• Vintage Hockey League

S15 - Key UFA's are question marks in CGY [WB3]


With nine Calgary Flames players possibly heading into UFA, there could be a lot of player turnaround before the start of season sixteen. Thirty four year old winger Teemu Sleanne and defender Luke Richardson are the two most fans are talking about. The other big name that is in need of a contract is winger Dany Heatley. There is not as much worry about Heater as he is eligible for arbitration in the off season. When asked about Heatley, rookie GM Mike Hopkins said he is in constant communication with Jay Grossman and he expects to have Heatley committed to a deal before the end of the season. Having an arbitration hearing is a nice safety net, but I don’t think it will be needed for Dany.  Meanwhile on the other side of the coin, player agent extraordinaire Jay Grossman contends that Heater is on his way to becoming a superstar in this league, and he will need to be paid as such. I’m sure the GM and agent will be having some interesting talks this season trying to figure out this one.

Meanwhile 34 year old Teemu Selanne is in the last year of the 3 year deal he signed in 2002. Selanne has played the best hockey of his career here in Calgary, including a 98 point, plus 46 campaign last season. Teemu started off the season a little slow this year due to the injury of star centre Pavel Datsyuk, but has picked up his play with Pavel’s return. With 13 points and a plus 6 through 12 Games, Teemu is well on his way to having another dominating season. The rumors coming out of Calgary in regards to the contract of Teemu Selanne don’t sound great. Hardnosed agent Larry Kelly is really putting the screws to new GM Mike Hopkins. With the age rules for signing older players in the league, it seems unlikely we will be able to keep Teemu said GM Mike Hopkins. Teemu will turn 35 this season, so the max I can offer him is a 2 year contract, but all Larry is telling me is that his client wants a four year deal. Maybe Larry needs to have a chat with the commish, see if he can make him realise his contract demands are Ludacris! Sounds like the rookie GM will have a tough time getting this contract signed.

Luke Richardson is having another great season playing on the top pair in Calgary. With 13 points and being a plus 13 through 12 games, Luke is on pace to be having his best season yet. Add to that a team leading 49 hits and you can see why the Flames are worried about losing this guy. When asked about the big hitting defender, GM Mike Hopkins said, “We would love to have Luke back, and our only hope is that he wants to come back and play with Schneids. They are one of the top pairs in the league, and as I already said, hopefully that will be enough.” The Flames don’t have much to offer the soon to be 36 year old D-man. A one year contract is not a huge enticement, but it is the only option we have.

From the sounds of things, GM Mike Hopkins will have his work cut out for him this year, with so many moving parts, he may have to permanently have 2 phones glued to his head. The bright side is the Flames are off to a great start this season, sitting first in the division, first in their conference, and are tied for second in the league behind the Whale of Hartford. Coincidently, the flames just beat up on the Whale 4-2 last night. Maybe if the Flames can keep up this level of play, it will make the signing of these key free agents a little easier, only time will tell.


WC 651