Numbers Game: Flames, Coyotes make one-for-one swap

Scott Cullen

8/29/2011 9:42:54 PM

The Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes made a deal that helped the salary cap situation for both teams.

Numbers Game looks at the deal that sent Daymond Langkow to Phoenix for Lee Stempniak.

The Flames Get: RW Lee Stempniak.

Stempniak, 28, is a two-time 20-goal scorer who fell one goal short of that mark last season, his sixth year in the NHL. Consistency hasn't always been there for Stempniak, but he has shown enough to be considered a top-nine forward in Calgary.

Figuring that Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, Rene Bourque, Curtis Glencross and David Moss are relatively safe wing options on the top three lines, that could mean that Niklas Hagman would be on the outs again this year, as he eventually was last season.

Going into the final year of his current contract, which pays him $2.3-million but comes at a $1.9-million cap hit, Stempniak ought to be motivated to perform, but as long as he produces something along the lines of his career 80-game averages (20 goals, 23 assists), then he will be more than adequate for the Flames because Stempniak provides value right off the top by having a contract that is a better fit under the cap, giving the Flames actual financial flexibility, a feature that has proven elusive for them in recent seasons. According to, the Flames are set to open the season about $4-million under the $64.3-million cap.

The Coyotes Get: C Daymond Langkow.

Closing in on 35-years-old, Daymond Langkow played just four games for the Flames last season, missing most of the year as he recovered from a serious neck injury.

In Phoenix, there is an opportunity for Langkow to play a significant role. Martin Hanzal is the only returning Coyotes centre that played even more than 12 minutes per game last season so, even if Kyle Turris manages to take on more responsibility, Langkow should be counted on to play third line minutes, at the very least.

Prior to last season, Langkow had played at least 17 minutes per game for nine straight campaigns, so as long as he's healthy, he should be counted on as a regular contributor for the Coyotes. A seven-time 20-goal scorer and eight-time 50-point scorer in his career (including each of the three seasons he played for the Coyotes from 2001 through 2004), it might be a reach to expect Langkow to still produce at that level, but his offensive pedigree should earn him a regular role with power play time on a Coyotes team that could use help offensively.

Just as shuffling Langkow to Phoenix helped Calgary's cap situation, taking on the $4.5-million left on Langkow's deal for this season helps get the Coyotes over the $48.3-million salary floor. That Langkow happens to be a better positional fit for the Coyotes' immediate needs doesn't hurt.

It's unlikely that either participant in this trade is going to be a make-or-break acquisition for their new team, but both are skilled enough to be productive complementary players, given adequate opportunities in their new locales.

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