The Flames acquired centre Craig Conroy from the Los Angeles Kings on Monday for centre Jamie Lundmark and two draft choices. Conroy, slated to earn US$2.4 million this season and next, was an integral part of the 2003-’04 Flames team that reached the Stanley Cup final. The affable 36-year-old provided leadership, scoring and a personality to a Calgary squad that had taken on the persona of its often dour general manager and coach at the time, Darryl Sutter.
“I’m prepared to do anything they want,” said Conroy, who has just five goals and 11 assists in 52 games this season. “Being part of this team – they’re going to try and win a Stanley Cup.
“It’s the goal of everybody at the beginning of the season and now I’m a part of it.”
Conroy will join a deeper Flames squad and should help develop a stronger second line that would ease the load on the top unit centred by Daymond Langkow once injured captain Jarome Iginla returns.
In 237 regular-season games with the Flames from 2001 to ’04, Conroy recorded 188 points (60 goals, 128 assists) and registered six goals and 11 assists during Calgary’s 2004 playoff run.
“Whatever my role is I’m more than content,” he said. “I just want to be the best I can and definitely turn my game around.
“You know, this is a second chance for me.”
Conroy, who left Calgary as an unrestricted free agent, had been on the trading block for weeks before Sutter decided to pull the trigger.
“I don’t think it was any secret that Calgary was interested but it was really about timing and finding a fit,” said Kings GM Dean Lombardi. “There was certainly interest from other teams but I think this was the best deal for us.
“I know Craig, from talking to him, is appreciative that he’s going back to Calgary.”
Lundmark, 26, has four assists in 39 games this season.
The Kings also get a 2007 fourth-round draft choice and a 2008 second-round selection in the deal.
Calgary hockey fans are still talking about the club’s magical playoff run in 2004. After missing the postseason for years, the Flames went on a roll before finally bowing out to Tampa Bay in seven games.
The return to the playoffs spawned Calgary’s famous ‘Red Mile’, where delirious hockey fans would gather to watch and celebrate each game. It’s something Conroy looks back on as a career highlight.
“You always kind of reminisce about everything that happened,” he said. “Not to be able to come back and have another chance was tough for me and now to be here now – this is a great opportunity.”
Conroy and Lundmark won’t have to wait long before meeting their former teammates. The Flames and Kings meet Tuesday in Calgary.
Conroy is looking forward to playing for Jim Playfair, who was an assistant coach in Calgary during his first tour of duty with the Flames.
“He was good to me here,” Conroy said. “Sometimes Darryl would be on me and he (Playfair) would pull me aside and say, ‘This is what Darryl wants,’ ” Conroy said. “To have him as a head coach – I feel comfortable with him.
“You can talk to him and I respect what he’s done here and he’s got the team playing well.”