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Winds of Change

  What changes do you expect in the off-season?
Major trade/acquisition
Youth movement
UFA signing
Minor tinkering
No change







Calgary Flames Notebook

D'Arcy McGrath

May 24, 2001


Kids Lighting It Up: Just when you thought Sergei Varlamov's torrid AHL playoff scoring pace was the story of the year as far as Flames' prospects go, Daniel Tkaczuk has made some serious noise. When the Calder Cup final commenced the Flames were led in scoring by Varlamov with 13 goals and 18 points. Daniel Tkaczuk had four goals and a total of nine points. Four Calder Cup games later Varlamov has 22 points, and Tkaczuk 18. That's nine points in four games for the streaking Tkaczuk, five goals and four assists. His timing is impeccable with Calgary head coach Greg Gilbert in attendance taking notes. The new coaching staff has promised a clean slate for the entire roster come September, so Tkaczuk's Calder brilliance should see him get a good long look.

Entry Draft: Craig Button's host of minor trades last summer has left many confused as to what picks the Flames still retain for the 2001 NHL Entry Draft in Florida. For the record by all accounts the Flames have the following picks at their disposal.



























St. Louis



San Jose








All picks past the first round will be shifted downward by the additional picks rewarded to teams that lost free agents last summer. Some are suggesting this year's draft pool is the deepest in years to the tune of a tenth overall equaling a fifth overall pick in some years. The highest the Flames have ever drafted is sixth overall (Stillman '93, Tkaczuk '97, Fata '98), suggesting the 11th pick this year is roughly the equivalent.

Trade Winds: Trade rumours are a constant in the NHL, and with each you have to wonder as to the validity and source. Often rumours make sense, which is the case with some interesting Val Bure trade rumours that have surfaced of late. The Flames have been leaking their intent to shop their first overall pick, and many have suggested a package of Bure with the pick would be the Flames best option in returning some talented forwards to bolster the Flames offensive attack. Lately the Flames have been linked to three Western Conference teams in deals that would place Bure much closer to his off-season home in L.A. and his actress wife Candice "Full House" Cameron. The rumour sure to be the most popular with Flames fans has Bure and the Flames pick landing in San Jose for 6'2" center Patrick Marleau and change. Still another deal has the Flames shipping the same package along with Rico Fata and Jeff Shantz to Anaheim for Jeff Friesen and a move up to the 5th overall position in the draft. Finally, a more simplistic deal Bure shipped to the Dallas Stars for former Flames captain Joe Niewendyk. All three deals have merit, but one could surmise the Flames should take heed of last year's returning hero flop and stay away from the feeble kneed Niewendyk.

Coaching Staff Cemented: The Flames have set their coaching staff for next season by basically going with three assistants from last year's camp. Greg Gilbert ascends to the top role flanked by returnee Brad McCrimmon, and Brian Skrudland who held a mixed bag of odd jobs last season. The delay in announcing the appointments led many to guess Saint John coach Jim Playfair might fit into the mix, but clearly the organization thought it best to keep him in Saint John to further the excellent job he has done with Flames prospects. Hopefully general manager Craig Button and Playfair have an understanding as to Playfair's future in Calgary as he is sure to be a hot commodity for coaching vacancies in the NHL in the near future. Playfair represents the hottest minor league coaching prospect in the Flames system since Bill Stewart bolted to the New York Islanders. The big difference between the two has come down to attitude. When Stewart took the Saint John Flames to the Calder Cup finals in 1998 he made no bones about the fact the AHL was as much about getting him to the NHL as it was getting the players to the NHL. He wanted to win. Playfair on the other hand almost seems selfless, continuing to talk about development though he has his team in the finals this spring.