The Calgary Flames front office has rested its case. Now it’s time for the players to make some decisions.
It’s no secret that Flames players are a big reason for the massive changes the franchise has undergone since the end of the regular season. Their general manager, Brad Treliving, bolted because of a toxic environment. The head coach was fired after remaining management took feedback from the players.
There were trade demands and clear expressions of a lack of interest in re-signing if things remained status quo — so the Flames change it up.
They promoted Craig Conroy to replace Treliving (who later joined the Toronto Maple Leafs). Conroy just promoted assistant coach Ryan Huska to the head role behind the bench.
Now some key players need to decide if this turnover at the top and the plan moving forward has changed their feelings about sticking around.
Priority One: Elias Lindholm.
“That definitely was a factor,” GM Conroy said Monday of Lindholm’s approach to contract considerations. “He wants to know who the coach was going to be, what type of coach, how he sees the team being built forward. It’s still a work in progress.”
Conroy paused to ask Huska beside him on the podium if he’d talked to the top centre yet.
“This morning,” Huska stated.
Conroy said he’d do the same that day.
“I’m going to be back in touch,” Conroy continued. “Elias, like I said, he’s a priority for us and we’re going to get back to him and hopefully see how that moves forward. But now that the coach is done, I can kind of start focusing on these other things.”
The players have been given plenty of power by the Calgary Flames franchise this spring, ushering in a new era in approach.
Conroy said he’s talked to Jonathan Huberdeau a lot during the process, reassuring the winger he’d be playing more minutes and key situations under the new coach.
The old coach didn’t communicate his expectations. He often said publicly the players should know what they have to do. Huska works differently and plans to be clear about expectations on a daily basis.
So now it’s up to those players to prove they can perform now that the dark clouds have lifted.
Assuming, of course, they still want to be here.