They need to win it to get back to .500 for the season. That’s not where they expected to be, even if others believed they would. “Obviously my phone rings. When you’re sitting 14th in the Western Conference, everybody figures you’re desperate.
“I get plenty of phone calls and I make plenty of phone calls.”
But a trade — which can be difficult early in the season as it is — is not the only possibility.
Big on rewarding players in the minors who are performing well, we could see an influx of young talent join the big club.
Citing Roman Horak as one of the more consistent Flames so far this season, Feaster wonders if an injection of youthful exuberance might spark the team.
“Maybe that’s what we need. Maybe we need to bring some of those guys in and let them run and see what they can do with it,” he said. “That is an option.
“I’m not going to get into specifics on what my intent is, but I can assure you we don’t have a lot of patience organizationally right now. The goal is we expect to be a playoff team.
“My job is to improve the hockey team every day, and I’m going to avail myself with every possible means of doing that.”
Bodies coming in, wherever they may come from and by whatever means, will have to mean bodies leaving.
The Flames have 23 players on the active roster right now, with centre Mikael Backlund on injured reserve.
We could see another situation similar to the Ales Kotalik demotion last season.
“I think ownership demonstrated last year they’re willing to do that when that’s the recommendation of hockey management,” said Feaster.
It might even be easier than making a trade, which, despite plenty of talk, is a landscape that changes on a nightly basis.
“I have had some conversations with teams, that you’re kicking some ideas around and all of a sudden they reel off three or four straight wins and it’s, ‘We’re just going to sit for now,’ “ Feaster said. “That’s the reality of the business.
“It’s incredibly difficult. If anybody thinks it’s like playing fantasy hockey — keep thinking.”
A player’s fit with the team is no longer the sole consideration. There’s the cash-out value of a contract, the average salary, the number of years.
“All of those things factor into it. And understand, no other GMs in this game are looking to help you,” Feaster said. “No one is looking to trade players they feel are going to be of help.”
And the Flames GM wants to make it clear he has no interest in giving up players for picks. He’s looking at making the playoffs this year, and years into the future.
“This is not about, ‘Let’s trade this guy and get a second-round pick. We’ll go to the draft in Pittsburgh with six second-round picks.’ It’s about trying to improve the hockey team both from a short-term perspective and a long-term perspective,” he said.
“The one thing we won’t do is we won’t sacrifice the long-term for the short-term fix. It has to make sense.”
Right now, his team isn’t making much of it.