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Adding more options up front

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames
CALGARY, AB -- Trading Daymond Langkow wasn't something Calgary Flames general manager had planned.

After Langkow's recovery from a neck injury that sidelined him for the majority of the 2010-11 season, Feaster was content to let the veteran center come into training camp and compete for a spot in the Flames top six forward group. But when Phoenix Coyotes general manager Don Maloney began to ask about Langkow, Feaster knew it was prudent to consider his options.

"We weren’t out there actively shopping Daymond but Phoenix came at us hard to acquire the player," Feaster noted. "And because of our depth at the center ice position and what we feel our options that we have at the center ice position, it gave us an opportunity to seriously look at this and consider it."

What the Coyotes offered up was 28 year-old forward Lee Stempniak. The winger is coming off a 19-goal, 38-point campaign and, like Langkow, has just a single year left on his contract.

As Feaster analyzed the proposed trade, he began to see just how much flexibility the trade would give them.

First of all, the center ice position was bogged down. In addition to Langkow, Olli Jokinen, Brendan Morrison, Matt Stajan and Mikael Backlund are all natural pivots. Add into the mix the possibility of utilizing David Moss at center and you have a log jam.

Secondly, the 28 year-old is listed as a right winger but can play on either wing. Stempniak is also a player coaches feel comfortable with placing in any situation on ice. He's dependable in five-on-five play but is also an adept penalty killer and can contribute on the power play.

The winger's offensive instincts also were a major factor in Feaster's decision. He has a nose for the net and isn't afraid to mix it up in front of the net.

"He is a guy who has shown he can score goals at a pretty decent rate. He is a player that plays off of confidence and Brent and I have talked about that. When he is going, he is the kind of guy that scores in bunches. Multiple goal games and games in a row where he will score goals."

Feaster also sees this move as a way to create more competition at training camp amongst not just rookies but all players. The Flames don't have a single line that anyone can say 'Yes, those three will definitely play together.' Sure, you'll see Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay perched on the wings of the top line but after that, it gets murky. He fully expects Stempniak to compete for a top six slot but nothing is written in stone. The winger will need to prove to the coaching staff he belongs in that group.

"Now we’re going to go into camp with a lot of players not just competing to make the roster but more importantly, competing for their ice time. All those things considered and again, it’s a positive for us."

Follow Torie Peterson on Twitter | @ToriePeterson
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