Feaster on state of Flames: “It’s clear we have to make changes”

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If today’s press conference was any indication, the Calgary Flames are in for a major overhaul.

That’s the message GM Jay Feaster delivered in Tuesday’s state of the franchise address, admitting he and Flames brass need to rethink the organization’s philosophy.

“In my mind, what we have to do as a hockey department is we have to change the nature of the debate here – or the discussion, not the debate,” he said. “We have to change the nature of the discussion here. The discussion shouldn’t be, ‘can we assemble a team that’s good enough to be eighth or maybe in a good year get into seventh spot, and then anything can happen.’

“That isn’t what this organization aspires to be. It isn’t good enough.”

That’s a harsh, frank assessment from a guy that pushed hard to make the playoffs this season with the group inherited from previous GM Darryl Sutter. Feaster added veteran presences like Scott Hannan and Mike Cammalleri to a team that was knocking on the postseason door for most of the year but, once again, fell short.

Falling short — again — was enough for Feaster to realize a new approach was in order.

“We’ve missed the playoffs for three straight years. It’s clear we have to make changes,” he explained. “We’re going to have to do a number of things this off-season because this is not a situation I want to be in next year, I’ll tell you that right now.

“I have no interest in standing here on April 10th next year and explaining why it is we’ve missed the playoffs.”

Feaster’s quotes have led many to assume that captain Jarome Iginla will be moved, but other franchise cornerstones could also be in play. Miikka Kiprusoff has two years left on a deal that pays $5.8 million annually and is still one of the league’s elite netminders. Hannan, Olli Jokinen, Cory Sarich and David Moss are all unrestricted free agents while Blake Comeau, Mikael Backlund and Blair Jones are RFAs.

Feaster wasn’t quite ready to announce a fire sale on Wednesday, but did say a full-scale review was going to happen.

“I will be sitting down with (team president ) Ken King and ownership, and I will be reviewing every player in the organization and every member of the hockey operations staff,” Feaster said. “And I’ll be making recommendations as it relates to players, staff and coaches.”

Should be an interesting offseason in Cowtown.

Caps re-sign Copley, who could be Holtby’s future backup

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Pheonix Copley, who returned to Washington this season as part of the Kevin Shattenkirk trade with St. Louis, has signed a two-year extension worth $1.3 million, the Caps announced on Wednesday.

The key wrinkle in the deal is that year one is of the two-way variety, while year two is of the one-way.

It’s worth mentioning because Philipp Grubauer — Washington’s current backup to starter Braden Holtby — is currently a restricted free agent, and believed to be have No. 1 potential.

The 25-year-old has capably served under Holtby for the last two years. He’s coming off an excellent campaign — 13-6-2, .926 save percentage, 2.05 GAA — and sounds like he’s ready to make the next step in his career.

“I would like to stay here; Washington is awesome and the whole organization’s been awesome the last couple of years,” Grubauer said, per the Post. “But I’m ready if the opportunity comes to make the next step and try to be a starting goalie somewhere.”

Grubauer was made available to Vegas at the expansion draft, but Golden Knights GM George McPhee opted to take blueliner Nate Schmidt instead. There are still rumblings that Washington might dangle Grubauer in trade talks.

Copley has a very small NHL resume — just two games, both with St. Louis — but fared very well with AHL Hershey last year. In 16 regular-season games he went 11-5-0 with a .931 save percentage and 2.15 GAA and, in the playoffs, went 5-4 with a .933 save percentage and 2.13 GAA.

Report: Ryan Miller may land in Anaheim

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The Anaheim Ducks might be getting a former Vezina Trophy winner as their backup.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, “there is a lot of expectation of Ryan Miller to Anaheim for approximately $1 million, although I’m not sure if bonuses will be added to that.”

Miller, an unrestricted free agent, has spent the last three years in Vancouver. The Canucks would like to keep him; however, his wife, Noureen DeWulf, is an actress, so Southern California has always been a potential landing spot.

Also, let’s face it, Miller would have a much better shot at winning the Stanley Cup with the Ducks, and that’s something the 36-year-old has never done.

As for the Ducks’ motivations, signing Miller would give them a viable starting option should John Gibson struggle or get hurt again. Recall that Anaheim’s last backup, Jonathan Bernier, had a tough time after he was forced into action in the Western Conference Final.

Related: What does the future hold for Ryan Miller?

Jets have contacted Mason about goalie gig

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Though most signs point to Brian Elliott in goal for Winnipeg next season — see here and here — there are other options out there.

Per the Winnipeg Sun, the Jets have reached out to ex-Flyers netminder Steve Mason during the free agent interview window.

Mason, 29, just wrapped the last of a three-year, $12.3 million deal with a $4.1M average annual cap hit. He’s spent the last four-plus seasons with the Flyers but, over the last two, had been part of a platoon with Michal Neuvirth.

Mason played 58 games to Neuvirth’s 28 this year, but didn’t fare especially well, finishing with a .908 save percentage.

We bring this up because whoever signs in Winnipeg will likely have to concede some starts to Connor Hellebuyck, the one-time goalie of the future that struggled mightily through ’16-17. Hellebuyck is still only 24 and the hope is that last year can be spun as a positive learning experience.

“We went through a growing period and the goaltenders were exactly like that,” head coach Paul Maurice said of Hellebuyck’s campaign, per the Free Press. “Put them back in the net after a tough night, yanked [Hellebuyck] early a bunch of times.”

The Sun reports that Winnipeg was “one of several teams that inquired about Mason,” which isn’t surprising. He’d make for a high-caliber backup and a likely upgrade in a number of markets.

 

Bruins re-sign Acciari — two years, $1.45 million

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Looks like Noel Acciari will be around Boston for the foreseeable future.

Acciari, who has spent most of his career shuttling between AHL Providence and the NHL, has signed a two-year, one-way deal worth $725,000, the B’s announced on Wednesday.

Acciari’s contract comes after he appeared in 29 games for the Bruins last year, scoring five points. He also appeared in four of the club’s opening-round playoff games against Ottawa, scoring once.

The former Providence standout, who went undrafted, caught on with Boston in ’15-16 and quickly worked his way into the mix at the NHL level.

There’s a pretty decent chance he’ll eclipse the 29 games played last year, especially if the club doesn’t return veteran forwards Dominic Moore and Drew Stafford, both of whom become unrestricted free agents on Saturday.