To fit Bouwmeester under the salary cap for five years at $6.68 million a season, Calgary parted with 39-goal scorer Mike Cammalleri. That leaves Captain Jarome Iginla, who had 89 points last season, as the only returnee who scored more than 60 points in 2008--09. If former Vezina Trophy winner Miikka Kiprusoff is on his game, the Flames, who went 27-10-4 at the Saddledome last season, could find themselves playing more than their share of first-goal-wins games.
That's just the way the Sutters like it.
LAST SEASON 45-27-10 (3rd in West); lost in second round to Chicago
KEY ADDITION RW Mikael Samuelsson
KEY LOSSES D Mattias Öhlund, LW Taylor Pyatt, C Mats Sundin
By wrapping up his big-ticket items over the summer, Canucks G.M. Mike Gillis ensured that the team's foundation was solid for years. In June he traveled to Sweden to sign identical twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who had identical team-leading point totals (82), to identical contracts: five years and $30.5 million apiece. Last month Gillis signed goalie Roberto Luongo (below) to a front-loaded 12-year, $64 million extension (he'll make $10 million in 2010--11).
That left little money to import talent, so the Sedins will again need strong offensive support from Alex Burrows (28 goals) and Ryan Kesler (26), scrappy forwards who had breakout seasons in 2008--09.
Luongo has been a workhorse, averaging more than 69 games and a 2.52 goals-against average over the last six seasons, although last year he missed nearly two months with a groin injury. This season, with the potential to be Team Canada's starting goaltender in the Olympics and the Canucks determined to push deeper into the playoffs, Luongo may have to push himself harder than he ever has before.