Langkow OUT - Stempniak IN
Following Robyn Regehr and Ales Kotalik out the Scotiabank Saddledome door this summer is yet another high-priced contract in Daymond Langkow.
Set to make $4.5 million this season and coming off a near career-ending injury, the 35-year-old certainly wasn't getting any younger.
Sure, Langkow is a serviceable, reliable veteran who can play anywhere from the first to the third line without a peep or complaint, but, simply put, he was not in the long term plans of the team. Flames general manager Jay Feaster most likely saw a chance to shed some more salary and give the Flames added flexibility heading into the new season, while keeping the team competitive.
In return, the Flames receive yet another former Maple Flake in right wing Lee Stempniak.
What is it about the Flames acquiring former Leafs? Probably just a strange coincidence, but it’s funny how the Flames have missed the playoffs ever since the parade of Leafs to Calgary started (they are carrying a virus I think). I digress.
Recall that Stempniak had a 52-point season, with 27 goals, back in 2006-07 in St. Louis. He put up half that total the following year and was subsequently dealt to the Leafs. He spent just over one season in the blue and white before being dealt to Phoenix in 2009. He put up 14 goals in 18 games with the Coyotes and helped them get back into the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons.
Coming from a Coyotes perspective, I don’t quite understand the deal, acquiring an older and more expensive player. Figuring the Yotes are on a serious budget, you would think they would be going younger and cheaper, but what do I know. A friend of mine did just bring up the point that Jim Playfair is now in Phoenix and that connection probably assisted in the trade somewhat.
On Calgary’s end, the move gives Mikael Backlund the proverbial green light to take control of the number one center position – something I, and I’d like to think a plethora of other Flames fans have been hoping for since his arrival in Calgary. Backlund is ready to take the reins.
Just like Regehr, I liked what Langkow brought to the table. He is as reliable as they come, but this is a business and the Flames are drowning in contracts that most teams aren’t going to touch with a ten-foot pole (see: Matt Stajan and Jay Bouwmeester).
This move puts the Flames almost $3.5 million clear of the cap going into the season.
Overall, I like it. It not only sheds salary, but also makes the team more dynamic on offense, not to mention much younger, as Langkow was seven years the elder of the 28-year-old Stempniak.
The trade also means that Langkow returns to Phoenix after being traded to Calgary back in 2004 for Oleg Saprykin and Denis Gauthier. Saprykin will be forever remembered for scoring the winning goal in game five of the 04’ Cup final. Gauthier will be forever remembered for his ability to clear it off the pane of glass beside the hash marks – oh, and submarining forwards whenever he had the chance. Good times.