Calgary Flames fans finally got their wish as General Manager Darryl Sutter resigned today. He’ll be replaced by Jay Feaster who will serve as acting GM for the rest of the season.This is a clear sign that the Flames are about ready to start a full rebuild. But it’s not going to be easy.
Calgary already has over $56 million committed toward next year’s salary cap, and they don’t appear to have a whole lot of tradeable assets. The reason Calgary is in this mess in the first place is that it has far too many overpaid, under-productive veterans.
The Flames also don’t have much help on the way; they lack top prospects and have only one pick in the top 100 selections of June’s draft.
The best way for the team to secure draft picks and prospects that would expedite a rebuild would to be to trade captain Jarome Iginla. But that’s just about the last thing anyone wants to do. Iginla has long been the face of the franchise, and management risks alienating its fan base if it trades its beloved captain. Fans would understandably be outraged by the move, but moving Iginla to a contender is the fastest way to kick-start a rebuild.
Though they’re at very different stages of their careers, a potential Flames trade of Iginla could have the same impact trading Ilya Kovalchuk had on the Atlanta Thrashers last year. Kovalchuk was an expiring contract and Iginla has two years left on his deal and is also six years older than Kovalchuk, but the point is that both were the lone superstars on their rosters. Moving Iginla would draw the ire of Flames fans, but they must look at how Atlanta was able to transform its roster into a playoff team by moving Kovalchuk for assets. It will take a little longer for the Flames to return to contention, but they can start moving in the right direction by dealing Iginla.
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