Sweeping change may be in the works in Calgary after the Flames were eliminated from the playoffs, ending a five-year post-season streak.
Everything from trading Jarome Iginla to team president Ken King and GM Darryl Sutter losing their jobs is considered within the realm of possibility.
Sutter is considered vulnerable, based on a "defense first" lineup that ultimately wasn't able to score enough goals. The GM made bold moves to try and improve, including a blockbuster that sent star defenseman Dion Phaneuf to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Matt Stajan, Nicklas Hagman and Ian White.
But Sutter didn't address his most pressing need, a centre capable of getting the puck to Iginla. And Sutter was subsequently panned for signing Stajan, the center he did get, to a $14 million, 4-year extension. Stajan has 3 goals and 14 points in 25 games with Calgary.
With long erm contracts and little cap flexibility, the belief is one of the big three will have to go, either Iginla, veteran defenseman Robyn Regehr, or Jay Bouwmeester whose $6.7 million cap hit for the next four years is far too rich for the paltry offence he provides.
Losing either Regehr or Bouwmeester would hurt the Flames defensively, but the limited depth the organization has in the AHL in Abbottsford comes in the form of two young D-men, John Negrin and Keith Seabrook.
In other words, to try and solve one problem, the Flames may have to risk creating a new one.
To make matters worse, Calgary doesn't have a pick in the first two rounds of this year's draft.
If ownership demands change, NHL observers say Flames ownership had also better embrace patience, because turning this team around is expected to be a multi-year project.
It will take that long for existing contracts to expire and make room real change.