CALGARY - Now that the coaching search is over and Calgary Flames GM Jay Feaster has Bob Hartley in the fold, you would think it means time for some R ’n’ R.
The first day of summer may only be a few weeks away, but Feaster isn’t exactly planning for much downtime.
Maybe in August.
Friday was the deadline to have any 2010 draft choices signed — unless they are in the NCAA ranks — and the club has forwards Max Reinhart and Michael Ferland inked, while electing to let go their rights to defenceman Joey Leach. Collegians John Ramage and Bill Arnold are returning to school.
Now, things actually heat up.
The June 22-23 NHL Entry Draft is the next order of business, with most of the preparation work done and awaiting some insight from assistant GM John Weisbrod after attending this week’s NHL combine.
Then, free-agency season begins.
“Prior to the draft in Pittsburgh, we’ll have our pro scouts come in, and we’ll do our pro scouting meetings,” Feaster said. “At the winter pro scouting meetings, we had our preliminary UFA list. We’ll go into Pittsburgh and refine that list again and get ready for July 1.”
Feaster said he has no intentions of buying out any contracts this summer, therefore free agency is the focus.
The Flames’ pending unrestricted free agents include forwards Olli Jokinen, Lee Stempniak, David Moss and Tom Kostopoulos, as well as defencemen Cory Sarich and Scott Hannan.
Key pending restricted free agents are forwards Mikael Backlund, Blake Comeau, Blair Jones, Akim Aliu, Paul Byron and goalie Leland Irving.
“We’ve made our decisions internally. We know who it is we want to try to retain and who we’re going to allow to go ahead and become an unrestricted free agent,” Feaster said. “We know which of the restricted guys we will tender qualifying offers to and which ones we won’t.
“We start at the top of our list and work our way down as far as getting guys signed.”
Oh yeah, and the trade winds are starting to blow.
“This is the time when you’re talking to other teams,” Feaster added. “Now that you’re in the finals, the chatter and the talk picks up. So you’re discussing trade possibilities.”