Calgary Flames Assistant General Manager Craig Conroy knows and admits that the two biggest things to address this off-season will be goaltending and signing two of the team's young superstars.
In a recent conversation with the Fan 960's Rob Kerr, Conroy had a lot to talk about including goaltending, re-signing Johnny Gaudreau & Sean Monahan, and future prospects.
Conroy had great things to say about Joni Ortio stating, "he gives us an opportunity". Conroy also mentioned that Ortio was mentally off his game before being sent down to the minors and he knew it too. "He's putting in that effort now...has a cocky edge he didn't have before he went down", added Conroy.
Conroy says goaltending will be the first priority in the off-season and added that they will likely be going to get a couple goaltenders.
Ortio's record this season doesn't do him justice as he has only 4 wins in 16 appearances however three of those wins have come in his last five games and he has looked great since returning to the team from Stockton.
Conroy's told Rob Kerr their second priority is signing Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. He says the, "young guys are the core of our team" and "have done everything we have expected and asked of them." He adds, "Brad (Treliving) has done a lot of these contracts in Phoenix...it's something he enjoys."
Gaudreau is currently 7th in NHL scoring and 1st in team scoring with 27 goals and 44 assists (71 points) in 71 games while Monahan is 2nd in team scoring with 26 goals and 29 assists (55 points).
Craig admits "it's not going to be easy and there will be some give and take on both sides" but "we're going to do what's best for the organization...everyone's going to be compensated."
Conroy was "over the moon" about signing T.J. Brodie "because I knew we had a key part locked up long-term" and he saisy it gives them something to build a team around.
"If we can do another couple reasonable contracts that's fair on both sides but reasonable and then we can add a few more pieces, that's going to be the difference between us being in the middle of the pack and maybe being a team contending for a Stanley Cup."
The Flames Assistant GM also talks about Garnet Hathaway saying, "his contract's great...what he does on the 4th line, the way he works, everything about his personality, those are the types of players you're going to have to do it (sign reasonable contracts and keep happy)." Conroy told Kerr he is lacking in offense but, "he's actually helping us by being that physical presence."
When talking about the future of the team, Conroy said, "whether it's a Poirier or Shinkaruk, these are the guys that are going to be the next wave coming up and getting a chance to show us what they can do."
The Calgary Flames are constantly out scouting and there still could be some college and European free agent signings to come.
Overall Craig Conroy says right now the team has great leadership in Mark Giordano and that they are "playing right to the end" which he likes. He is hoping to see a strong finish and hopes they can carry that momentum over to next season to get a good start to the season like they did last season.
To hear more of what Craig Conroy had to say, check out the interview with Rob Kerr on the Fan 960.
Also check out Rob Kerr talk to former Flame Theo Fleury about the upcoming World Cup of Hockey
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Sheldon Kennedy talks with Rob Kerr from the Fan 960 about Hometown Hockey