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Funny and sad payroll issues

I had mixed reviews on Calgary’s two trade deadline deals and contractextensions. Locking up Rene Bourque for $3.33 million for each of thenext six seasons was astute.

I had mixed reviews on Calgary’s two trade deadline deals and contract extensions. Locking up Rene Bourque for $3.33 million for each of the next six seasons was astute.

Bourque, 28, has shown he can score at a 30-goal pace and produce on the first or second line. He surely would have commanded $4 million on the open market this summer. The $20 million he gets in long-term security is worth the home-town discount.

I’m not so sure about Matt Stajan’s $3.5 million the next four seasons. True, he could have walked as a free agent this summer, making the Dion Phaneuf trade look like less of a win for the Flames. But is he the pivot to centre the top line with Jarome Iginla?

If so, he’s going to have to register a 20-goal season one of these years. Since joining Calgary, he’s at a 24-goal, 56-point pace. On the top line it’s going to have to be at least 25 goals and 70 points with wingers the calibre of Iginla and Bourque.

I would have offered Stajan $3 million annually for this golden opportunity in Calgary and taken the chance he wouldn’t walk.

I like Steve Staios as a defenceman, but wish he wasn’t on the books for $2.7 million next season. Staios, Cory Sarich and Robyn Regehr are too much of the same and they combine to make more than $10 million. Surely the Flames want to re-sign restricted free agent Ian White –– an upgrade over Phaneuf — and Mark Giordano, who next season is going into the final year of his contract.

If the $56.8 million salary cap remains the same next season, Calgary has just $3.8 million remaining to sign White, Chris Higgins, Eric Nystrom, Jamal Mayers, Craig Conroy, Brian McGrattan and Vesa Toskala — or suitable replacements. Signing White and Nystrom will eat up most of that $3.8 million so its not likely any of the others would come back for $500,000, even if the Flames want them.

It’s funny and sad the Flames have these payroll issues next season. Funny, because if Calgary was among the conference contenders like we all presumed, we could say it’s a good thing these solid contributors are locked up.

It’s sad because if the Flames miss the playoffs, they’re forced to go into next season with virtually the same lineup that wasn’t good enough in 2009-10.

 
 
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