So, here’s the rumour:
The Calgary Flames add Jay Bouwmeester, then flip Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa for Dany Heatley.
They lose some offence from the blue-line in the transaction, but bring in a local boy who scores 50 goals up front. And the salary cap hit in losing Phaneuf and gaining Heatley only costs GM Darryl Sutter $1 million.
Senators GM Bryan Murray gets the offensive defenceman he covets and can justifiably grant Heatley his trade request, and everyone is happy.
Well, at this time of year, trying to pry confirmation on a blockbuster like that from the Sutter-run Flames is next to impossible. If course you know that Murray would make that deal in a heartbeat. So let’s think it through.
We know Sutter likes Bouwmeester. We also hear that several Edmonton-born Calgary Flames — Jarome Iginla, Phaneuf, Daymond Lankow, Jamie Lundmark and goaltending coach Jamie McLennan — have reached out to Bouwmeester about the beauty of playing close enough to drive home on occasion, yet not have to play and live full-time in Edmonton.
So, assuming the plan is to add Bouwmeester to the Flames stable, does it make sense to have all three of Phaneuf ($6.5 cap hit), Robyn Regehr ($4.02 cap hit) and Bouwmeester, likely at $6.5 million, on one blue-line?
Well, one school of thought says that the Flames were greatly disappointed with what occurred when Regehr went down late last season. Sutter, many believe, wants to buttress his blue-line in the wake of what one injury did to the Flames’ Cup chances.
Another school of thought says that Phaneuf has not handled his six-year, $39 million deal so well. In his first of the deal Phaneuf made $7 million, then produced his lowest points total (47 points) of four NHL campaigns. He had three lonely assists in five playoff games, as the Flames lost again in the first round, this time to Chicago.
But what about the fact that Brent Sutter — Phaneuf’s old junior coach in Red Deer — is at the helm this season in Calgary? Does he know what makes Phaneuf tick? Or does he see a guy who is too full of himself and needs to be moved?
And would Heatley, a notoriously selfish player, change his ways in Calgary and become a Sutterite? Or is he the last guy on earth Darryl and Brent would invest in?
Meanwhile, 300 km up Highway 2, rumours persist that Edmonton GM Steve Tambellini is shopping one of his four offensive defenceman in an attempt to kickstart the rebuild in Edmonton.
We’re hearing Sheldon Souray to Los Angeles — where his children live with his ex-wife, a long distance relationship that Souray has found taxing through two seasons in Northern Alberta. The package coming back would include defenceman Jack Johnson, and we’re guessing a forward with some grit, like a Wayne Simmonds.
The Oilers trade of Kyle Brodziak to Minnesota for a couple of later round draft picks was a clear message by Tambellini. The younger players in that Oilers dressing room have a sense of entitlement that is unhealthy, and a big fourth-liner like Brodziak who constantly passed up hits and lacked energy was the first one to be moved.
The big test for Tambellini’s resolve will be if Dustin Penner shows up for his third consecutive Oilers training camp, and performs a physical that shows he didn’t work hard enough in the summertime. The VO2 max test and the body fat count don’t lie, Dustin.
The former Oilers regime accepted that for two years running from Penner. Would Tambellini?
He’s hoping that a test the second year GM won’t have to pass.