*Regular Season Finish: 5th in Western Conference’*Postseason Finish: Eliminated in Western Conference Quarterfinals’
Calgary’s 2009 offseason can be summed up in two words: Jay Bouwmeester. While it was no secret that Bouwmeester was the top free agent on the market this season, heading into July, there were no real solid indications as to where he might be headed. That all quickly changed when Calgary traded Jordan Leopold and a 3rd round pick in the 2009 draft for the rights to sign Bouwmeester. The 25 year old defenseman has been the top defenseman in Florida for most of his career and has not failed to perform up to expectations. In Calgary, however, Bouwmeester will find himself in good company, as the Flames now boast what has to be considered the best all-around group of defensemen in the NHL. >
Led by Dion Phaneuf, the Flames’ blueline has the potential to be a mirror image of Team Canada’s defensive roster in the 2010 Winter Olympics. With Bouwmeester now in the fold, and newly drafted Tim Erixon expected to be a solid performer once he makes the transition from Sweden to the NHL, Calgary’s blueline should be set for some time now.
The Flames’ main acquisition offensively was made at the trade deadline, when they picked up Olli Jokinen from the Phoenix Coyotes. The Flames did lose talented winger Mike Cammalleri, but with Miikka Kiprusoff in net, and a blueline so deep that Robyn Regehr and Cory Sarich (who would both probably be top pair defensemen on other squads) will likely be in the 2nd and 3rd pairings, Calgary shouldn’t have to score boatloads of goals to win games in 2009-10.