I was born in August 1989, two months after the Calgary Flames won the Stanley Cup. 20 years later, I have yet to see the cup in Calgary and the only player left playing (well not anymore) from that championship team is Gary Roberts.
I had desperately hoped that the Flames would pick Roberts off waivers from the Lightning. Here are some reasons why:
1. Roberts is a veteran among veterans
The guy has played 22 seasons! Yes, that does mean that the guy is 42 and probably 10 or 15 years past his prime, but think of the leadership and mentoring that he could bring to the table.
More importantly though, he has playoff experience. With 130 playoff games under his belt, including a Stanley Cup ring, Gary brings veteran experience that any team hoping to make a run at the cup should be actively seeking.
2. He is a heart-and-soul player
In a class with players like Jarome Iginla and Robyn Regehr, Gary Roberts gives everything he has night in and night out. A widely recognized fitness freak, at 42, he is still in top condition even though his age restricts his ability to endure the grind of the NHL schedule.
3. He was, is, and always will be, a Calgary Flame
Out of his 22 seasons, 10 were with the Flames. While he was with them, he averaged just over 50 points per season and played 585 games. He donned a Flames sweater 56 times in the playoffs and had 43 points in those games. His best season came in 1991-92, when he scored 53 goals for 90 points.
By the time he left, he had endeared himself to Calgary as a fan favourite with his hard-nosed physical play.
4. Why not?
How awesome would it be for Gary Roberts to return to Calgary after over a decade in order to take one last run at Lord Stanley. What a perfect way to end the career of such a great hockey player, winning the cup in the same place, with the same team that he started off his career winning with.
All this being said, I realize that he retired, and management was obviously not too interested considering the minimal cap space the Flames have, but how bout this, hire him back as a fitness trainer to work with Rich Hesketh (Flames Strength and Conditioning Coach).
Or bring him in as an assistant coach of some sort. Make him equipment manager of some sort, heck, hire the man to drive the Zamboni! I just want to see Gary Roberts back home when the Flames win the Cup again.