The Calgary Flames have 12 players headed for unrestricted free agency July 1.
That reality means GM Jay Feaster has big decisions to make at some point, and those decisions will largely be made for him by the play of his team on the ice.
More than anything, it means his team must have a solid start to the season. Or else …
“I’m not going to sit around and wait”, Feaster told ESPN.com on Thursday. “There is urgency here. There’s very much a sense of urgency. We kept this group together for a reason this summer. We articulated what that was and articulated to the players. They talked about the need to get off to a good start. We saw what happened last season when you dig yourself a hole. We played like our pants were on fire in the second half last year, and it wasn’t enough. We were all paying lip service to what we needed to do. Now we need to do it.”
My colleague at TSN Darren Dreger reported earlier this week that Rene Bourque’s name was in talks around the league. Bourque is actually not among the 12 UFAs. He has four more years after this season at a $3.33 million cap hit, but the Flames, according to Dreger, were sending out feelers on him.
Feaster would not get into specifics, but it’s clear the phone lines are in use.
“Obviously I’m making phone calls, and people are making phone calls to me,’’ he said. “It’s not something I’m looking to do, I want to win with this group. That’s what I want to do.
“We like the team we have. But we talked repeatedly about it all summer and in camp, the need to get off to a good start.’’