Are the CALGARY FLAMES ready to make a playoff push?
Calgary's balanced offence and secondary scoring + consistent goaltending has them sitting atop of the Northwest division. Is this enough to make a deep playoff run? I don't believe so, and here's my take on why.
Lets start with goaltending:
Miikka Kiprusoff is has been nothing short of spectacular thus far. Kipper is a proven workhorse in 55 games this season he has 35 wins. This is great for the Flames, what if though Kipper goes down to injury? Can Curtis McElhinney carry the team into the playoffs? I believe the Flames need to have a backup goalie with some playoff experience, so who do the Flames try and go after?
There are some good goalies that could be had, one name I have heard in the rumor mill is Curtis Joseph, who may be the odd man out in Toronto, his contract and playoff experience could make him an interesting pick up to any team lacking goaltending depth.
Joseph was a deadline a acquisition last year for the Flames and has a history with head coach Mike Keenan.
The Flames have always been deep in this area, so I don't believe they will make any additions to their defence. I have heard though GM Sutter is interested in d-man Jay Bo (who wouldn't be interested in a guy who is a solid D-man).
The asking price might be too steep for a team who doesn't have a lot of cap space available. If anything is to happen on the back end look for the Flames to move a defenceman so they can add some more depth up front. Two names that have been linked to trade rumors are Cory Sarich and Adrian Aucoin.
This is the area that will be the key to their playoff run. There are a lot of players out there rumored to be available for the right price. There's a few names I am hearing. Phoenix C Jokinen, and Colorado forward Ryan Smyth, (Smyth still has a few years remaining on his contract with a hefty price tag and a NTC he would have to waive) both these players last year were linked to Calgary at the deadline.
Another name in the rumor mil that has supposedly drawn interest is C Tim Connelly + a pick going to the Flames, in return Buffalo receives D Adrian Aucoin and a forward.(Will continue to follow this rumor).
The other buring question is what does GM Darryl Sutter do about the Mike Cammalleri situation at the deadline (Cammalleri is a UFA at the end of the season)? So far the addition of Cammalleri; who's having a career year, has been a great addition for the Flames, he's given the team some added scoring that's taken some pressure off their captain Jarome Iginla.
But has Cammalleri played himself out of Calgary? he may have. BUT I don't believe Cammalleri will move and the reason the Flames won't move him...is Calgary NEEDS his scoring. Cammalleri is going to be key in Calgary's playoff success, so what do they do?
Calgary needs to hold on to him if they can go deep or even all the way that may motivate Cammalleri to resign with Calgary in the off season. If Calgary can't resign him, they trade his rights at the Draft. Cammalleri would have more trade value at the deadline than at Draft day, however Lord Stanley is up for grabs and that's why Cammalleri stays.
So Calgary's success has been solid goaltending and consistent scoring up to this point. That is why I believe a proven scorer and a solid backup goalie may be Calgary's focus at the deadline.
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