CALGARY, AB -- On Monday morning, Calgary Flames forward Alex Tanguay announced on Sportsnet 960 The Fan that there is a strong possibility he will be shuffled over to centre ice to start the 2013 season.
Bob Hartley spoke to Tanguay late last summer about the possibility of moving over from the wing and the 33 year-old told Sportsnet 960 The Fan he is comfortable with making the adjustment.
The Flames bench boss believes Tanguay possesses the right skill set to make the move.
"Prior to the work stoppage, I told Alex that, yes, there could be a possibility of having him play centre," Hartley told CalgaryFlames.com. "I know how well he reads the game, how well he passes the puck - premium qualities for a centreman.
"We'll have to wait and see though. We're not all finalized on our decisions on where certain guys will play. But we have a good idea."
One factor that may impact those decisions is the health of Roman Cervenka. The Czech centre was able to make the flight to North America and did skate with the team at WinSport on Thursday but will need to be cleared by the Flames medical staff to participate in training camp. If he is deemed healthy and able to practice with the team, the Flames have him pegged as a top-six forward.
The coaching staff has another option in Mike Cammalleri. Last year, former head coach Brent Sutter moved him from the wing to centre ice, a position the forward played prior to his NHL career. Cammalleri noted that while there were some adjustments with the move, they were slight alterations and didn't dramatically impact his overall game.
"Your skating patterns and sight lines just change a little bit," Cammalleri said last spring.
The Flames have three pivots returning from the 2011-12 season - Mikael Backlund, Matt Stajan and Blair Jones. In addition, Abbotsford's Roman Horak, Ben Street, Paul Byron, Greg Nemisz, Krys Kolanos, Max Reinhart and Ben Walter are all listed as centreman and could be options for the Flames up the middle.