Perhaps Coyotes GM Don Maloney was on the same wavelength we were today. After we broke down how the Coyotes would need a bit more help up the middle to make a run at the playoffs this year, they’ve gone out and picked up some experienced help up the middle. Phoenix has acquired Daymond Langkow from Calgary pending a physical in exchange for Lee Stempniak.
Langkow will slot in behind Martin Hanzal at center and comes back to an organization that traded him away back in 2004. With a host of youngsters that could vie for a spot at center, Langkow gives Phoenix stability at a position that was sorely lacking in NHL-quality depth. The question with Langkow comes in his health since returning from a broken neck injury that kept him out most of last season. Langkow did come back last season for the Flames’ final four games of the year and finished with one assist.
If he can fully return to form, he’s a solid set-up man and a guy capable of getting 50 points per season. Langkow will also help solidify the Coyotes position above the salary floor as he’ll arrive with a $4.5 million cap hit. On the downside, he’ll be 35 years-old this season joining Shane Doan (35) and Ray Whitney (39) as the elder statesmen on the team. You know what you’ll get from all three players, the question is can they sustain their level of play the way they’re capable of doing.
Stempniak will join a Calgary team in need of a little help scoring-wise on the wings. While Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, and Rene Bourque are legit threats the Flames were in need of a little bit more and Stempniak will help that out being a guy capable of 20-25 goals in a year. Calgary will be a bit thinner at center without Langkow, but they’re hoping David Moss and Mikael Backlund can have breakout seasons up the middle. Matthew Stajan is also there to fill in depth-wise. Calgary trading out Langkow’s lofty salary for Stempniak’s $1.9 cap hit is a nice cost-cutting move for GM Jay Feaster as well. According to CapGeek.com, the Flames will be $3.5 million under the cap after this deal.
The way to break this down from the Flames’ standpoint is that they’re giving up a high-priced guy who may or may not be able to produce the way he used to before his neck injury for a guy they know what exactly they’ll get out of in Stempniak. Phoenix fills a need by getting a legitimate center while cutting loose one of their many wingers. Tough to say that it’s a win-win trade for both teams right now, but at the least both sides got what they were looking for.