Do or Die: If Calgary Flames Don't Make A Push, Changes Will Come

Steve McSween@dansallowsSenior Analyst IFebruary 18, 2010

OTTAWA, ON - FEBRUARY 09:  Matt Stajan #18 of the Calgary Flames warms up prior to the start of the NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on February 9, 2010 in Ottawa, Canada.  (Photo by Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images)
Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

If, God forbid, the Calgary Flames don't qualify for the postseason or are once again eliminated in the first round for the fifth consecutive time, the writing is on the wall.

There will be a massive rebuild in Calgary.

With three out of the six players that general manager Darryl Sutter acquired in the Dion Phaneuf and Olli Jokinen deals headed for free agency, coming July 1 (Matt Stajan, Chris Higgins, and Jamal Mayers), along with Rene Bourque and Craig Conroy, there is a good chance a disappointing regular season will lead to Sutter making some bold moves in the offseason.

Namely, getting some bona fide NHL skill to play with Jarome Iginla.

While the Olympic line of Crosby, Iginla, and Nash made sweet music (like their counterparts Crosby, Stills, and Nash), it was a showing of just how good Iggy could be when playing with skilled linemates.

So don't be surprised if Sutter makes a push to acquire Patrick Marleau or Ilya Kovalchuk come summer.

The fact is, despite all the changes made, Calgary's song remains the same...all the will with little or no skill.

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It has become as frustrating to watch as the season finale of Seinfeld, with so much build up, yet never any results when it comes to the Flames over the past few seasons.

Let's face it, Sutter knows he will have money to spend now after dumping Phaneuf's contract. There was a reason he wanted to free up some cap space, that is obvious.

Players of Iliya Kovalchuk's and Patrick Marleau's capabilities are a rare find and this franchise has relied heavily on just one player to carry the ship since the mid-'90s.

On the other hand, if Calgary can't sign a first-line forward in the offseason, don't be surprised if the captain Jarome Iginla will be on the way out, as Darryl Sutter may decide to rebuild through the draft.

With Iggy not getting any younger, his chances of hoisting a Stanley Cup in Calgary are fading away faster than Lindsay Lohan's singing career. And his value on the trade market is still very high for any team that is looking to win in the not too distant future.

There is little doubt Flames fans would stay loyal to their team for 3-5 years if it meant them being a contender for a long stretch afterwards.

It's Calgary...not Atlanta.

You look at the success of franchises like the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins who have stockpiled first-round picks over the years. Something that the Flames' Alberta cousins in Edmonton seem to be doing.

Whatever direction Sutter takes, there is little doubt this club will look very different come September.

That is, unless they can make a push in the playoffs.

Which may be about as likely as Rita MacNeil winning an Olympic gold medal in speed skating.

Whatever the case, it is going to be a very interesting few months in Cowtown.

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