The Calgary Flames have enjoyed an exceptional run since flushing a Sutter earlier this season. I would argue that no matter the outcome, the Flames showed some real gumption down the stretch and the veteran hands will return (for the most part) intact for the fall.
The Flames roster shows the value of actual NHL players. Despite advanced years, the Flames had the wherewithal to dig themselves out of the basement and give themselves a chance.
I don’t know that they’ll win a playoff spot but many of the impact players on the Flames are 30 or more:
- (37) Steve Staios
- (36) Freddie Modin
- (35) Brendan Morrison
- (34) Miika Kiprusoff, Daymond Langkow
- (33) Jarome Iginla
- (32) Ollie Jokinen, Tom Kostopolous, Ales Kotalik, Raitis Ivanans, Cory Sarich
- (31) Niklas Hagman, Alex Tanguay
- (30) Robyn Regehr
source is hockey-reference. Let’s look at the Oilers 30 or over and compare them to the 14 names above:
- (38) Nikolai Khabibulin
- (36) Martin Gerber
- (35) Jason Strudwick
- (32) Shawn Horcoff
- (30) Steve MacIntrye, Jim Vandermeer
The differences in both quantity and quality are enormous, and we see that in the standings. The Edmonton Oilers rebuild cut too deep and this summer should be dedicated to adding veteran men along the blue. Denis Grebeshkov is 27 years old, Jan Hejda will be 33 in the fall and both (from what I can tell) are available this summer. A D depth chart of:
gives the Oilers a little depth. They’d need to send away Kurtis Foster and Taylor Chorney would be waiver eligible (I believe) and could be lost, but the depth chart is deep enough to handle one injury (and we know it’s coming, it always does).
Rebuilding teams don’t have to just stand there waiting to be kicked in the gnads. They can account for man games lost to injury in the heat of summer. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were pleasantly surprised with headlines like “youngster Peckham frustrated at not getting into starting lineup?”
It would be a good thing.