The Calgary Flames blue line is all of a sudden a very crowded place. Just two days after acquiring Dennis Wideman from the Washington Capitals and signing him to a large contract, the Flames agreed to terms with Cory Sarich on a two-year, $4 million contract on Friday morning.
General manager Jay Feaster said this was all part of the Flames plan for the summer and how they were looking for somebody that "brings a sandpaper element" to complement the recent addition of Wideman.
"When we set about the process of improving our blue line we identified the need for a puck-mover who could play the point on the power play and help us offensively, and we also wanted a time-space eliminator who hits and competes and brings a sandpaper element to his game," said Feaster in a team statement.
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"We took care of the first need yesterday by acquiring and signing Dennis Wideman, and we checked the box on the second need today by re-upping Cory Sarich. Cory is a true competitor who plays the game the right way, with fire and grit. He is capable of delivering the big hit and as such keeps opposing players honest, he eliminates time and space down low, he moves the puck well with a good first pass, he is one of the leaders in our room, and he is a well-liked and well-respected teammate. We are thrilled to have Cory back in the fold on a contract that fits within our plan and enables us to continue to improve our hockey team."
Sarich has been with the Flames for the past five seasons and is coming off a 2011-12 season where he scored one goal to go with six assists in 62 games. He averaged over 16 minutes of ice-timer per game, playing mostly on the Flames third defensive pairing with youngster T.J. Brodie.
Where it gets interesting for the Flames now is the fact there seems to be one too many defensemen under contract for the upcoming season. Now that Sarich is re-signed he joins Wideman, Bodie, Jay Bouwmeester, Mark Giordano, Anton Babchuk, Chris Butler and Derek Smith as defensemen signed for the 2012-13 season. Not long after Wideman was signed rumors started to circulate that Bouwmeester and his large contract could be on the move.
Whether it's him or somebody else, it seems that at least one defenseman is going to have to be on the move, whether it be a trade or the waiver wire.