2009 Free Agency: What the Flames should do

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I got a head start on this awhile ago, identifying and reviewing a number of potential free agents the Flames may be targeting this summer. The landscape has obviously changed somewhat since my initial volley with the Bouwmeester acquisition, so let's do a bit of a run down:

Pending UFAs: Adam Pardy, Mike Cammalleri, Adrian Aucoin, Todd Bertuzzi, Andre Roy, Jamie Lundmark, Warren Peters, Rhett Warrener, Jay Bouwmeester

Pending RFAs: Dustin Boyd, Kris Chucko

Cap space: 9.383 + (Prust-Vandermeer) 1.5M = 10.883M

Projected Budget: 56.8M

Key needs: With the loss of Bertuzzi and Cammalleri, the Flames may need to add another capable, scoring forward to the top 6.

Potential targets: Brian Gionta, Mikael Samuelsson, Mike Knuble, Erik Cole, Steve Sullivan

What our rivals want: EDM, VAN and MIN will all be looking for legitimate, high priced scoring forwards. COL needs everything - from goaltending to defense to forward depth. All the NW division SBN blogs should have their own free agency posts up shortly.

Obviously, the free agents of biggest concern are a couple of the Flames own: Adam Pardy, Dustin Boyd and Jay Bouwmeester. It would surprise me to see Warren Peters and Kris Chucko shake loose as well, while Jamie Lundmark is a bit of wild card. Bert, Cammalleri, Aucoin, Roy and Warrener are all long gone. 

If Sutter inks Bouwmeester, the chances of the Flames pursuing another free agent outside the fold are slim and none. That deal will eat up a majority of the Flames remaining cap space and without another contract or two going out the door, the Flames won't have the budget space to go shopping.

Of course, if Bouwmeester opts to go free and bolts for greener pastures, the Flames will likely be in play for all the guys mentioned and perhaps a depth defender as well. How the reported meeting between Darryl Sutter and Bouwmeester goes today will go a long way to determining how active the Flames will be come July.

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