Changes will finally start to happen in Calgary as the first major piece of the puzzle has fallen into place today with the announcement of Darryl Sutter stepping down from his post as General Manager. Currently the Flames are sitting in 14th place in the Western Conference but are still only six points out of a playoff spot.
The man replacing Sutter for the interim is Jay Feaster, who has been serving as the Flames’ Assistant GM. The Sporting News named Feaster the NHL’s Executive of the Year in 2004, when he led the Lightning to a Stanley Cup Championship. Feaster served as the GM of Tampa Bay for six seasons.
Feaster has shown he can build a championship team, under his direction the Lightning won back-to-back division titles and Feaster has won a Calder Cup and Stanley Cup as a GM.
Hoepfully this move was not made in an attempt to get the Flames into the playoffs this year. The Flames do not need to become the Toronto Maple Leafs of the West, where they continue to bring in veteran players in an attempt to make playoffs each season, only to fail and therefore hurt their draft position.
Flames fans are grateful for all that Jarome Iginla has done for their team, but Iginla can do even more for this organization by asking for a trade. Moving Iginla now will bring in a huge return of young players and prospects to kick-start the rebuild. Mats Sundin set the Maple Leafs back several years by handcuffing Leaf management with he no-trade clause. Iginla should do Calgary fans one last favor by starting the rebuilding process and asking for a trade.
Management needs to recognize that in the salary cap era a rebuild can take as little as two years. In order to do that, the Flames must sacrifice a couple of seasons and get those top draft picks.
Will the Flames management give Feaster the green light to make changes as he sees fit, or will he just be keeping the seat warm until they find a the GM they want to hire? If Feaster is given the opportunity to rebuild the Flames, then players like Iginla and Miikka Kiprusoff will be on the trading block.
Needless to say, it should be an interesting few months leading up to the trade deadline on February 28, 2011.
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