January 31, 2012
Month of movement for Flames
By RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
CALGARY - For all those who think the Calgary Flames arenít rebuilding, just look at the last month alone.
GM Jay Feaster may not be tearing down his roster or holding a fire sale with every pending unrestricted free agent, but he is doing more than just splashing a coat of paint on the walls with his recent moves.
Mondayís swap of minor-league defenceman John Negrin, who played three games for the Flames in 2009, to the Winnipeg Jets for minor-league winger Akim Aliu could end up being nothing.
However, Negrin had fallen so far down the depth chart ó itís too bad injuries derailed his career ó that he didnít appear to have a future with the Flames, so they decided to take a chance on an already well-travelled forward. If Aliu can ďget itĒ, maybe the Flames will have something good.
Things already look improved in the deal which saw centre Blair Jones come from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for defenceman Brendan Mikkelson, and dealing Brendan Morrison to the Chicago Blackhawks for minor-league all-star defenceman Brian Connelly is looking to the future.
As for the Michael Cammalleri deal, the jury is still out.
Giving away yet another second-round draft choice along with Rene Bourque and prospect Patrick Holland doesnít bode well, but goalie Karri Ramo is another potential NHL player for a team which will need a No.-1 netminder in a few years and Cammalleri is expected to contribute more than he has so far.
Say this, Feaster has not stood pat over the past while, and wonít be slow to move in the future.
Here's a recap of their January deals:
F Akim Aliu
D John Negrin
The Flames already know Aliu will fit with their farm team. In the past 13 games, Aliu has scored four goals for the Heat while on loan from the Jets. Negrin, who played three games for the Flames in 2008-09, was pushed down the depth chart thanks to the move bringing Brian Connelly over from the Blackhawks.
D Brian Connelly
C Brendan Morrison
Morrison wasnít in the plans long-term, so Jay Feaster did what he could to get something for the pending UFA who will be 37 by the time next season starts. Connellyís first action in Flames colours was winning the AHL fastest skater competition Sunday, and, at 25, could still develop into an NHL blueliner.
LW Michael Cammalleri, G Karri Ramo, 5th-round pick in 2012
RW Rene Bourque, F Patrick Holland, 2nd-round pick in 2013
Cammalleri made a nice debut, scoring a goal off a tip, but thatís been his only offensive output since arriving in a whirlwind. Cammalleri is a minus-4 with the Flames, which is the direct result of not scoring goals. The left-winger had a career year with 39 goals for the Flames in 2008-09, but so far he hasnít lived up to the big package given up for him. Bourque has two goals in his past two games with the Habs.
C Blair Jones
To Tampa Bay
D Brendan Mikkelson
Needing right-handed centreman, the Flames picked up a player GM Jay Feaster was familiar with as Jones was drafted by Feaster in 2005. Jones has scored an overtime goal in eight games since the move.