Change of plans: Cammalleri won’t return to Flames lineup tonight

Yesterday, all signs pointed to Mike Cammalleri returning from an eight-game absence due to a concussion — but today, the Flames reversed course and said Cammalleri wouldn’t play tonight when they host San Jose at the Saddledome.

The circumstances around this decision are curious. Flames head coach Bob Hartley said he felt giving Cammalleri two extra days rest would be beneficial, suggesting the 31-year-old vet would return Saturday against Minnesota.

But according to the Calgary Sun, Cammalleri didn’t suffer a setback and went for a lengthy skate on Thursday — leading many to speculate he’s healthy, and being protected for a potential trade in the near future.

Cammalleri trade rumors are nothing new. He’s a pending UFA that’s highly unlikely to stick in Calgary, given 1) the club is in the midst of a rebuild, and 2) the club’s history for trading away veteran assets at the deadline, like it did last year with Jay Bouwmeester, Jarome Iginla and Blake Comeau.

Cammalleri could be a major get for a team looking for offense come Mar. 5. He’s a two-time 30-goal scorer that has found the back of the net — with consistency — in every one of his NHL stops: Los Angeles, Montreal and Calgary.

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