. Missing them isn’t an option.” ... Everybody has had a chance to digest the two-game suspension served by Wild C Pierre-Marc Bouchard and the appeal by his agent, Allan Walsh. Say what you want, but Walsh goes to the wall for his clients. A question being asked with CBA negotiations around the corner: Should supplemental discipline be handled by a league employee (Brendan Shanahan) or a neutral third party? Why not find a retired player who is jointly hired by the NHL and the NHLPA to handle discipline? This is going to be a huge issue for NHLPA executive director Don Fehr in the next negotiations.

AROUND THE BOARDS

Interesting to see what’s been happening with the top players selected in the 2011 draft. While this year’s crop wasn’t considered to be deep, seven of the top eight players were on team’s 23-man rosters on opening night. Some of the top draft picks have been returned to junior recently: Is it because the players aren’t ready, cap space issues or reluctance by teams to be exposed to more than $1 million in performance bonuses for most of these players? ... The heat is on Washington coach Bruce Boudreau to get the Capitals to the Stanley Cup final next spring. He raised eyebrows and ruffled feathers by sitting G Tomas Vokoun for the club’s first game. Vokoun signed with the Caps because he wants to prove he can get a team to the next level after being stuck with the Panthers ... An NHL executive on the amount of trade talk going on right now: “There’s actually a lot of teams talking for this time of year. I don’t think you’re going to see anything shake down until the end of the month.”

RUMOURS DU JOUR

Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke has been gauging interest in D Carl Gunnarson and C Tyler Bozak to open up some roster spots. Sources say the Leafs aren’t down on either player, but they’d like to make room for D Keith Aulie, who was sent down to the Marlies at the end of training camp. The Leafs are also high on blue-line prospect Jake Gardiner and don’t plan on sending him anywhere. C Matthew Lombardi, who missed all but two games last season with Nashville due to post-concussion syndrome, had a goal and an assist in his first two games with the Leafs. And once C Tim Connolly is healthy, Bozak could be expendable. None of this means Burke has given up his pursuit of a top-six forward ... Vancouver GM Mike Gillis, an avid fan of this space, has been busy working the phones as well. No, he’s not looking to move G Roberto Luongo, as so many on West Coast wish he was, but he is trying to deal a defenceman. The belief is Gillis would trade D Keith Ballard. Good luck with four years left with a cap hit of $4.2 million a season ... Coyotes C Kyle Turris wants out of Phoenix, which is why he’s not with the club and is working out near Vancouver. But if Coyotes GM Don Maloney is shopping the third overall pick in the 2007 draft, nobody has heard about it. “I haven’t heard his name mentioned,” said one league executive.

Good to be back. Have a nice Sunday. 


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