The thinned-out Flames blueline will be even thinner on Friday night.
That’s because Dennis Wideman, the team’s leading defenseman scorer, will be out of the lineup with a broken finger and Chris Butler, who averages close to 17 minutes a night, is suffering from the flu.
In a related move, the Flames recalled Mark Cundari from AHL Abbotsford. Cundari, 22, was one of the pieces acquired from St. Louis in exchange for Jay Bouwmeester on Apr. 1.
If Butler can’t go tonight — though it’s expected he’ll try — Calgary projects to ice a defensive unit comprised of Cundari, Mark Giordano, Cory Sarich, TJ Brodie, Brett Carson and Anton Babchuk.
Despite the makeshift roster, Calgary has actually played well of late, winning four of its last six and putting a serious dent in Detroit’s playoff chances with a 3-2 win on Wednesday.
That said, the Flames will likely face a stiff challenge tonight against a Ducks team that’s racked up nine goals in two games against them this season.
While Calgary struggled with signing one young potential cornerstone defenseman, they are making sure to at least keep one young guy in the fold. The Flames announced they’ve signed Brett Carson to a two-year $1.15 million deal to keep him in town for the short term future.
Jay Feaster announcing this signing just a week after having to trade the rights to former first round pick Tim Erixon to the Rangers because they were unable to get him signed may have some Flames fans pitching a fit. If anything else, it should prove that the situation with Erixon was a unique one in that he may have just not wanted any part of Calgary regardless of which GM was trying to sign him.
Many Flames fans blamed Feaster for not being able to get Erixon signed to an entry level contract but it was Daryl Sutter who drafted him and then couldn’t get him locked up for so long. In Carson, Feaster had this to say about him.
“Based on his solid play at the end of last season, we believe Brett can be an every day defenseman for us,” said Flames General Manager Jay Feaster. “In our end-of-season meetings a number of our top forwards commented on his consistent ability to get the puck to them in transition, and we are confident he will continue to develop his overall game.”
Signing a guy to a deal worth just $575,000 against the salary cap isn’t likely to get anyone too excited but Carson will provide the Flames with depth and the deal is inexpensive enough to not further hurt the Flames’ brutal salary cap situation. Carson was due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer but this deal will keep him in the fold and the defensive rotation cheaply.
With the trade deadline (and, oddly enough, some big contract extensions) stealing all the headlines, it’s easy to forget that the NHL still had its typical noon deadline for waiver wire claims. Here’s a rundown of who was picked up and who cleared waivers.
Brett Carson was claimed by the Calgary Flames from the Carolina Hurricanes.
Curtis McElhinney is now in the Ottawa Senators system via the Tampa Bay Lightning. In a nod to Vesa Toskala last season, McElhinney went through the Lightning system without playing a game after being traded much like Toskala never played a game for the Anaheim Ducks in a similar situation.
Rob Schremp was claimed by the Atlanta Thrashers from the New York Islanders. This amuses me because his name sounds sort of like “shrimp” and Thrashers GM Rick Dudley is known for liking bigger players. Hard-hitting analysis, I know.
Now for the players who cleared waivers: First, let’s start with the goalies, both Ty Conklin (St. Louis) and Pascal Leclaire (Ottawa) cleared waivers. Moving on, Nathan Lawson (Islanders), D.J. King (Washington), Tim Stapleton (Atlanta) and Jason Jaffray (Anaheim) were the skaters.
One surprise there is Conklin, who might be on a downward slope but is a cheap, experienced backup who could be an asset for a team like the Buffalo Sabres. Would you rather lean on Conkblock on occasion or roll the dice with hapless Sabres No.2 guy Patrick Lalime? Just saying.