Alex Tanguay: Back in the Saddle
Brought back from the depths of darkness, Alex Tanguay is back in a city he loves and playing with a player, Jarome Iginla, which he dearly missed.
Tanguay spent the last year wallowing away in Tampa Bay, getting ever so slowly pushed out of the team picture. By the time the season ended, it was clear that Tanguay did not want to be in Tampa, and Tampa did not want any part of Alex Tanguay.
And so, on July 1st 2010, Alex responded to a call from his former boss Darryl Sutter and signed on the dotted line. He was excited to come back to a place he knew and place that loved hockey.
He self-admitted last year that “hockey was no longer fun” and he wasn’t enjoying himself in Tampa Bay.
His stats were clear cut evidence of this as he posted his lowest totals of his career with only 10 goals and 27 assists in 80 games.
Since the 2006-07 season (his first in Calgary, under Jim Playfair), where Tanguay had a career year tallying 81 points in 81 games, his stock has subsequently plummeted. The next year, the worst possible thing happened to Alex; Sutter hired Mike Keenan as the new Head Coach. Keenan thought Tanguay would be better as a penalty killer/checker and Tanguay’s point total took a free fall because of it.
He then was traded in the off-season of 2008, due to the acquisition of Mike Cammalleri amongst other things, for draft picks. NOTE: One of those picks was Greg Nemisz.
In 2008-09, he had a decent campaign with the Canadiens despite being injured for almost half the year. He came just shy of posting a point a game, but after his contract expired at the end of 2009, Montreal let him sail adrift, and he landed in Tampa.
Skip ahead to today and Tanguay finds himself back in Cowtown for another season.
Last night he showed the Flames, and their fans, what they had been missing; a feathery pass to Mikael Backlund shorthanded and another feed to Jarome Iginla. He was, by most accounts, one of the best players on the ice. Now, it is only pre-season, but it is good to see a player who struggled so mightily last season, to be showing signs of promise so early in the season. He looks quick, fit and his passing prowess is still as good as ever.
The only other person happier than Tanguay might be Jarome Iginla, who has his friend and line mate back after spending the last two apart; especially last year when Iginla had also lost Cammalleri.
Tanguay, who only makes $1.7 million dollars this year, could end up being one the steals of free-agent day if he rebounds like I think he will. And I’m not just going off of one preseason game, I am going off seeing him live at the Red vs. White game, along with his rejuvenated attitude and excitement to play hockey again. We are all aware of the skill he possesses, so at his price what is there to lose?
He makes less money than Kotalik, Stajan, Langkow, Hagman, Bourque, Iginla and Jokinen. Tanguay will find himself ahead of a majority of those players on the depth chart. There may not be many bargains on this Flames team, but I think Sutter might have nailed this off-season pick-up.
Maybe Sutter read my blog which I posted on June 17th saying exactly that:
“What about buying on a low? Well look no further than Alex Tanguay. After leaving the Flames in 2008, he went on to Montreal where injuries hampered his season and was subsequently forgotten about until he signed in Tampa Bay last September. He had his worst year ever offensively, only scoring 10 goals and 37 points in 80 games with the Lightning. He made $2,500,000 last season but would likely take less in 2010-11 and is an ideal candidate for a rebound season.”