As per Bob McKenzie, the Flames have extended Matt Stajan through the 2013/2014 season at a rate of 3.5 million per season. I’m not exactly sure what to make of this, to be honest. Stajan is a useful guy as a 2nd/3rd center, someone who can be productive against the middling players on other teams, and if you look around the league at what players who face similar comp and have similar numbers are making, I suppose the salary isn’t completely out of line.
I guess my issue with tying up him (and the dollars in his deal) so early is that in the Flames current set-up, he’s the number one offensive center alongside Iginla, which seems to be one weight class too high. Sutter might well have the feelings about the summer UFA class that I do, which is that it’s thin at center and any productive players are at a premium, so his price may not drop. If nothing else, tying those dollars to Stajan means that any thoughts of whale hunting (Patrick Marleau, etc.) may well be out the window for this off-season.
Stajan signing a long term deal also hints to me that Dustin Boyd is likely on the block between now and summer. With the grooming that Backlund was getting before the Olympics, next year’s 1-2-3 in the middle will very likely be Stajan, Langkow and Backlund, although Langkow might be dealt in the summer if the rest of this year goes poorly. Boyd’s currently cheap enough to stay as a 4th liner, but he may well get an offer sheet, and the Flames might be OK with receiving a pick for him come June or July. If the only spot a team needs to fill in the middle is the last one, that’s the sort of commodity that always seems plentiful in the summer, and can be obtained cheaply. I’ll have more on this deal and how the Stajan and Bourque extensions set the Flames for next year and beyond later today.
by Robert Cleave