August 29, 2011
As late as Dec. 2010, the chances that Daymond Langkow(notes) would ever play another NHL game were 50/50, according to one Calgary Flames official. He had twice attempted to come back from a severe neck injury he suffered when a puck struck him in March.
Then came the third attempt, and a Masterton-nominated feel-good story: He returned to the Flames on April 1 and played well in four games. This summer, GM Jay Feaster said that Langkow "was fully cleared at the end of the season. He's been fully training. No restrictions whatsoever. He's ready to go when camp opens."
Turns out it'll be Phoenix Coyotes camp, should be pass his physical with the team.
Langkow, 34, was traded on Monday to Phoenix for right winger Lee Stempniak(notes). (Yes, another former Toronto Maple Leafs player on the Flames. Didn't Darryl Sutter step down as GM?) According to Cap Geek, Langkow had a no-movement clause.
From the Coyotes:
"We are very pleased to welcome Daymond back to the Coyotes organization," Maloney said. "He is an intelligent, well respected, veteran center. His competitive, two-way game is a great fit for us and we are excited to have him back in Phoenix."
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Langkow has recorded 259-383-642 in 1,017 career NHL games with Calgary, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. He is a plus-85 for his career and has added 71 power-play goals and 41 game-winning goals. Langkow has posted 14-23-37 in 59 career NHL playoff games.
Matchsticks and Gasoline labeled this as a "shock" for Flames fans. Considering his inspiring history with the Flames, it is; considering everything else related to this deal, not so much.
You can argue he's better than Morrison; you can't argue the economics, however.
Morrison makes $1.25 million against the cap next season. Langkow was due $4.5 million. Stempniak makes $1.9 million. All three are unrestricted next summer.
The best that can be said about Stempniak for the Flames is that he gives them some flexibility on the right side, and the last time he had to sing for his supper in a contract year he had the best goal-scoring season of his career (28 in 80 games) and his best offense season since 2007.
Langkow, should he pass his physical, would give the Coyotes a nice veteran pivot on a team that needs one. The Martin Hanzal(notes)/Radim Vrbata duo is money in the bank; but Langkow can take some of the pressure off of Kyle Turris(notes) next season, who is poised to finally break out but is still a green 21 years old.
A need filled by GM Don Maloney, if Langkow can stay healthy; and a good salary dump by Jay Feaster, although one that certainly tugs on the heartstrings.