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Flames GM talks free agency, waivers

Wednesday, 06.30.2010 / 4:55 PM MT / News
By Mike Board  - CF.com Digital Content Director
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Flames GM talks free agency, waivers
Darryl Sutter took some time to explain National Hockey League waivers on Wednesday. And then he took some time to explain what the Flames thoughts are on free agents who become available July 1 at 10 MT.

First Sutter confirmed the Ales Kotalik had cleared waivers. He then confirmed that Nigel Dawes, another of the Flames forwards last season, was also placed on waivers. He then explained the difference between the two.

Kotalik is 31 and Dawes is under the age of 26. And that makes a difference whether or not a player can be placed on conditonal or undconditional waivers. Dawes is on unconditional waivers.

"He is unconditional," said the Flames general manager. "He will be bought out if he clears waivers tomorrow (Thursday). It gives us options going forward on the summer."

And Kotalik?

"The waivers he is on are not all waivers, contrary to what everyone is saying or surmising. He cleared waivers today. He is our player. The waivers he was on were not buy out waivers."

So, by the end of the day tomorrow it could be that Dawes is no longer a Flame but Kotalik could still be a Flame. In the case of the latter there are some options open -- including Kotalik playing for the Flames next season, being traded or being loaned to a team in Europe.

Which one of those options it will be isn't known and Sutter was not tipping his hand.

"It gives us different options, different avenue for the next three months," Sutter explained about the waivers. "We play hockey in October, not July."

Okay, now that that is cleared up, let's move on to the business of free agency, which begins Thursday.

The Flames have been taking with several of their own free agents, including forwards Eric Nystrom and Chris Higgins, who coincidentally work out in the off-season on Long Island together. Sutter said offers have been made to those two players.

"They are not premiere players," said Sutter. "They are not stars. It is easy to say what they are worth. Some guys get overpaid in the market (when free agency begins). If they do, great. If they don't, then they will likely be ours. We've made what I think are really fair offers to our guys."

Other Flames unrestricted free agents include Brian McGrattan, Jamal Mayers and Craig Conroy.

Sutter was busy working the phones on Wednesday and plans to do the same Thursday. "We make phone calls. The important thing is ours first."

The general manager said he doesn't expect to be vying for any of the big fish.

"We've been active but not in the big guy area," said Sutter. " We've been active with guys that were bought out and got good deals for guys that played pretty well for us. (Tony) Amonte was on a buy-out. (Todd) Bertuzzi was on a buy-out. Guys that filled in really well for us."

The Flames, however, may be looking for the smaller fish in the free agent pond.

"It's hard to predict this year," said Sutter of the free agent season. "But, generally there is a flurry of the premier gys in the first two days and then there is the trickle down because there is a salary cap. In the cap there are different budgets and different needs."